2017年10月21日のテーマ

10月21日のテーマは、「国旗に対する侮辱罪の導入について」です。

現在日本では、外国の国旗もしくは国章に対する侮辱罪は刑法で定められていますが、日本の国旗自体についての侮辱罪は規定されていません。
自分たち自身の国のシンボルについても、大切に扱うためには侮辱罪を規定を必要と考える声がある一方で、その罰則規定が表現の自由を奪うことを懸念する声もあります。

NEFでは、国旗に対する侮辱罪の導入の是非を通して、私たちが自分たちの国のシンボルやアイデンティティーをどう守っていくべきかについて議論します

(NEFからのお願い)
NEFは英語での議論をとおして様々な事象の理解を深める場を目指しており、特定の主張や思想などを支持するものではありません。
以下ガイドラインにあるNEFの趣旨をご理解いた上でご参加頂ければ幸いです。
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NEF参加ガイドライン

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The topics of weekly gathering on October 21st is "Penalty for Desecration of National Flag”.

Desecration of national flag, such as burning it or defacing it, is legally prohibited in some countries like Germany.
But, in Japan, we don’t have such rules for our own national flag.    Here in Japan, the Criminal Code defines penalty rules only for the case of desecrating foreign nation’s national flag.
It means, in the current legislation, burning our own national flag is legally no problem.

Some people are insisting the necessity of applying such penalty rules also to our own national flag, so that we can respect our symbol and identity more.
But, at the same time, some people are hesitating to apply such penalty rules for our own national flag, because of the potential infringement on freedom of expression.

At our weekly gathering on October 21st, we will exchange our views on the necessity of penalty for the desecration of our own national flag.

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NEF事前勉強会のお知らせ(2017年10月14日)

来る10月14日、例会(講演会)開催前の13時から15時でNEF事前勉強会を開催します。
自由なテーマについて各自3分間のスピーチおよび他メンバーとの質疑応答を英語で行います。

これら活動を通して、英語を使ったコミュニケーション力のアップを目指しています。
(初めての方はオブザーバー参加も可能です。)

参加費は500円(NEFの例会にはそのまま参加可能)です。

「英語力をアップしたい」、「英語での発信力を高めたい」とお考えの方、ぜひご参加ください。

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初めての方はこちらもクリック

Ahand_4
NEFの活動紹介

Ahand_6
私たちNEFが英語を通して目指すもの

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2017年10月14日のテーマ

10月14日のトピックは、「地球温暖化進展に伴って、社会・産業はどう変わっていくか」です。

地球上の平均気温が継続的に上昇していく「地球温暖化」を危惧する声は、1990年代以降徐々に大きくなり、今では国際的に深刻な社会懸念の1つとして捉えられています。
この深刻な懸念を解消すべく、様々な研究機関や企業が様々な取り組みをし、新たな産業の創出へ繋がっているケースもあります。

NEFでは、地球温暖化への様々な取り組みが社会・産業へ与える影響について意見交換します。

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The topics of weekly gathering on October 14th is "The Potential Change Driven by Global Warming”.

In these two decades since 1990s, the continuous climate change so called “Global Warming” has been highlighted as one of the most critical concerns in our international society.
To prevent our earth from the global catastrophe, many people are now making mitigation effort in many different levels, such as governmental level, industrial level, and personal level.    Such efforts are now creating new dimensions of social activities from quite new approaches and concepts.

At our weekly gathering on October 14th, we will review such new dimensions of climate-change mitigation efforts and exchange our views on the potential changes in our society and industries driven by this global concern.

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2017年10月7日のテーマ

10月7日のトピックは、「衆院解散総選挙の狙い」についてです。

先日9月25日に安倍首相は衆議院の解散を表明し、28日の本会議にて衆議院が解散されました。
安倍首相はこの解散を「国難突破解散」と銘打ち、北朝鮮情勢への対応などを争点に民意を問う姿勢を表明していますが、野党側はこの唐突な解散を「大義なき解散」と非難しています。
今回の衆議院解散にともなう総選挙で、与野党はそれぞれ何を目論み、何を争点に戦おうとしているのでしょうか。

NEFでは今回の解散に伴う総選挙に向けた各党のスタンスを検証すると共に、22日に行われる総選挙の行方について意見交換します。

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The topics of weekly gathering on October 7th is "Political Scheme beyond the Upcoming General Election”.

