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Encouraging Developments

A couple of things in the news caught my eye that made me think Japan's approach to teaching English could be changing for the better.

From the Yomiuri Online:

The Japanese and U.S. governments are considering the establishment of a program that would send young Japanese teachers of English to the United States to improve their English ability, it has been learned.

Interac No More

As of October 1st, Interac will cease to exist, being bought out by Advantage Partners. This comes from the General Union, which cites an August 24 official government gazette containing the notice of the buyout. More about the buyout can be found on ESL Cafe and Hoofin's blog.

Eikaiwa: 

Kim Hyon Hui Holidays in Japan

For the life of me, I cannot wrap my head around why Kim Hyon Hui is in Japan. She blows up KAL flight 858 in 1987, killing all aboard, is arrested, sentenced to death, pardoned, marries one of her bodyguards, writes a book about her days as a spy, and now leads a presumably comfortable but secluded life in South Korea. But because she met some of the Japanese abductees, Japan has seen fit to let her into the country despite her crimes where she has been kicking back at Yukio's summer pad in Karuizawa and is slated to take a helicopter tour of Mt. Fuji today. What the hell?

Will the JET Program Get the Axe?

F*cked Gaijin links to an entry by Jim Gannon on jetwit.com about how the JET Program has been put on the chopping block by the DJP jjigyo shiwake government waste panel.

Japanese Prime Minister engaged in delicate balancing act

Let's Japan has been lucky in the past to have others share their stories here. For 2010, LJ introduces the Kotatsu Commentator, who will be adding his voice here.
-Shawn

The Japanese government is in the middle of a delicate balancing act. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and his coalition government are busy making inroads in a rising tide of Asian power, while preserving the close diplomatic relations with the empire that has helped provide their current prosperity.

Eco Pointless

Here we have the sequel to the 12,000 yen give-away:

The government will give up to 39,000 yen in "eco points" to buyers of eco-friendly home appliances under a new environmental program.

If you think you can use those points to purchase more stuff, just like you would if you were shopping at a major electronics retailer, you'd be mistaken.

Revised Visa Renewal Procedures Starting in 2010

According to the Ministry of Justice, effective April 1, 2010, you will have to show your health insurance card--either kenko kokumin hoken (National Health Insurance) or shakai hoken (Company Health Insurance)--when you apply to renew your visa or change your visa status. If you do not belong to one of these plans, you will be encouraged (forced?) to join or your visa could possibly be revoked.

Details on the New Residence Card

The Japan Times recently reported on a proposal to replace the current alien registration card with a new zairyu (residence card). The article notes that the key benefit to foreigners is the extension of the visa from three to five years.

Debito now has scans of the proposal posted on his blog and Joe Jones at Mutant Frog lists the key points:

The Wrath of the Grape

By now, you're no doubt aware of finance minister Shoichi Nakagawa's embarrassing press conference in Rome:

How to Screw Up a 2 Trillion Yen Giveaway

  1. Announce massive stimulus package and tell everyone that you're handing out money. Don't say how much everybody is getting. Also mention under your breath that you plan to hike the consumption tax in a few years.
  2. Eventually decide that ¥12,000 will be given per person with an extra ¥8,000 for each person 65 or older or 18 or younger, except for high-income households.

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