Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shamanism in Japan

By HORI Ichirii


What are the distinguishing characteristics of shamanism in Japan, and what formative influences has it exercised during the course of its history on the spiritual structure of contemporary Japanese people? This is the general problem to be explored in this paper. The perspective adopted is that of the history of religions.
Shamanism is by no means a phenomenon peculiar to primitive societies. Among the founders of new religious movements in Japan are several with shamanistic characteristics. Even in the higher religions with their metaphysical and theological embellishments, "enlightenment" or "conversion" at bottom appear, despite the erudition of their philosophical elaborations, to possess a structure remarkably similar to that of shamanism.
In 19 1 3 Y anagita Kunio 80 81 a g, under the pen name Kawamum Haruki !I I$jzEj, published a series of twelve articles entitled "Fujo k6" [Monograph on shamanesses]' in the first\~olunleo f the journal KyGdo kenkyn $&j-af$ [Village studies], of which he was editor. This was, I believe, the first time the scalpel of religious folklore studies had been applied to shamanism in Japan.
In this monograph Yanagita divides Japanese shamanesses into two types. "In the district west of Kobe once known as Harima, shamanesses or miko fall into two classes. One is comprised of women attached to large shrines who perform sacred dances at festival times, making use of boiling water believed to possess purifying power. The other is constituted by women called 'drumming shamanesses' (tataki miko) or 'mediums' (kitchiyose).
Where they live is not usually known. A shamaness simply walks into a village from some place ten or twenty miles away, holds seances for those who come to her, and moves on."2 According to Yanagita's classification, there are in effect "shrine shamanesses" (jinja miko) and "spiritualist shamanesses" (kurhiyose miko). He hypothesizes, however, that both derive from a single source which he thought could be identified as the mikogami or "child of the kami." Particularly in the two sections entitled "Kami no kuchiyose o gy6 to suru mono" +$o A ~ ~ ~ 2- $$-6&$j ~[Pe ople who make a profession of communicating with the kami] and "Takusen to matsuri" 33 2 e [Oracles and festivals], Yanagita suggests that the word miko comes from mikogami.
In tracing the changes the root word has undcrgone, he pays considerable attention to the shamaness as a "mcdiator" between the world of men and the world of gods and spirits-a Japanese folk tradition of great antiquity. Making rrfel.ence to corruptions such as Ebiszt oroshi ("calling down Ebisu"), inari sage ("calling down the fox god"), and tsukimono (a spirit that attaches itself to a person, family, or lineage), phenomena that came into being when shamanistic elements entered into folk religion, Yanagita proposes that the term miko gradually
took on degenerate forms. He suggests that the way to reconstruct it is to recognize that while the shamanesses of the earliest period had a recognized position in the clans, their position became weak during the medieval period, at \\,hich time they drifted to the provinces and there reestablished thcmsr!\m. Such was the conclusion Yanagita had reached at the time of writing his monograph on Japanese shamanesses.
In 1940 Yanagita published the stiidy Im6to no chilinm tjtj;-a!J [The power of the younger si~ter].~11 1 this study lie called attention to the fact that since the earliest times, Japanese women have on occasion been possessors of spiritual power. Thc cluc of particular importance to him in this connection was the Okinawan belicf in the kami Onari. 'l'he word onari signifies n man's sisters, both older and younger, and Onari faith has made thcse sisters divine. In Okinawa when a man is about to set out for ,Japan proper or embark on a long trip, for example, he will receive G-om his younger or older sister one of her hnndkercliiefs or combs and keep it on his person wherever he goes. Thc object so employed thus becomes a kind of a.mulet with the function of a guardian spirit.


Professor of Kei-O-Gi-Jiku University and of So-To-Shu Buddhist College, Tokyo

(1) The Southern and Northern Schools of Buddhism
(2) The Development and Differentiation of Buddhism
(3) The Object of this Book is the Explaining of the Mahayanistic View of Life and the World
(4) Zen holds a Unique Position among the Established Religions of the World
(5) The Historical Antiquity of Zen
(6) The Denial of Scriptural Authority by Zen
(7) The Practisers of Zen hold the Buddha as their Predecessor, whose Spiritual Level they Aim to Attain
(8) The Iconoclastic Attitude of Zen
(9) Zen Activity
(10) The Physical and Mental Training
(11) The Historical Importance