In Japan, the House of Representatives was dissolved on September 28th, initiated by PM Abe’s official announcement of the dissolution on September 25th.
This sudden dissolution is now panicking many politicians especially for opposition party members.

PM Abe and some other ruling coalition leaders are now insisting the meaning of this general election for seeking the judgement of the people on the current LDP coalition performance being carried out against the “national crises”.
But, on the other hand, many opposition leaders are now strongly criticizing PM Abe for this sudden dissolution without any specific argument.

At our weekly gathering on October 7th, we will review each party’s political scheme and strategy beyond the upcoming General Election, and exchange our views on the forecast of this election result.

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2017年9月30日のテーマ

9月30日のトピックは、「日本上空を飛んでアメリカ本土を狙う北朝鮮のミサイルを、日本が撃ち落とす正当性」についてです。

北朝鮮は今年に入り頻繁に弾道ミサイルの発射を繰り返しており、この1か月では発射ミサイルが立て続けに日本上空を通過して太平洋へ落下しています。 北朝鮮ミサイル技術の格段な進歩によりアメリカ本土へのミサイル攻撃も技術的には可能な段階に入ったとの分析もあり、東アジアのみならずアメリカにとっても非常に高い脅威となってきました。

もし仮にアメリカ本土へのミサイル攻撃が現実のシナリオとなった場合、日本の上空を通過することになりますが、日本としてそのようなミサイルを打ち落とすことは可能なのでしょうか。
ミサイルがアメリカ本土に向け日本上空を通過するときの飛行高度は非常に高く大気圏外であるため、この飛翔体が日本の領空を侵犯しているとは言い難く、このようなミサイルを日本が迎撃する法的根拠は乏しいのが現状です。
一方で日米安全保障条約に規定されている日米双方の共通の危険への対処などを考えると、その迎撃に法的正当性を見出すことができるという意見もあります。

NEFでは、アメリカ本土に向け日本上空を通過する北朝鮮ミサイルを日本が迎撃することの正当性について意見交換します。

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The topics of weekly gathering on September 30th is "Legal Validity of Japan’s Shooting Down the Missile Flying Over Japan”.

Since February this year, DPRK (North Korea) has frequently repeated ballistic missile launch.   Especially in these several weeks, DPRK repeatedly launched the missiles flying over Japan toward the Pacific Ocean, which can be a potential threat not only for Japan but also even for the United States.
To make the matter worse, the provocative words coming out from the US leader and the DPRK leader are now escalating the potential risk of DPRK’s missile attack toward the US mainland.

Under such circumstances, Japan being located between DPRK and the US is now facing a severe question.
It is the legal validity justifying the intercept of the ballistic missiles flying over Japan.

Since the missile toward the US mainland flies over Japan at a very high altitude, it is difficult for Japan to attack this missile for the sake of protecting its own territorial airspace.
On the other hand, however, with considering the US-Japan Security Treaty assuring the act to meet the common danger, some people are finding out the legal validity of the missile intercept by Japan.

At our weekly gathering on September 30th, we will exchange our views on the legal validity of shooting down the missiles flying over Japan.

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2017年9月23日のテーマ

9月23日のテーマは、「How to brace for emerging challenges from China ?」です。

かつては「眠れる獅子」とも喩えられ、以前からその強大なポテンシャルが畏れられていた中国。
今では世界第2の経済大国となり、軍事的にも強国となりつつあります。

急激に伸長する経済力と軍事力を背景とした中国の積極姿勢は、東アジアの国々との間で微妙な軋轢も生んでいます。
東アジアの国々、またその一員である日本はこの大国と今後どのように付き合っていくべきなのでしょうか。

NEFではこの大国がもたらす影響を外交・経済など様々な側面から検証すると共に、この大国との共存共栄を図っていく上で必要なことについて意見交換します。

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The topics of weekly gathering on September 23rd is "How to brace for emerging challenges from China ?".

