Archive for ‘Japan’

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Huanqiu Shibao: G7 London Meeting, small-circled cliques and factions

As he said before, it’s you, not us

The following is a translation of an article by Huanqiu Shibao online, published on Tuesday (May 4). Huanqiu’s translations from English do not necessarily reflect what the persons quoted there actually said.

The Reuters article referred to by Huanqiu Shibao can be found here.

Main Link: Evoking the China-Russia threat once again? (又渲染中俄威胁)

Bian Zihao, Huanqiu Online reporter — Hyping another Chinese-Russian threat? The G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Britain’s capital London opened on May 3. According to Reuters, Britain will seek decisive action from the G7 member states to respond to global threats. Reuters says that these so-called “global threats” include China and Russia.

【环球网报道 记者 边子豪】又炒作中俄威胁?七国集团外长会3日在英国首都伦敦开幕,据路透社报道,英国4日将寻求与G7成员国采取果断行动以应对全球威胁。路透社称,上述所谓“全球威胁”包括中国和俄罗斯。

As it holds the G7’s rotating chairmanship this year, Britain also invited Australia’s, India ‘s , South Africa ‘s and South Korea ‘s foreign ministers this week. Reuters says that this is the first time in two years that G7 representatives talk face-to-face and that this is seen as an opportunity to “strengthening support for the international rules-based system.

作为今年七国集团轮值主席国,除了G7成员国外,英国本周还邀请了澳大利亚、印度、南非和韩国等国外长。路透社说,本次会谈是近两年来七国集团代表首次举行面对面会议,被英方视为“加强支持基于规则的国际体系的机会”。

Reuters also quoted Britain’s wording, an evocation of the so-called “China-Russia threat”, saying that China’s economic influence and Russia’s “evil activities” could break that system.

此外,路透社还引述英方说法,渲染所谓“中俄威胁”说,中国的经济影响力和俄罗斯的“恶意活动”可能会破坏上述体系。

The report also mentioned that on May 3 local time, U.S. secretary of state Blinken, after meeting British forign secretary Raab, called for the building of an international alliance. He claimed that although there was no intention to “contain China”, there was a need to make sure that China “acted in accordance with the rules”. In a program broadcast by Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS), Blinken explained his position similarly. He said there, “our goal isn’t to contain China, not to block China, not to inhibit China. (But) it is the protection of order-based rules to which China currently raises challenges …”

报道还提到,当地时间5月3日,在与英国外交大臣拉布会面后,美国国务卿布林肯呼吁组建一个全球联盟,他宣称尽管不想“遏制中国”,但要确保中国“按规则行事”。 而在5月2日哥伦比亚广播公司(CBS)播出的一档节目中,布林肯也曾有过相似表态。当时他说:“我们的目的不是遏制中国,不是阻止中国,不是压制中国。(而)是为了维护基于秩序的规则,(但)中国正在对(这些规则)提出挑战……”

The foreign ministers’ meeting is seen as a warm-up for the G7 summit in June. The G7 consists of Britain, America, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Russia joined as the eighth country in 1997. In 2014, after the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, Russia was excluded.

本次外长会被视为将于6月在英国举行的七国集团峰会的预热。七国集团由英国、美国、法国、德国、意大利、加拿大和日本组成,俄罗斯1997年加入后成为八国集团。2014年乌克兰危机爆发以后,俄罗斯被排除在外。

In reality, concerning talk about the so-called “China threat”, FMPRC spokesman Zao Lijian has previously emphasized that China adheres unswervingly to the road of peaceful development, we have never provoked a war on our own accord, and never violated an inch of another country’s territory, nor have we ever constituted a threat to any country. Facts have repeatedly proven that China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a protector of international order, and that China’s development is an opportunity for the world.

事实上,关于所谓“中国威胁论”,中国外交部发言人赵立坚此前曾强调,中国坚定不移走和平发展道路,我们从来没有主动挑起过一场战争,也从来没有侵犯过别国一寸领土,不对任何国家构成威胁。事实一再证明中国始终是世界和平的建设者、全球发展的贡献者、国际秩序的维护者,中国的发展是世界的机遇。

Zhao Lijian said that China’s development spells the growth of global peace, that it is the woeld’s opportunity and not a challenge. China has always firmly upheld the international system with the United Nations at the core, based on international law. But that isn’t an international order defined by individual countries to protect their own interests. In the age of globalization, the destruction of international order [happens] for real when lines are drawn along ideology and when countries form small-circled cliques and factions. In the end, this is what really doesn’t enjoy popular support and what doesn’t provide a way out.