1. 1. The Origin of Zen in India
2. 2. The Introduction of Zen into China by Bodhidharma
3. 3. Bodhidharma and the Emperor Wu
4. 4. Bodhidharma and his Successor, the Second Patriarch
5. 5. Bodhidharma's Disciples and the Transmission of the Law
6. 6. The Second and the Third Patriarchs
7. 7. The Fourth Patriarch and the Emperor Tai Tsung
8. 8. The Fifth and the Sixth Patriarchs
9. 9. The Spiritual Attainment of the Sixth Patriarch
10. 10. The Flight of the Sixth Patriarch
11. 11. The Development of the Southern and the Northern School of Zen
12. 12. The Missionary Activity of the Sixth Patriarch
13. 13. The Disciples under the Sixth Patriarch
14. 14. Three Important Elements of Zen
15. 15. Decline of Zen

1. 1. The Establishment of the Rin Zai School of Zen in Japan
2. 2. The Introduction of the So To School of Zen
3. 3. The Characteristics of Do-gen, the Founder of the Japanese So To Sect
4. 4. The Social State of Japan when Zen was Established by Ei-sai and Do-gen
5. 5. The Resemblance of the Zen Monk to the Samurai
6. 6. The Honest Poverty of the Zen Monk and the Samurai
7. 7. The Manliness of the Zen Monk and the Samurai
8. 8. The Courage and Composure of Mind of the Zen Monk and the Samurai
9. 9. Zen and the Regent Generals of the Ho-jo Period
10. 10. Zen after the Downfall of the Ho-jo Regency
11. 11. Zen in the Dark Age
12. 12. Zen under the Toku-gawa Shogunate
13. 13. Zen after the Restoration

1. 1. Scripture is no More than Waste Paper
2. 2. No Need of the Scriptural Authority for Zen
3. 3. The Usual Explanation of the Canon
4. 4. Sutras used by the Zen Masters
5. 5. A Sutra Equal in Size to the Whole World 68
6. 6. Great Men and Nature
7. 7. The Absolute and Reality are but an Abstraction
8. 8. The Sermon of the Inanimate

1. 1. The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon
2. 2. Zen is Iconoclastic
3. 3. Buddha is Unnamable
4. 4. Buddha, the Universal Life
5. 5. Life and Change
6. 6. The Pessimistic View of Ancient Hindus
7. 7. Hinayanism and its Doctrine
8. 8. Change as seen by Zen
9. 9. Life and Change
10. 10. Life, Change, and Hope
11. 11. Everything is Living according to Zen
12. 12. The Creative Force of Nature and Humanity
13. 13. Universal Life is Universal Spirit
14. 14. Poetical Intuition and Zen
15. 15. Enlightened Consciousness
16. 16. Buddha Dwelling in the Individual Mind Enlightened Consciousness is not an Intellectual Insight
17. 18. Our Conception of Buddha is not Final
18. 19. How to Worship Buddha

1. 1. Man is Good-natured according to Mencius
2. 2. Man is Bad-natured according to Siun Tsz
3. 3. Man is both Good-natured and Bad-natured according to Yan Hiung
4. 4. Man is neither Good-natured nor Bad-natured according to Su Shih
5. 5. There is no Mortal who is Purely Moral
6. 6. There is no Mortal who is Non-moral or Purely Immoral
7. 7. Where, then, does the Error Lie?

8, Man is not Good-natured nor Bad-natured, but Buddha natured
1. 9. The Parable of the Robber Kih
2. 10. Wang Yang Ming and a Thief
3. 11. The Bad are the Good in the Egg
4. 12. The Great Person and the Small Person
5. 13. The Theory of Buddha-Nature adequately explains the Ethical States of Man
6. 14. Buddha-Nature is the Common Source of Morals
7. 15. The Parable of a Drunkard
8. 16. Shakya Muni and the Prodigal Son
9. 17. The Parable of the Monk and the Stupid Woman
10. 18. 'Each Smile a Hymn, each Kindly Word a Prayer'
11. 19. The World is in the Making
12. 20. The Progress and Hope of Life
13. 21. The Betterment of Life
14. 22. The Buddha of Mercy

