Japan SPOTLIGHT January/February 2009

COVER STORY Energy & Environment: Global Approach to Long-term Challenges
How will Japan and the rest of Asia cope with this new challenge while responding to global environmental concerns closely related to the energy situation? Experts in various sectors, including bioenergy, the IEA and METI. showcase the road to solutions.
Special articles:Dr. T. J. Pempel, professor, UC Berkeley,
suggests Japan "re-balance" its policy priorities as it gives a fresh look at its relations with the United States ahead of the Obama administration's inauguration.

This issue carries a second installment in the Japanese Craft & Art series featuring "urushi" lacquer. Leading urushi lacquerware artist Kazumi Murose, holder of a "living national treasure" title, introduces the masterpieces of his choice in this issue. Another article features Wajima lacquerware, produced in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture. It is one of Japan's leading traditional craftwork brands using urushi, and some Wajima ware products were used at an official dinner during the G-8 Toyako summit. Yet another related article features "butsudan," a family Buddhist altar, also coated with urushi as well as leaf gold.
The current issue concludes the Promenade series of articles on farmer philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka. The last installment introduces the present activities of desert greening by clay-ball seeding, a practice being inherited by the next generation.