Asia trains – Rail Eisure Wed, 26 May 2021 22:09:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Asia trains – Rail Eisure 32 32 How St. Louis relies on a Port of Virginia rail connection Wed, 26 May 2021 20:44:04 +0000

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William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

The St. Louis area relies heavily on its Norfolk Southern and CSX rail link to the Port of Virginia, hundreds of miles on the East Coast, to maintain its position “as one of the major centers for freight and shipping. multimodal distribution in the United States. ”The relationship was discussed in detail at the FreightWeekSTL 2021 conference, hosted by Bi-State Development, which operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway.

Aaron Katrancha, Breakbulk, Ro-Ro and Rail sales manager for the Port of Virginia, spoke with Mary Lamie, executive vice president of multimodal companies at Two-state development. Lamie noted that the Saint-Louis regional freight the organization “is taking the lead in helping to ensure shippers are aware of scheduled rail services and the benefits they offer.”

The St. Louis Regional Freightway is described as “a two-state development company formed to create a regional freight district and full authority for freight operations and opportunities in eight counties in Illinois and Missouri, which include the metropolitan region of Saint-Louis. Public and private sector companies collaborate with the St. Louis Regional Freightway on marketing, public advocacy, and freight and infrastructure development.

“The Port of Virginia is one of the main gateways from the St. Louis region to the world,” Katrancha said. “Dedicated rail service provided by Norfolk Southern and CSX connects the St. Louis area to the East Coast port, where more than $ 900 million has been invested over the past three years. This investment doubled the capacity of the Port of Virginia and improved the efficiency of transporting freight on and off rail and ocean carriers. This translates to time and money savings for importers and exporters in the St. Louis area who use the Port of Virginia and its shipping services for global connectivity.

“We have 30 weekly services with our ocean carrier customers, giving shippers in the community of St. Louis or any of our domestic routes many options. You can get to virtually anywhere in the world from the Port of Virginia – Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Central America, Europe, Indian Subcontinent, Middle East, Mediterranean, South America – you name it. We have these global connections to deliver the St Louis market. ”

Of its 30 shipping services, Katrancha said 11 were Asian, “which demonstrates the transition in global freight flows in recent years. While it was once this trans-Pacific trade connected to the west coast, today the Port of Virginia’s largest trading partner, both for import and export, is China, with ships arriving at the port. via the Suez Canal and the widening of the Panama Canal. This has enabled the Port of Virginia to increase the volumes passing through the port and underscores the importance of its partnerships with railways. Rail links between intermodal stations in the St. Louis area and the Port of Virginia work very well as a commercial airline. service – according to a very concrete timetable on which our customers can adjust their watches. “

From the St. Louis area, Norfolk Southern currently offers scheduled service six days a week, on both the import and export side. On the import side, once a train is loaded at the port, it reaches the Norfolk South Terminal in St. Louis in four days to be picked up by truck and driven to its final destination. Likewise, CSX on the import side offers regular service five days a week, with its trains reaching the CSX terminal in East St. Louis, Ill., In four days as well. On the export side, the CSX scheduled service runs once a week, but Katrancha said that “depends on the volume, and once there are new customers it can increase”.

“The benefit for customers in the St. Louis area is the combination of nearby intermodal terminals served by the two Class I railways that provide highly efficient services connecting the Port of Virginia, which also builds capacity. and the efficiency of our port terminals and the port for the future, ”Katrancha said. “The flexibility, reliability, efficiency of this global connection are really essential. Considering the volumes passing through the Port of Virginia in recent months, even in the midst of COVID-19, it is evident that shippers have already discovered this gateway and are benefiting from the investments that have been made at the Port of Virginia, including the The addition of two new ship-to-shore cranes, which are 175 feet tall are the largest in the Americas, capable of handling the largest ships entering the port area. Two more cranes will be added this year, offering even greater efficiency. “

“November 2020 has been a banner month for us at the port,” said Katrancha. “In March, we almost broke that record. It really does mean something because March usually doesn’t beat November, the rush hour for us. Despite the high volumes, with the efficiency and capacity that we have invested in the terminals, our parameters have remained the same. “

