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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

THE FALL 2010 WORLD SUSTAINABILITY TOUR: Japan

I'll soon send out, to a few that requested so, an invitation to join me on at least part of my Fall 2010 World Sustainability Tour.  I don't think anyone will want to spend two months away, or with me on my final Akita/Otaru roots search, nor my spreading Pearl's ashes at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, but some might find interest in the Shanghai World Expo and a visit with planners in Abu Dhabi about their $22 billion carbon-free city, Masdar (below):

The itinerary will include Japan, South Korea (Seoul and Daegu on their Solar City, right), Shanghai (they also have budding sustainable city, Dongtan, above), Zurich, Kenya, Tanzania, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Amsterdam, Stockholm (biomass...yes, biomass), London and Washington, D.C.   Anyone wishing additional information can contact me at:

patkentak@hotmail.com

Over the next couple of months, I will sequentially report on the sustainable pursuits of those countries, or a particular newsworthy item.  I start with Japan, for their Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, after only eight months in office, yesterday resigned   His popularity had recently dropped to 17%, for a lot of reasons, but for what seems like the failure of a relatively minor campaign promise:  kick the USA out of Okinawa.  The Rasmussen Report indicates that only 26% strongly approve of President Barack Obama, but he will at least complete his term, if not serve for eight years.  In a four year period, Japan will have a fifth Prime Minister.

When I had dinner recently with a high level Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, he mentioned that there was another scandal about to hit the headlines:  Hatoyama was receiving $170,000/month ($2 million/year) from his mother, something that was taxable, but somehow avoided, with the statement that Hatoyama was unaware of this continuing gift.

The speculation is that the current Finance Minister, Naoto Kan, will be the next Prime Minister.  For several decades now, Professor Tadashi Matsunaga, VP at Tokyo University of A&T, has been telling me about his classmate at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, who, my recollection was a physics major, coming up the political ladder.  Kan has weathered a couple of minor financial scandals, and even an affair with a TV newscaster.  

Well, in a day or two he could be named Japan's next prime minister.    His primary opponent for this position is Katsuya Okada, current Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

In 1998 Kan wrote a best-selling book entitled Daijin (meaning government minister), where he believed that Japanese ministers should answer to the Emperor.  But you need to be able to read Japanese to get the details








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Wish I knew why, but the Dow Jones Industrials had a banner day, jumping 226 to 10,250, while world markets were mixed.  The word is that housing sales looked better.  Gold dropped $4/toz to $1223 and crude oil at last check was $73.54/barrel.  NOTE THAT I'VE HIGHLIGHT THE ECONOMY SECTION IN RED.  FROM TODAY, I'LL USE RED IF THE MARKET IS DOWN, AND GREEN WHEN UP.

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Tropical Cyclone Phet is now a Category 4 storm at 140 MPH, seems headed to soon make landfall on Oman, then, possibly, if strength is maintained, head northeast potentially through Muscat to Pakistan.  The United Nations has warned that the damage could approach that of Katrina.

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