Sunday, May 1, 2011

Akbaruddin Owaisi's picuture hours before firing

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Image: Photo of Akbaruddin Owaisi on padayatra with his supporters hours before the firing

As his left kidney and urinary bladder were also injured in the firing, doctors had to do dialysis on him.

A medical bulletin issued by the Care hospital on Sunday morning, giving the details of his injuries said that he was suffering from acute kindey failure.

Police have arrested the main suspect Mohammed Yafai alias Mohammed Pehlwan and his associate Abdullah. Police suspect that the Mohammed group targeted the legislator as he was running a campaign against the encroachment of government and waqf land by this group.

Young Hyderabad MLA battles for life

Last updated on: May 1, 2011 19:19 IST

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad

Even as police hunted for more suspects in connection with the assassination bid on Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader and MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi, the condition of the young legislator continued to be critical for second day on Sunday.

Akbaruddin Owaisi, younger brother of MIM President and Lok Sabha member Asauddin Owaisi, received four bullet injuries and multiple dagger injuries when a gorup of his political opponents attacked him in Barkas area under his Chandrayangutta constituency in Hyderabad.

Akbaruddin, who was brought from his family-owned Owaisi hospital to the CARE Hospital on Saturday night, was kept on ventilator support and under went second surgery on his abdomin.

Image: Akbaruddin Owaisi being shifted to the Care hospital

Photographs: SnapsIndia


Akbaruddin Owaisi


BornJune 14, 1971 (age 39)
HyderabadAndhra Pradesh
Political partyAll India Majlis-e Ittihad al-Muslimin
As of September 16, 2006
Courtesy:rediff & Wikipedia

MIM leader Akbar Owaisi remains critical

Updated on Sunday, May 01, 2011, 13:48

Hyderabad: The condition of Andhra Pradesh legislator and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi remained critical on Sunday, a day after he was stabbed and shot at by his rivals, doctors attending on him said. 

According to the medical bulletin issued by Care Hospital here, the legislator has suffered kidney failure and is on ventilator to support his respiratory function.

The doctors said they were continuing dialysis due to acute kidney failure cause by the injuries. The second intra abdominal surgery will be performed later Sunday, the bulletin said.

The MIM leader suffered injuries to his left kidney, urinary bladder, upper portion of large intestine and upper limb. 

Owaisi was shifted to Care Hospital on Saturday night from Owaisi Hospital, where he was admitted soon after the assassination attempt. 

The first intra-abdominal surgery was performed on him at Owaisi Hospital. 

Earlier, Akbaruddin's elder brother and MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi termed his condition as "very critical" and appealed to people to pray for his recovery. 

The MP said Akbaruddin received two bullets and stab injuries to his left hand. 

Former chief minister K Rosaiah, YSR Congress party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy and state minister Shankar Rao visited the hospital. 

Akbar was stabbed and shot at by his rivals when he was visiting his Assembly constituency Chandrayangutta in the old city. 

Security guards of another MIM legislator Ahmed Balala returned fire, killing one attacker and injuring two others. 

Police have arrested Mohammed Pehlwan, suspected to be the mastermind behind the attack. He had a long running dispute with the legislator over a piece of land. 

Courtesy: IANS  

Bad weather affects search for Arunachal CM

Updated on Sunday, May 01, 2011, 13:19

Itanagar: Inclement weather on Sunday affected the aerial search to trace the missing helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others even as the Army, SSB, ITBP and the state police launched a massive ground operations to locate it. 

Defence sources said 30 columns of the Indian Army comprising 2,400 personnel from Tawang and Tenga were pressed in different locations along the Indo-Bhutan border on ground search. Six ITBP teams with 25 personnel each have also joined the ground search operations. 

More Army columns are likely to join soon while two Chetak helicopters from Guwahati and an MI-17 IAF chopper from Tawang are on sorties. 

AF officials said in New Delhi that two Sukhoi-30 warplanes have been dispatched from Bareli to scan the general area using their special radars. 

Sukhoi planes have helped in locating the wreckage of the missing chopper of the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy in September, 2009. Reddy and four others on board the chopper died. 

Though the choppers were scheduled to begin search operations at 5.30 am, inclement weather delayed them by more than three hours. 

Search teams from the neighbouring Bhutan have also launched rescue operation in seven districts of the country, sources said. 

Union ministers Mukul Wasnik and V Narayanswamy are on their way to Itanagar from New Delhi to monitor the search operations, official sources said. 