赵立坚说,中国的发展是世界和平力量的增长,是世界的机遇而非挑战。中方始终坚定维护的是以联合国为核心的国际体系和以国际法为基础的国际秩序,而不是个别国家为维护自身霸权所定义的国际秩序。在全球化时代,以意识形态划线,拉帮结派,搞针对特定国家的小圈子才是对国际秩序的破坏。这终究是不得人心的,也是没有出路的。

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Related

Wolf Warrior Diplomacy on Vacation, Aug 9, 2020
An unprecedented common cause, June 7, 2013
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Monday, October 12, 2020

Japan, Mongolia agree to jointly support Indo-Pacific policy

The following is a news article, originally by “The Paper” 澎湃新闻, republished by sohu.com.

Main link: Japan’s foreign minister to provide 25 billion Yen to aid that country in responding to new coronavirus (日外相访问蒙古国,将提供250亿日元贷款援助该国应对新冠)

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Japan’s foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi visited Mongolia on October 9 saying that a loan of 250 billion Japanese yen (about 1.6 billion RMB) would be provided to help Mongolia respond to the new coronavirus pandemic.

日本外务大臣茂木敏充于9日访问蒙古国,表示将提供250亿日元(约合人民币16亿元)的日元贷款,帮助蒙古国应对新冠疫情。

According to Kyodo news on October 10, at nine local time, Motegi held talks with Mongolia’s prime minister Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh and Mongolia’s foreign minister Nyamtseren Enkhtaivan in Mongolia’s capital Ulanbataar. In his talks with Motegi, Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh expressed his gratitude for Japan’s support in combatting the new coronavirus epidemic, and Motegi replied by saying that [Japan] wanted to further deepen the development of bilateral relations. While meeting with Enkhtaivan, Motegi said that Japanese loans of 25 billion yen (about 1.6 billion RMB) would be provided to help Mongolia’s economy which was affected by the pandemic.

据日本共同社10日报道,当地时间9日,茂木在蒙古国首都乌兰巴托与该国总理呼日勒苏赫及该国外长恩赫泰旺分别举行了会谈。在茂木与呼日勒苏赫的会谈中,呼日勒苏赫对日本支援抗击新冠疫情的举措表示感谢,茂木则回应称愿进一步深化发展双边关系。在与恩赫泰旺的会谈中,茂木表示为援助受新冠疫情影响的蒙古国经济,将为其提供250亿日元(约合人民币16亿元)的日元贷款。

Motegi and Enkhtaivan said that Japan and Mongolia, as countries with “fundamental values such as democracy and rule of law”, would deepen bilateral relations in broad areas. During the talks, the two sides said that they would join forces to realize the so-called “free and open Indo-Pacific”. The two sides also said that they would continue to work together on the issue of “Japanese people kidnapped by North Korea” and hoped to solve the issue at an early date. “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” reported on October 10 that Mongolia and North Korea had established diplomatic relations in 1948 and had a deep friendship.

茂木与恩赫泰旺表示,日本与蒙古作为共同拥有“民主和法治等基本价值观”的国家,将在广泛领域深化双边关系。双方在会谈中表示,为实现所谓“自由开放的印度-太平洋”将通力合作。双方还称将在“朝鲜绑架日本人”问题上继续合作,愿早日解决该问题。《日本经济新闻》10日的报道称,蒙古国与朝鲜在1948年建立了外交关系,有着深厚的友谊。

After the talks, Motegi held an online press conference and emphasized that “in the future, the strategic partnership between the two countries would be further developed.

会谈后,茂木举行了在线记者会,强调“今后将进一步发展两国间的战略伙伴关系”。

(This article is from “The Paper”. For more information, please download “The Paper’s” app.)

