Japan Times, April 23

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source : Japan Times .

Mr. Keene's noble decision

Mr. Donald Keene, a prominent scholar of Japanese literature and Columbia University professor, has decided to make Japan his permanent home and has begun the process of becoming a naturalized Japanese citizen, it was reported last week. In an interview with NHK, the 88-year-old Japanologist said that now that Japan has suffered tremendously from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, he would like to express his "faith" (shinnen) in Japan, which he stated he loves. He went on to say, "I married a woman called Japan."

Mr. Keene has a residence in Tokyo and spends about half a year annually in Japan. His decision to become a Japanese citizen is an expression of the strong solidarity he shares with the Japanese people at a most difficult time — especially with those in northeastern Japan who have lost their loved ones, property or communities in the disasters, and those who are living in the shadow of the nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. His decision should give every Japanese citizen a feeling of joy and encouragement, especially because so many foreigners left Japan in the wake of the disasters.

Mr. Keene read "The Tale of Genji" in translation while at Columbia, studied Japanese in the U.S. Navy and served as an intelligence officer in the Pacific region during World War II. After the war, he studied Japanese literature at Columbia, Harvard, Cambridge and Kyoto universities. Japanese authors he translated include Yoshida Kenko, Matsuo Basho and Yukio Mishima. He also wrote many books, including "Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan." He received Japan's Order of Culture in 2008.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Keene gives final lecture at Columbia University

An American expert on Japanese literature, Donald Keene, has given his final lecture at Columbia University in New York.

He said he is happy if his decision to live out the rest of his life in Japan as a Japanese citizen encourages its people, who suffered greatly in the March 11th quake and tsunami, northeastern Japan.

Keene, who is Professor Emeritus of Columbia University, gave his final lecture on Noh theater on Tuesday. The 88-year-old recipient of Japan's Order of Cultural Merit in 2008 is retiring.

Keene began by noting he would leave for Japan after 56 years as an educator in the US. He said some wondered why he would do so at a time when Japan is struggling to cope with a nuclear plant accident, but added that it would be his pleasure if his decision encourages the Japanese people.

A student said after the lecture that he was impressed by the professor's enthusiasm for Japan beyond the framework of education. Another said she would follow in his footsteps and hopes to study in Japan.

Keene will settle in Japan next month at the earliest. He said he would like to help disaster survivors by giving lectures in disaster-hit areas.

source : NHK world news


IHT Snow White cartoon draws protest


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17,000 apply for jobless benefits
Job-placement offices in Miyagi Prefecture received more than 17,000 applications for unemployment benefits in the month following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, marking a roughly threefold increase from the same period last year, the prefectural labor office said Friday.

While the government has created around 20,000 jobs under emergency measures following the disaster, the number of applicants will reach several tens of thousands when combined with those in Iwate and Fukushima prefectures, which also suffered severe devastation.

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Evacuation zone to be widened
Parts of Fukushima Prefecture outside the 20-km nuclear no-go zone are told to evacuate by the end of May due to the risk of cumulative radiation exposure.

Nuke insurance said too costly
The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear disaster highlights one of the industry's key weaknesses that nuclear power is a viable source of cheap energy only if plants go uninsured.

Yen 4 trillion recovery budget gets OK'd
The Cabinet adopts a \4.02 trillion draft extra budget to fund initial reconstruction work for areas devastated by the March 11 mega-quake and tsunami.

Governor won't allow Tepco to restart stricken reactors
Fukushima Gov. Yuhei Sato said Friday he will never allow Tokyo Electric Power Co. to resume operations at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
"A resumption of plant operations must be impossible," Sato told Masataka Shimizu, president of Tepco, who apologized for the nuclear emergency during their meeting at the prefectural government office.

Minamisoma mayor makes Time's influential list

Waterproof camera set to probe pool in No. 4 Fukushima

Japanese robots await call to action

Cabinet OKs Yen 50 billion cut to ODA

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Memory of Sellafield leak rekindled

Nuked U.K. lobsters defy sushi fears

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Sendai's key Fujisaki store reopens for biz

Government reform panel examines proposal to hike sales tax to 15%

Bolster disaster assistance fund

Disaster expert seeks better tsunami defense

Rolling blackouts: The virtue of silence


Saturday, April 23


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