Some Japan news

Asahi has three interesting stories:

Draft-dodging youths scramble to renounce S. Korean citizenship

A change in South Korean law has twentysomethings scrambling to renounce their citizenship before the law goes into effect.

Under the South Korean draft system, males mainly in their 20s, must serve in the military for more than two years.

To exempt their children from the draft, however, many pregnant women began going overseas, particularly to the United States and Canada, to give birth. Since nationality in those countries is conferred as a birthright, the children end up with dual citizenship.

The practice became such a big issue that South Korea’s National Assembly revised the Nationality Law to close the loophole.

Overnight freight service taking off

The growing air freight industry in Japan, fueled by new speeding restrictions on transport trucks, promises to speed up business and promote trade throughout Japan. It will also support local economies near the airports involved in the service, such as that of Kumamoto-shi. (I stayed in Yatsushiro-shi in Kumamoto-ken in 2001, and visited Kumamoto-shi while I was there. -shi: city, -ken: prefecture)

ANA rival Japan Airlines Corp., meanwhile, plans to start a midnight freight service between Haneda and Kyushu’s Kumamoto airport in July.

The airline aims to attract business from all over the island as the airport is located at the center of Kyushu and 10 minutes’ drive from an expressway interchange.

“We expect the service will encourage businesses to set up shop in our prefecture and also expand the market for our farm produce,” a prefectural government official said.

Witch hunt in Tokyo

This article discusses how a citizen committee invoked what is referred to as the “ultimate weapon” to investigate the use of public lands for private use, and how their following actions are questionable. It’s an interesting discussion of Japanese law.

This spring, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly established the Article 100 Committee. The last time this was done was 35 years ago. After its deliberations, the committee determined that Vice Governor Takeo Hamauzu had committed perjury during a committee session.

When a situation arises that gives cause for strong concern about an administration, it seems perfectly reasonable that the assembly should be able to invoke its powers of investigation. But in this case, everything about the investigation–from the reason why it was set up to the conclusion it arrived at–was very unclear.