1. 1. Enlightenment is beyond Description and Analysis
2. 2. Enlightenment Implies an Insight into the Nature of Self
3. 3. The Irrationality of the Belief of Immortality
4. 4. The Examination of the Notion of Self
5. 5. Nature is the Mother of All Things
6. 6. Real Self
7. 7. The Awakening of the Innermost Wisdom
8. 8. Zen is not Nihilistic
9. 9. Zen and Idealism
10. 10. Idealism is a Potent Medicine for Self -Created Mental Disease
11. 11. Idealistic Scepticism concerning Objective Reality
12. 12. Idealistic Scepticism concerning Religion and Morality
13. 13. An Illusion concerning Appearance and Reality
14. 14. Where does the Root of the Illusion Lie?
15. 15. Thing-in-Itself means Thing-Knowerless

1. 16. The Four Alternatives and the Five Categories
2. 17. Personalism of B. P. Bowne
3. 18. All the Worlds in Ten Directions are Buddha's Holy Land

1. 1. Epicureanism and Life
2. 2. The Errors of Philosophical Pessimists and Religious Optimists
3. 3. The Law of Balance
4. 4. Life Consists in Conflict
5. 5. The Mystery of Life
6. 6. Nature favours Nothing in Particular
7. 7. The Law of Balance in Life
8. 8. The Application of the Law of Causation to Morals
9. 9. The Retribution in the Past, the Present, and the Future Life
10. 10. The Eternal Life as taught by Professor M?nsterberg
11. 11. Life in the Concrete
12. 12. Difficulties are no Match for an Optimist
13. 13. Do Thy Best and Leave the Rest to Providence

1. 1. The Method of Instruction adopted by Zen Masters
2. 2. The First Step in the Mental Training
3. 3. The Next Step in the Mental Training
4. 4. The Third Step in the Mental Training
5. 5. Zazen, or the Sitting in Meditation
6. 6. The Breathing Exercise of the Yogi
7. 7. Calmness of Mind

1. 8. Zazen and the Forgetting of Self
2. 9. Zen and Supernatural Power
3. 10. True Dhyana
4. 11. Let Go of Your Idle Thoughts
5. 12. 'The Five Ranks of Merit'
6. 13. 'The Ten Pictures of the Cowherd'
7. 14. Zen and Nirvana
8. 15. Nature and Her Lesson
9. 16. The Beatitude of Zen

1. 1. The Doctrine for Men and Devas
2. 2. The Doctrine of the Hinayanists
3. 3. The Mahayana Doctrine of Dharmalaksana
5. 5. The Ekayana Doctrine that Teaches the Ultimate Reality CHAPTER IV RECONCILIATION OF THE TEMPORARY WITH THE REAL DOCTRINE

Buddhism is geographically divided into two schools[FN#1]--the Southern, the older and simpler, and the Northern, the later and more developed faith. The former, based mainly on the Pali texts[FN#2] is known as Hinayana[FN#3] (small vehicle), or the inferior doctrine; while the latter, based on the various Sanskrit texts,[4] is known as Mahayana (large vehicle), or superior doctrine. The chief tenets of the Southern School are so well known to occidental scholars that they almost always mean the Southern School by the word Buddhism. But with regard to the Northern School very little is known to the West, owing to the fact that most of its original texts were lost, and that the teachings based on these texts are written in Chinese, or Tibetan, or Japanese languages unfamiliar to non-Buddhist investigators.
[FN#1] The Southern School has its adherents in Ceylon, Burma, Siam, Anan, etc.; while the Northern School is found in Nepal, China, Japan, Tibet, etc.
[FN#2] They chiefly consist of the Four Nikayas: (1) Digha Nikaya (Dirghagamas, translated into Chinese by Buddhaya?as, A.D. 412-413);
(2) Majjhima Nikaya (Madhyamagamas, translated into Chinese by Gautama Sanghadeva, A.D. 397-398); (3) Sanyutta Nikaya (Samyuktagamas, translated into Chinese by Gunabhadra, of the earlier Sung dynasty, A.D. 420 479); (4) Anguttara Nikaya (Ekottaragamas, translated into Chinese by Dharmanandi, A.D. 384-385). Out of these Hinayana books, the English translation of twenty-three suttas by Rhys Davids exist in 'Sacred Books of Buddhist,' vols. ii.-iii., and of seven suttas by the same author in 'Sacred Books of the East,' vol. xi.
[FN#3] The Southern Buddhists never call their faith Hinayana, the name being an invention of later Buddhists, who call their doctrine Mahayana in contradistinction to the earlier form of Buddhism. We have to notice that the word Hinayana frequently occurs in Mahayana books, while it does not in Hinayana books.
[FN#4] A catalogue of the Buddhist Canon, K'-yuen-luh, gives the

