NihonLinks News from James Miller

Techlaw Insights in Japanese and English from James Miller

I installed my first version of Linux close to 20 years ago (cross-compiled minix on an Amiga 500) and have been using WiFi under Linux for more than 10 years, and I have to say things have finally come around.  If you can’t get your WiFi card in master mode to serve as an access point using post 2.6 and 3.0 linux kernels you’re probably doing it wrong.. here’s the experience of a gray’ing hair administrator’s experience getting master mode working on a home LAN to serve as the family access point, upgrading to Oneiric Ubuntu 11.10 server addition.

I recently decided to finally upgrade my “junkbox-based” (you can’t buy this brand of PC at BestBuy but you can get it for free on craigslist)  Internet gateway/LAN server from the 2 versions old Debian/Ubuntu distribution I had to the new stable release.  At 11:30pm I was overcome with irrational exuberance and installed over the working partition.  I ended up at 4am giving up on getting my Wifi card working in “master mode” to serve as the house Wifi access point.  Thanks to my friend Warren Turkal and former googler for nudging me out of the dark ages of and forcing me to use the new standard networking tools.. that eventually solved my problems.  I’m going to pass along a few things to anyone else who still thinks that shell scripting your routes and ifconfigs is the “right way” to do things on on the Linux dominant world of today..

First a little background.  I cut my Unix administration teeth in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Mountain View startup where my first real exposure to production machines was dominated by SunOS/Solaris, AIX, and HPUX.  Ifconfig, route, tcpdump and the standard toolset define my view of the world, and all the client side supplicant, “network-manager” and other client configuration tools designed to make things “just work” never quite work for me and get in the way of my classic world view of how to configure my networking.  When even my googler friend (who I assume is a pretty good bar for nerd levels of normality) says my uses are fringe, I suppose I have to grant I’m part of the 1% when it comes to networking users.  Bonding multiple residential broadband accounts together with hacky ebtable/iptable forwarding scripts may not be necessary for my teenager to browse blackboard but I do like to stay abreast of new QOS and other network managment developments.  Sadly, the time has come when ifconfig, iwconfig and route simply aren’t sufficient to administrate modern Linux boxes and I have to join the 99%.

Under the old world view, configuring wireless cards was a matter of configuring it to “master” or “AP” transmission mode to make the card handle frames correctly and function as an access point.  Only a limited set of drivers for certain cards supported master/AP mode like the the Atheros AR5212/5213 based Trendnet TEW-443PI card I have.  I had tried several variety of Ralink and other cards without success.  Some of the drivers used special commands to manipulate the cards, like the Madwifi packages “wlanconfig” command, but once it was in master you didn’t need much else to get layer 3 networking going, if you weren’t using security.  Once the card was loaded correctly you could give the wireless device an appropriate address, setup your firewall/forwarding rules using IPTables or other tool, fire up a DHCP server and the AP would be working..  Ok, so it may not have been that easy afterall but my classic ifconfig/route view of the world wasn’t fundamentally challenged.

Today, you can’t put supported cards in master mode using iwconfig, even if the card supports master mode.  Hostapd must be configured to get things working, as least for the new (new as far as I’m concerned..) wireless drivers incorporated in the post 2.6 and 3.0 Linux kernels.

Having spent more than 8 hours (ah, what I could have billed this project for back in the day but let’s not mention what I should be charging myself for this adventure…) fiddling with it I took the advice of my friend and installed hostapd and magically the card went to master mode and I was able to setup my layer 3 networking.

I had viewed hostapd as a authentication daemon and hadn’t even been using dhcp for the small controlled network I was using, and viewed it as unnecessary.  Now, if you want to get a Wifi AP working you *must* install and configure hostapd to get the card in master mode.  After discussions with my friend I understand that because of the complexity of implementing WPA and other security extensions common today (required by most Wifi hostspots) it was never reasonable to put that functionality in iwconfig or the other tools.  Thus one takeway is that Linux Wifi driver networking is fundamentally infused today with security at the layer 2 configuration level.

I searched high and wide for “master mode ath5k ubuntu 11.10 oneiric” and found nothing.  So in the interest of saving the next guy 8 hours of wifi’less wheel spinning.. listen to the young wippersnappers when they tell you to follow the instructions installing all these new fangled tools.. because as it turns out, Today, Linux wireless networking does actually “work out of box…”

On the bonding and multiple default routes discussion, I’d recommend reading Darien Kindlund’s Blog post on the subject at,  Great read, and may keep you in the 1% of fringe Internet network engineering.. :)

Last week the Japanese Ministry of Communications (MIC) released its summary of public comments (「周波数オークション導入に関する中間論点整理」に対する意見募集の結果 received in response to its mid-term report that summarizes the discussions of its Spectrum Auctions Implementation Council  (周波数オークション制度の導入に関する中間論点整理 Japanese).  These current efforts represent a significant step forward on a topic that has languished in Japan for close to twenty years.  Much of the English language review of the topic will likely come through the filters of translated reviews and paper submissions at conferences as the process unfolds.  Acknowledging my personal bias and belief that auction theory has been very successful in many fields and would bring tremendous value to Japan, I intend to respond to some requests to start up my (English) writing again and follow this topic together with interested readers.  As such I will provide references to the original sources and reference Japanese terms of art where appropriate and helpful.