These measurements measure truck turnaround times and how quickly a box can be loaded onto a railcar from the seagoing vessel or vice versa, “and it stayed within the 48 hour threshold, which was critical for the port. during this period, ”noted Katrancha. “Not only did they not miss a beat and were able to accept more ships than they ever had before, but some of the ships they got were because they couldn’t fit into another. port elsewhere. Some of these ships were late coming from other places. We were able, inside our bunk windows, to efficiently work the ships, move the crates between the stacks, work the rail and make the trucks work to get them out of the door. It’s really a testament to not only our operations team and the great work they do there, but also all the work that has gone into creating these efficiencies. ”

The port currently transports approximately 3.2 million TEU (twenty foot equivalent units) per year, which equates to approximately 1.7 million 40 foot containers per year. There is a good balance between imports and exports, which is especially important when looking at the rail side of the business, ”Katrancha said. “Everywhere between 32% and 38% of our activities travel by rail. It’s a difficult network for railways and port terminals to manage if you move around in a bunch of empty wagons so you can deal with an imbalance between imports and exports. Our relative balance between imports and exports on rail provides additional efficiency for our rail services. And it’s also good for senders. It creates efficiency.

Katrancha said ocean carriers want the most direct service for their containers, which make up a large portion of their assets. “Shipping carriers want them back as quickly as possible,” he said. “So it’s important to bring containers to a market and then remove them as efficiently as possible. We have the most direct train service to and from Saint-Louis. We offer not only freight owners but also container lines a very efficient product ”

Categories: Class I, freight, freight forecasting, intermodal, news, short and regional lines, switching and terminal
Keywords: Two-State Development, Latest News, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Port of Virginia, St. Louis Regional Freight Track

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Human error remains the main cause of cyber attacks Wed, 26 May 2021 04:25:00 +0000

Human error is still one of the most common causes of cyber attacks, according to a new study from Nixu.

According to the study, more than a third of all cyber attacks involve internal actors and more than a third included social engineering.

Many violations result from inadequate safety hygiene and a lack of attention to detail. Social engineering is becoming more and more sophisticated and therefore effective. Organizations of all sizes should pay attention to human error and cybersecurity training.

“However, most companies do not adequately train their employees on security issues,” says Anu Laitila, head of cybersecurity awareness activities at Nixu.

Together with her team, Laitila creates security awareness activities and programs for companies and organizations from various sectors.

Awareness campaigns can include lectures, exercises, games, blogs, or any type of engaging content. The trigger can be anything that will help people remember safety actions.

“We even created an escape room experience concept for employees,” explains Laitila.

The European cybersecurity company has started a cooperation with one of the largest security awareness training platforms in the world, KnowBe4, which continuously trains company employees in the identification of phishing and of social engineering.

A complete tool to boost learning
In its services, Nixu uses advanced tools to improve awareness in various ways, depending on the needs of its client organizations. One of the largest integrated security awareness platforms is KnowBe4 which contains the world’s largest library of security awareness content including automated training campaigns, mock phishing attacks and a wide range content in different formats. The company has created a television series called “The Inside Man” which covers various aspects of social engineering.

With the KnowBe4 platform, CISOs can create automated and ongoing awareness campaigns and follow up with those who need an extra helping hand.

Campaigns can also be targeted at a specific department, such as the human resources or finance team, and help design a personal learning path for them.

It is also possible to use groups according to their learning levels. Reports provided by KnowBe4 support the development of cybersecurity programs and common business practices. Risk managers, IT managers, development managers, or other managers with strategic roles can see the current state of staff security maturity.

Enter a new era of security
Cyber ​​security has long been seen only as a technical issue. With many unfortunate cybersecurity incidents, breaches, and the ever growing trend of social engineering, businesses are starting to see the big picture and the human factor that surrounds it.

“Businesses should invest in the technical side – security operations centers, software and application security, identity and access management, to name a few – but the palette is not full. until a good safety awareness program is running, ”says Laitila.

“And that goes for businesses of all sizes. The culture change in business is happening and pioneering organizations are quickly adopting new work habits.”

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ITS Education Asia and UNITAR collaborate on the Asia-Pacific Youth Ambassador Program Tue, 25 May 2021 10:03:13 +0000

Hong Kong, China / Hiroshima, Japan – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and ITS Education Asia will jointly launch the UNITAR Youth Ambassador Program for Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong and other towns of China. 10-week program empowers high school students to help our world rebuild better, greener and stronger since the recent pandemic that swept the world. It trains young people in sustainable development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (ODD).