titles of 897 Mahayana sutras, yet the most important books often quoted by Northern Buddhist teachers amount to little more than twenty. There exist the English translation of Larger Sukhavati-vyuha-sutra, Smaller Sukhavati-vyuha-sutra, Vajracchedika-sutra, Larger Prajna-paramita-hradya-sutra, Smaller Prajna-paramita-hrdaya-sutra, by Max M?ller, and Amitayur-dhyana-sutra, by J. Takakusu, in 'Sacred Books of the East,' vol. xlix. An English translation of Saddharma-pundarika-sutra, by Kern, is given in 'Sacred Books of the East,' Vol. xxi. Compare these books with 'Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism,' by D. Suzuki.
It is hardly justifiable to cover the whole system of Buddhism with a single epithet[FN#5] 'pessimistic' or 'nihilistic,' because Buddhism, having been adopted by savage tribes as well as civilized nations, by quiet, enervated people as well as by warlike, sturdy hordes, during some twenty-five hundred years, has developed itself into beliefs widely divergent and even diametrically opposed. Even in Japan alone it has differentiated itself into thirteen main sects and forty-four sub-sects[FN#6] and is still in full vigour, though in other countries it has already passed its prime. Thus Japan seems to be the best representative of the Buddhist countries where the majority of people abides by the guiding principle of the Northern School. To study her religion, therefore, is to penetrate into Mahayanism, which still lies an unexplored land for the Western minds. And to investigate her faith is not to dig out the remains of Buddhist faith that existed twenty centuries ago, but to touch the heart and soul of Mahayanism that enlivens its devotees at the present moment.
[FN#5] Hinayanism is, generally speaking, inclined to be pessimistic, but Mahayanism in the main holds the optimistic view of life. Nihilism is advocated in some Mahayana sutras, but others set forth idealism or realism.
[FN#6] (1) The Ten Dai Sect, including three sub-sects; (2) The Shin Gon Sect, including eleven sub-sects; (3) The Ritsu Sect; (4) The Rin Zai Sect, including fourteen sub-sects; (5) The So To Sect; (6) The O Baku Sect; (7) The Jo Do Sect, including two sub-sects; (8) The Shin Sect, including ten sub-sects; (9) The Nichi Ren Sect, including nine sub-sects; (10) The Yu Zu Nen Butsu Sect; (11) The Hosso Sect; (12)

The Ke Gon Sect; (13) The Ji Sect. Out of these thirteen Buddhist sects, Rin Zai, So To, and O Baku belong to Zen. For further information, see 'A Short History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist Sects,' by Dr. B. Nanjo.
The object of this little book is to show how the Mahayanistic view of life and of the world differs markedly from that of Hinayanism, which is generally taken as Buddhism by occidentals, to explain how the religion of Buddha has adapted itself to its environment in the Far East, and also to throw light on the existing state of the spiritual life of modern Japan.
For this purpose we have singled out of thirteen Japanese sects the Zen Sect, [FN#7] not only because of the great influence it has exercised on the nation, but because of the unique position it holds among the established religious systems of the world. In the first place, it is as old as Buddhism itself, or even older, for its mode of practising Meditation has been handed down without much alteration from pre-Buddhistic recluses of India; and it may, on that account, provide the student of comparative religion with an interesting subject for his research.
[FN#7] The word Zen is the Sinico-Japanese abbreviation of the Sanskrit Dhyana, or Meditation. It implies the whole body of teachings and discipline peculiar to a Buddhist sect now popularly known as the Zen Sect.
In the second place, in spite of its historical antiquity, ideas entertained by its advocates are so new that they are in harmony with those of the New Buddhists;[FN#8] accordingly the statement of these ideas may serve as an explanation of the present movement conducted by young and able reformers of Japanese Buddhism.
[FN#8] There exists a society formed by men who have broken with the old creeds of Buddhism, and who call themselves the New Buddhists. It has for its organ 'The New Buddhism,' and is one of the influential religious societies in Japan. We mean by the New