(本文来自澎湃新闻,更多原创资讯请下载“澎湃新闻”APP)

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Related

Japan, Mongolia sign loan agreement, news.mn, Oct 12

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Reception Report: Radio Japan Weekly News in Simple Japanese / Iran Radio Bros’ compromised Farsi

 

— Japan

Radio Japan has reportedly carried a new program since April, “Weekly News in Simple Japanese”.

From their announcement on May 21:

The program summarizes Japan’s weekly news in easy-to-understand Japanese which is read slowly and clearly by the announcer. Through the program, listeners will be able to grasp what is going on in Japan today. Weekly News in Simple Japanese is ten minutes long. It is broadcast every Saturday from 02:50 UTC on 17.810 MHz in Southeast Asia, and 15.325 MHz in Southwest Asia. It is rebroadcast seven hours later from 09:50 UTC on 15.280 MHz in Southeast Asia and 15.290 MHz in West Africa.

The news broadcast recordings can also be found online, on the NHK World Japan website.

— Tibet

A recent QSL card from Tibet – frequencies are shown to the right

— Iran

On Thursday, Islamic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has reported extensively on talks by the country’s unelected leader, Ayatollah Ali Chamenei, first on US policies on Iran, and later on a “didactic” and “instructive” function of poetry. IRIB also had to convey some supreme criticism of itself:

Notice that our people have beautiful dispositions. The way our people responded on the issue of the floods in the north and south was very beautiful. Those who are aware of the developments – including in Golestan, in Khuzestan, in Khorram Abad and in Ilam: these were the main areas which suffered from the recent floods – who are aware of the presence and sacrifices of the people, and the services they rendered.

Well you can describe this in your poetry. When you include such concepts in your poetry, it becomes in fact the flag of national identity. It becomes the flag of the identity of your nation no matter if you compose poems on Islamic, national revolutionary and revolutionary issues, or on moral values or about such events. And my dear ones, identity is very important to every nation. A nation that loses its identity is easily squeezed and crushed in the fists of foreigners. This was about poetry.

As for the language, the truth is that I am worried. In the area of poetry, the poems that you compose are fortunately good poems and they enjoy a solid language. However generally speaking, language is wearing down. One can witness this. Tonight, one of the brothers from the radio was present here and he spoke with me about a very good development. I have, however, a complaint about the IRIB because instead of promoting proper, standard, refined and correct language, it is promoting a kind of language that is devoid of any identity, that is sometimes wrong, that uses wrong terminology and that worse than all, uses a language stuffed with foreign and western terminology.

Fortunately, foreign media are so much worse, so IRIB could turn to a reading of this article just a few minutes after its own dressing-down.

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Related

Shortwave Log: Holy Tibet, January 2014

Monday, February 18, 2019

Sony ICF 2001 – Early Days of Global Digitalization

Among the large variety of receivers currently available, the Sony ICF 2001 is unique. […] suggests the Sony is probably the first portable shortwave receiver designed to overcome the general public reluctance to tune to shortwave and international broadcasts. With the Sony ICF 2001, nearly anyone can call up a distant station, if the frequency is known.

This is how then South African foreign broadcaster Radio RSA reviewed the Sony ICF 2001 at the time.

Sony would certainly agree, as can be seen from the early 1980s artwork on the box: that wasn’t a receiver, it was a technological sunrise, with a glorious new millennium booming into your face.

Sony ICF 2001 packing

Proclamation of a new Era: Sony ICF 2001 packing

While reviewers at Radio RSA apparently admired the receiver’s sophistication, they did see a potential problem:

The convenience of the ICF 2001 is obviously unique, but for the established shortwave hobbyist, the lack of a conventional tuning knob can be a drawback.”

And battery consumption was deemed “a little high” – average battery lifetime was estimated at around ten hours.

Great points in its favor, as seen by the reviewers, was excellent sensitivity, selectivity, automatic gain control, and just the right bandwith (as long as users wouldn’t want to bother about choosing the right bandwith).

A shortwave listener in South Bend, Indiana, listened to the Radio RSA review on March 14, 1982, and recorded it. About 35.5 years later, he posted it online.

It’s a fascinating document to listen to. The review contains a short original soundtrack of the ICF 2001’s performance, and a bit of (feigned, I suppose) political innocence:

But let’s try medium wave and let’s try Channel 702, broadcasting from Bophuthatswana.

