Archive for September, 2007

Japan’s new leader wins support for Afghan mission

TOKYO (AFP) — Japan’s new prime minister won public and international support Thursday for his first key task of renewing a military mission backing Afghanistan, a battle that helped bring down his predecessor.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, a seasoned lawmaker who took charge Tuesday, has been welcomed with strong approval ratings as voters hope he brings stability after a tumultuous year under Shinzo Abe.

Polls published Thursday showed public opinion had shifted to support an extension of Japan’s military mission, while 11 nations made a joint appeal for the opposition to drop objections to renew the deployment.

Meeting with top bureaucrats Thursday, Fukuda said his government was in an “unprecedentedly tense situation.”

“It is extremely important to restore trust,” Fukuda said. “Without having trust from the people of the country, we will not be able to realise any policies or reforms.”

The opposition swept July elections in a backlash against scandals that surrounded Abe’s government, ousting the ruling Liberal Democratic Party from control of the upper house of parliament for the first time.

The opposition, saying that officially pacifist Japan should not be part of “American wars,” has vowed to end the naval mission in the Indian Ocean, under which Japan provides free fuel to warjets and ships of US-led forces.

Abe quit this month, citing opposition leader Ichiro Ozawa’s refusal to meet him to discuss extending the mission, although he later said he resigned due to poor health.

Fukuda has also pledged to extend the mission, which expires November 1 without passage of further legislation, saying that Japan, the world’s second largest economy, needed to contribute to international security.

“I will make efforts to make it possible to continue the mission, although the parliamentary situation is severe,” Fukuda told US President George W. Bush in a telephone call Wednesday, according to the premier’s office.

Ambassadors or senior diplomats from 11 nations met Thursday at the Pakistani ambassador’s residence and issued a joint statement praising Japan’s “unique and vital contribution” to the “war on terrorism.”

“The members of the coalition acknowledge and greatly appreciate Japan’s support in this regard and hope that Japan will continue its important contribution,” a joint statement said.

The envoys who attended the talks included US Ambassador Thomas Schieffer, who earlier met but failed to persuade Ozawa, the main opposition leader, to extend the naval mission.

Besides the United States and Pakistan, the joint appeal was also signed by envoys from Afghanistan, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and New Zealand.

Ozawa, famed for his political acumen, has vowed to scuttle Fukuda’s agenda and press him to dissolve the more powerful lower house for a general election.

But opinion polls Thursday found that more than half of voters supported Fukuda’s cabinet, double the support for Abe’s government before he resigned.

The best-selling Yomiuri Shimbun put the Fukuda cabinet’s support at 58 percent.

The newspaper, which surveyed 1,557 households by telephone Tuesday and Wednesday, showed 47 percent of voters backed extending the mission against 40 percent who disapproved.

It reversed the results of the paper’s personal-interview survey on September 8 and 9, which showed 39 percent opposition to the mission against 29 percent approval.

Makati, Philippines

Japan’s prime minister-to-be chooses ruling party chiefs

TOKYO: The dovish veteran politician selected by Japan’s troubled ruling party as its pick for prime minister chose his party lieutenants Monday, as the ruling bloc readied itself to battle the resurgent opposition in parliament.

Yasuo Fukuda, the 71-year-old son of a prime minister and a former right-hand man to two premiers, easily won Sunday’s vote for president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a position that ensures his election as prime minister in parliament Tuesday.

On Monday, Fukuda picked three men with Cabinet experience for top party posts.

Education Minister Bunmei Ibuki, 69, was tapped to replace Fukuda’s opponent in the party leadership race, Taro Aso, as secretary-general.

Former Trade Minister Toshihiro Nikai, 68, was named as chairman of the General Council, while former Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, 62, becomes the party’s policy chief.

In a sign that Fukuda may remain beholden to old ways of doing business, the selections were all heads of internal party factions that supported him in the race.

Fukuda’s opponent, Taro Aso, had been critical of the party’s factional politics, whose power Abe and his charismatic predecessor Junichiro Koizumi had sought to diminish.

The new LDP president faces daunting challenges: The upper house of parliament is dominated by the opposition, and sentiment is growing in favor of snap elections that could endanger the LDP’s grip on the lower house.

As prime minister, Fukuda has said he will aim to improve ties with Asia, maintain Japan’s pro-U.S. foreign policy by extending a naval mission in support of Western forces in Afghanistan, and provide assistance to rural areas left behind by the economic recovery.

He also vowed to rebuild the LDP’s popularity, which has plunged under a year of scandals and policy missteps by Abe, who has been hospitalized with stress-related stomach problems since announcing on Sept. 12 that he would resign.

“My party is determined to start anew and cooperate with the New Komeito and the opposition for the smooth operation of parliament,” Fukuda told reporters Tuesday.

The party elder, who served as chief Cabinet secretary in 2000-04, was seen as a symbol of stability after the uncertainty of the Abe administration, though some were worried the new premier-to-be would be too old-guard.

The political environment and LDP that Fukuda inherits are in serious disarray.

Abe, 53, came into office a year ago with high support ratings and an unquestioned ruling coalition dominance in parliament.

But he quickly frittered away those advantages as his Cabinet overflowed with money scandals and he pressed ahead with a nationalist agenda while people demanded more attention to bread-and-butter issues such as pensions.

The LDP suffered a serious blow in elections in July for the upper house of parliament, in which the resurgent opposition seized control of the chamber, heightening calls for snap elections for the lower house as well.

Abe apologized to the party for his sudden resignation in a message read after Fukuda’s selection, but said he would not resign as a lawmaker. The government also said it was possible Abe would hold a news conference at his hospital on Monday.