Buddhists, however, numerous educated young men who still adhere to Buddhist sects, and are carrying out a reformation.
Thirdly, Buddhist denominations, like non-Buddhist religions, lay stress on scriptural authority; but Zen denounces it on the ground that words or characters can never adequately express religious truth, which can only be realized by mind; consequently it claims that the religious truth attained by Shakya Muni in his Enlightenment has been handed down neither by word of mouth nor by the letters of scriptures, but from teacher's mind to disciple's through the line of transmission until the present day. It is an isolated instance in the whole history of the world's religions that holy scriptures are declared to be 'no more than waste[FN#9] paper by religionists, as done by Zen masters.
[FN#9] Lin Tsi Luh (Rin-zai-roku).
Fourthly, Buddhist as well as non-Buddhist religions regard, without exception, their founders as superhuman beings, but the practisers of Zen hold the Buddha as their predecessor, whose spiritual level they confidently aim to attain. Furthermore, they liken one who remains in the exalted position of Buddhaship to a man bound by a gold chain, and pity his state of bondage. Some of them went even so far as to declare Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to be their servants and slaves.[FN#10] Such an attitude of religionists can hardly be found in any other religion.
[FN#10] "Shakya and Maitreya," says Go So, "are servants to the other person. Who is that other person?" (Zen-rin-rui-ju, Vol. i.,
p. 28).
Fifthly, although non-Buddhist people are used to call Buddhism idolatry, yet Zen can never be called so in the accepted sense of the term, because it, having a grand conception of Deity, is far from being a form of idol-worship; nay, it sometimes even took an iconoclastic attitude as is exemplified by Tan Hia, [FN#11] who

warmed himself on a cold morning by making a fire of wooden statues. Therefore our exposition on this point will show the real state of existing Buddhism, and serve to remove religious prejudices entertained against it.

Japan shaken by group suicides among young

By David McNeill in Tokyo

Japan: A bizarre trend for internet-led group suicides shows no signs of abating in Japan where the police yesterday found the bodies of six young people in a sealed car.

The five men and one woman, all in their 20s, are thought to have died from inhaling carbon monoxide from charcoal stoves, which were still smoking when the police arrived.

Their car was spotted by a passerby in a remote area at the foot of a mountain in Saitama prefecture, nearly 100km (about 60 miles) north of north of Tokyo. It follows the discovery of three bodies in a car in northern Aomori prefecture earlier this week.

Japan has been plagued by dozens of similar cases over the last three years.

The victims usually arrange to meet via internet sites that facilitate suicides before driving to quiet scenic areas, often before dawn, and taking their own lives.

Media reports in Japan say three of the six who died yesterday had told friends they wanted to commit suicide after meeting in a hospital.

The police said that they believe the three then sought out the others online.

Japanese authorities said last month that a record 91 people had committed suicide together after meeting via the internet in 2005, up from 55 people the previous year. The figure has tripled since the police began keeping records in 2003.

Ninety-four people in Japan took their own lives every day in 2003, setting a record of 34,427 that broke the previous high of 33,048, in 1999. Since the Asian crash of 1997-8, when the statistics jumped 35 per cent, suicides have claimed over 220,000 lives.

The latest deaths will likely lead to more demands for monitoring of cyberspace. Internet service providers already work with the police who had hoped until this week that the group-suicide phenomenon had peaked.

Yukio Saito, who runs Japan's largest telephone-helpline network, cautions against complacency. "People will always find a way to end their own lives if they want to. The wider issues must be tackled."

Japan's suicide statistics are still heavily weighted by middle-aged men who have been made redundant or fallen into debt, but the country has been stunned by the recent deaths of dozens of young men and women.

Nearly 8,000 people in their 20s and 30s killed themselves every year in Japan, making suicide one of the leading causes of death for young Japanese in the prime of life.

Many of these youngsters are drawn from the ranks of hikkikomori, social recluses who have locked themselves in their rooms, sometimes for years on end. They are often linked to the outside world only through their computers, which they use to find like-minded folk.

One measure of how common group suicides have become in Japan is how little news coverage they are now given. Yesterday's deaths were well down the list of most news bulletins and one major news organisation did not carry them at all.

