Evaluation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

There was much opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Japan, but I will still attempt to evaluate the contents of the agreement.
The 31 rules of the agreement relax foreign investment restrictions on transmissions, financing, retail and public enterprises, etc. More than a few items benefit and are of importance to the Japanese economy.
Japan relies on trade for survival and strategically should oppose increases in foreign market transparency. It is safe to say that the government negotiated well.

Japan decided to lift tariffs on 98% of 9,018 goods. I noticed that mass media, politicians, and others argued that this will only make it difficult to protect our weakened agricultural sector. Almost no mention was made of the beneficial application that good food will be cheaper to import.
Analysis of the TPP should consider not only GDP and producers, but also increased consumer surplus. We can also find significant points on that topic in the TPP.

I was concerned as to whether it prioritizes our national interests. Intellectual society has been thrust into the midst of agricultural and industrial societies, leaving Japan no choice but to subsist for the next 100 years on intellectual property. At the onset of the creation of these international rules, it seemed that the advantages of IP consumers would be diminished in favor of protecting agricultural providers.

Of course, the Japanese government also understands the situation. In this agreement, despite the problems with agriculture and IP, they seem to have endeavored to acquire benefits for many economic industry fields.

First transmissions. Procedures and rulings were made transparent, and foreign investment restrictions were relaxed. In e-commerce, it was determined that tariffs would not be levied on digital content, and restrictions requiring internal server establishment for online sales were removed.

In financing, foreign investment restrictions were relaxed. Convenience store and retail branch store restrictions were repealed. There are also large government service and public enterprise market openings. These measures also cover important industrial areas pertaining to the growth of Japan.

In intellectual property, the created copyright system closely resembles that of the US. It strengthens the rights of the holder (the provider). It reduces consumer surplus. Even outside of business, from the perspective of a country with excessive imports like Japan, this benefits the US.

However, there are also good points in this section: the introduction of preventative measures for Internet piracy, the prohibition of equipment that evades access control, stronger control of bootleg editions, and recompense claim rights for providers.  These measures will also have a great positive effect on Japan’s business world.

The US could be expected to first attempt to demonstrate the merits by pushing for the  creation of a treaty with participating nations, but at the same time, I hope for us to pinpoint the demerits and properly establish a domestic copyright system.


Two 28-year old female directors

 Suzaku directed by Naomi Kawase and Silent Voice(Qu'un seul tienne et les autres suivront) directed by Léa Fehner.
Suzaku won La Caméra d'or award in 1997 Cannes Film Festival. She was the youngest newcomer to win the award. Silent Voice was a 2009 film, and it was released in Japan at the end of 2012.

 Both of the films were the directors real debut work at age 28. I saw both of the films many times, but I compared the two again. While being tranquil, veteran, and finished products, I get burned by the passion of these works to cultivate the future of film.

 These are both deep pieces, but I will not go into details. I will only extract the difference and common points between the two films.
Suzaku is a quiet village in the back of Yoshino, Nara that is surrounded by blue mountains. While people smile softly, they are slow of speech. So, the harmonious sound of piano is clear. Silent Voice is waves of noise. Profanity, screaming, and violence.

 However, neither of them have any narration nor explanation; they are plays carried on only by dialogues. There is no unnecessary line. However, it does not mean that they try to make you understand by the video. On the contrary, they do not show, tease you, and leave it to the audience to figure it out. They are classy.

 The former is a story of a family slowly being broken. It is a heartbreaking, sad, and charming separation. On the other hand, the latter has three unrelated stories that start crossing at a prison. However, both of them have extremely skillful editing that connects those. The tasteful combination of time difference and spatial difference make you groan.
 And the castings. The former is mostly made up with novices. On the other hand, the latter is packed with professional actors. However, there is no pretty star face. Everyone has a face with tasteful quirk from North Africa, Eastern Europe, Germany, and France. Their acting is outstanding.

 The biggest common point is the fact that both of them were 28 years old female directors when they directed their real debut work, like I mentioned in the beginning. Ms. Kawase became the worlds Kawase after Cannes. I hope that Director Fehner will follow suit.