“Young people are the driving force behind social development and how we act together to advance the SDGs now determines their future, not ours.”

says Mr. Danny Harrington, Managing Director of ITS Education Asia. “We are grateful to UNITAR for recognizing our unwavering commitment to education for sustainable development and the promotion of global citizenship among young leaders in Hong Kong, China and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. “

“Our engagement with UpLink, the World Economic Forum’s platform to mobilize innovation to advance the SDGs, has made it clear that young people are impatient to create systemic change, ”

says Mr. Kenneth Kwok, Founder and CEO of Global Citizen Capital and KIDsforSDGs. “This Youth Ambassador program will be one where young people can co-design the framework and co-organize the content for their future.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with ITS Education Asia and expand education for sustainable development through innovation”,

says Ms. Mihoko Kumamoto, Director of UNITAR Prosperity Division and UNITAR Hiroshima Office. UNITAR runs various programs to develop the capacities of young leaders around the world.

The UNITAR Youth Ambassador for Asia-Pacific program will debut in Hong Kong in September 2021 with the support of 20 official partner schools. It will be expanded to various cities in China in 2022, followed by other Asia-Pacific countries in 2023.

About ITS Education Asia

ITS Education Asia has built an ecosystem of learning opportunities and educational services in Hong Kong, including: a one-of-a-kind alternative school for students whose traditional system has failed; an open examination center; a wide range of admission support for schools and universities; and a range of extracurricular partnerships. ITS has a history of innovation: it is still the only alternative school in Hong Kong, and launched SDG Education in 2020. The Young Changemaker Incubator is at the heart of the ITS ecosystem and will continue to grow by adding related components. such as WFUNA and Cours UNITAR through its non-profit foundation and working with aligned organizations such KIDsforSDGs.


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) provides innovative learning solutions to individuals, organizations and institutions to strengthen global and national action for a better future. Based in Hiroshima, the Prosperity Division trains present and future change makers in developing countries, especially young people and women, so they can shape a more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world.

/ Public publication. This material is from the original organization and may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View full here.

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Dad who received a call from daughter injured in Malaysian light rail crash afflicted by screaming passengers Tue, 25 May 2021 06:56:17 +0000

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Her daughter’s screams and screams when she called him on the way home was enough to tell Kamarozaman Jamaludin that all was not well.

Mr Kamarozaman, whose 25-year-old daughter Nur Fashilah Al Jiilah was a passenger on one of two LRT Kelana Jaya line trains that collided on Monday May 24, said a sense of terror had overwhelmed him when he got a call from her around 8:30 p.m.

“She told me about the crash and at the time I could only pray to try to calm myself down. I was even more distressed when I heard the screams and cries of other injured passengers in the train, “said the 55-year-old. .

Speaking to Sinar Harian at Kuala Lumpur Hospital on Tuesday, Mr Kamarozaman said his daughter was returning to her home in Klang from her office in Jalan Ampang when the incident occurred.

His daughter, he said, had difficulty speaking and kept repeating herself during the call.

“She must have been traumatized and she is now being treated because she cannot move her legs. I am not sure of her exact condition because she is not saying much,” he added.

Mr Kamarozaman said he saw the amount of blood in footage of the incident which went viral and was grateful that Nur Fashilah was safe.

On Monday evening, a manually controlled train that was under test came across another carrying 213 passengers between the underground stations KLCC and Kampung Baru.

The incident left 47 seriously injured and 166 others slightly injured.

They were then sent to Kuala Lumpur hospital for treatment.

LRT operator Prasarana Malaysia will grant 1,000 RM (320 Singapore dollars) to each of the 213 victims.

Prasarana president Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said 64 passengers were still hospitalized, six of them in critical condition and three requiring ventilators.

Mr Tajuddin also told a press conference on Tuesday that Prasarana would cover the medical costs of each victim until they are discharged.

“We are also working on improving the SOP for the LRT service,” he added.

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Over 200 injured after two trains collide in Malaysian capital Mon, 24 May 2021 17:10:00 +0000

The accident happened at 8:45 p.m. local time when one of the trains, which was on a test drive and had only one driver, collided with a train carrying passengers.

The two trains, which are operated by Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, were traveling at 40 km (about 25 miles) per hour when they collided in a tunnel between Kampung Baru and KLCC stations, state media said.

Some 166 people were slightly injured and were sent to nearby hospitals for treatment, including Kuala Lumpur Hospital. Forty-seven passengers were seriously injured, state media added.

Videos and photos posted on social media showed several passengers were bleeding and broken glass panels inside the trains.