The Irish Times Sat, Mar 11, 2006

Japan Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin Complete Successful Missile Defense Test

Raytheon Achieves Two Satellite Communications Milestones and Missile Defense Agency, Japan Defense Agency and Lockheed Martin Complete Successful Missile Defense Test

City of Industry, CA - Defense industry news provided by Financial News USA (OTC: FNWU) Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) Company's Secure Mobile Anti-jam Reliable Tactical -- Terminal (SMART-T) Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF), a mobile ground satellite communications terminal developed for the U.S. Army, is the world's first AEHF system to achieve in-orbit acquisition and data transfer with the U.S. Milstar satellite constellation. The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) recently identified Pegasus Airlines as the carrier which earlier this year placed an order for six Next-Generation 737 airplanes. The order was previously accounted for on Boeing's Orders and Deliveries Web site as being from an unidentified customer. Deliveries of these aircraft to Pegasus Airlines, an all-Boeing operator based in Istanbul, begin in 2008.

The Aegis-equipped cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70) successfully launched a Standard Missile (SM)-3 with a cooperatively engineered, experimental nosecone. The experimental nosecone is the result of joint cooperative research by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), Japan Defense Agency (JDA) and U.S. and Japanese industry. Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), as the U.S. Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and the development of air and missile defense systems and technologies. U.S. BioDefense, Inc. (OTCBB: UBDE) recently attended the Cambridge Healthtech Institute's Thirteenth International Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference Stem Cell Track hosted in San Francisco. Director of Research, Dr. Cyndi Chen was in attendance for the Stem Cell Track entitled "Commercial Implication of Stem Cell Research" and networked with key figures to build awareness of the company's stem cell research initiative.

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Source: M2PressWIRE, Mar 10, 2006

The number of mobile subscribers in Japan is expected to reach 105.942 million by 2009.

Dublin: Research and Markets has announced the addition of Japanese Mobile Market Forecast (2003-2009) Volume 1 - 2006 to their offering

Scope of Research

The report is devoted to the analyses of mobile carriers' movements and peculiar policies by looking at events and topics which took place in each category of Japan's mobile market during the last half of 2005 (from July to December). Also it analyzes development and performance of the Japan's mobile market since 2003, and predicts its future evolvement to 2009.

Research Method

The report projects how Japan's mobile market will change from 2005 to 2009 by utilizing prediction models, which ROA Group made for each nation. Also, the projection is based on basic research (Primary & Secondary) towards mobile carriers (including new entrants), company reports and know-how of ROA Group.


Due to the merger between au and TUKA in November 2005, only three mobile operators are delivering their services in Japan's mobile market. Besides, among the three PHS operators of DoCoMo, Willcom and ASTEL, ASTEL and NTT DoCoMo stopped accepting new subscribers at April 20, 2005 and at the end of April 2005 respectively. In the future, Willcom will be the sole supplier of PHS service. YOZAN, which acquired PHS infrastructure from ASTEL Tokyo, is poised to concentrate on WiMAX business. YOZAN launched WiMAX service utilizing PHS base stations in December 2005.

Japan's mobile market is in a mature phase. New subscriber addition, which posted over 1,000 of increases every year until 1999, has been flat since 2000. However, 2004 was a year of change for mobile telecommunication market in Japan. The 3G technology, which accounted for 20.38% of the market in 2003, was widely adopted in mobile telecommunications. Thanks to the launch of numerous 3G mobile services, various mobile data communications become available, and ARPU of incumbent users is undergoing huge changes. Now, cellular phones are able to offer diversified services according to the lifestyles of users, ranging from voice communication and e-mail to mobile contents. ROA Group analysis predicts that the number of mobile users will reach 91.811 million by the end of FY2005 (by March 2006). It has been assumed that Japanese mobile market is too saturated to add new subscribers. However, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications announced it would review allocation of bandwidth while allowing new entrants to advance into the mobile market. Thereby three new entrants revealed their plans to join the market. IP Mobile will start its service in October 2006, followed by eMobile in March 2007 and BB Mobile in April 2007. This is the first time that Japan's mobile market has new entrants in 12 years since 1994. The changes will reduce general service charges and bring about various brand new services.

Besides, Willcom's PHS business made a notable performance in 2005. Number of PHS users was falling after it reached its peak in April 2002. Its accumulated subscribers dropped to less than 5 million in 2004. Willcom, however, has attracted new subscribers so as to record 88,200 in new user increases and 3,651 million in accumulated users as of December 2005. The progress that Willcom made in PHS is now having influence on the general mobile telephone market. Recently, Willcom introduced a series of trendy handsets to change low-quality image compared to cellular phone, on top of its competitive edge in prices.