Summing up, the reviewers pointed out that the ICF 2001

has several features not found on other portables, namely the six-channel memory.

OK – that was in 1982.

A shortwave radio blogger who bought a Sony ICF 2001 in 2015 highlights the built-in antenna trimmer – a great feature indeed, and one the Sony ICF 2001 D (the Sony ICF 2010’s edition for the German market) was lacking.

Obviously, when the year of 2001 really arrived, the internet had been there for years, and even the world’s most incredible shortwave receiver wouldn’t lure a dog from behind the stove, as a German saying goes.

That said, it might still work on dogs older than forty.

Friday, December 21, 2018

2018 Headlines (1) – Vladimir Putin’s Annual Year-End Press Conference

Among other issues, the marathon Q & A session reportedly touched upon the 40th anniversary of China’s reform-and-opening policies, and on the Kuril Islands, the southernmost of which are contested between Japan and Russia.

A record number of 1,702 journalists had registered for Russian president Vladimir Putin‘s annual press conference at Moscow World Trade Center on Thursday local time, Guanchazhe online reported on the same day. This constituted a new record number. The article also contains the presidential press secretary’s revelation that Putin had set aside three days to prepare for the event, and that he had studied relevant material until late at night.

The following are excerpts from the article. Links within blockquotes were added during translation.

Main Link: Live Broadcast of Putin’s Annual Press Conference: Russia assesses China’s Reform and Opening Positively (普京年度记者会直播:俄罗斯积极评价中国改革开放)

December 18 is the 18th anniversary of China’s reform and opening. Putin said at the press conference that Russia assessed the changes positively that had happened in China.

18日,中国改革开放刚刚迎来40周年。普京在记者会上表示,俄罗斯积极评价中国发生的变化。

[Subheading]

The Xinhua reporter1) asked: “How do you evaluate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening, and the development of Sino-Russian trade relations?”

新华社记者提问称:“您如何评价中国改革开放40周年以及中俄经贸关系发展?”

Putin said that Russia evaluated the changes and the efforts made for economic development positively. Bilateral trade between the two countries had reached 10,000,000,000 100,000,000,000 USD. The inseparably close relationship between China and Russia was useful for world peace and stability.

普京表示,俄罗斯积极评价中国发生的变化以及在经济发展上所做的努力。两国双边贸易今年达到1000亿美元。中俄两国的紧密关系对世界和平稳定都有益。

[Subheading]

Putin said that the Russian government planned to begin three-percent growth from 2021 on, and Russia’s goal was to become the world’s fifth-largest economy.2)

普京表示,俄罗斯政府计划从2021年开始实现3%的经济增长,俄罗斯目标是成为世界第五大经济体。

He also said that Russia’s 2018 unemployment rate was predicted to drop from 2017’s 5.2 percent to 4.8 percent. Russia’s gold and foreign-exchange reserves had increased by 7 percent, reaching 464,000,000,000 USD. Russia’s inflation rate in 2018 would exceed the four-percent target, reaching about 4.1 or 4.2 percent.

他还表示,2018年俄罗斯失业率预计从2017年的5.2%降至4.8%。俄罗斯黄金外汇储备增加7%,达到4640亿美元。俄罗斯2018年全年通胀率将超过4%的目标水平,达到4.1%-4.2%左右。

Putin emphasized at the same time that the country needed a breakthrough, for which resources were required. Russia’s government and administrative agencies were making efforts to this end. Therefore twelve national projects in the fields of science, education and health had been established.

同时,普京强调,国家需要突破。为此需要资源,俄罗斯政府和行政机关正致力于此,因此在科学、教育和卫生保健领域设立了12个国家项目。

[Subheading]

Concerning the matter of returning the islands contested between Russia and Japan, Putin believed that when it came to signing a peace treaty between Russia and Japan, security issues mattered most. Russia expressed worries about American deployment of anti-missile systems in Japan.

对于归还日俄争议岛屿一事,普京认为,在俄日签署和约的问题上,安全问题最为重要。俄罗斯对美国在日本部署反导系统表示不安。

According to article 9 of the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration, the islands of Shikotan island and the Habomei islands could be returned to Japan, but only after a peace treaty had been signed.

