Japanese News: May week 4

A lot has happened this week, and it was hard to follow everything! There are important topics that I have skipped, but here is what I found interested this week:

Palme d’Or for Hirokazu Kore-Eda!

Hirokazu Kore-Eda won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his film 万引き家族 or, in English, Shoplifters! 😃

  • 是枝裕和これえだ ひろかず: Hirokazu Kore-Eda
  • ンヌ国際映画祭・カンヌこくさいえいがさい: Cannes Film Festival
  • パルムドール: Palme d’Or

According to this article, it has been 21 years since a Japanese director won the highest prize of Cannes. The last time was in 1997 for the film うなぎ by Shohei Imamura.

  • 今村 昌平・いまむら しょうへい: Shohei Imamura

During the award ceremony, Kore-Eda said: “さすがに足が震えています。この場にいられることが本当に幸せです”.

  • 授賞式・じゅしょうしき: award ceremony

I am not surprised that Kore-Eda should win the Palme d’Or because he has received critical acclaim at Cannes before and his films are always so enthusiastically welcomed in France. With Shoplifters, Kore-Eda has seen seven of his films selected in Cannes. Like father, like son won the Jury prize in 2013 and in 2004 young actor Yuya Yagira who played the leading role in Nobody knows had won Cannes’ Best Actor Award.

  • 誰も知らない: “Nobody knows”
  • そして父になる: “Like father, like son”
  • 審査員賞・しんさいんしょう: Jury Prize. The word “審査員・しんさいん” means “a jury”, “a panel of judges”, “a board of examiners” and so on.
  • 主演・しゅえん: the leading part or role.
  • 柳楽優弥・やぎら ゆうや: Yuya Yagira
  • 男優賞・だんゆうしょう: Best Actor Award

About Shoplifters, Kore-Eda said: “今の日本社会で隅に追いやられたり、見過ごされたりしている家族をどうしたら可視化できるかを考えて撮影した”.

Here is the trailer:


These are the words that Abe said during an interview with the head of Kake Gakuen in 2015, according to a new document of Ehime prefecture. (source: 獣医学部「首相『いいね』」 15年に理事長に).

The Kake Gakuen scandal is not willing to let go… A new document has been provided by Ehime prefecture on Monday (21th). According to this document, Abe met the head of Kake Gakuen and was told about the new veterinary department that was planned to open:


Let’s have a look at this sentence.

In blue, the main argument:

  • 愛媛県・えひめけん: Ehime Prefecture (this is the prefecture concerned by the Kake Gakuen business).
  • 作成・さくせい: create (a document), prepare, draw up, write out. The document in question was created by the prefecture: 県作成
  • 参院 or 参議院・さんぎいん: House of Councillors
  • 提出・ていしゅつ: submission

⇒ On the 21st, Ehime prefecture provided an intern document to the House of Councillors.

In purple, we have some more information about the document.

  • 理事長・りじちょう: the chief director
  • 面会・めんかい: a meeting
  • 獣医学部・じゅういがくぶ: a department of veterinary science
  • 新設・しんせつ: founding, establishment
  • 構想・こうそう: scheme, plan, concept, idea
  • 記載・きさい: record, statement, mention

⇒ In this document is stated that Abe met the director of Kake Gakuen in February 2015 and that he received explanations about the plan to found the new veterinary department.

More damning is what Abe is supposed to have said:


In the document is written that

  • the interview was 15 minutes long
  • in response to the explanations he received, Abe said: 新しい獣医大学の考えはいいね, which proves that he knew and approved the project.

Furthermore, the document contains a “summary memo” 概要メモ・がいよう in which is written that Yanase said “獣医学部新設の話は総理案件になっている”.

The article notes that Abe said last year that he heard of the whole affair for the first time in January 2017 and concludes: “文書の記述が事実であれば、首相答弁は誤りだったことになる”. If the contents of the documents are authentic, the response that Abe made at the time is a “mistake”. Is 誤り・あやまり a euphemism for ウソ?

 On Tuesday (22nd), Abe denied that such a meeting took place. He said:

“ご指摘の日に加計孝太郎理事長と会ったことはございません。念のために昨日、官邸の記録を調べたところでございますが、確認できませんでした” (source)

  • 加計孝太郎・かけこうたろう: Kotaro Kake, head of Kake Gakuen.
  • 官邸・かんてい: the Official Residence of the Prime Minister

(Personally, I find it strange to say “I didn’t meet the chief of Kake Gakuen on the day in question, but just to be sure, I have checked our own documents”.)

Later, I read another article which says that the documents of the official residence are destroyed when their purpose is over. As a result, records of the day in question are no longer available:


  • 遅滞なく・ちたいなく: forthwith, without delay, promptly, immediately.
  • 廃棄・はいき: dispose of, throw away

As you can imagine, I think that the media, the opposition and the public opinion are sceptics when they are told that a document has been destroyed and does no longer exist. (Cf. the Moritomo Gakuen scandal or the GSDF daily log scandal).

As this editorial says, the question is now to know who is lying:


Demo against the 高プロ

A part of the labour reform is called 高度プロフェッショナル制度 or 高プロ for short. If you have read my previous Friday posts, you know that the 高プロ is something that I don’t quite understand. It concerns some employee with a high salary and to me, it only states that their overtime hours will not be paid. There are counterparts, but they seem derisive (at least to me).

Source: 「高プロ」削除求め 過労死遺族が座り込み

On Tuesday (22th), an organisation called “全国過労死を考える家族の会” demonstrated (a sitting demo) in front of the Residence of the Prime Minister (官邸・かんてい) to ask for the removal of the 高プロ from the labour reform. This association is composed of family members of people who died from 過労死・かろうし. The article uses the word 遺族・いぞく which means “the family of a deceased person”.

The mother of an NHK journalist who died from 過労死 at the age of 31 says “命を奪うような法案を通すべきではない。人が死んでからでは遅い”.

A woman, whose husband committed suicide due to overwork says “夫は本当によく働いた。なぜ命を絶ったのか今もよく分からない。当事者の声を聞かずに高プロを通すのは許されない”.

  • 当事者・とうじしゃ: person concerned, the interested party

There is another article on the topic: 高プロ「働かせ放題」懸念 離脱、選べるのか/現場、反発と歓迎. I will certainly read it, but I will not study it here (it is long!). What I found interesting is the expression “働かせ放題” to describe the 高プロ.

To work a little on my listening skills, I have also watched this “live” by Mainichi. The first half is about the labour reform and the second half is about Cannes and the Shoplifters. I don’t understand everything of course, but I do follow a little. I think I will work with the video to make a listening exercise and understand more about the labour reform. I don’t know how long the video remains available: Mainichi Live(32)「働き方改革法案」「是枝監督パルムドール」.

Moritomo Gakuen documents

Documents relative to the sale of public land to Moritomo Gakuen arrived at the Diet on Wednesday (23th). These documents had been falsified, as proven some time ago, and the Minister of Finance had already submitted the falsified version. However, the opposition had insisted that the authentic documents should also be submitted.

財務省は3月に改ざんを認めた際に改ざん内容を公表したが、野党の求めに応じて改ざん前の全文書を公開した (source)

The article is long, but I don’t see that it brings any new information. Everything it says had already been revealed some months ago. Other articles on this topic insist on the fact that officials from the Finance Ministry said that these documents did no longer exist. Which proves to have been a lie.


The more I practice this exercise (reading the news and write a post about it), the more I realise that the real stumbling block is nothing but laziness. Saying “this article is too difficult” is often a way to say “I am too lazy to read this”. All I can say is that I have seen a lot of “difficult articles” this week…

Have a nice weekend!