In these two centuries, China possessing huge land and population has been expected its potential power and even compared to “A Sleeping Lion”.
Now, in these two decades, this lion is now awaking from sleep.

The outstanding growth of Chinese economy starting from the late 1990s has made China the second largest economic power in the world.
Not only in economy but also in politics, China is now gaining its position as a key player in our international society.    While many neighboring countries in Asia have gained economic benefits from this emerging superpower, many of them are facing some difficulties for coexisting with this emerging superpower.

At our weekly gathering on September 23rd, we will review the emerging challenges from China and exchange our views on our necessary measure for the ideal coexistence with this superpower in Asia.

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2017年9月16日のテーマ

9月16日のテーマは 、「あなたが前原さんならば 民進党をどう改革しますか?」です。

民進党は先日9月1日に代表選挙を行い、蓮舫前代表の後任として前原誠司氏を選出しました。
2012年末に政権の座を自民党に明け渡して以降、民主党およびその後継の民進党は支持率の低迷にあえいでいます。
国政においては辛うじて野党第一党の地位を確保しているものの、東京都議会などの地方議会では著しく議席を減らし、退潮の流れを止められずにいます。
このような逆風の中で代表に就任した前原氏にとって、党勢の立て直しは容易ではありません。

前身の民主党時代に与党にもなったことがある民進党が、日本の議会政治の中での役割を確立し勢いを取り戻すためには、どのような改革が必要なのでしょうか。 また前原氏は民進党の改革を成し遂げるため、どのような取り組みを行う必要があるのでしょうか。

NEFでは、民進党の現状を検証すると共に、新代表となった前原氏の視点からこの党の改革に必要な取り組みについて意見交換します。

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The topics of weekly gathering on September 16th is "The New Democratic Party Leader’s Challenge".

On September 1st, the Democratic Party (Minshin-to) had held a presidential election and appointed Mr. Seiji Maehara to the leader of the party.
In these five years since they lost their ruling power in 2012, the Democratic Party has struggled against their adverse conditions in Japanese politics.
While this party still keeps the leading opposition party in the Diet, they lost significant number of seats in regional councils such as Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly.
Under such circumstances, retrieving their party power is by no means an easy challenge for the Democratic Party.    But, as a new leader of this party, Mr. Maehara can never avoid this challenge.

At our weekly gathering on September 16th, we will exchange our views on the challenges for the new Democratic Party leader, with considering the current political situations of this party.

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NEF事前勉強会のお知らせ(2017年9月9日)

来る9月9日、例会(講演会)開催前の13時から15時でNEF事前勉強会を開催します。
自由なテーマについて各自3分間のスピーチおよび他メンバーとの質疑応答を英語で行います。

これら活動を通して、英語を使ったコミュニケーション力のアップを目指しています。
(初めての方はオブザーバー参加も可能です。)

参加費は500円(NEFの例会にはそのまま参加可能)です。

「英語力をアップしたい」、「英語での発信力を高めたい」とお考えの方、ぜひご参加ください。

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初めての方はこちらもクリック

Ahand_4
NEFの活動紹介

Ahand_6
私たちNEFが英語を通して目指すもの

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2017年9月9日のテーマ

9月9日のトピックは、「EVは主流になるか?」です。

世界各国の環境意識の高まりから、ガソリン車やディーゼル車などに代わり環境への負荷が低い次世代車両技術の開発競争が加速しています。
そんな次世代車両技術の一候補として注目を集めているのが電気自動車(EV)ですが、充電の煩雑さや航続距離の短さなど課題も多く、まだ普及段階に至っていないのが現状です。

次世代車両の有力候補であるEVは今後どのような進化を遂げ、社会の中でどのような立ち位置になるのでしょうか。
また、EVの普及に伴い、従来型の自動車産業はどのような影響を受けることになるのでしょうか。

NEFでは、他の次世代車両技術と比較しながらEVのメリット・デメリットを検証し、このEVが今後の次世代車両競争の中で予想される役割や課題について多方面から意見交換します。

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The topics of weekly gathering on September 9th is "The Potential of Electric Vehicle (EV)".