The four-seater single-engine Pawan Hans helicopter AS-B350-B-3 chopper went missing yesterday after 20 minutes of its take-off from Tawang at 9.56 am last morning with five on board including crew members Captain JS Babbar, Captain TS Mamik, Khandu's security officer Yeshi Choddak and a lady Yeshi Lhamu, sister of Tawang MLA Tsewang Dhondup. 

The chopper was to land at Itanagar at about 11.30 am. The Guwahati air traffic control had reportedly received the last radio communication from the chopper near Sela Pass area, 20 minutes after take-off from Tawang. 

Sela Pass is at about 13,750 feet above sea level where weather changes drastically within minutes. 

Indian Ambassador to Bhutan Pavan Verma said that the operations were being done by the Indian government and the Bhutanese authorities were providing all cooperation. 

"Since yesterday the Bhutanese have been most cooperative," he said. 

Khandu's helicopter was the third to get into trouble in the Northeast in the last fortnight. 

On April 19, a Pawan Hans helicopter crashed at Tawang heliport, bordering Tibet, killing 17 people and injuring six others on board. 

Arunachal has witnessed a large number of air crashes. In November 1997, the then minister of state for defence NVN Somu, Major General Ramesh Nagpal and two others died when their Cheetah helicopter hit a 1,300 feet peak, 40 kilometers from Tawang. 

In May 2001, Arunachal Pradesh Education Minister Dera Natung and five others were killed when their Pawan Hans aircraft crashed near Tawang because of poor visibility. 

In 2009, an IAF AN-32 aircraft crashed at Mechunka killing all 13 defence personnel on board. Eleven Air Force personnel and an Army Lieutenant Colonel were killed when an Air Force MI-17 helicopter crashed near the China frontier on November 19, last year a minute after take-off. 

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Coutesy: PTI 

High Court’s notices to AMU’s VC and Registrar

New Delhi: Justice Sanjay Mishra of Allahabad High Court, in response to contempt of court petition by former president of AMU’s Students Union, advocate Z. Faizan against AMU authorities, issued notices to AMU’s Vice Chancellor and Registrar asking for their explanation. It may be stated in this connection that Z. Faizan had earlier filed a petition in Allahabad High Court against AMU authorities for opening its centres outside Aligarh. The High Court had rejected his petition on the ground that he is neither a member of AMU Court nor a member of its executive council
After the rejection of his petition by Allahabad High Court, Faizan challenged this verdict in Supreme Court which overruled HC’s verdict, saying that Faizan was earlier president of AMU Students Union and hence his petition cannot be dismissed. After this verdict of the Supreme Court in his favour, Faizan in letters to AMU’s VC, Registrar and government of India while referring to SC’s ruling said that SC has accepted his stand against the setting up of AMU’s centres and hence no further action in setting up these centres and running classes etc. should be taken by the University till the final Court verdict.
However, inspite of this verdict and his letter to AMU authorities etc. the University administration continued its activities in Murshidabad and other centres in building and starting classes etc. After this, Faizan again filed a petition in Allahabad High Court for disobeying court’s order which amounts to contempt of court. His lawyer, Irshad Ahmad, apprised the High Court of AMU’s building and academic activities in these centres after which it (Court of Justice Sanjay Mishra) issued notices to AMU-VC and Registrar asking for their explanations.
This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2011 on page no. 20

Akbaruddin Owaisi is now safe after attack!

Hyderabad, April 30:
 The condition of Akbaruddin Owaisi, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen legislator from Chandrayangutta, who was injured after being shot at, was declared to be out of danger at the Owaisi Hospital on Saturday afternoon. Reports claimed that the Doctors operated upon him and removed two bullets from his body.
Tension has eased in the old city areas after police made repeated announcements about the safe condition of Mr. Akbaruddin Owaisi.
Chief Minsiter N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Home Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy along with DGP K. Aravinda Rao rushed to the Owaisi Hospital.
It now emerged that a group of nine assailants attacked Akabaruddin Owaisi’s vehicle in which another MIM legislator Balala and some others were travelling at Barkas. They hit the jeep with a scooter and as it screeched to a halt, the assailants wielding swords attacked the passengers who included Akbaruddin Owaisi, another legislator Balala and other some others, police said quoting preliminary reports.
The gunman of Mr. Balala was reported to have opened fire in which three assailants sustained bullet injuries. They were rushed to Yashoda hospital in Malakpet where one of them, identified as Abdullah died. Mr. Akbaruddin Owaisi had refused to take protection from the police department, sources said.
Following the attack, a large number of people gathered at the Owaisi Hospital. Traffic flow was disrupted on the Santoshnagar main road after agitated MIM workers targeted some RTC buses. However, situation returned to normalcy as news about safe condition of Akbaruddin Owaisi was released by hospital authorities.
Asaduddin Owaisi, MP, and elder brother of Mr. Akbaruddin Owaisi air-dashed to Hyderabad from Delhi. Mr. Asaduddin Owaisi is also the president of the AIMIM, which has won seven MLAs in Andhra Pradesh.
-Siasat News

How Much Did Royal Wedding Cost Britain?