 So, these days, is there a possibility of becoming a film director in your 20s? It was possible in the past.
 John Ford and Leos Carax were 22, Yasujiro Ozu, Yuzo Kawashima, and Francis Ford Coppola were 24, Charlie Chaplin, François Truffaut, Louis Malle, Nagisa Oshima, and Steven Spielberg were 25, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles were 26, and Jean-Luc Godard and Luis Buñuel were 28. Film directors used to debut young.

 Since then, especially in Japan, it is not that easy to become a film director at such a young age.
 What about now? You no longer have to knock on the door of the film studio, become an apprentice, gain experience, and climb up the ladder like you had to back in the day. Even an elementary school student can produce a film with a camera and a computer.
 Then, are there more opportunities extended to people in their teens and 20s? Or did the film industry become more competitive and the hurdle got higher?

 How can we birth the next Kawase and the next Fehner?


I am a groupie of Dufy.

 I first encountered Raoul Dufy in Kobe in 1983, if I remember correctly. I went to see the exhibit that came to Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art.

 The space configuration with target lines, color, and the light were misaligned with blue and red scattered around. It was transparent and had a unique rhythm. It was moving, even though it was a painting. It was bursting. It had snapping sounds. When I saw the happy painting style with the lines, colors, and lights that I have never seen anywhere else before, I believed for the first time in my life that Ah, I like this painter.

 10 years later since then. Because of my staying in Paris, I went to many places. Musée d'Orsay, Pompidou Centre, and Musée de l'Orangerie. I cannot remember how many times I stood in front of the giant mural La Fée Électricité at Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Every time I visited the galleries in the city, I recognized that being wealthy meant buying the artworks. 20 years has passed and those dreams are still far out of reach.
 I also went to his hometown of Le Havre. The suppressed colors of his young era were of Normandy. However, the lights in Nice that painted many landscapes, the lights in Vence that painted the townscape, and the shine of Côte d'Azur in southern France brought out the true value of Dufy.

 There used to be Musee Dufy (Dufy Museum) on the beach in Nice. In 1990s, I visited there several times. It has been moved to Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon (Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon) since then. When I went to Nice recently, I went back to worship his works. It is free admission.

(A mural in Lyon)
 And the specialty of Lyon Museum here is the cafe with Dufys mural. Rather, it is Dufy with a cafe. Open the window, hang out with the sunlit Dufy, and sip on your tea. This alone is worth coming to Lyon. At least for me.

 There are many of his works in Japan, too. Open Window, Nice is at Shimane Art Museum at Lake Shinji. There are good pieces at the Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki as well. National Museum of Western Art, Bridgestone Museum of Art, and Pola Museum of Art. I have been to most of them.

 I went to take a peek at the Dufy exhibit at Shibuya Bunkamura recently, and I was surprised how many pieces I have never seen before. I felt that I needed to see more. So, I went to the Dufy exhibit at Osaka Abeno Harukas, even though the exhibited works were the same as the ones in Tokyo.

 NHK Nichiyo Bijutsukan (NHK Sunday Art Museum) had a special program on that exhibit. I thought he was expressing joy through colors. However, Mr. Katsuhiko Hibino said Dufy was asking questions with the colors. Yup, maybe he is right.

 Mr. Ken Mogi praised Dufys blue as something that connected everything. The firm method that dyes the sky, living creatures, and furniture in blue may include such message. His paintings are pop, simple, and down-to-earth. It accepts any interpretation with a wide-open laugh.

 However, Dufy learned the freedom of paintings by Matisse, tried free expression, and struggled. I guess it is easier to live inside of the box for ordinary people like me and a prodigy like Dufy.

 Since he tried to remove his expression boundary and establish his own style, there must have been many challenges. We are fortunate to enjoy that struggle as growth and change.

 His studio remains in Montmartre in Paris. I will go visit in the summer.


Christopher Steiner “Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World”

 Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner.
 The author, who is an engineer and a journalist carefully depicts the coming of age in which algorithms rule finance, music, and medicine as well as IT.

 “Hackers who divert the concept to algorithms will build a new empire. They are not business school people. He depicts the power shift. The area such as art and design that creative are involved is not secure, either. Algorithm is starting to penetrate.

 First, music. The memory of the case of musical compositions created by the algorithm EMI, developed by David Cope surpassing the works of classical music professors and being praised at the same level as Bachs musical compositions is still fresh. I can understand the hostility of Wall Street traders toward algorithm, and the classical music worlds refusal of works created by algorithm.