Electric vehicle (EV) technology is one of the most expected candidates for the next generation vehicle technology in our society.
While people are focusing on its brilliant capability of low environmental-load mobility utilizing electricity, this vehicle technology still has some remaining challenges before gaining its social role as a key transfer method in our society.

At our weekly gathering on September 9th, we will exchange our views on the potential of EV in the future, with reviewing its benefit to be expected and its remaining challenges to be solved.

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NEF講演会サマリー(17年8月19日)

先日行われましたDavid A. G. Johnson Jr.さんの講演について内容をご紹介します。 

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「-もう一つの変化- トランプ大統領がもたらしたもの」 と題して講演をお願いしましたが、今回は表現を少し変えて、「オバマ後のアメリカの行方」 というテーマの下に、トランプ大統領が誕生するまでの選挙戦の経緯と、トランプ大統領就任後のアメリカの政治状況の変化や今後の行方についてお話頂きました。

新しいリーダーの、それまでと全く異なる価値観に基づく新しいスタイルに、一市民として戸惑いを隠せないというのがJohnsonさんの実感のようでした。

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Guest Speaker:  Mr. David A.G. Johnson Jr.
(Profile) 
DavidMr. David A.G. Johnson graduated from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs.
He worked for the Mayor's office of the City of New York. He was the staff of the Institute of International Education (IIE), placement specialist for Foreign Fulbright Program.
Then, he had been on the president of  the Schomburg Corporation of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
As the third career, he is currently a teacher of a high school in New York.

【David A.G. Johnsonさんの略歴】
コロンビア大学卒業(国際関係学)
・ニューヨーク市役所、IIEでの勤務の後、NY公立図書館シャンバーグ(Schomburg)センター理事長に就任
・退任後は地元の公立高校で教鞭を執る

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Theme:    Quo Vadis? (Which way?)
- The United States in the Post Obama Era

Prologue

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
It was the age of wisdom; it was the age of foolishness,
It was the epoch of belief; it was the epic of incredulity,
It was the season of light; it was the season of darkness,
It was the spring of hope; it was the winter of Despair, ...

                                 The Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens

Review of the 2016 Presidential Election
-トランプ大統領誕生に向けてアメリカを突き動かしたもの -
選挙戦当初に有力候補ではなかったトランプ候補は、それまでの政治家のスタイルとは全く異なるスタイルで物議を醸しながらも、シンプルなメッセージで徐々に支持を増やし、最終的には最有力と思われていた民主党のヒラリー候補も破り大統領に当選しました。 
Johnsonさんは、このトランプ大統領誕生をもたらした2016年の大統領選挙においてアメリカ市民を突き動かしたものについて紹介されました。

  1. Rise of Trump Candidacy and the Role of U.S. Media
    1. A Kabuki style candidacy
    2. Trump candidacy characterized by demagoguery regarding Mexican Americans as rapists.  Complicity of U.S. media in airing Trump campaign speeches which gave him legitimacy even though they did not believe he could be nominated much less win the presidency.  But he was good for their ratings which served economic incentive.
      The question is what effect would there be if Trump did not receive maximum coverage or the analogy: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it still make a sound?
  2. Weakness of the Clinton Campaign
    Hillary Clinton provided no sound rationale for her candidacy.  It was based upon entitlement.  She was the first female candidate and white.
    Her belief that the powerful Obama coalition would automatically be inherited.  The Clinton campaign had no overarching theme easily grasped by the American voter.   Overconfidence by staff and candidate the Clintons had a long track record inAmerican politics and belief that Donald Trump could not win. She as most Americans believed polls which predicted there were no scenarios by which Trump could win.
    Failure to strategically campaign in key states and overlooking those who perceived themselves as "The Forgotten American"
  3. Characteristics of the Trump Campaign
    1. Bombastic, narcissistic, incendiary- appeal to the basest instinct of the American electorate.  Some elements of blatant racism at campaign rallies.  Failure to condemn attacks on African Americans and refusal to rebuff support by the KKK ( Klu Klux Klan).
    2. Pathological Liar who whose falsehoods were not immediately singled out as lies by the mainstream press including The New York Times and Washington Post.
    3. Candidacy had a clear message- "Make America Great Again and American First. "  These Were translated well and struck a chord among the American electorate opposed to the Obama administration- some of whom were racist against having a First Family in the White House.  Others opposed to the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.  Some were isolationist and again felt insecure about their economic status therefore becoming xenophobic.  The Rust Belt communities were promised jobs in industries (coal and automobile) which in reality could never return.  Nor could the workers be retrained.Guest Speech
    4. The xenophobia represented by Trump’s promise to “Build a Wall between the United States and Mexico and force Mexico to pay for the construction.
    5. Trump supporter profile- Typically those without a college degree and working class voted for him Two thirds of non-college whites supported Trump
      Trump won whites with a college degree by 49% to 45%
      Clinton won  a lower share of young voters than Obama did in 2012 and 2008
    6. Donald Trump’s ignorance and lack of curiosity.  He does not read nor possess an historical perspective. Nor is he inclined to reach out to anyone more intelligent or informed – ie. American historians. 
    7. Moral lapses- groping of females and denial. Continued lies concerning President Obama’s birth certificate –claimed he was not an American citizen born in Hawaii.