And Mobile Number Portability (MNP) will make its debut in the Japanese mobile market in November 2006. NTT DoCoMo is still the premier front-runner with lion's market share of more than 50%. But au, the second largest operator, is expanding its share backed by its popular 3G and contents services. The introduction of MNP will further intensify competition among carriers, resulting in the changes in the market positions of each operator.

In addition, NTT DoCoMo and Vodafone will start HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Data Access) and au will initiate EV-DO Rev.A during 2006. Also two out of the three new entrants, which are scheduled to advance in the mobile market in 2007, declared they would provide HSDPA service from the early stage of their services. At that time, high speed network will make possible the supply of rich contents, jumpstarting competition among operators.

As a result, the number of mobile subscribers is expected to reach 105.942 million by the end of 2009 and growth of CAGR from 2004 to 2009 will post 3.96%.

Companies Mentioned - NTT DoCoMo - Willcom - ASTEL - YOZAN - KDDI - au - TUKA - Vodafone - Pantech&Curitel - Tower Records - Fuji TV - KTF - Qualcomm - eAcess - Softbank - POWERDCOM - TEPCO Group - IP mobile - eMobile - BB Mobile - Fuji TV - LG Electronics - Nokia - Toshiba - SHARP - NHK - Samsung - Motorola - Panasonic - NEC - Fujitsu - Mitsubishi Electronics - Sanyo Electronics - Sony Ericsson


Japan Airlines apologizes for serving U.S. beef in in-flight meals

Mar. 10--TOKYO -- Japan Airlines apologized Friday for serving kids' meals containing U.S. beef from April last year to January this year on flights from Guam to Japanese airports operated by group company JALways despite Japan's import ban on U.S. beef due to risks of mad cow disease.

The Japanese carrier, however, said its inspection of a U.S. meat processor that provided the beef and scrutiny by outside experts have found no health hazards in connection with the meat served.

After Japan suspended U.S. beef imports in December 2003, JAL instructed about 80 companies providing in-flight meals to it to stop using U.S. beef.

But a Guam flight meal company mistakenly used U.S. beef in meat sauce for spaghetti for children aged 9 months old to 2 years old, JAL said.

About 5,200 meals containing the beef in question were served during the period.

WTO partially accepts Japan's claim on U.S. antidumping method

Mar. 10--GENEVA -- A World Trade Organization panel has issued an interim report that partially accepts Japan's claim on the legality of the U.S. method of calculating dumping, trade sources said Thursday.

In the report issued on Wednesday, a WTO dispute settlement panel accepted part of Japan's claim that the U.S. practice of "zeroing" when performing dumping calculations or a method of calculating dumping that ignores negative margins of dumping was against the WTO Antidumping Agreement.

Japan filed the complaint with the WTO in November 2004, saying its bearing industry has suffered a loss of $37 million because of the U.S. practice.

The panel is expected to publish its report next month.

Source: Kyodo News International (Japan), Mar 10, 2006

India, Hong Kong top Japan in net worth on Forbes' Billionaire List

Mar. 10--NEW YORK -- For the first time, the net worth of the billionaires in India and Hong Kong has surpassed that of the 27 billionaires in Japan, Forbes magazine said Thursday.

While Japan still has the most billionaires in Asia, their combined net worth, at $66.9 billion, is down 11 percent from last year's list, Forbes associate editor Luisa Kroll told at a news conference for its 20th Billionaires issue.

The Japanese billionaires included on the list are Yasuo Takei, former chairman of consumer credit firm Takefuji Co., ranked 107th, and Hiroshi Mikitani, president of Japan's largest Internet retailer Rakuten Inc., at 224th.

"While the U.S. still dominates the list, 2006 really belongs to some of the more emerging markets," Kroll said. "And no country speaks to that more than India. With its stock market up more than 50 percent in the past 12 months, India is home to 10 new faces." The combined net worth of India's 23 billionaires this year is nearly $99 billion, compared with 12 billionaires last year worth $61.3 billion.

Their fortunes were made in areas as diverse as software, online gambling, telecom and media, reflecting the explosive growth of India's economy.

Among India's billionaires added to the Forbes list is Tulsi Tanti, 48, ranked 562nd out of 793 billionaires with a net worth of $1.4 billion. Tanti's company, Suzlon Energy, runs the largest wind farm in Asia and went public in October.

In Hong Kong, businessman Li Ka-shing, 77, moved up 12 spots on the list to be ranked 10th, with a net worth of $18.8 billion.

