March 26, 2010
You might think that falling prices would be a good thing for consumers and in the short term. But when prices continue to tumble it can be very bad news for a country's economy. That's the position Japan finds itself in. Jeffrey Kingston of Temple University, Japan Campus, says the current trend is worrying. "Household income has declined by 20 percent in the last decade," Kingston said. "So the real problem is that consumers are holding onto their wallets and waiting for prices to decline. To lure them into the showroom, producers are cutting prices. This feeds the expectation that prices will continue to drop, which means that consumers are still waiting."
" 'Burglar's guts': Temple's Juan Fernandez brings nerve, smarts"
March 19, 2010
In Rio Tercero, Argentina, Juan Fernandez's family and friends will gather at his parent's restaurant, Pino Grigio, to watch No. 5 Temple face No. 12 Cornell in a first-round East regional game. His family will be watching the game on the Internet, but last week his parents cheered for the Owls from the stands as they watched their son win most outstanding player honors after the Owls defeated Richmond in the Atlantic 10 championship. "He's a classic decision maker, a classic guard," said Temple coach Fran Dunphy.
The Florida Times-Union, " Increase in worship attendance seen in Haiti since quake"
March 17, 2010
In addition to food, shelter and medical care, Haitians seem to have become increasingly hungry for spiritual sustenance since January's killer earthquake. Officials from different denominations are reporting a doubling of attendance of religious services. The timing is good for Protestant groups to make inroads in the island's majority Catholic population, said Terry Rey, associate professor of religion at Temple. Rey said it's no surprise groups like the Baptists are seeing attendance increases since the quake because Haitians have been swinging toward Protestantism since the end of World War II. "I could see the earthquake contributing to the acceleration of this trend."
KYW News Radio, " Local Catholic Scholar Weighs Priest Sex Crisis in Europe"
March 15, 2010
There have been about 300 reports of priestly abuse in Germany since January. Investigators and reporters alike have been trying to see if the German-born Pope was involved in dealing with accused priests in any way. Leonard Swidler, professor of Catholic Thought & Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University, says the particulars of these cases get caught in the top-down structure of the church: "This is a systemic problem, not specifically and only relating to this question of clerical pedophilia, but rather the secrecy and the authoritarian structure of the Catholic church coming from the time of Constantine in Imperial Rome, forward."
March 16, 2010
College Cork (UCC) is in the final stages of negotiating an official agreement with Temple University Japan. The new agreement builds on an existing link between UCC's Faculty of Law and the Beasley School of Law at Temple in Philadelphia. The new structure provides for an expansion of the existing Cork-Philadelphia link to Tokyo, marking a new "three-continent" network. The exchange will allow students participating in the masters in Asian studies to spend a semester in Tokyo, and in turn students from Tokyo will come to UCC. The exchange will also allow a higher number of Temple Philadelphia students to apply for sought after places in UCC’s Faculty of Law.
Newsweek, "Toyota and the End of Japan"
March 5, 2010
The Toyota recall has exposed problems for the largest and virtually the last remaining face of Japanese manufacturing and trading prowess. Like many Japanese companies, even global ones, it has suffered from insularity and parochialism, and a hierarchical structure that discouraged innovation or input from others. Robert Dujarric of Temple University–Japan says that most of the core management team is Japanese, and the company's suppliers are part of Toyota's vertical structure, limiting contact with outsiders. The public-relations response has been plagued by Japanese cultural tendencies to dodge controversy and conflict, even to the point of denying glaringly dangerous problems, like sticking accelerating pedals.
Christian Science Monitor, "The Obama bid to rid the world of nuclear weapons boosts US security -- minus the threat of Armageddon"
March 4, 2010
In an opinion piece, Robert Dujarric of Temple University, Japan Campus, argued that the Obama plan to rid the world of nuclear weapons would give the U.S. more military leverage. "Achieving a total ban on nuclear weapons will not be easy," he wrote. "But working toward it is a logical goal for the U.S. Even if negotiations fail, the process will encourage more U.S. research and development on nonnuclear alternatives that, even absent the abolition of nuclear explosives, will strengthen U.S. military capabilities and deterrence."
NPR’s Morning Edition, "Toyota's Woes Unsettle Corporate Culture in Japan"
February 24, 2010
Toyota is facing the worst crisis in its history. Until now, its management techniques — known as the "Toyota Way" — were widely emulated. "Many Japanese managers are convinced that the economics of homogeneity, of being ethnocentric, outweigh the advantages of being a globally integrated enterprise," explained Stefan Lippert of Temple University Japan. Jeff Kingston, TUJ’s director of Asian Studies, believes the lessons are clear. "This has to be a turning point for corporate Japan, a wake-up call. They need to become less insular and more international. They have to regain some of that competitive edge that they had in the 1980s," Kingston said.