A Tale of Two Cities - between the epoch of belief and the epic of incredulity 
-トランプ大統領誕生後のアメリカの苦悩 -
それまで政治経験の全くなかったトランプ氏は、大統領就任後もその独自のスタイルをホワイトハウスへ持ち込み、政権運営を進めています。  このビジネスライクで独善的ともいえる政策運営に対しては、期待と疑念が入り混じる複雑な感情がアメリカ国内および国際社会で渦巻いています。 
Johnsonさんは、この独自のスタイルがもたらす政治の混乱について、フランス革命時の感情的な大衆心理がもたらす苦悩を描いたチャールズ・ディケンズの「二都物語」を隠喩しながら紹介されました。

  1. Ascendancy to the White House
    He was unprepared for assuming presidency.  Therefore no contingency plans for making quality appointments.  Those nominated were either inexperienced for the job or merely sycophants who would not challenge the president in cabinet meetings.  Trump desired no one who would outshine him.  Appointment of family members also inexperienced.
  2. Attack upon the American Media
    Used social media to communicate instead of accepted forms- ie- news conferences called news coverage Fake News to discredit American media among his core supporters and launched a war against the media.
  3. First 100 Days
    Compared to President Obama Donald Trump had no major legislation enacted.   He cited executive Orders as legislation to mislead his supporters and the American people.  President Trump's mission appears to be evisceration of President Obama's signature legislative accomplishments.  Despite campaign promises by the Republican Party and Trump they were unable to repeal and replace Obamacare.   This was due to resistance by Americans who came to rely upon the health coverage signed by President Obama- one of his major accomplishments.
    Chaotic environment within the White House reflected no Presidential leadership
    • Nominated very conservative Judge Neal Gorsuch to be a United States Supreme Court Justice who was confirmed by Republican Senate.  No Democratic support
    • Rejection of Bipartisanship – Refusal to work with Democrats in Congress on legislation including infrastructure, environment, foreign policy.
  4. White House – Republican Congressional Relationship
    Little or no coordinated approach to moving the President’s agenda.   Conflicted messagings.    White House aides and members of the administration often contradicted themselves.   White House spokespeople could not answer reporters’ questions. Uninformed or had not spoken with the president to provide informed answers.   Attack upon Republican Congressional Leaders and threats to oppose members running for re-election.
  5. Presidential Leadership Style
    Undignified, boorish compared to President Obama does not think through decisions; speaks off the cuff and with a sense of chronic amnesia.     Concern by increasing number of Americans about his mental state.
    Such unstable decision making controled by his unstable mental state does make polititcal situations unpredictable and undercuts the rule of law. ie. the events in Virginia and apparent support of racist and Neo-Nazi elements
  6. Relationship with Allies
    Donald Trump has a retrogressive approach regarding foreign policy.  Has surrendered moral leadership which emboldens repressive regimes in the world.
    Embarrassment on the world stage- inarticulate performances at summit meetings and infantile behavior- ie. Shoving foreign leaders to get ahead of them for group photographs.
    Susceptible to flattery and this has shaped how foreign leaders interact with Trump –ie- Lavish state visit to Saudi Arabia but with non-substantive results.
    Inappropriate remarks during Paris visit about the French First Lady.
    Decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on the climate.
    Empty threats.
  7. World Public Opinion
    The respected polling organization- The Pew Research Center published the following,
    1. Trump less popular than President Obama in 37 countries .  Only 22% have confidence in his leadership.  This is low expectation compared to President Obama’s 64% rating
    2. Only a few countries have positive view of Trump’s ability to handle international relations
      He garners strong support in the Philippines with 69%- with its dictatorial President Duterte compared The world trusted President Obama’s leadership with a 94% favorable rating.
      In Japan- only 35% expressed confidence in Trump’s ability to handle a crisis
    3. Right wing parties in Europe have greatest confidence in President Trump. Trump gets more negative ratings globally than Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Xi Jengpeng of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia.  Putin is seen as more reliable in a crisis.
    4. Trump has abdicated traditional leadership role for the United States by not articulating a coherent world view and strategy.  He is simply bellicose – ie. The Korean Peninsula and the leader of North Korea.
  8. The Wizard of Oz- Will hard core Trump supporter come to realize that he is a fake?
    Trump’s core polling numbers stand at 38% who do not care about the President’s short-comings.  Will this continue if there are no concrete returns on their investment?- Trump's signature campaign promises have yet to gain traction- on jobs and building the "Wall".
    Nor is there legislation passed about tax reform. This is unlikely since there is no agreement between the Republican House of Representatives and House Senate.
    The lack of loyalty between Republican elected officials and President Trump.  He has demonstrated a proclivity “to throw Republicans under the bus” and attack them through social media and continued “campaign rallies” which is unprecedented in American politics.

