Corridor of Knowledge


Vol.94 The Ideal Employment System

Masahiro Abe, Professor, Faculty of Economics  Link: Chuo Online

From around the late 1990s, the way we work in Japan has diversified significantly. There is less number of young people in Japan working as regular employees. Data shows that one in four college graduates is a non-regular worker. Today the chances of finding a full-time regular job have become more difficult.

As a result, there are a growing number of non-regular and contingent workers in Japan. However, there are many problems underlying non-regular employment. Wage differences, unstable terms, and less growth opportunities are just a few examples that illustrate the concerns.

Now, the review of the Worker Dispatch Law is under discussion again. This program will cast a spotlight on the labor issues in Japan today.

A 2013 production

Vol.93 Drug Discovery using Bioinformatics

Yoshihiro Taguchi, Professor of Faculty of Science and Engineering  Link: Chuo Online
Mitsuo Iwadate, Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Hideaki Umeyama, Joint Researcher, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Who ever heard about the terminology, bioinformatics? This is a new area of study that merged biology and information technology, developing and improving methods for storing, retrieving, and analyzing biological data.

The characteristics of human beings are built in DNA molecules that encode the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms. The human genome has approximately 3 billion base pairs of DNA arranged into 46 chromosomes, which would take the power of the computer and information technology to decipher all of them. For example, if we can identify the genes that trigger cancer or Alzheimer's disease using a computer, this will lead to the development of a new drug specifically for the disease.

Here, we will look at the world of bioinformatics and the research for new drug development.

A 2013 production

Vol.92 Using Open Source Software

Jun Iio, Associate Professor, Faculty of Letters  Link: Chuo Online

It was breaking news that Windows XP, the Microsoft OS installed in one third of all computers in Japan, will terminate its product support services on April 9, 2014. This is expected to become a serious issue especially for small to mid-sized companies and local government bodies who cannot afford the costly process of switching over computers and updating their OS.

Generally, commercial software available in stores strictly forbids copies and redistribution after modification.
However recently, there has been a growing focus on "open source" software which does not apply those restrictions.
Here, we will focus on the benefits and possibilities of the further expansion of open source software, by taking a look at examples of companies which have already installed them.

2013 Production

Vol.91 Cyber Law: the Internet freedom and regulations

Susumu Hirano, Professor of Law (Civil and Cyber Jurisprudence), Faculty of Policy Studies  Link: Chuo Online

Today, there are various Internet-based services and businesses. Our life goes hand-in-hand with the Internet such as communications via email, e-commerce, advertising, blogs, message board, social networking services, and so on. However, the number of problems related to the Internet has been increasing. It's the fact that there have been innumerable troubles with spam mail, auction frauds, infringement of copyright, dissemination of personal information, insults, defamation, cyber terrorism, and so forth. In current usage of the term, "cyberspace" refers mainly to those Internet-based world. It is increasingly important to study a new law so called "Cyber Law," which is a relatively-new research in the judicial field. In Japan today, there is no "Cyber Law" as a statutory law, but it is extremely important to continue the research on this new judicial field to protect --various human rights on the cyberspace without hampering development of an information network. How far shall the Internet freedom regulations be extended? We focus on the importance of Cyberspace Law.

Vol.90 Ancient Roman Justice

Hikaru Mori, Associate Professor of Roman Law, Faculty of Law  Link: Chuo Online

The ancient ruins of Ercolano are located in the province of Campania, in northern Italy. Known as Herculeneum in ancient Roman times, the archaeological site is a reflection of a tragic city that was buried after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, together with the famous city of Pompeii. In 1938, a diptych was discovered from the habitat ruins that depicted judicial records from the ancient Roman times. According to the records, the plaintiff was a woman named Petronia Justa, whose mother was Vitalis, who was a former slave. At that time Rome's hierarchical society was based on slavery. A free mother's child was free, and a slave's child a slave. However, Vitalis, the mother of Justa was a former slave. Since it was unclear when the mother was freed from slavery, the trial took place to clarify if Justa was born a free child, or if she was freed from slavery. Focusing on the Roman Law, also known to be the roots of the modern Japan legal system, let us take a look at ancient Rome through a reproduction of the trial.