 To improve the speed between the future in Chicago and the present in NY by 4/1000 second, Dan Spivey ran the optic fiber in a route that was shorter by 160km and proposed annual communication fee of $3 million that was 10 times of other companies. The world of ultra fast algorithm is also defined by a physical hardware.
 SUN cofounder Vinod Khosla says 90 99% of medical needs will be replaced by accurate and cheap medicine that uses algorithm, and ordinary doctors will be unnecessary.

 In 2008, the trading volume of the U.S. stock market by automated algorithm has reached 60%. The financial industry gathered all kinds of math and science talents from graduate schools. It is said that 1/4 of MIT graduates from their graduate school got jobs on Wall Street.

 Because of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the situation changed completely, the era of science elites pursuing finance ended, and they headed to Silicon Valley. They aimed for constructive and creative jobs instead of high paying broker business, even if it was risky.

 The talents that headed to the west coast in late 90s headed to the east coast due to the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, then returned to the west coast after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, and they are currently supporting the smarting and un-smarting. This makes me think of the dynamism of America that is like a pendulum.

 Regarding Google Car, the author states that almost all of the annual auto accident deaths of 33,000 in the U.S. are by human errors, and we may be able to eliminate almost all of auto accident deaths, if the algorithm drives the car.

 “Race Against the Machine written by Professor Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT warns that many jobs will be taken over by machines, and the author says lawyers and writers are no exceptions.
 For this, the author suggests familiarization instead of opposition. In contrast, he points out the insufficient math and science education, and suggests that a curriculum should be formulated that enables all high school students try programming once. I agree.


Kensaku Fukui “Who Dominates ‘Intelligence’?”

 Who Dominates Intelligence? by Kensaku Fukui.
 The meaning of digital archive as an infrastructure, fierce strategy of the West, and the path that Japan should take. Here are some points from the book that I picked up. (à are my thoughts.)

 Europeana Collections is EUs electronic museum that released 30,000,000 works digitally. The French government allocated ¥100 billion budget for it. The number of items in the National Diet Library in Japan is 480,000 pieces.
 à There is a two-digit difference.

 The French national video archive INA released 100,000 pieces in 2006. 1,000 pieces are added every year. NHK released 4,351 programs as of 2013.
 à There is a two-digit difference.

 The EU issued an orphan works order in 2012 . If the research process is recorded, it can be digitized and released. This order, rights information database ARROW, and Europeana archives are a three-piece set.
 à It is built strategically.

 The fourth most searched word of EU Europeana in 2013 was Japan. However, there is no hits on the information on manga, J-pop, or fashion.
 à Because our transmission is low despite the interest. Japan needs to react quickly.

 The Digital Public Library of America that was established in 2013 by Harvard and other organizations already has 7 million works. There are 7 million students for their online lecture MOOC. The U.S. National Archives has 2,500 employees. Japans National Archives has 50.
 à There is also a two-digit difference in the number of employees.

 Due to the opinion of IT industry wanting to promote distribution in America, the shortening of copyright protection period appeared. The background is that when they extended the period, orphan works have increased rapidly.
 à The discussion point has shifted to the method of how to protect and how to use.

 Due to the copyright law reform in 2012, the National Diet Library in Japan can distribute to other libraries. Distribution of 1.31 million pieces has started. However, the National Diet Librarys digitization budget is ¥20 million. It is 25cm worth of road construction. Cultural budget for individuals in Japan is 1/8 of France.
 à Lets spend some money.

 At the end of this book, there are 10 policy proposals listed. I will point these out, too.

1) Create a network of archives nationwide.
 à The idea of archive chain of islands in which various archives are set up in a distribution model to create the network. I agree.

2) Copyrighted work usage agreement with overseas and interconnecting of archives with various countries.
 à Deepens the connection with overseas and creates a global network. I agree.

3) Open data.
 à Advance the opening, including outsourcing the works of Cultural Affairs Agency.

4) Subtitling.
 à Strengthen the transmission. We want to advance the idea of attaching foreign language subtitles to various information of Japan.

5) Digitization budget of ¥20 billion.
 à This is rather small.

6) Enactment of digital archive propulsion method.

 à Lets do it.