APRIL 29, 2011, 6:02 PM ET

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 As of 11:57 PM ED

By Carl Bialik

My print column this week examines the various figures reported in the media about the economic cost of Friday’s royal wedding. The concern was that because the U.K. economy would shut down for the national holiday, productivity would grind to a halt.
Though some reports put the cost as high as $50 billion, “My answer is a firm ‘no’ to a $50 billion wedding cost,” said Voxi Heinrich Amavilah, a researcher on economic growth and technological change who has studied the cost of holidays.
Howard Archer, HIS’s chief U.K. and Eurozone economist, wrote in an email, “Over the year as a whole, the loss to the economy should be pretty modest. At the most, it may shave off 0.1 [percentage points] off second-quarter GDP growth, but it may well not even be that much.” That would translate into less than $1 billion.
One higher estimate, of a loss of about $10 billion, was attributed to the Confederation of British Industry, which in 2007 issued a press release saying an “extra bank holiday would cost economy up to six billion pounds.” The CBI didn’t explain its reasoning behind that estimate, and it’s unclear whether that estimate would apply, anyway, to the royal wedding. “The royal wedding is a day for national celebration, and under these unique circumstances a one-off additional bank holiday is appropriate,” a CBI spokesman said.
Others attributed a loss of about $5 billion to the U.K.’s department for Business, Innovation & Skills. “This is based on Office of National Statistics assessments of the Jubilee Bank Holiday that will happen in 2012,” a BIS spokesman said. But an ONS spokesman said, “I am unaware of any ONS work on next year’s Diamond Jubilee, and it would be very unusual for us to make forecasts of that sort in any case. Also, I’m afraid there is no analysis that allows us to quantify the economic effect of a holiday.”
Toby Sargent, spokesman for the U.K.’s department of Culture, Media and Sport, cleared up the confusion somewhat about that $5 billion estimate: “It’s a very inexact figure. It’s one we have been working up and testing in light of next year’s bank holiday. A number of people have taken that ballpark figure and assumed it applies to the royal wedding. It is very back-of-the-envelope at this point.”
Stephen Lea, economic psychologist at the University of Exeter, attributed some of the exaggerated numbers to hype. “There is a huge amount of hype about the wedding,” Lea wrote in an email. “This has two effects, which between them probably explain the disparity: (i) the media, especially the more excitable elements of them, will take the biggest estimate of any number relating to it that they can find; but (ii) more people will stop work, and do more non-work things (whether it is joining a street party or fleeing to Dublin), than on a typical bank holiday.”
Part of the fuzziness around these lost-productivity estimates is that converting a working day into a holiday isn’t equivalent to wiping out the productivity of a working day. One example: Earlier this week, I emailed Neil Saunders, consulting director of Verdict Research, to ask aboutthe firm’s estimate of how the wedding would boost spending. Saunders’s reply arrived by email just a minute before an email from a Verdict publicist saying Saunders was unavailable to comment because he was on holiday this week. That demonstrates how many jobs allow workers to get some work done remotely even when they are technically off-duty, and some work is shifted to before or after the holiday. “The country doesn’t completely grind to a halt,” Saunders said.
Also, Friday’s holiday was unlike most, since it involved a royal wedding and national celebrations (and all the accompanying memorabilia for sale. And lessons from the bank holiday around the queen’s golden jubilee in 2002, which seemed to shift productivity around in the calendar, remain unclear. “In this case, a little more uncertainty is attached to the British GDP loss estimates because crown-prince matrimonial ceremonies do not occur very often, around once every three decades or so,” Tom Fullerton, economist at the University of Texas at El Paso, wrote in an email. “Of course, the British proclivity for declaring public holidays is so exaggerated, it is a wonder GDP is a non-negative number at all there.”
Marcus Scheiblecker, economist at the Austrian Institute of Economic Research, has studiedholidays in Austria and finds they do take a small toll. “One working day more in a year raises GDP of that year by 0.1% in Austria,” Scheiblecker wrote in an email. However, he thought the additional activity around the royal wedding could change things. “During this time other sectors have to produce and to work more,” Scheiblecker said. “This could well overcompensate negative effects so that all in all the effects on the total economy is positive.”
Some studies suggest national holidays even can boost economic activity, though it is unclear how applicable these studies are to the U.K. A 2008 paper assessing the potential effect of adding national holidays in Hong Kong found adding one holiday could increase GDP by 0.34%. Co-author Bala Ramasamy, an economist at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, thinks the potential for economic gain in the U.K. is even higher, because the country produces more of the goods that will be consumed and because the royal wedding is likely to boost spending more than a garden-variety national holiday.
“We believe that it’s possible that the increase in consumption (and so GDP) could match the shortfall in production due to the extra day holiday,” Ramasamy wrote in an email. “In fact, we will argue that the increase in production after the long holidays will be higher as workers come back refreshed and eager to get back to work! Thus, we would expect a small positive gain in GDP as a result of the royal-wedding holiday.”
However, Purdue University economic statistician Michael Levine says that may be too rosy a forecast because the U.K.’s economy has a different mix of sectors than Hong Kong’s. “Gains in the retail, hotel, restaurant and hospitality sectors will have to be measured against the background of losses in the manufacturing and banking sector,” Levine wrote in an email.
Courtesy:The Wall Street Journal