Dang Wangi District Police Chief ACP Mohamad Zainal Abdullah said the passenger train was heading from the KLCC station – an underground tunnel near the Petronas Twin Towers – to Gombak station at one end of the road. line. The empty train was going from Kampung Baru station to Gombak station, Abdullah said, according to state media.

Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin called for a full investigation to find out the cause of the crash.

“I take this accident seriously and have asked the Ministry of Transport and Prasarana Malaysia Berhad to conduct a thorough investigation,” he said, Bernama reported.

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the collision was the first major accident in 23 years of operating the metro system, and he promised a full investigation, Reuters reported.

The 88-story Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world.

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Qatar World Cup venues come to Malaysia Mon, 24 May 2021 00:30:15 +0000

The exhibition at the Pavilion shopping center which showcases the eight stadiums that will be used during the 2022 World Cup.

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s football mania time. Manchester City won the Premiership, Atletico Madrid finished La Liga and Inter Milan are Serie A champions.

The European king of clubs will be decided when City meet Chelsea in the Champions League final on May 29 in Portugal.

And then the biggies: Euro 2020 will be hosted by 11 countries from June 12 with the final at Wembley Stadium in London on July 12, and the Copa America in Argentina with its final on July 10.

But all of this will lack one main ingredient – the presence of the fans. The number of supporters will be limited and with the SOPs the celebrations will be stifled.

Football’s real comeback will likely only come after global vaccinations by the middle of next year – when the biggest sporting spectacle returns to Asia at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

And in the new normal, Qatar promises a lot of new records.

It will be the first World Cup to be held in November-December, it will be the first to be held in the Middle East, and it will be the first to have all eight stadiums within striking distance of each other, no more than 25 km. Far from each other.

Football fans can hop on a metro at any stadium after a match and be at the next stadium within minutes for another, said Qatar’s Ambassador to Malaysia Fahad bin Mohammed Kafood.

Ambassador Fahad bin Mohammed Kafood has promised Malaysians a great show in Qatar.

The stadiums themselves promise to be amazing.

Malaysians now have the chance to see these stadiums at the 2022 World Cup exhibit at the Pavilion Mall in Kuala Lumpur. The exhibition will run until June 30.

The stadiums are really fancy. The iconic Lusail stadium is not only pretty, but also has solar panels, which not only allows it to fuel itself but also to generate energy for the town of Lusail that grows around it.

The Al Bayt stadium looks like a Bedouin tent and the Education City Stadium is on the way to becoming an educational city after the World Cup, with schools and kindergartens covering an area of ​​12 km2.

Then there is the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium waterfront with a lake around it in Doha – an “IKEA stadium”, of sorts. It is 100% prefabricated, brought from China in shipping containers and secured together like an IKEA cabinet. Even the containers were used as part of the building!

After the World Cup, it will be completely dismantled and moved elsewhere, perhaps to Africa to help the poor there, Fahad says.

Ambassador Fahad bin Mohammed Kafood showing FMT Director General Azeem Abu Bakar the miniature of the Al Bayt stadium, with its appearance of a Bedouin tent.

He said more than $ 10 billion (RM 40 billion) had been spent on the construction and renovation of the eight stadiums.

They will be much more than just football arenas. Not only will fans be seated in air-conditioned comfort, but players will also play in air-conditioned arenas whose roofs can be closed to keep the fresh air inside, he says.

Al Bayt Stadium, for its part, will have luxurious suites where visitors can stay for the duration of the World Cup and step out on their balconies to watch the matches!

Can there be a better way to soak up the atmosphere of the World Cup?

The incredible Ras Abu Aboud Stadium was transported in containers from China and assembled. It will be dismantled and sent to Africa after the World Cup.

Ambassador Fahad said six stadiums were ready while two more were almost ready.

“However, all the infrastructure, hotels, logistics and metro trains are operational,” he said when FMT visited the exhibition.

The Qatari soccer team is also set, with 22-year-old Al Saad striker Akram Alif winning the Asian Player of the Year award for 2019, Qatar’s second consecutive winner after his team-mate in Abdelkarim Hassan club. There was no price for 2020.

So come to Qatar for the best football in the world, says Ambassador Fahad. But first, he says, come to the Pavilion Mall for a taste of what to expect.

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Hitachi chooses Pakistan for breakthrough in emerging electric bus charger market Sat, 22 May 2021 16:39:00 +0000

TOKYO – Hitachi will help build a charging infrastructure for electric buses in Pakistan, as part of the Japanese industrial group’s search for contracts in this sector in South Asia and the Middle East, Nikkei has learned.

