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見出し:Abe’s visit to Yasukuni to further incite(を駆り立てる)hard-liners(強硬派の人たち) in China, South Korea

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came to Tokyo in October, the pair paid an unexpected visit to a place considered neutral political ground in Chiyoda Ward.

No doubt the two were sending an indirect but unquestionably clear message to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by laying flowers at the Chidorigafuchi cemetery: don’t go to Yasukuni Shrine and stir up(を煽動する)war-related anger in East Asia.

Chidorigafuchi, located near Yasukuni Shrine, is dedicated to the remains of unidentified Japanese who died overseas in the war.

Many political leaders have visited the cemetery over the years to express their condolences(お悔やみ)for war victims without drawing political flak(きつい非難)for the wars Japan was engaged in during the 1930s and ’40s.

Abe often defended politicians’ visits to the contentious(論争のタネになる)Yasukuni Shrine by likening(なぞらえる)them with U.S. leaders’ visits to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Kerry and Hagel apparently signalled, however, that if Abe wanted to pay homage(敬意)to Japan’s war dead, he should go to Chidorigafuchi, not Yasukuni.

America believes it is vital(絶対に必要な)that Japan, China and South Korea enjoy stable relations at a time when Washington must address(に取り組む)various political and economic challenges in Asia.

But on Thursday Abe went ahead and visited Yasukuni. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo immediately posted(を発表した)an unusually blunt(ぶっきらぼうな)statement indirectly criticizing his move.
“Japan is a valued ally and friend. Nevertheless, the United States is disappointed that Japan’s leadership has taken an action that will exacerbate(を悪化させる)tensions with Japan’s neighbors,” the statement read.

“The United States hopes that both Japan and its neighbors will find constructive ways to deal with sensitive issues from the past, to improve their relations, and to promote cooperation in advancing our shared goals of regional peace and stability,” it read.

Abe has centered his diplomacy on Japan’s close ties with the United States, particularly when it comes to China’s growing military and economic presence.

Since his inauguration(就任)last December, he had maintained a relatively low profile(目立たないこと) toward China and South Korea over matters of wartime history. He avoided revising official apologies regarding Japan’s aggression(侵略)in other parts of Asia, despite earlier posturing(ポーズ)suggesting otherwise.

A high-ranking official close to Abe earlier noted that because Japan crucially needs U.S. assistance in dealing with a number of diplomatic issues, including the North Korean threat to security, efforts were made to soften his administration’s stance on sensitive historical issues.

“In my case, it all comes from consideration of (Japan’s relations) with the U.S.,” the official said.
But this time, the official apparently failed to persuade Abe to give Yasukuni Shrine a miss.

Experts speculated that Abe opted(選択した)to visit the shrine Thursday because he reckoned(と思った) Japan’s relations with China and South Korea couldn’t get any worse.

Abe has repeatedly said his door is open if Seoul or Beijing want to have a summit, but no such meeting has happened since he took office and instead relations have deteriorated(悪くなった).

Abe didn’t visit Yasukuni on Aug. 15, the anniversary day of Japan’s World War II surrender, and apparently explored ways to arrange a summit in the fall. But China, with which Japan is recently and routinely confronting over its military forays(手出し)around the Senkaku Islands, and South Korea, which holds islets(小島たち)that Japan claims, were not interested in meeting.

Abe meanwhile had appeared to be mindful of the risks of enraging(を激怒させる)Beijing and Seoul and disappointing Washington at the same time.

He immediately issued a written statement and an English-translated version Thursday regarding his Yasukuni visit.

The statement looked rather unusual for a politician known for his hawkish, nationalist views. Abe repeatedly emphasized his visit was not designed to “pay homage to war criminals,” and reiterated that Japan should never wage(を行う)war again.

“Some people criticize the visit to Yasukuni as paying homage to war criminals, but the purpose of my visit today . . . is to report before the souls of the war dead how my administration has worked for one year and to renew the pledge that Japan must never wage war again.

“It is not my intention at all to hurt the feelings of the Chinese and Korean people,” he said.
But Bonji Ohara, a China expert and research fellow at the Tokyo Foundation, said Abe’s visit to Yasukuni will only give hard-line Chinese leaders ammunition(材料)to take an even tougher stance against Japan.

China’s top leaders will find it even more difficult to resist such pressure, he said.
“It will be more difficult to solve such disputes(紛争)as those over the Senkaku Islands” in the East China Sea, Ohara said.

Abe’s visit to Yasukuni to further incite hard-liners in China, South Korea

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見出し:New volcanic(火山の)island in Ogasawara chain doubles in size

A new island around 1,000 km south of Tokyo that was created by a volcanic eruption(爆発) a month ago has more than doubled in mass.

The new island measured about 200 meters in diameter(直径)when it was confirmed by the Japan Coast Guard on Nov. 20. Continued lava(溶岩)flows had driven its area to 400 meters east-west and 300 meters north-south as of Dec. 13.

It has not been named, given(・・・を考慮にいれて) the possibility it will unite with neighboring Nishinoshima Island in the Ogasawara chain.

As volcanic activity is continuing, the government is closely watching. If recognized as Japanese territory, the new island would expand the nation’s territorial waters by several hundred meters.