Fukuda’s first order of business will be pushing the Afghanistan support measure through parliament, where the opposition has vowed to defeat it. Japanese tankers have been refueling coalition ships in the Indian Ocean since 2001, and the U.S. — Japan’s top ally and protecter — has been pushing for an extension of the operation.

It was unclear, however, how long Fukuda would be able to stave off calls for lower house elections. He has termed such calls “understandable.”

Media reports said the LDP wanted to pass the Afghan measure and the national budget early next year before dissolving the lower house.

Associated Press Writer Hiroko Tabuchi contributed to this report.


20 years have passed since Dai Sawamura, also known as the second Shaider, destroyed the clan of Fuuma-Lear. Now, the descendants of the said clan had emerged to exact revenge on Earth. Gallian, a descendant of Dai, has a mission to search for his cousins to form an elite group of space sheriffs known as Zaido

Cast and Characters

* Dennis Trillo as Gallian
* Marky Cielo as Alexis Lorenzo
* Aljur Abrenica as Cervano Torres
* Lorna Tolentino as Helen
* Diana Zubiri as Carmela
* Raymart Santiago as Alvaro
* Tirso Cruz III as Ramiro
* Kris Bernal as Amy
* Lovi Poe as Mona
* Ian de Leon as Commander Zion
* Karel Marquez as Lyka
* Robert Villar as Oggy
* Jay Manalo as Drigo
* Paolo Ballesteros as Ida[2]
* LJ Reyes as Amazonang Lila
* Iwa Moto as Amazonang Itim
* Arci Munoz as Amazonang Puti
* Vaness del Moral as Amazonang Kahel
* Melissa Avelino as Amazonan Rosas[3]
* Dion Ignacio as Thor
* Tiya Pusit
* Al Tantay

Asian Stars Shine at Music Festival in Seoul

Top stars from around Asia are kicking off the Chuseok holiday with exciting pop performances at the 4th Asia Song Festival, Saturday evening.

Thousands of fans are expected to flock to the Sangam World Cup Stadium to see Taiwan’s F4 and A-mei, China’s Vicky Zhao, Hong Kong’s Gigi Leung, Japan’s Kuraki Mai, Thailand’s Golf & Mike, Philippines’ Barbie Almalbis, Vietnam’s Lam Truong, and Indonesia’s Peter Pan. Korean pop stars TVXQ, Lee Hyo-ri, Super Junior and SG Wannabe will also perform.

With 13 performers from nine countries, this is the largest Asia Song Festival since it started in 2004.

“This year is going to be bigger than ever, as many countries around the region will broadcast the concert. With the theme ‘We Are One,’ we believe the Korean artists are not just for Korea and the same with Japanese artists and Asian artists. We believe culture is for exchange. We hope through the festival, this would be fulfilled,” said Shin Hyun-taek, chairman of Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE). KOFICE is the organizer of the Asia Song Festival.

Many young female fans are eagerly awaiting the performances of TVXQ, who have lately focused their activities in Japan; Super Junior, who have released a new album; and F4 or JKVK, a Taiwanese pop group who gained popularity through the drama “’Meteor Garden.” Composed of Jerry Yan, Vanness Wu, Ken Chu and Vic Zhou, F4 are also in Seoul to promote tourism to Taiwan.

Many of the festival’s performers expressed their interest in Korean pop culture. Zhou said he liked the music of Korean singer Rain, while Leung said she admired actresses Lee Young-ae and Jun Ji-hyun.

Golf & Mike, who said they enjoyed watching dramas such as “Goong” and “Full House,” will perform their upcoming Korean single “Fight for You” for the first time during the festival.
“We love Korea. We like the language and music style. I hope Koreans will like our songs,” Golf said. The duo will also perform their hit Japanese song “Fever,” which was originally recorded with J-pop heartthrob Tomohisa Yamashita.

Lam Truong, who was given the nickname the Kim Jong-kuk (a Korean R&B singer) of Vietnam, will also perform his version of “Forever,” a song originally recorded by Ahn Jae-wook.

Since the Asia Song Festival will feature performances in Chinese, English, Korean, Japanese and other languages, KOFICE believes this is a good opportunity to promote different cultures.

“Language cannot be a barrier when it comes to music. I believe Asians have something in common when it comes to music. So we would like to take this opportunity to share the music,” KOFICE’s Shin said.

An indication of the growing cultural exchanges, many of the festival’s performers have collaborated with stars from other Asian countries.

Wu, who collaborated with Korean singer Kang-Ta, said: “To be able to work in so many different places is a blessing and to have this mixture of cultures, and learning and understanding of new cultures is another gift that everybody should receive,” he said.

Zhao, who appeared in a Hong Kong-produced movie “So Close” with Korean actor Song Seung-heon, said she would like to work with other Korean stars such as Choi Min-sik.

F4’s Chu said he is in negotiations to star in an independent film to be directed by a Filipino director and shot in the Philippines. “Right now, we are still dealing with the contract. It is an independent movie that will be shot in the Philippines. We might finish it by end of October. If the contract goes well, I will do it,” he said.

Aside from the Asian stars, the festival also gives a chance for new performers to show their talent. Korean pop group FT Island and Thai singer James will receive New Singer awards, while new girl group Kara and singer Whee will also perform.

Organizers said there was a huge demand for tickets for the Asia Song Festival, not just in Korea but also overseas. Around 3,000 foreigners had applied to get free tickets to the event. The organizers’ server crashed due to the rush to download the free tickets.


刑務所でハレ晴れユカイ (Hare Hare Yukai at PRISON)


the original

the Philippines prison version

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September 2007


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