根据《苏日共同宣言》的第九条条款规定苏联政府同意把色丹岛和齿舞诸岛归还给日本,但条件是在签署和平条约之后才真正归还给日本。

The Soviet Union’s and Japan’s parliaments approved this declaration in 1956, but when Japan and America signed the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security in 1960, the Soviet Union cancelled the obligation to return these islands. On January 27, 1960, a Soviet government memorandum stated that only when all foreign troops were withdrawn from Japan, there would be a return of the islands to Japan.

1956年苏联和日本两国议会批准了这份宣言。但作为对1960年日本和美国签订的《日美安全保障条约》的回应,苏联取消了归还这些岛屿的义务。1960年1月27日苏联政府备忘录中写道,只有在所有外国军队撤离日本的条件下这些岛屿才将归还给日本。

ABC News reported on Thursday that

The press conference, however, is heavily curated. The Kremlin press service proposes questions beforehand, and decides who will be called on to speak. Follow-up questions are not permitted, allowing Putin to disarm all but the sharpest queries and make assertions that can’t be challenged. The audience is overwhelmingly friendly and often breaks into applause.

And RFE/RL wrote, also on the same day, that

[t]he Russian president cast Russia’s sluggish economy in a positive light, while calling for improvements.

When Putin took back the presidency (or the “candidacy” for it) from his straw man Dmitry Medvedev in 2011, now defunct foreign radio service “Voice of Russia” quoted political scientist Vyacheslav Nikonov as saying that

There were mentions of ambitious goals which are in fact not quite that ambitious, such as becoming one of the world’s five largest economies. I believe Russia will be up to that if it develops with seven per cent growth. I believe that we can become the fifth-largest global economy and the biggest in Europe by 2020.

In that light, even one of the calls for improvement seems to constitute a postponement.

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Notes

Footnote 1) No Xinhuareporter seems to be included in the Kremlin’s English-language transcript of the press conference. However, the Russian-language transcript does include one (English translation by Google Translate):

Вопрос: Здравствуйте, Владимир Владимирович. Я корреспондент агентства «Синьхуа».

Question: Hello, Vladimir Vladimirovich. I am a Xinhua correspondent.

Мой вопрос именно о Китае. Состоялось торжественное собрание по случаю 40-летия проведения политики реформ и открытости. На нём Председатель Си Цзиньпин призвал довести до конца все меры, связанные с реформами и открытостью. Как Вы оцениваете изменения, произошедшие в Китае за эти годы?

My question is about China. A solemn meeting on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up policy was held. On it, President Xi Jinping called for the completion of all measures related to reform and openness. How do you assess the changes in China over the years?

И ещё. Россия и Китай приблизились к отметке двустороннего товарооборота в 100 миллиардов долларов США, и при этом российский экспорт в Китай вырос на 44 процента и оказался на 10 миллиардов долларов больше, чем импорт из Китая. Довольны ли Вы развитием российско-китайских отношений в этом году? Спасибо.

And further. Russia and China approached the bilateral trade turnover of $ 100 billion, while Russian exports to China grew by 44 percent and were $ 10 billion more than imports from China. Are you satisfied with the development of Russian-Chinese relations this year? Thank.

В.Путин: Действительно, это знаковый рубеж. Не знаю, сможем ли мы выйти на 100 миллиардов или нет, но мы приблизились к этому. Это уже, в принципе, показатель, действительно. Надо будет посчитать в начале следующего года общий объём товарооборота, но где-то в районе 100 миллиардов он будет, и это само по себе достижение. И конечно, мы не можем не быть довольны этим результатом. Но это производный результат от состояния российско-китайских отношений, от роста уровня доверия стран между собой.

Vladimir Putin: Indeed, this is a landmark. I don’t know if we can reach 100 billion or not, but we are close to that. This is, in principle, an indicator, indeed. It will be necessary to calculate the total volume of trade at the beginning of next year, but it will be somewhere around 100 billion, and this is an achievement in itself. And of course, we can not be satisfied with this result. But this is a derivative result from the state of Russian-Chinese relations, from the growth of the level of trust between countries.