Vol.89 Exploring Hyakunin Isshu

Tomomi Yoshino, Associate Professor, Faculty of Letters  Link: Chuo Online

Ogura Hyakunin Isshu was arranged by Fujiwara no Teika, a Japanese poet, at Ogurayama in Kyoto during the Kamakura Period. He picked outstanding Japanese waka from one hundred poets extending from the Nara Period to the Kamakura Period. He selected from Chokusen Wakashu imperial collections of Japanese poetry and listed the poems in chronological order. The original purpose was to decorate mountain villa screen fusuma with poems about love and the beauty of the seasons in an elegant and sophisticated fashion. In the Muromachi Period, Ogura Hyakunin Isshu became well known as a beginner's book for Kadou, which is the study of waka. After the Edo Period, people started to know more about it due to Karuta, a Japanese card game, and from academic books and as people's entertainment. Even to this day, Japanese people love Ogura Hyakunin Isshu as a very familiar waka collection. "Exploring Hyakunin Isshu" Let's take a look at Hyakunin Isshu and its historical background while walking in Kyoto; the place connected with Fujiwara no Teika.

Vol.88 The Light and Shadow of Ecotourism

Masahiro Yabuta, Professor, Faculty of Economics  Link: Chuo Online

Ecotourism is a sustainable tourism that applies the best of its natural environment, history and culture. It is not just a tour but a hands-on, educational travel experience while conserving and learning about the nature and culture. Ecotourism has become popular, and lately ecotourism activities can be seen in many places as a means to develop the community. Tourism development affects the community in many ways. More tourists mean more trash and traffic, as well as ecological destruction imposing a heavy burden to the community. Focusing on the light and shadow of ecotourism from an economic viewpoint, we will take a look at the development of tourism, environmental issues, facts and challenges that face community renovation.

Vol.87 Accounting as a Career

Takeo Watanabe, Associate Professor, Faculty of Commerce  Link: Chuo Online

In recent years, there are a growing number of certified accountants than accounting job vacancies. Passing the difficult exam does not guarantee a job as an accountant right away. To acquire the certification, a certain period of working experience is necessary at an audit firm. Becoming an accountant is a long and hard road. However, approximately half of those wishing to become accountants are facing difficulty finding a job. The main reasons for this are the continuing economic downturn in Japan, as well as the existing structural issues regarding the process of becoming an accountant. It can also be said that many people are not aware of what accountants do, despite its high expertise and national exam which is required just like doctors and lawyers. The documentary aims to clarify what accountants do, and focus on what makes it an attractive job.

Vol.86 Co-creation of Ecotourism in the Disaster Areas

Masayoshi Tanishita, Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering  Links: Chuo Online (Part 1), Chuo Online (Part 2)

One year has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, known to hit once in a few hundred years.

At Chuo University, many students and faculty have joined to give aid to the evacuation sites at an early stage.

At the seminar led by Masayoshi Tanishita, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering, students pursued to help reconstruct the disaster sites based on the concept of ecotourism.

What can a university do to contribute to the community?

What kind of outreach can a university provide, by keeping in mind the importance of learning from the local community, and having the ability to pull out the imagination and energy of the local people?

Here, we will take a look at how ecotourism is co-created with the restoration of evacuation sites, through the activities of Tanishita Seminar at Minami-sanriku in Miyagi.

Vol.85 Creating Employment: Revitalizing Japan from the Community Level

Kazuo Matsumaru, Professor, Faculty of Economics  Link: Chuo Online

Today, there are many young people in Japan facing difficulty as they try to find employment. In many cases, there is a gap between the job seekers' expectations and the requirements of the company. In recent years, the term "burakku kigyo," a Japanese phrase meaning black company, has been coined to describe the companies that exploit young workers by forcing long working hours without overtime pay. It has become a challenge for young prospective workers to find a company that is fair and ethical, focused on employees, and promises a healthy working environment.

Japan is faced with many critical labor-related issues, including world-wide depression, rising unemployment rate, and stagnating economic growth. Businesses are required to take specific measures to support their employees. Actions need to be taken in local community levels. To create a work-friendly environment and become self-sustainable, labor issues should be discussed in the community level.

While the population ages and the birth rate falls in Japan, what needs to be done in order to revitalize the country and provide a working environment where the young generation can have hopes and dreams?

Let us look at examples of stimulating the community and ways of generating employment in the changing times.