Associated Press, "Documents: Toyota boasted saving $100M on recall"
February 22, 2010
Claims by Toyota in internal documents that it saved money by obtaining a limited recall from regulators in 2007 create an even bigger challenge for the automaker's president when he testifies before U.S. lawmakers this week over quality and safety lapses. "This is any executive's worst nightmare, a damning document comes out and exposes your company as having basically gone slow and tried to delay addressing significant safety problems with their product," said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian studies at Temple University Japan.
CNN International, "Toyota president: 'We failed to connect the dots'"
February 10, 2010
Toyoda broke his silence by appearing at a Friday press conference on problems related to Prius, but he was widely lambasted for his stiff and awkward performance."The press here on Saturday just hammered him, saying it was 'too little, too late'," Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan, told CNN.
Reuters, "Inside Toyota's epic breakdown"
February 9, 2010
Toyota's secrecy and tendency to centralize decision-making in Japan contributed to the public relations debacle, experts say. "Toyota had the perfect model for the 1980s and 1990s, but its approach now looks outdated," said Stefan Lippert of Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ). "The concentration of decision-making at headquarters is one of the factors behind Toyota's problems right now."
Wall Street Journal, "A Crisis Made in Japan"
February 5, 2010
"In Japan there is a proverb, 'If it stinks, put a lid on it,'" wrote Jeff Kingston of TUJ in a Wall Street Journal opinion essay called "A Crisis Made in Japan." "Alas, this seems to have been Toyota's approach to its burgeoning safety crisis, initially denying, minimizing and mitigating the problems involving brakes that don't brake and accelerators that have a mind of their own."
Los Angeles Times, "A ritualistic bow from Toyota chief"
February 5, 2010
When Toyota president Akio Toyoda emerged from seclusion to apologize for Toyota's recall crisis, he bowed. The ritualistic nature of apology leads some to question the sincerity of the act. "My somewhat cynical take on this bowing habit is that it's often a way to avoid taking real steps to deal with the underlying problem," says Robert Dujarric of TUJ. Dujarric also was quoted in a story profiling Toyota's notoriously publicity shy leader. Toyoda's lack of public involvement might be perceived as "arrogant behavior from a guy whom many suspect got the job thanks to his name," he said.
The Canadian Press, "Toyota chief apologizes from 'bottom of my heart' for global recalls"
February 5, 2010
Toyota's president addressed criticism that the automaker mishandled a crisis over sticking gas pedals, but stopped short of ordering a Prius recall. TUJ's Jeff Kingston said Toyota may be trying to avoid the costs of a recall. The automaker has already said repairs and lost sales will cost it $2 billion. "Toyota is saying ... there is no real problem yet also announced they fixed the problem as of January," he said.
Reuters, "NEWSMAKER-Silence from the top as Toyota recall crisis deepens"
January 29, 2010
Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder of Toyota, took the helm of the company last year pledging to steer it out of its worst downturn. Now Toyoda is coping with a recall crisis that threatens to damage the brand. The Toyoda family has been described by top execs as a positive force for the company, but not all agree. "For me [Akio Toyoda] is a symbol of a tendency in Japan of moving back rather than forward," said Stefan Lippert of Temple University, Japan Campus. "It will be very hard for many Japanese makers, especially for Toyota, to overcome this dilemma and retain the traditional strengths while becoming a globally integrated company at the same time."
Associated Press, "China rejects Clinton's criticism"
January, 23, 2010
China yesterday dismissed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's criticism that it was jamming the free flow of words and ideas on the Internet and accused the United States of "information imperialism." Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the nation's Internet regulations were in line with its laws and did not hamper the cyber activities of the world's largest online population. Phil Deans, a China expert at Temple University's Japan campus in Tokyo, said Beijing would likely view Clinton's comments as further confirmation that the current administration was no more amenable to its world view than the preceding one.
Time, "New Scandal Hits Japan's Ruling Party"
January 20, 2010
After masterminding the Democratic Party of Japan's historic victory last year, the party's co-founder and Secretary General, Ichiro Ozawa, has once again found himself in the national spotlight. But rather than basking in the glory of pulling off a successful election, he finds himself under investigation by the powerful Public Prosecutors Office on suspicion of wrongdoing in a controversial land purchase. Business as usual is not what the public expects from an underdog party that just won the people's mandate on a platform of regime change, says Robert Dujarric, director of the Institute of Contemporary Japanese Studies at the Temple University, Japan Campus.
Bloomberg, "Hatoyama Credibility May Be Hurt by Reverse on Finance Minister"
January 7, 2010
Before Hirohisa Fujii left his position as Japan ’s finance minister, he oversaw the formation of a record 92.3 trillion yen budget for the fiscal year starting April 1. He was a strong proponent of keeping government bond issuances at about 44 trillion yen, the same as the current fiscal year, to rein in a public debt approaching 200 percent of gross domestic product. Fujii “was the veteran safe hand on the economy,” said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University in Tokyo. “Now he’s gone and they don’t have a huge depth chart in the finance ministry.”