Мы работаем и в двустороннем формате, и очень надёжно, мы решили все проблемы, которые доставались нам ещё со времён Советского Союза, и двигаемся дальше. Мы работаем не только в сфере экономики, но и в сфере безопасности, мы сотрудничаем очень активно на международной арене, и российско-китайское взаимодействие на международной арене, безусловно, является фактором, оздоровляющим международную обстановку, фактором стабильности и прогнозируемости развития ситуации на мировой арене.

We work in a bilateral format, and very reliably, we have solved all the problems that have come to us since the days of the Soviet Union, and move on. We work not only in the economic sphere, but also in the field of security, we cooperate very actively in the international arena, and Russian-Chinese interaction in the international arena is undoubtedly a factor improving the international situation, a factor of stability and predictability of the development of the situation in the world.

Мы положительно оцениваем изменения, которые произошли в Китае. Я считаю, что для такой страны, как Китайская Народная Республика, с миллиардом тремястами миллионов населения, очень важна стабильность и прогнозируемость, в том числе и во внутренней политике, включая и кадровую составляющую. Председатель Си Цзиньпин принял решение, и товарищи из КПК его поддержали в этом направлении, и думаю, что Китай поступил правильно, стабильность гарантирует поступательное развитие Китайской Народной Республики.

We appreciate the changes that have occurred in China. I believe that for a country like the People’s Republic of China, with a billion three hundred million people, stability and predictability are very important, including in domestic policy, including the personnel component. Chairman Xi Jinping made the decision, and the CCP comrades supported him in this direction, and I think that China did the right thing, stability guarantees the ongoing development of the People’s Republic of China.

Footnote 2) The wording, according to en.kremlin.ru:

By the way, you mentioned the projected 2 percent growth for the next two years. Yes, in the next years, 2019–2020, two percent each, but from 2021, the Government is already planning 3 percent, and then more. Therefore, I strongly hope that we will manage to do all this. Some fluctuations are probably possible, but, I repeat, the most important thing is that we need… Do you see what we need to do? We need to join another league of economies, and not only in terms of volumes. I think that taking the fifth place in terms of volume is quite possible. We used to rank fifth in terms of the economy, in purchasing power parity, and we will do it again, I think. However, we need to ascend to another league in terms of the quality of the economy. This is what our national projects are aimed at.

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Abe’s Visit to Darwin: Kneeling PM, Crouching PM

ABC coverage, Nov 16, 2018

Guanchazhe online (Observer), a news website from Shanghai, publishes a report, referring to Reuters newsagency coverage, writing that Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison held a ceremony at Darwin Cenotaph on Friday, commemorating the dead from Japan’s air raids on Darwin during WW2, 76 years ago. The article also mentions discussions concerning strengthened trade and defense cooperation between the two leaders.

The article refers to a liquid natural gas (lng) investment project in Darwin, with a planned Japanese investment of 54 billion Australian dollars (about 274.7 billion RMB), with INPEX Holdings Inc. as the main shareholder and operator, as one of the cooperation projects.

Without comment, Guanchazhe also quotes Morrison as saying*) that

Australia and Japan remain consistent about the importance of sholving the South China Sea dispute. Both Japan and Australia strongly oppose any behavior that could intensify the tense situation in the region.

莫里森还表示,他期待与日本加强合作,维护地区的海上安全。两国领导人在会晤后表示,他们希望明年年初就加强两国防务合作达成协议,包括举行更多的联合军事演习。

Both Guanchazhe and Haiwainet (the latter is the online portal of People’s Daily‘s overseas edition) feature a photo showing the two prime ministers laying wreaths at the cenotaph, but Haiwainet points out the obvious in writing: “The Australian prime minister kneels, Abe crouches.”

ABC (video at the beginning) discusses Japan’s and Australia’s motivation to strengthen military cooperation.

According to reports earlier this year, an Australian dockyard, ASC Pty Ltd, is reportedly set to build nine Hunter class frigates from 2020 (designed in Britain), with the first of them to be operational by 2027. In a report this summer, ABC referred to the project as Australia’s largest peacetime warship building program.

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Note

*) as quoted by AP newsagency: “Australia and Japan also stand united on the importance of resolving disputes in the South China Sea, peacefully and in accordance with international law, and we are strongly opposed to any actions that could increase tensions within the region.”