The report summarizes nine principal points as the key issues discussed by the council for the introduction of spectrum auctions in Japan including:

  1. The purpose of a spectrum auction program  (制度の導入目的)
  2. The scope of spectrum subject to auctions (対象範囲)
  3. Issues related to station licenses (無線局免許制度との関係) including: 1) status of auction bidders (オークション落札者の地位), 2) duration of licenses (有効期間), and 3) issues after expiration of licenses (有効期間経過後の取扱い)
  4. Status of paid-in amounts and accounting techniques (払込金の位置づけ・会計方法)
  5. Use of auction proceeds (オークション収入の使途)
  6. Relationship with the spectrum use fee system (電波利用料制度との関係)
  7. Treatment of foreign capital (外国資本の位置づけ)
  8. Topics in the design and managment of auctions (制度設計・運用上の課題) including 1) preventing surges in bidding prices (落札額の高騰防止), 2) ensuring fair competition (公正競争の確保), and 3) other issues related to the management of the program (その他制度運用上の論点).

MIC’s summaries of the 119 comments each include a reference explaining which of the above nine issues the comment related to.  Researchers interested in how commenters addressed specific issues can read MIC’s summaries of the comments by topic.  Many of the issues such as whether broadcast spectrum should be auctioned are hotly debated wherever auctions are proposed.  However, the lack of access to the actual text of the comments is one among many differences in how the Japanese regulatory process functions.

The object of the report, for example, is to organize the debate surrounding the Spectrum Auctions Implementation Council ( 周波数オークションに関する懇談会 formed in March 2, 2011 to provide analysis and guidance to the Ministry on how to craft its approach to introducing spectrum auctions.  The Council or “Kondankai” (懇談会) is akin to the Federal Advisory Committees that advise Federal Executive and Agencies in the U.S. though it is formally a “private” advisory group  (私的諮問機関) that is distinguishable under Japanese law from the “Shingikai” (審議会) official advisory groups.  The codification of the public comment process in changes to title 6 of Japan’s APA equivelent in 2005 included an interesting provision in Section 40(2) for incorporating the input of official groups in the notice and comment process.  (This MIC presentation provides a graphical view of the flow of the process in Japanese

Cultural generalizations as consistent with Japan’s historical practice of relying heavily on consensus building entities as part of their regulatory process, but the use of study groups, task forces and other entities are often overlooked in both US regulatory history as well as current practice.  The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub.L. 92-463, 6 October 1972) was passed in 1972 to address the lack of transparency of some private “locker-room discussion” between the government and third parties.  Of more than one thousand registered Committee’s, the FCC has many that provide crucial input to the policy development process, many with very long histories.  The FCC has formed many recently to respond to rapid changes in Broadband, Diversity, Media and other matters.  I am personally most familiar with the workings of the Technology Advisory Council (  and the recently forming Open Internet Advisory Committee (

The most significant difference remains that the formal possibility for direct incorporation of the “Shingikai’s” input may serve as a platform for the official policy development of spectrum auctions.  For that reason and the broad influence that the advisory group will have, this is a source to follow in the coming months on the fate of auctions policy in Japan.



If you were hitting high school in the 90′s and have any recollection of punk music from the era, you should see the film American Hardcore.  A very interesting retrospective on the things about it that were exciting and also best left in your teen’s.  Recovering from jet lag I found it on the internet for free on Crackle and had a bit of an epiphany.

The aggressive, physical nature of punk was something that was naturally exciting.  You could expect to have someone elbow you in the head neck or shoulders but shows were a physical exchange that existed because the trust shared between people jumping into and off of everything in the room.  Much of what I recall as a skateboarder in the scene in the midwest was intelligent, surprisingly respectful, but anti-establishment.

For me punk represented a rejection of a small-town mentality that would memorialize a last-place high school football team’s efforts on the front-page and relegate a national merit scholar to corner of the paper leading the obituaries.  The plain-spoken, practical and self-starter “makers” mentality was not foreign to the mid-west ethic, and the fast, loud, and sarcastic critique found a niche even in the farm towns of the mid-west hit by the economic malaise of the 80′s.  The wheat-filled landscape of Kansas literally changed as the collapse of the American farm ushered in new ways of farming benefiting from corporate leadership.  The plight of the young teen in urban centers was central to the punk movement, but the most significant impact of the music was probably seen as much in the punks that flocked to the cities from suburbs and the hinterlands hundreds of miles removed.