Hitachi ABB Power Grids, a Tokyo-based subsidiary of Blue Chip, sees emerging markets as an important testing ground for its charging system, which replenishes bus batteries not only at terminals, but also in rapid bursts every time. stop.

Demand for electric buses is expected to increase as Asian countries seek to temper urban sprawl with low-carbon technology. By 2030, 3 to 5 million electric buses will be in service worldwide, up from around 500,000 in 2019, according to forecasts by the International Energy Agency.

In Pakistan, Hitachi ABB Power Grids will work with local bus company Daewoo Express and Chinese electric bus maker Sky-well New Energy Automobile Group to build a network. The Hitachi unit has entered into a preliminary agreement to provide charging infrastructure for this effort.

Sky-well will supply buses built outside Pakistan to Daewoo Express, with a view to eventually assembling them in the country.

In the Middle East, Hitachi ABB Power Grids will team up with another Chinese bus manufacturer, Yinlong Energy. Charging equipment should be constructed to withstand scorching daytime temperatures and sandstorms.

Emerging markets are home to many cities with underdeveloped urban transport, giving them a unique opportunity to jump straight to the most advanced zero emission technology.

Hitachi aims to eventually transfer the know-how acquired in these countries to projects in advanced economies.

The company isn’t the only Japanese player seeking overseas growth in electric buses. Mitsui & Co. and Sumitomo Corp. have called on their own international partners in this area.

Shares of Tokyo-listed Hitachi, whose business spans power grids, trains, factory automation and household appliances, hit a roughly 20-year high in Tokyo on Friday, thanks to forecasts that the company is heading for a record net profit for the second year in a row.

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Opinion: The rise of anti-Asian American and AAPI hatred is alarming. Here’s what San Diego County is doing. Fri, 21 May 2021 21:43:29 +0000

Stephan has been the San Diego County District Attorney since 2017.

The dramatic increase in hate incidents and hate crimes against Asian Americans and the Pacific Islands (AAPI) since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is alarming.

More than 6,600 incidents of racism and discrimination have been reported to a national coalition called Stop AAPI Hate between March 2020 and March 2021. Videos depicting violence against AAPI individuals, like Pak Ho, 75, who was thrown to the ground in Oakland and later died of a head trauma, or mass The tragedy that occurred in the Atlanta area two months ago, when six Asians were shot and killed, has deeply affected the AAPI community around the world and has affected all who believe in dignity for all.

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Here in San Diego, we have seen a similar increase in hate crimes from AAPI. After receiving no anti-AAPI hate crimes cases in 2018 or 2019, our office has filed criminal hate crimes cases in three anti-AAPI cases since the start of the pandemic.

Since becoming a San Diego County District Attorney, tackling hate crimes has been a priority for me. Hate crimes not only affect the targeted victim, but create a ripple effect of fear and pain for all those who share the characteristics of victims. As a result, we have almost tripled our prosecutions and convictions for hate crimes. My office regularly trains law enforcement agencies on how to identify and investigate hate crime cases. And we’re working with a variety of community leaders on how to deal with hate incidents before they turn into hate crimes.

My office also launched the state’s first online hate crime reporting tool in April 2020, when the country initially saw the first wave of anti-AAPI hate crimes. We have encouraged the public to report hate incidents and hate crimes in non-emergency situations directly to our office so that we can identify trends, ensure that no potential hate crime cases fall through the cracks and provide victim services. The reporting tool can be found at under the Helping Victims tab, or the public can also call our hotline at (619) 515-8805 or email us at Through our reporting tools, we received 155 tips, including 13 hate incidents targeting the AAPI community. Most of these hateful incidents have been largely motivated by the fact that Asians are responsible for the pandemic.

But we can all do more to fight hate. We need to make our communities more aware of the importance of reporting and documenting hate crimes. We know that hate crimes are one of the least reported categories of crimes. If you are the victim or witness of a hate incident or hate crime, it is imperative that you report it to law enforcement. In an emergency, always call 911.

We need to better support victims of hate crimes. Most hate crimes occur on our streets, sidewalks and parking lots when we go to work or run errands, where witnesses are required to see and hear the incident. The fear experienced by victims of hate crimes is unique. They are targeted for characteristics they cannot change: their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability. Standing by and supporting these victims in these critical post-crime moments can give them the strength to report the crime and feel safe in their community knowing that allies are there.