Muammar Gaddafi's son killed in NATO airstrike

2011-05-01 07:48:40

Tripoli: A NATO missile struck a house in Tripoli where Muammar Gaddafi and his wife were staying on Saturday, killing his youngest son and three grandchildren but missing the Libyan leader, a government spokesman said.

The strike would be a significant blow to the morale of the regime, which is struggling to maintain its hold on the western half of the country despite weeks of NATO-led airstrikes. It came just hours after Gaddafi called for a mutual cease-fire and negotiations with NATO powers to end a six-week bombing campaign.

Saif al-Arab Gaddafi was the brother of the better known Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who was widely promoted as a reformer before the uprising began on February 15. The younger Gaddafi had spent much of his time in Germany in recent years.

Muammar Gaddafi and his wife were in the Tripoli house of his 29-year-old son when it was hit by at least one bomb dropped from a NATO warplane, according to Libyan spokesman Moussa Ibrahim.

"The leader himself is in good health," Ibrahim said. "He was not harmed. The wife is also in good health."

On Tuesday, British Defense Minister Liam Fox and US Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters at the Pentagon that NATO planes were not targeting Gaddafi specifically but would continue to attack his command centers. White House spokesman Shin Inouye declined to comment on the developments in Libya, referring questions to NATO.

Ibrahim said Saif al-Arab had studied at a German university but had not yet completed his studies.

"The attack resulted in the martyrdom of brother Saif al-Arab Gaddafi and three of the leader's grandchildren," Ibrahim said.

Saif al-Arab "was playing and talking with his father and mother and his nieces and nephews and other visitors when he was attacked for no crimes committed," Ibrahim said.

Journalists taken to the walled complex of one-story buildings in a residential Tripoli neighborhood saw heavy bomb damage. The blast had torn down the ceiling of one building and left a huge pile of rubble and twisted metal on the ground.

Ibrahim said the airstrike was an attempt to "assassinate the leader of this country," which he said violated international law.

Heavy bursts of gunfire were heard in Tripoli after the attack.

Gaddafi had seven sons and one daughter. The Libyan leader also had an adopted daughter who was killed in a 1986 US airstrike on his Bab al-Aziziya residential compound. That strike - which was separate from the area struck on Saturday - came in retaliation for the bombing attack on a German disco in which two US servicemen were killed. The US at the time blamed Libya for the disco blast.

Saif's mother is Safiya Farkash, Gaddafi's second wife and a former nurse.

Gaddafi railed again foreign intervention earlier on Saturday, saying Libyans have the right to choose their own political system but not under the threat of NATO bombings.

"The door to peace is open," Gaddafi said. "You are the aggressors. We will negotiate with you. Come, France, Italy, UK, America, come to negotiate with us. Why are you attacking us?"

In Brussels, a NATO official said before Saturday's fatal strike that the alliance needed "to see not words but actions," and vowed the alliance would keep up the pressure until the UN Security Council mandate on Libya is fulfilled. NATO has promised to continue operations until all attacks and threats against civilians have ceased, all of Gaddafi's forces have returned to bases and full humanitarian access is granted.