The film recounts the tensions in the punk scene rejecting or embracing ways of dealing with the frustration of youth, and I think is an important theme in punk in 80′s that is grossly ignored.  While the punk image in the minds of some is dominated by  the mindless drunk brawling, the film recounts the bands that totally changed the tone of American music, bringing to public view that at least some thought drinking and drugs wasn’t cool.

Punk was something I experienced from friends cassette tapes–no doubt carrying a long lineage of friend to friend bequeaths long predating my copy.  Friends and shows were the only ways to experience the culture until Hollywood picked up the topic.  I was always surprised to hear punk described as something mean-spirited.  The midwest is no Oz paradise and there is no shortage anywhere of the awful things people don’t discuss in polite company.  The punk scene I knew though must have been muted by the otherwise clean-cut, farmboy values of actually caring about each other and wanting to make things better if you could.

It’s funny now 20 years later thinking about it, and even more ironic that I was at a show in Redding, CA with Agent Orange thrashing in a mosh with a really cool guy I met at a steakhouse.  I suppose I should be happy to say I was a punk in high school.

The formation of free trade agreements and other international trade efforts are often hampered by points on agricultural policy. Some policy makers remark that the aging of Japan’s population and a related decline of agricutural workers will naturallly pressure changes in agricultural policy–perhaps facilitating trade negotiating. I am not convinced.

The argument is that the decline of workers both practically capable of agricultural labors and able to exercise politicial power will change the debate.

It is true that agricultual workers are rapidly declining. Most japanese can describe a case of a family farm closing solewhere in japan because no sibling cousiin or aynone else is left to farm. Young people who perform their ethical “oya kouko” obligation to their family often find it difficult to even make a family for lack of a spouse.

However this decline in the number of farmers has not been sudden. It does not follow that low numbers of farmers has impacted the ability to farm productively. Prohibitions on non-natural persons (companies) ownership of farms has been one barrier to more effiicient economic farming that comes to mind. However there has been a relaxation of these prohibitions and serious efforts to remove them altogether. There is also Japan’s stuborn refusal to seriously address connections between liberalization of immigration policies and possibility of achieving agricultual policy goals. Thus decline of farmers in Japan does not mean a change of policy is going to happy.

The other prong of the argument about declining farm family numbers relates to political power. Japanese farmers in regional areas exercise significant power by virtue of how diet members are elected. (Diet members are the national legislative representatives to the parliment.) However to effect how rural votes weigh in national elections, you have to have redistricting, and lower numbers may not naturally bring about redistricting. Declining numbers of farmers has happened gradually, and Japan has had many opportunities to resolve electorial districting concerns.

There is something else important to consider when looking at Japan’s agricultural industry. Today the decline measures and shows the total number of people working in the agriculture sector, but of the total only a small portion are actually farmers. The number of people raising the agriculatural bloody shirt in policy debates, naturally may not be granpa and granma whossit living in the hinterland. Like any market sector, interested parties can always hold out a sympathetic mascot to achieve political goals–even if they share little practically with their daily experience.

How can Japan or other countries balance the many complex and important (remember this author grew up in a small Kansas farm town) agriculture concerns with the compelling benefits of free trade? Greater liberalization is key but how to implement liberalization is naturally a throny issue.

Japan could deeply enrich its economy and move closer to finding their answer to resolving agricultrual reform by divesting the central government of regulatory power and strengthening their regional governments. In fact a model very much like the U.S. federalist model has been proposed in a bill in the last diet and past last month. This “doushusei” reform bill could be an important step in achieving better food. better farming, and better government in Japan. This observer intends to follow the reform closely.

I didn’t think it was going to be difficult. I haven’t been actively doing any content oriented web development since entering the practice of law (go figure) but I had assumed that the usablility of online web page markup had improved. There are some very well supported packages like php-nuke and others. I was looking for a package I could edit pages using database backed tags and upload multimedia or non-HTML word docs or powerpoints via adding a link to a page. For example, trying to manage my presentation and writing from my fellowship is turning into a disaster. There is the problem that I have files scattered all over my laptop’s harddrive with different revisions that I can’t track revisions for, but not solved without document managment packages. At a more basic level though the editing process seems to clunky for me. Mambo looked promising but its theme editing and multimedia file managment was too much of a headache. At this point I am just hand editing files and uploading them. I would use WordPress, which I’m using for this blog, but the WYSIWYG HTML editing plugin I tried isn’t working and it’s not really heirarchial enough. Anyway.. off to bed..