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Radio Austria International returns to full Morning Broadcasts on Shortwave

Radio Austria International (RÖI) returned to its usual 70- to 80-minutes shortwave broadcasts late last week, with transmissions from 05:00 to 06:20 UTC from Monday through Friday, and from 05:00 to 06:10 UTC on Saturdays and Sundays. This followed several weeks of reduced RÖI airtime, from 05:30 to 06:10/06:20 UTC only, caused by problems with one of the three (or four) shortwave transmitters at the Moosbrunn shortwave transmitting site.

On April 14, Radio Berlin-Brandenburg‘s (RBB) media magazine, apparently based on information from the company operating Moosbrunn station or from Radio Austria, reported that a vacuum variable capacitor had to be replaced, and that Moosbrunn would be back to normal after spare part delivery and fixture.

RBB noted that only two transmitters were functional at the time, and that the operators had to switch the first thirty minutes of RÖI’s morning transmission to Radio Japan, which also goes on air from Moosbrunn at 05:00 UTC. After the end of radio programs produced for listeners outside Austria, the Moosbrunn operators have relied on selling airtime to a number of foreign radio stations, including Radio Japan, Adventist World Radio, DARC (Germany’s ham radio association airs a one-hour broadcast on every Sunday morning from there), the BBC, and a number of other broadcasters (see table there).

Radio Japan invariably broadcasts via Moosbrunn from 05:00 to 05:30 UTC during the winter and the summer season. RÖI’s program varies with daylight saving time. It is aired from 07:00 to 07:20/07:10 central European time and during European Summer Time alike, which spells 06:00 – 07:20/07:10 UTC from late October to late March, and 05:00 – 06:20/06:10 from late March to late October.

Listeners were in for a surprise on May 16 however, when RÖI went on air at 05:00 UTC, to give only two news headlines and then go back off air. It came back around 05:30 UTC, as had been the case during the previous weeks, but I’m told that on Thursday morning (this morning, May 17), the program was safely on air all through the scheduled first half hour (and probably beyond).

According to RBB, the operators of Moosbrunn transmitting station air RÖI’s domestic program (there is no program targeted at listeners abroad by RÖI anyway) out of legal necessity, to justify the operations, as pro forma, the site still serves to convey information concerning Austria to an audience abroad.

(That said, the RÖI program broadcast on shortwave is part of the domestic broadcasting routine, and therefore, obviously, all in German.)

RÖI programs are broadcast on 6155 kHz, while Radio Japan’s programs are using 5975 kHz. Radio Japan’s broadcast is in English, and there haven’t been German programs produced by Japan’s foreign radio for decades. In 1987, the German service had celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Shortwave Logs: Radio Romania International (RRI)

If you are looking for a European broadcaster on shortwave, the BBC World Service may come to your mind – or Radio Romania International (RRI). The latter’s range of program languages is quite diverse: English, Chinese, French, Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and German. One a week, on Sundays, there’s a broadcast in Hebrew, too, with a review of the week1).

— Some history

According to the station’s website, first experimental radio programmes for target areas beyond Romania’s borders were aired in 1927. Broadcasting became official on November 1, 1928, on 747 kHz (401.6 meters) – apparently targeted at a domestic audience, in Romanian only. French and English programs followed in 1932, “to inform the diplomatic corps in the Romanian capital city”, and weekly programs in French and German were targeted at central and western Europe. Before the second world war, all foreign broadcasts depended on medium wave transmitters. When the first shortwave transmissions began, the focus appears to have been on the Balkans, and the Middle East. According to RRI, [i] t seems that the first letter received from abroad came from Egypt.

It’s a detailed account of RRI’s history (and that of its preceding organizations, all headquartered in Bucharest’s General Berthelot Street), and will most likely contain some information that is new to the reader.

Olt County's coat of arms, 1985 and post-1989

Olt County’s coat of arms, as depicted on a QSL card of December 1985, and as of these days (click picture for Wiki entry)

— Languages, Programs, Contraditions

RRI provides news, background reports and some cultural coverage. Much of the content is the same in English, German, and Chinese, but focus may differ somewhat. While there is news, some background information and cultural programming in all these languages, listeners’ preferred topics seem to count, too. German listeners frequently enquire about European and social issues – something that appears to be of less interest to Chinese listeners. The scope of Chinese programs may also be somewhat limited by air time: thirty minutes per broadcast in Chinese, rather than sixty, as is the case with some of the broadcasts in English, French, and German.