Quo Vadis- Which Way? 
-アメリカの行く末 -
それまでの政治の閉塞感に辟易としていたアメリカ市民は、この新しい大統領に希望を託し、それまでの民主党政権時代の政治を否定しました。  しかし、それは同時にトランプ氏の暴走を止める仕組みさえも低下させることになりました。 
Johnsonさんは、トランプ政権誕生後での議会の状況を紹介されるとともに、今後の行く末についての意見を紹介されました。

  1. Driving A Vehile with Brake Failure
    Initial shock is wearing off after November 8, 2016 election results.  Grassroots organizing and political education is evident.  However, the Democrats loss three special Congressional elections after the Trump victory.   There is a leadership vacuum in the Democratic Party and they remain powerless minority party in Congress with little hope of bipartisanship.
    President Trump temperament will not allow him to alter his style.  He must either be the bride at every wedding or corpse at every funeral to satisfy his excessive ego.  The tendency to protect his vested business interests and family is dangerous.  Secret Service budget to protect the presidential family has been exhausted.
  2. Dilemma for Republican Congressional Leaders
    At what point do they jettison Trump- impeachment and conviction? There is probably little inclination to initiate the time consuming process?  Will they begin to speak out in greater opposition to Trump?    There is a risk of offending the true believers of Donald Trump in the 2018 midterm elections.    The Republicans do not fear Trump as a leader but remain cautious in their criticism.
  3. Do the Republicans simply bide their time and endure Trump with the aim of positioning Vice President Mike Pence as their candidate in 2020?
    The fate of the Democrats hangs on their ability to take control of the House and Senate in 2018; this would be a major development and affect Trump.   World events also could play a factor if the US enters a major conflict.  There is a belief that US military leaders would disobey any Presidential order they believe injurious to US national security according to the military code of justice.
    The Trump presidency could be seriously affected by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation regarding Trump campaign collusion with Russia in 2016.  It may also open Pandora's Box to shed light on entangled Trump finances including his refusal to share tax returns.
  4. The 2020 Election
    Any prediction is premature.    The Democratic bench is woefully bare- except for Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. 
  5. Optimism
    The Constitution and historical pattern has demonstrated a resilience of American institutions to respond effectively.  But these are not normal times.

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