Japan’s ruling party to allow women to watch its board meetings, but no talking

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Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party will invite up to five of its female members of parliament to board meetings, but they should not speak. This was announced by the party as it took what it said was a step toward equality.

“It’s important to fully understand what kind of discussions are going on,” said Toshihiro Nikai, the LDP general secretary. “Look. That’s what it’s about.” Nakai added that women should not have a say in the proceedings but can submit suggestions in writing after the meetings have concluded.

The party’s action has sparked criticism from the opposition, which charges male chauvinism and discrimination against women is ingrained in the LDP, which depends on the voices of Japan’s strong nationalist circles with their traditional role models. They are tentative in grappling with women-friendly ideas, according to women’s groups, and progress is slow. The party’s make-up is 40% female, but women only hold 10% of its parliamentary seats, a figure far below the 25% global average.

According to the World Economic Forum 2020 report, Japan ranks 121 out of 153 countries in its gender parity global ranking.

By Milan Sime Martinic

Japan: High Sales of Nuclear Shelters as North Korea Tension Mounts

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Nuclear shelters and radiation-blocking and chemical gas air filters have seen higher sales in recent weeks as North Korea continues its nuclear program, including nuclear and missile tests, and America and China take a tougher stance on the nation’s military activities. Some stores have sold out.

Three North Korean missiles landed in Japan’s waters, 300-350 kilometers from shore, last month.

Japan is also urging local governments to hold evacuation drills.

‘Trump Is a leader I Can Have Confidence In’ – Shinzo Abe After Meeting

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In Donald Trump’s first meeting with a world leader since being elected, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that he was “convinced that Mr. Trump is a leader in whom I can have confidence.”

It is not unusual for a president elect to meet with foreign leaders before taking over the role of president — Barack Obama also did this. The meetings are not ones in which international deals are usually made. They are more meet-and-greets in preparation for later dealings.

In the past, Trump has made statements viewed by Japan both as beneficial and harmful to the island nation. On the one hand, Trump said he might remove some U.S. troops from Japan if Japan didn’t pay a bigger share of defense upkeep; on the other, Trump said it might be better if Japan had it’s own military, including nuclear weapons, since it had unfriendly military powers nearby, such as North Korea.

Abe said he wanted to “build trust” with Trump, and ensure the long-standing alliance between the two countries, which Abe said was of primary importance for Japan.

During the presidential race, Abe supported Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and Japan is strongly in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

AuthaGraph: A More Authentic World Map View Wins Design Award

Authagraph world map
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Better than Mercator could do? And at a time when these problems are finally important?

The Mercator map is known to have major flaws, such as its distortion of the sizes of Antarctica and Greenland.

Tokyo-based architect and artist Hajime Narukawa wanted to fix the problem of distorted relative land mass sizes.

Narukawa has said that these longstanding problems may not have been very important in the past, when these regions were less traveled.

But now glaciers are melting and technology is making access to cold regions easier.

Hajime Narukawa
Hajime Narukawa

The Good Design award organization describes the map in the following terms:

“This original mapping method can transfer a spherical surface to a rectangular surface such as a map of the world while maintaining correctly proportions in areas*. AuthaGraph faithfully represents all oceans, continents including the neglected Antarctica. These fit within a rectangular frame with no interruptions. The map can be tessellated without visible seams. Thus the AuthaGraphic world map provides an advanced precise perspective of our planet. *The map need a further step to increase a number of subdivision for improving its accuracy to be officially called an area-equal map.”

Almost Half of Japanese Single Adults Under 35 Are Virgins Now

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Japan is dealing with a shrinking population — Japan’s fertility rate is 1.4, one of the lowest in the world.

One of problems behind the shrinking numbers was recently highlighted by a study that has found that a large number of Japanese adults are not in relationships, are not looking for relationships, and many have never been in a sexual relationship.

70 percent of unmarried men and 60 percent of unmarried women between the ages of 18 and 34 aren’t currently in relationships, and 42 percent of men and 44 percent of women are virgins.

The virgin rate is up from the last study six years ago from 36 and 39 percent.

These people overwhelming intend to be married and have families “sometime,” according to they study. 90 percent came out as saying they wanted to get hitched eventually.

So why don’t they get married, or even get into serious relationships?

The researchers point to a gap between ideas about life and realities of life. This idea-reality gap is characterized late completion of expected (and required for almost all jobs) education, prohibitive costs of dwelling, food, transportation and other life costs, the high incidence of female labor, the less family-oriented lifestyle prevalent in today’s Japan and abroad.