It is not expected to sink below sea level, at least in the near term, since the lava on it has hardened(固まった), according to the coast guard.


It has not been named, given the possibility it will unite with neighboring Nishinoshima Island in the Ogasawara chain.
「given」以下は、その前にカンマがあるので、「It has not been named」の説明をしています。「名前がつけられていないのは・・・ということを考慮にいれてのことだ」の意。

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見出し:Tokyo Gov. Inose to announce resignation(辞職)over(・・・を巡って)money scandal

Embattled(困難な問題をかかえた)Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose is set(の予定である)to announce his resignation on Thursday over money he received from scandal-hit hospital chain Tokushukai, metropolitan assembly members and others said Wednesday.

Inose will announce at a press conference Thursday that he is quitting his post, which he held for only around a year, over the scandal in which he received 50 million yen from Tokushukai, the assembly members said.

His resignation comes amid growing pressure for him to step down(職を辞する)not only from the metropolitan assembly but from the central government and his predecessor(前任者), former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara.

Inose said last month after the money scandal surfaced(表面化した)that he would not resign.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has cited(に言及した)the need to settle the issue as soon as possible to avoid the scandal involving Inose from hampering(を妨げること)preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an Abe aide said.

Members of the ruling bloc began to openly call for(を要求する)the author-turned-politician to resign after the metropolitan assembly decided to set up a special committee to investigate the 50 million yen he received ahead of the gubernatorial(この場合「東京都の」)election last December.

“The fact that (Inose) received a large sum of money from someone who does business related to his authority is enough to warrant(・・・は当然のことである)his resignation,” LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura told reporters in Tokyo, referring to the governor’s power to approve the opening of hospitals.

“If he delays his decision, Tokyo’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics will be affected,” Komura said, adding, “And his contribution to Tokyo’s successful bid will be spoiled.”

A senior member of the New Komeito party, the junior(下位の)ruling coalition(提携)partner of the Liberal Democratic Party, also told reporters Wednesday that Inose “should be clear by now” on whether he will stay on or quit his post.

Ishihara, who picked then(当時の)vice-governor Inose as his successor in the December election, urged(を説得した) Inose during their meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday to resign promptly, saying it is impossible for him to stay on given(・・・を考慮にいれると)the circumstances, sources close to them said.
Ishihara quit his post as governor in the middle of his fourth four-year term.

LDP House of Representatives member Koichi Hagiuda, who belongs to an umbrella organization of LDP chapters in Tokyo, told reporters after meeting Abe at the premier’s office on Wednesday that they agreed to ensure the scandal involving Inose does not affect Tokyo’s preparations to host the Olympics.
Hagiuda, a special aide to Abe in the latter’s role as LDP chief, quoted Abe as saying(安倍が・・・と言ったと引用した)he finds it “globally embarrassing that the central and Tokyo governments cannot discuss the Olympics” at the moment.

Inose was grilled(尋問された)for 20 hours over four days in the past two weeks by an assembly committee, but he has backtracked(撤回した)from his remarks several times, triggering(を誘発する)protests from the assembly and paving the way for the special investigative committee to be set up.

The committee, the first of its kind to investigate a Tokyo governor’s conduct, is bound by the Local Autonomy Law, under which Inose or any party called to testify could be fined or charged for refusing to testify or committing perjury(偽証).

The 18-member committee is expected to be formed of members from both ruling and opposition parties.
Arrangements are already under way for the committee to hold its first session with Inose next Tuesday at the earliest.

Tokushukai, the largest Japanese operator of medical facilities, is at the center of an election violation case involving House of Representatives member Takeshi Tokuda, the son of Tokushukai founder Torao Tokuda.

It was revealed Wednesday by a source close to the matter that Inose was told in November 2012 by Torao that Tokushukai intended to acquire a hospital run by Tokyo Electric Power Co.
The revelation contradicted a previous remark by Inose and is expected to raise suspicions that he made another false statement.

Earlier this month, Inose told the Tokyo assembly that he did not discuss the matter with Torao Tokuda during their meeting.

The utility(公益事業体), known as TEPCO, announced in October 2012 it planned to sell the hospital as part of streamlining measures after its business was heavily affected by the nuclear crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

Inose also said the planned sell-off(売却)of the TEPCO hospital and the 50 million yen he “borrowed” from Tokushukai were completely separate matters, and he denied helping Tokushukai or that the hospital group asked him to do a favor.

Tokushukai participated in the bidding for the TEPCO hospital in August but withdrew as soon as it faced a criminal investigation by Tokyo prosecutors over the alleged(疑わしい) election violation.

Tokyo Gov. Inose to announce resignation over money scandal

Inose will announce at a press conference Thursday that he is quitting his post,

His resignation comes amid growing pressure for him to step down not only from the metropolitan assembly but from the central government and his predecessor,

LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura told reporters in Tokyo, referring to the governor’s power to approve the opening of hospitals.
現在分詞は「主語+動詞」の代用をします。主語は「LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura」。動詞は「referred」。即ち、ここは「and he referred」と置き直すことができます。他にもこの現在分詞の使い方が出ています。

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