For our non-English speaking victims of hate crimes, we need easier access to interpretation services. While English and Spanish are the two most widely spoken languages ​​in our region, Tagalog, Chinese and Vietnamese are third, fourth and fifth respectively. Language barriers should not prevent any victim of crime from reporting.

Finally, we need more anti-stigma programs for our youth. The latest information shows that adolescents and adults are being recruited by white supremacist and white nationalist groups. The recruiting message is simple but effective: you lose your power and influence to other races. This message sent to these young minds must be countered by one of the teaching values ​​of racial equity, diversity and inclusion.

We are fortunate to have a large and vibrant AAPI community in San Diego County, and we must do whatever we can to protect and support them and let them know that we support them against prejudice and hate, and we will hold those who harm them. indebted.

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Japan’s obsession with perfection is an Olympic-sized problem Fri, 21 May 2021 20:00:00 +0000

Roland Kelts is the author of “Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture has Invaded the US”, an editor of “Monkey: New Writing from Japan” and a visiting professor at Waseda University.

Japan is known worldwide for its punctual and efficient customer service, and during most of the pandemic – with the country in varying degrees of lockdown – it has been a godsend.

Food deliveries arrive at your door, hot and tightly sealed, up to 10 minutes sooner than promised. Packages sent from all over the country are delivered to you the next morning by gloved couriers. Convenience stores are really convenient – located everywhere, well stocked, impeccably sanitized, and open 24/7, even in the smallest towns.

In Tokyo, public clocks are everywhere. While it is true that you can set your watch on departures and arrivals of Japanese trains, from high speed shinkansen to suburban trains and more humble subways, you don’t really need a watch here.

Yet now that Japan has to keep pace with global vaccinations just two months before the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the country is far behind and is scrambling to catch up. Only 2% of its population has been fully immunized, placing Japan at the bottom of the 37 developed countries that make up the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Which give? Why is the country hesitating over vaccine delivery when all conventional metrics – history, culture, trade, and the looming global review of the Olympics – would indicate that Japan is a regional if not a global leader?

I call it systemic myopia of Japan: an obsession with making every node in the system work well without a bigger picture of what the system should do.

Japan’s economic, cultural and political models assume a stable state that is under control so that it can afford to sweat the little things. When Japanese systems are isolated from interruptions, they are built to perfection. The precision in the precision of the details makes everyday life here functional, safe and reliable. It’s a great place to call home.

But when it comes to thinking long-term and large-scale to deal with crises or big plans – like speeding up a nationwide vaccine rollout against a global virus while welcoming an extravaganza international sports – Japan clings to an outdated step by step. means, to require an employee in person hanko buffers during the lockdown of lengthy vaccine approval procedures, whatever the realities.

Last summer, Finance Minister Taro Aso cited Japan’s “higher level of cultural norms” as the reason for its then low number of COVID deaths. Now, with mortalities exceeding 12,000, Aso is silent.

The most heartbreaking example of mental disjunction in Japan came 10 years ago, after the 2011 collapses at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Six days after the government’s frantic response began, TV footage showed a lone helicopter hovering 300 feet above the factory, eclipsed by the buildings below, spraying 2,000 gallons of water onto the smoking dome of ‘a damaged reactor – water blown by the wind in white vapor trails. which were washed away by the sea.

Video capture shows a helicopter pouring water onto a reactor to cool superheated fuel rods inside the core of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 17, 2011. © Fukushima / Kyodo Central TV

Prime Minister Naoto Kan had commanded the only self-defense helicopter in a desperate effort to prevent the damage from spreading. But to me it looked like a pitiful symbol of too little, too late.

I remember that helicopter now, as the government reestablishes short-term states of emergency at the very last minute, calling for restraint but offering no guidance or game plan, spraying mist on the toxic dome of COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

To be fair, in Japanese art, engineering, and cuisine, less is usually better. Most of her prized creative accomplishments champion the miniature and the minimal: exquisite netsuke dolls, lacquers and ceramics, spare flower arrangements and haiku poetry, portable electronic engineering and hand-carved wood carpentry. Even its unparalleled and pioneering forms of popular culture, manga, and anime rely on highly selective linework and limited-frame animation techniques for their unique appeal.

The success of post-war Japan rests on its ability to think big in a small space. The entire archipelago covers fewer square miles than the US state of California, but is home to more than three times the state’s population. Seventy percent is mountainous terrain that is largely uninhabitable, with little area for agricultural land and no indigenous oil reserves. For centuries, and out of necessity, Japan has excelled at making small things with few resources that have very big effects.