The NATO official, who spoke on condition of anonymity according to policy, noted that Gaddafi's forces had shelled Misrata and tried to mine the city's port just hours before his speech.

"The regime has announced cease-fires several times before and continued attacking cities and civilians," the official said.

"All this has to stop, and it has to stop now," the official said.

Rebel leaders have said they will only lay down their arms and begin talks after Gaddafi and his sons step aside. Gaddafi has repeatedly refused to resign.

A rebel spokesman, Jalal al-Galal, called the cease-fire offer a publicity stunt.

"We don't believe that there is a solution that includes him or any member of his family. So it is well past any discussions. The only solution is for him to depart," he said.

Indian, Bhutanese troops launch search for Arunachal CM

2011-05-01 08:30:00
Last Updated: 2011-05-01 08:35:14

Itanagar: The helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu that went missing remained untraced for the second day Sunday even as Indian and Bhutanese troops have launched a massive ground operation to locate the chopper, although turbulent weather prevented aerial surveys from being undertaken.

'There is no news of our chief minister and the sad part is that very bad weather has prevented helicopters from bases in Assam to launch any search operation,' Arunachal MP Takam Sanjay said.

The Pawan Hans AS350 B-3 helicopter went missing after it had taken off from Tawang at 9.50 a.m. Saturday. The last radio contact with the ground was after about 20 to 20 minutes aftrer take off as it flew over the Sela Pass along the Chinese border perched at an altitude of 13,700 feet.
'The fact of the matter is we don't know yet where the helicopter is and moreover Bhutan had denied any reports of the chopper landing there contrary to earlier reports that the helicopter with the chief minister on board had landed somewhere in eastern Bhutan,' Sanjay said.
The helicopter was scheduled to land in the state capital Itanagar at 11.30 a.m. Saturday.

The helicopter had two pilots, J.S. Babbar and K.S. Mallick, and three passengers on board, including the chief minister and his personal security officer Yeshi Choddak. The third passenger, a woman named Yeshi Lamu is a relative of the chief minister and sister of the Tawang Congress party MLA.
'Two Indian Air Force helicopters each were waiting for take off from the Guwahati and Tezpur air bases in Assam and even a Sukhoi was kept on stand by for search operations. But heavy rains in Arunachal Pradesh had delayed any aerial search so far,' Sanjay said.

Two central ministers, Mukul Wasnik and V. Narayanswamy, are arriving Itanagar Sunday to oversee the search operations with both of them being rushed under express orders from the prime minister.
The helicopter in question, AS350 B-3, is a single-engine chopper. In case of an engine failure, there are very slim chances of the helicopter making a safe landing.

The incident came just days after another Pawan Hans helicopter crashed in Tawang April 19, killing 17 people and injuring six.
The Pawan Hans Helicopter Services Limited (PHHL) has been operating five helicopters across Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura and daily Guwahati-Tawang services for the past nine years. It is one of the major lifelines of the landlocked Arunachal Pradesh.


Owaisi’s brother shot at, critical; Hyderabad tense

Express news service
Posted: Sun May 01 2011, 01:14 hrsHyderabad:
Tension prevailed in old city areas of Hyderabad on Saturday after assailants attacked Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi with knives and then opened fire on him, injuring him seriously. The condition of Owaisi, who took three bullets, was stated to be critical till late night.
Akbaruddin, 39, is the younger brother of MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi, the Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad.
Police Commissioner A K Khan said that the incident occurred in Barkas area in Chandrayangutta from where Akbaruddin is the MLA. Akbaruddin and another MIM MLA from Malakpet, Ahmed Bhalala, were on routine rounds in the area when four persons, allegedly owing allegiance to a property dealer Mohammed Phelwan, a former party member, attacked him. They first attacked Akbaruddin with knives and then opened fire when he ran towards his car. Bhalala, who intervened, was also seriously injured but was declared out of danger later in the evening.