When it comes to international exchange or openness, RRI certainly can’t be accused of discrimination. The Institut Francais is shown among their partners on the French service’s web pages, and a link to the “Confucius Institute” in Bucharest adorns the Chinese-language main page, side by side with one to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (with no specified status).

According to RRI’s English service’s website, RRI’s Chinese service, which first went on air on October 1, 1999, benefited from […] Chinese language experts […] as well as our colleagues from Radio China International, the Romanian language department […].2)

Given the kind of “news” being broadcast by China Radio International (CRI), this kind of cooperation doesn’t look appropriate.

Some caveats: undue Beijing’s influence isn’t limited to RRI in particular, or to southeastern Europe in general3) (as suspected by some German quarters). A number of German universities have opted for cooperation with the agency from Beijing, for example, and areas of cooperation are hardly less sensitive.

Also, RRI’s news broadcasts in Chinese don’t appear to differ from those of the English or German departments. When Chinese listeners hear about Romanian citizens who take to the street, opposing changes to the country’s legal system, or Japan’s prime minister emphasizing liberty, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law as Japan’s and Romania’s shared values and principles, it may be met with more open minds, than if broadcast by a source that is deemed hostile by its audience.

All the same, turning October 1, 1949 into common ground between the audience and the station’s first broadcast in Chinese (October 1, 1994) spells a major contradiction, when suggesting at the same time, on a different history page, that RRI services turned towards the future, towards once again building a bridge between Romania and the democratic world and re-establishing the link between Romanians living abroad and those back home, a link that had been weakened on purpose by the totalitarian regime.

— Audience

RRI doesn’t offer detailed statistics – few international broadcasters do. It seems likely, however, that a presence on shortwave makes a difference for the better. I wouldn’t hear or read much about the country, if its signals didn’t come in handy. I’m suspecting that within Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, you can listen to RRI with a pressing iron (any appliance with spiral coils should do).

What has kept this blogger from giving feedback to the station is their online policy. It seems that everything that is mentioned in their listener’s-feedback programs goes right online, as a transcript. Facebookers probably won’t mind, but more traditional listeners may be a different story.

Either way, RRI certainly has its fans, and its multipliers.

— Shortwave

Shortwave plays an important role, at least when it comes to middle-aged and old listeners. For one, there’s the technical aspect. Nobody is encouraged to disassemble and reassemble his smartphone, or to boost its transmission power or its sensitivity. Use of shortwave, however, involves technical aspects, and people interested in some DIY. And while an app user may brush any source of information away after a few seconds, shortwave listeners’ attention span is likely to be sturdier.

It would seem to me that among a number of other aspects (sound not least – I find digital sound ugly), shortwave broadcasting signals respect for the listeners. It is more costly than web-based communication, it doesn’t provide broadcasters with as much information about how “efficient”, in terms of listener numbers, their productions actually are (which means that even the invisible listener matters), and it doesn’t ask if a listener lives under circumstances that allow for internet access – be it for economic or censorship reasons.

Shortwave is therefore a unique RRI feature. Bulgaria abandoned its shortwave transmissions years ago, so did Radio Poland, Radio Ukraine International, and Radio Prague (except for some airtime on German or American shortwave stations respectively). Radio Budapest, once one of the most popular Eastern European external broadcasters, is history.

— Recent RRI logs

Broadcasts in Chinese, German, and Hebrew
Time UTC Lang. Date Freq. S I N P O
07:00 German Jan21 7345 5 5 5 4 4
13:30 Chinese Jan21 9610 4 5 5 3 4
17:05 Hebrew Jan21 9790 4 5 5 3 4

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Footnotes

1) RRI’s website states 19:05 hours as the beginning of the transmission, which is standard time in Romania, and in Israel (17:05 GMT/UTC).
2) The Romanian department at CRI still exists, with an online presence, and medium/shortwave transmissions.
3) The “Spiegel” interview in German.

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