The island nation thrived in times of isolation but failed in its colonial ambitions, welcoming outsiders with suspicion. Immigration remains low and since the first state of emergency last April, a long list of foreign nationals have been barred from entry. Until Thursday, only one foreign vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech, was authorized.

A certain degree of inward-looking self-respect has long adapted and rewarded indigenous sensibility. Over more than 200 years sakoku – closed country – period 1639 to 1853, as Western powers stumbled upon themselves to secure global trade routes and Asia’s wealth, Japan closed its ports and saw its civilization flourish. Until the United States forced the country to open in 1853 with its armada of potential Black Ships super-spreaders, Japan was doing very well under the self-imposed lockdown.

But Japan has also proven that it can implement comprehensive policies and programs when it is under enough pressure to do so, especially when that pressure comes from outside. Gaiatsu – foreign pressure – largely motivated the acquisitive study of the country and the adaptation of Western technologies in its process of modernization during the Meiji period (1868-1912), when the virtues of education and travel were valued.

Pressed again by the West almost a century later, at the end of World War II, Japan implemented sweeping plans for growth and societal change. It is no accident that Japan’s global spirit was inspired by its first and so far the only Olympic Games in 1964. As author Robert Whiting points out in his recent memoir, “Tokyo Junkie”, in 1960, less than a quarter of Tokyo’s neighborhoods had a sewer system. Four years later, by the time the torch was lit, they had the fastest train in the world and many flush toilets.

Today, as I write, the clocks are all correct, deliveries fast, stores well stocked. But what looks like a constant sensibility from the outside manifests itself in a million discrete and siled obsessions, without the coordination necessary to trigger meaningful action. While Japan’s image abroad is more compelling than ever, its systemic myopia inside the country creates a confusing micro-focus that lacks vision, as the country’s poor immunization planning reveals.

Government and business offices in Japan tend to be as precise as they are sclerotic. Everyone at each booth knows how to focus their i’s and cross their t’s, making everyday life smooth and efficient. But when it comes to conceptualizing anything beyond his desk, their screens go blank.

A growing chorus of foreign voices is now calling on Tokyo to cancel the games, and a national petition created last week has nearly 400,000 signatures. But it remains to be seen if pressure of any kind can pull Japan out of its nearsightedness this time around. What is clear is that a crisis like COVID on the cusp of an international event like the Olympics cannot be resolved by a department that micromanages its own workspace.

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This mammoth tour takes travelers from all over the world in 80 days – without flying Thu, 20 May 2021 20:52:54 +0000

Wouldn’t we all like to do what Phileas Fogg did? Cross continents and oceans in search of new experiences, preferably for a very long time? Perhaps that is why Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days still resonates almost 150 years later: we are restless and insatiable explorers.

This is obviously one of the many reasons that the past year has been frustrating. But now that the world is opening up a little more, maybe it’s time to think about indulging this globetrotting instinct as fully as possible – maybe even doing exactly what Fogg did. To mark the anniversary of Verne’s novel, a travel agency is organizing a tour that takes travelers around the world in 80 days. And to pay homage to Fogg’s journey, attendees won’t even have to jump on a single plane.

Travelers will begin the epic three-month journey in London, before traveling by train to Paris, Zurich, Vienna and Lviv in Ukraine. They will then travel by sleeper to Moscow, before taking other trains along the historic Silk Road trade route through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and China, including relays in Beijing, Shanghai. and Xiamen. And probably the biggest challenge of the trip, participants will then board a freighter for a massive 16-day crossing from the Pacific to North America (so, uh, don’t sign up if you’re seasick. easily).

The second leg of the tour will include stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, as well as a transcontinental train journey across Canada from Vancouver to Toronto. You will then spend a few days in Montreal and Halifax, before boarding a cargo ship across the Atlantic to return to Southampton in the UK.

This route is a bit exhausting just thinking about it, but if that sounds like you, you will also need to have some pretty deep pockets. Around the world prices organized by Unknown destinations, start for just £ 17,950 per person (including accommodation, transport, entrance fees and some food).

But listen carefully: if you’ve read the novel, you’ll know that in 1872 Fogg made the trip with a massive bet of £ 20,000 (today’s £ 2.3million in silver). So maybe, in fact, it’s a good deal?

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