Decentralizing Tokyo may save the nation

Sunday, April 24, 2011



The concentration of money and power in Tokyo is to a degree unthinkable in the United States. — Edward Seidensticker

A recent issue of the somewhat disreputable Shukan Jitsuwa looked into a "rumor" that said the capital may bemoved to the Kansai region due to the continuing threat of radiation in the eastern part of Japan. The exodus will be spearheaded by the private sector it said, mainly foreign companies but also firms that were born in Kansai but which had over time moved their headquarters to Tokyo. Jitsuwa said that Osaka governor Toru Hashimoto is excited about the possibility, hinting at a rivalry between him and Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara, who has never taken the idea of relocation seriously.
Because it was published in Jitsuwa, many won't take the article seriously, either. However, the earthquake of March 11 reminded everyone just how vulnerable Tokyo is to disaster. The quake caused little damage in the city, but the disruption of transportation and communications lines led to thousands of pedestrians clogging the sidewalks. Another weekly, Sunday Mainichi, reported that 33 percent of the people who commute to Tokyo for work walked home that night. It was an orderly migration, but nevertheless a worrying one. If this is what happens in Tokyo when a major earthquake strikes hundreds of kilometers away, what would happen if one struck much closer?
The idea of relocating the functions of the central government was first floated in the 1960s for various reasons, not all of them having to do with disaster countermeasures. During the so-called bubble period of the late 1980s, land prices in Tokyo were absurdly high, and it was thought that moving at least some of the government would spread the wealth around, since the theory was that related private sector concerns would follow. When the economy cooled in the 1990s so did talk about relocation, and by the late 2000s the idea was considered dead.
Now it's suddenly back. On April 14, Sankei Shimbun reported on a bipartisan meeting of national politicians in the Diet to set up fukutoshin (auxiliary capitals) that can take over if Tokyo is hit by a major natural disaster or terrorist attack. Some 200 lawmakers attended the meeting and agreed that construction must begin as soon as possible, by the end of the year at the latest. The urgency of such a task was underlined by Kobe University seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi, who warned at the meeting that if a major earthquake struck the Tokai region and damaged the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, Tokyo, which is less than 100 kilometers away, would have to be evacuated.
More than one auxiliary capital is preferable, but among the candidate locations the favorite seems to be Itami Airport in Osaka, a decision that should please Hashimoto, who wants to close Itami, once the region's international airport, in order to boost the fortunes of the newer Kansai International Airport. A bill has been submitted to set up a special economic district for the auxiliary capital so that planning and construction can begin.
But while there is certainly a need to have government functions reproduced somewhere outside of Tokyo, there are some people who believe it is not enough. In an opinion piece in the Asahi Shimbun, Mitsushi Koyama, the president of food company Bansho, says that full-scale decentralization of Tokyo should be the goal. He uses the expected shortage of electricity this summer to show how too much of the nation's resources are used for Tokyo and the surrounding regions. The area covered by Tokyo Electric Power Co. usually needs between 55 and 60 million kilowatts of power in the summer. None of theother nine regional power companies requires more than 20 million kilowatts at any one time.
But even if the government was moved out of Tokyo, Koyama doesn't believe it's enough. As he points out, only 2.8 percent of Tokyo's workers toil in the public sector, and the old theory that private sector companies would follow the government seems less supportable with the advent of the Internet. If the government wants to promote decentralization, it should directly encourage companies to move out of Tokyo. There's no reason for the Internet shopping mall Rakuten to have its headquarters in Roppongi. It can function anywhere. Japan has an excellent nationwide transportation network and high-speed communications system, so businesses can take advantage of regional characteristics.
Even Okinawa has special merits: All Nippon Airways has developed Naha Airport into a cargo hub for all of eastern Asia, so companies that sell parts to that area of the world could reduce costs if they relocated factories or distribution centers to Okinawa. The Mainichi Shimbun suggested Tokyo companies move to the Tohoku region in order to help it recover more quickly.
Shortly after the earthquake, some companies did move their offices out of the capital, but only temporarily. Under those circumstances, "leaving Tokyo" was seen as a negative thing. Koyama says business groups such as Nippon Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations) should promote leaving Tokyo in a positive light. A 47-year-old man who wrote a letter to the Asahi expressed similar ideas but added he didn't think the government could be counted on to make decentralization happen. Despite the concerted push to find an auxiliary capital, the Diet on April 15 passed a bill to give tax breaks to large corporations that plan redevelopment activities in large cities, including Tokyo, where all the large corporations are headquartered.
Ishihara is also an obstacle. During his recent reelection campaign, he supported greater disaster prevention capabilities for the city rather than decentralization. The governor, who has repeatedly said his political vision is national, wants to change Japan from his vantage point of Tokyo, thus indicating Tokyo is the nation. By that logic, if Tokyo falls, so does Japan.
Philip Brasor blogs at