October 02, 2009

 October 2009 Newsletter: Toshi's Monthly Note

Hello everyone, this is Toshi.
This time, I am writing this on behalf of Yumi.

Having finished the summer vacation in school, we have cheerfully resumed Pangaea activities in each location. But still, we are strongly concerning H1N1 flu. We have been carefully judging implementation of the activity considering its influence. For instance, at the Tokyo activity held few weeks ago, its ensured that we made sure its situation with the school just before starting the activity and body temperature check for all the participants both children and staff. Also, we prepared alcohol antiseptic for hand sterilization at each activity site. In fact, this kind of antiseptic makes big sales in Japan and hardly left in the pharmacy. So this time, I run for three times of pharmacy-hopping to get it. Actually, the cheaper one was sold out and we could only get expensive one. Such a shame... ;-(

Although we pay attention to avoiding risks, at the same time, we are proceeding to open the new activity site. It is scheduled that we have the Internet connection test on 27th September with the Borneo (Kalimantan) island site in Malaysia being deployed followed by UNIMAS. We catch the opportunity for the connection test that UNIMAS staff goes there for another ICT related project. There seems no connection for mobile since the village is located in the midst of the jungle. There might be so many weird tropical insects... In this situation, I heard they use satellite via parabolic antenna. When I asked 'What time shall we start the trial connection?', they answered 'It depends on when we can get the electricity. If we could have it soon, we can start immediately but I assume, at latest, I think we can do it by late evening. So, please wait and see with turning on the chat, anyways!'. I realized the technology field can be so-called 'muddy' to achieve the purpose... One more thing, 27th is beautiful Sunday, a holiday in Japan :-( But, to be honest, it's worth everything for me to get the system activated between here and the new site :-) By the way, I had exciting discussions about the new technological initiative with technology volunteer staff at the seminar in Tokyo in August. We are going to commence this as well. I have much more to tell you but I'll leave some for the next time due to the limitation of the space!

And now, I introduce Dr. Yuji Inoue, the president and CEO of Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC), as the Pangaea Ring writer for this month. He keenly gave the significant lecture at our seminar in August and guided the way to go for the future of Japan, in turn, Asia entirely.

Toshiyuki TAKASAKI,
Vice President and Chief Technology Officer

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 October 2009 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Mr. Yuji Inoue

I introduce Dr. Yuji Inoue, the president and CEO of Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC), as the Pangaea Ring writer for this month. He keenly gave the significant lecture at our seminar in August and guided the way to go for the future of Japan, in turn, Asia entirely.

Let us reassess "So-Yo-Chou" *

Does anyone remember what "So-Yo-Chou" is? I am not certain if it is still taught in social studies' class in Japan today, but I do believe I learned the word when I was in junior high school. It is a taxation system developed in China, which began around 5th century, along with the development of other legislative systems. In or around the 10th century, this taxation system was introduced to Japan as well, and was in force until the society was transformed to Samurai society.

When I first learned about this system, I felt it was very cruel and heavy loading system, because the people those days had to pay their "tax" with labor work (which is "Yo" of "So-Yo-Chou") by leaving the family and becoming "sakimori" (border guards who were placed in Kyushu island to protect the nation from foreign countries). In fact, it was also typically "unjust" in such a way that the rich people were able to get away with the labor by paying the tax with valuable items such as silk.

Now, as we call the taxation system "so-zei" in Japanese, we pay our tax with "so", namely, "money", only. Along with the development of democratic society in the 20th century, the taxation system has gradually developed that once the tax is paid with money, the rest is taken care of by the government as well as the municipal government. Especially in Japan, "yo" (tax paid by labor service) has completely vanished out after the abolishment of compulsoryservice after the world war II. Nowadays, the monetary tax is so important that people can even elect the political ruling party by their policy on how to use the tax.

I wish to raise an issue here. It certainly seems very convenient if "once you pay the monetary tax, someone else will take care of everything else" in the society. However, it should be "Who is that 'someone' ?" , "'What' exactly does that someone do?" and "How is that 'everything else' taken care of?" , that is most important, and yet in reality, we are not able to answer those questions. This system only works when the politics function properly, and the mass media correctly pass on the information as to "who does what in what way." The politics today, however, is not functioning well and the mass media are putting too much emphasize on commercialism. Our society is not a highly transparent society where we can see "who does what in what way" in the society. Sometimes, wrongdoings can stride when inefficiency is over passed.

For the past 5 years or so, I have developed the belief in the importance of reassessing the meaning of "So-Yo-Chou" , especially, the importance of "Yo" (tax paid by labor service). I do believe that, in today's society, "Yo" is not tax imposed by the government but each and every one of our "voluntary action" toward the society. I believe that it is the key to a brighter future of our society and leave the current one that is run only with "So" - "monetary tax". With this belief, I, myself, have been working toward the new coalition between Asian nations, and I understand Pangaea has also been working out its own way as a NPO/NGO for the same cause. Let us keep working hard and activate our contribution to the society mainly with " Yo" (voluntary action) even more.

Yuji Inoue
President and CEO
The Telecommunication Technology Committee

So= income tax
Yo= labor service
Chou= tax paid with commodity (rich silk etc.)

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter , 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink