Re: A news item and subject which I just want to check out (61) September 30, 2022

 ■I will be 80 years old next week:
Today is already the end of September, and along with that, “my 70s goodbye”. I will be 80 years old next week at last. I just feel that “I have finally come here”. It is said that “time flies like an arrow”, but when I look back, my 70s were gone in the blink of an eye, and it is true that I feel a little lonely. However, if someone asks my age after next week, I have decided to reply that “I am 70 years old this year*”. Looking around me, “cheerful old men” looking younger than their age are not uncommon.
  (*note: This year is pronounced as ‘tounen’ in Japanese, which has the same pronunciation as ‘deducting 10 years’).

According to the newspaper the other day, it was reported that as of “Respect for the Aged Day” this year, September 19, elderly people age 100 and older in Japan were 90,526, and over 90 thousand for the first time and record high for 52 consecutive years. And the percentage of women is 89 % which is an overwhelming majority. The oldest female in Japan is 115 years old, and the oldest male is 111 years old. When such persons look at me who will be 80 years old, I might be still “kind of young”. After all, the most important thing is healthy and I will spend my old age without the manpower as much as possible. In order to do that, it is important that I will try to extend my “healthy life years” in one year or one day.
In the 1990s, longevity sisters both age 100 and older called “Kinsan and Ginsan” were popular. When they appeared on a TV show, they were asked whether “What is the performance fee is used for?”, and they replied that “they will save money for their old age”. I felt that it was “real old age” when I heard their cheerful and smiling joke.

In addition, according to an estimation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, elder population age 65 and older is 36.27 million up 60 thousand from the previous year, and this number is equivalent to 29.1 % of Japan’s overall population and both figures have become the highest record and this ratio is the highest in the world. And population of 75 years old and above is 10.37 million up 0.72 million from the previous year, and this number is equivalent to 15.5 % of overall population and over 15 % for the first time, and about 1 in 6 people in Japan became 75 years old and above. Furthermore, number of working elder people was also increasing and the employment rate from 65 to 69 years old was 50.7% and over 50 % for the first time. Actually, as long as we are fine, I think that participating in society in some form is very important for the prevention of aging of the mind and body.

■The 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China:
On September 29, Thursday, Japan and China reached a major milestone and celebrated the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations, but at present, I have to say that the relation between Japan and China is in a cold state. I was born in Shanghai in 1942, and after that I have involved in business in China on and off, and I think that I went to China about 30 times which I don’t count exactly. I also established several joint ventures, and there are some projects that have gone well, but there are also projects that have failed. In the last 50 years, China has achieved remarkable development, and become a global power both economically and militarily, and grown to the point where “China threat theory” appeared on the scene in the United States.
By the way, except that I was born, the first visit to China was November 1976 when I joined the Canton Fair. And the most memorable visit to China was December 1988, the previous year of Tiananmen Square protests, when I accompanied the delegation to China of the association for the promotion of international trade headed by Mr. Yoshio Sakurauchi of LDP, and had an audience with president Deng Xiaoping, 84 years old at the time. There were many subjects of the audience, but what left the biggest impression on me was his words that “the people who are in trouble to eat in China is about 60 million now” when he talked about China’s remarkable development. What came to my mind at once was that “about half of the Japan population is starving?”. However, this figure is only 5 % of the China population at the time, about 1.2 billion, in other words, it means 1 in 20, and it is a number that makes sense. Through this, I realized that “after all, people see things only with their own yardstick”.
I think that the audience with president was very meaningful, because it changed my view of China afresh. I still have a picture of that time hanging in my room.

≪P.S.≫ In the afternoon on September 27, Tuesday, the state funeral of former Prime Minister Abe was held. I don’t intend to discuss the justifiability of the state funeral here. In fact, Mr. Abe’s assessment is divided a lot. There were “Moritomo and Kake scandals” and “cherry blossom-viewing party”. And “unification church issue” which was a factor that could take his life as a result remain unsolved. Incidentally, according to approval rating survey when he was Prime Minister, the biggest reason for “don’t support” was always that “he has a bad personality”.
Among the general public, assessing a level of “liking or disliking” would be enough without fail. But assessment in the national level is not going to work that way. In particular, as far as diplomacy is concerned, it is required to overlook what Japan should be and implement it as a policy, under complicated international situation. To do that, “toughness” is essential. In this regard, it is true that Mr. Abe demonstrated his outstanding skill. Of course, North Korean problem and relations with Russia remained unsettled. But above all, I think that only Mr. Abe could come to terms with “eccentric” president Trump well. And now, in the United States, it is widely known that there is a possibility of Mr. Trump’s comeback. I think that still there will be twists and turns and it is not easy to achieve, but it can be said that this is one of the risk factors for Japan. And I think that how to proceed with organized diplomacy from now on without overly relying on personal skills is a major subject.

Other blogs