China added three more billionaires to the list this year, with eight billionaires with a combined net worth of $10.2 billion, more than triple last year's combined net worth of $3.1 billion.

Among the Chinese newcomers was William Ding, 35, founder of NetEase.com, a leading Internet and online gaming services provider, ranked 645th with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Australia and New Zealand, there are 115 billionaires, an increase of 30 from last year.

This year's Forbes list includes 793 billionaires, up from 691 last year, worth a combined $2.6 trillion. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, 50, remains the world's richest man for a record 12th straight year with a net worth of $50 billion.

While the United States still has the most billionaires, with 371, followed by Germany with 55, the Middle East and Africa enjoyed stunning growth, nearly doubling its number of billionaires to 56 this year from last year's 29, with a combined net worth of $167 billion, which gives the region an edge over the Americas in both its billionaire count and total net worth.

Source: Kyodo News International (Japan), Mar 10, 2006

Quick Japan beef mart reopening needed to avoid sanctions: Johanns

Quick Japan beef mart reopening needed to avoid sanctions: Johanns Mar. 10--WASHINGTON -- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns stressed the need Thursday to swiftly reopen Japan's market to American beef to prevent U.S. lawmakers from resorting to economic sanctions.

Speaking to reporters after a congressional hearing, Johanns said, "My hope is that we can get back on track very, very quickly because I don't want to go down the road of retaliation." Johanns said some lawmakers have asked him if the reimposed ban on U.S. beef due to a single ineligible shipment "mean that we go out and inspect every single Japanese car when we find a defect." "That demonstrates to me the level of frustration," Johanns said.

Testifying before the agriculture subcommittee under the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, Johanns said the ineligible veal shipment was "unacceptable" but it stemmed from "confusion on both sides" over agreed export requirements.

"I don't really see any reason for an extensive delay" for Japan to resume imports, Johanns said, noting that his department has compiled an investigation report, vowed to take corrective measures and responded to Tokyo's requests for additional information.

Japan reinstated the import ban on Jan. 20 after a spinal column, prohibited under a bilateral accord due to the risk of mad cow disease, was discovered in a veal shipment at Narita airport.

The incident came only one month after Tokyo lifted its original two-year-old ban on the condition that imports would be limited to meat from cattle aged up to 20 months with brains, spinal cords and other risk materials removed before shipment.


IMF welcomes Bank of Japan setting inflation target

Mar. 10--WASHINGTON -- The International Monetary Fund welcomed the Bank of Japan's decision Thursday to set an inflation target in lifting its five-year-old super-loose quantitative monetary policy and called for "fair" communications to tame prices.

"We welcome the Bank of Japan's indication that longer-term inflation objective will help steer the conduct of monetary policy going forward," Thomas Dawson, director of the IMF External Relations Department, told a press conference.

The IMF spokesman said the BOJ's move was "well anticipated," and stressed that "fair communication is going to be critical to guide expectations" of prices "in this transition to a post-deflation environment." Dawson said the IMF believes the BOJ will maintain its "expansionary policy for now" to keep interest rates close to zero "for some time to come." Overnight in Tokyo, the BOJ decided to end the ultra easy quantitative monetary policy and return to a conventional interest-rate target.

The BOJ also introduced an inflation reference rate with a range of zero to 2 percent as a new policy framework to seek price stability in the medium and long term.

Source: Kyodo News International (Japan), Mar 10, 2006

Bank of Japan to hold meeting with banks to exchange views on financial issues

Mar. 10--TOKYO -- The Bank of Japan has informed banks and securities firms which participate in its open-market operations that it will hold a meeting with them Monday to exchange views on financial issues, BOJ officials said Friday.

They said the meeting is aimed at achieving a smooth monetary policy maneuver by deepening dialogue with market participants as it ended its super-easy policy on Thursday, switching back to an interest-rate controlling policy for the first time in five years from that of flooding the financial system with excess cash.

The BOJ wants to discuss with them issues associated with monetary adjustment and functional aspects of the short-term market, they said.

The BOJ has informed 144 financial institutions of the meeting, to be held at the central bank by BOJ Executive Director Masaaki Shirakawa, the officials said.

BOJ Governor Toshihiko Fukui and members of the Policy Board will not attend the meeting, the officials said.

Source: Kyodo News International (Japan), Mar 10, 2006