4-17 Could China and Japan go to war over these?

ESG Season4 17th meeting
DATE: 30th Sep. 2012 10:00-12:00
PLACE: Kanda, Tokyo

Shell companies
A study highlights how easy it is to set up untraceable companies
From International

Why I choose this article

One of our humans’ great inventions is corporation. It has a corporate body and can act as a man legally. It is more convenient for us to do business by making corporation on a paper than by individual. SHELL company, which is today’s topic, uses this characteristic of corporation to maximize the merit of making a corporation.

What I want to discuss

What are SHELL companies?
Why do people especially money launderers make shell companies?
What kind of laws or systems are needed to prevent them from crimes?

What the article says

The untraceable shell companies happen to be a vehicle of choice for dubious money launderers and terrorist financers but law enforcers confront difficulties of taking off the veils.

International standard set by the inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) says countries should take all necessary measures to prevent their misuse, such as ensuring that accurate information on the real (or “beneficial”) owner is available to “competent authorities”.

A study of the level of compliance standard worldwide proved that tax haven countries and poor countries had a better compliance level than OECD countries. Providers were often strikingly insensitive even to clear criminal risks.


OFF to 軽井沢



4-16 Asia's next revolution

ESG Season4 16th meeting
DATE: 16th Sep. 2012 10:00-12:00
PLACE: Kanda, Tokyo
MEMBERS: Ogawa, Iino, Murakami,  Mizutani, Fujita 

Strained relations between Japan and South Korea
Domestic political upheaval in both countries makes a damaging row worse
From Asia

Why I choose the topic:

We discussed on this issue two weeks ago based on a neutral or pro-Korea article. This weeks the Economist’s point of view looks clearly on Japan’s side for me. So again I want to know what they want to say. We also have territorial issue between China, which is now inflamed.  These territorial issues are watched by the world with interest. It is better for us to get our ideas in shape with cool heads.

Discussion topics:

Why do you think Mr. Lee visit the islet at this time? (Again)
Do you think the Economist argument is correct? Why do you think so?
We have the same issue between China. Why Mr. Noda did nationalize the islands at this time? 

What the Economist discusses:

The Economist first mentions South Korea’s patterns for how presidents treat Japan.
1~3 year; friendly focusing on future
4~5 year; rudely (←Now Lee Myung-bak / an unexpected visit islet / remarks on the Emperor Akihito)

Then they analyze why he is so proactive explaining Korean presidents’ last days. They point out he looks like “a lame duck” and in Korea “ex presidents’ families and friends are often hounded by their enemies” so he is now defense himself.

Next, they are balancing their opinion by mentioning Mr. Noda and DPJ’s political difficulties. However the main focus of this article is still on the analysis of Mr. Lee’s provocative attitude. They think why Mr. Lee ignores numerous past apologies and has broken diplomatic taboo is because he is confronting internal pressure on “comfort women” but was unable to persuade Mr. Noda’s administration to offer compensation to these women.

As a result, they point out anti Korean sentiment in Japan is inflamed and deteriorating relations have already had material consequences in Intelligence sharing / military exchanges / a currency swap agreement / Korean star visit. Lastly they conclude the overcome will not happen before Mr. Lee leaves office. By then, Mr. Noda may be gone too.

Other discussions

International trade: Boxed in from Finance and Economics (Iino)
Gender politics: Female muscle from Books and arts (Mizutani)


4-15 Four more years?

ESG Season4 15th meeting
DATE: 9th Sep. 2012 10:00-12:00
PLACE: Kanda, Tokyo
MEMBERS: Ogawa, Murakami, Shimada 

The demographic transition

More or less

FROM Science and arts section

Why I chose the article:

What we Japanese need to understand is the demographic transition. As we all know, Japan is facing demographical change: more old people, less children.

Discussion topics:

Do you agree/disagree Dr Goodman’s argument? 
Do you think K-type is unreasonable?
Which choice do you plan to choose in near future?


The demographic transition (as people get richer, they have smaller families) is one of the most significant phenomenon of modern history. Why does it happen? Anna Goodman of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggests what humans do is silly and advanced explanation for the transition does not deliver the goods. Let us check what she says.

Previous explanation: “r-selection” v.s. “K-selection”
The shift from r to K reproductive strategies explains the demographic transition.
Produce lots of offspring
Have only a few offspring
Invest little in each of them
Nurture them so that they superb specimens and will do well in the competition for resources and mates

Dr Goodman’s test of the Uppsala Birth Cohort group in Sweden:
Following members of the cohort and their descendants, Dr Goodman shows that K-selected members do not have any obvious evolutionary advantage. Certainly, they have good marks in school, go university and get higher incomes as adults, but they do not do well in the competition of reproduction. The psychological make-up that encourages K-type behavior worked in the past but does not work in the modern world.

The Economist’s comment:
This does seem reasonable. 
(1) Better hygiene, nutrition and medicine have almost abolished child mortality. 
(2) Education is available free to all. 
(3) Harem-formation is disapproved in the modern world.
The transition is the result of mismatch of ancient psychology and the modern world.

Other discussions

Indonesia’s car market : Stuck in the fifth gear from Business (Murakami)Official discipline: Policing the party from China (Shimada)