私が衆議院議員桜田義孝先生の事務所で研修した際、先生が内閣府副大臣として担当していた「道州制特別区域における広域行政の推進に関する法律」(道州制法案)は国会に提出され、法律家または日米比較において大変勉強になる法案に関わっており、大変勉強になった。事務所または個人で作成した原稿やプレゼンを行った資料などをホームページにいろいろと載せております。HPの”WRITINGS (”のコーナーに搭載しておりますので、ご参照ください。




“How Japan May Restructure Its Prefecture System on a Federalist “State” Model and Address Its Exploding National Debt, Economic Woes and Aging Population”

James Miller
Mansfield Fellow 2004-2006

History and culture make some words difficult to translate, but some words like “federalism” have a way of traversing cultures with changing economic and cultural trends. A new bill presented to the Japanese diet this month is poised to inject a fresh notion of “federalism” into Japan’s government reform debate. Federalism is a defining feature of U.S. constitutional government as well as keystone politically for Republican economic policy initiatives as well as a many Democratic social agendas. Likewise in Japan, the word “doushusei” is poised to pull together numerous structural reforms under a single philosophical swath. To what degree Japanese lawmakers and bureaucrats may adopt a federalist system is unclear as the diet enters its last month of deliberation on pending bills. Nevertheless, successful “doshusei” reforms offer Japan the chance to invigorate its government and economy, and at the same time provide a model for sound political reform for other Asian political economies.

While views on the appropriate balance of centralized versus regional autonomy can vary widely with the political issue even in the U.S., the history of Japanese political history from the 1868 Meiji Restoration shows regional autonomy have taken a back seat to centralized control and leadership in Japanese policy debates for a very long time. The “doshusei” reform represents a dramatic revival of regionally focused thinking last whispered forty years ago and politically dormant since the beginning of modern Japanese government. After this long tupor, the U.S. has much experience to share with Japan.

In 1868, the Meiji restoration ended a 250-year detente between the feudal “Shogun” central government and regional “Han” warlord powers. The sophisticated economic and political system of the Tokugawa Shogunate gave way to the highly centralized Meiji government that was solely focused on modernizing Japan through aggressive government-lead industrial development. This political transition was the subject of the 2003 popular film “The Last Samurai.” While scholars can disagree on the history of the movie and the role of central bureaucracies in Japan’s 150 year economic success story, Japan remains the second largest national economy in the world. Nevertheless, ballooning government debt, and a sluggish economy bogged down by layers of central and regional bureaucracy are a serious concern for policymakers. The “doushusei” reform offers numerous reasons for optimism.

Proponents herald many benefits of the “doushusei” reform approach. For the conservative American reader many are obvious. Attendance to public The most compelling being the reduction of the ballooning Japanese Central Government debt and increased oversight over central bureaucracies boondoggle public-works projects.

[small government,” means less personnel, budget and deficit.
area of power shifted is very limited,
there seems to be a big difference between federalism in the U.S. and
do-shu-sei in Japan
independent, not only financially but also in terms of policy]

The bill currently before the diet proposes to move regulatory authority from the central ministries to regional autonomies realizing cost savings in the form of government streamlining and more rigid oversight. Initially the bill focuses these reform efforts in Hokkaido, Japan’s largest prefecture. The bill identifies the [cite the powers]. The scope of power to be divested to Hokkaido represents a modest first-step. Nevertheless, even these powers represent a significant achievement by lawmakers to move closely guarded regulatory authority from institutions with hundreds of years of history and regulatory culture.
The second focus of the bill is the reorganization of the Japanese prefecture system conglomerating the geographically small prefectural regions into larger, arguably more efficient, regional autonomies. Many of the functions of central bureaucracies focus on economic development of regional areas and represent a significant portion of the national government expenditures. In addition to the central ministries, multiple layers of regional governments spread across Japan’s small prefectures and municipal localities are also a significant financial burden and often criticized for being functionally redundant both in their regions as well as with the central bureaucracies. Reorganizing prefectures into larger blocks would reduce overall costs and improve the specialization and sophistication of the regional governments. More efficient and effective reorganized prefectures would be capable of assuming many tasks of the central government—a contentious point with central bureaucrats who view independent regional policy making as largely infeasible. Proponents argue that these newly reorganized regional entities will be in a better position to plan and implement necessary government projects. A hidden value to the reform may be that only regional entities will be positioned politically to make the difficult decisions to reevaluate and “cut” various public works—widely viewed as crucial to correcting Japan’s out of control public spending.

The bill’s ambitious vision is thus to create new regional governments that are capable of self-governing of significant regional issues while at the same time investing them the necessary legal authority to actually conduct their affairs. A brief discussion of the state of regional economic development and U.S. and Japanese constitutional law makes it clear why both features are necessary.

Firstly, the “Dou” in “doushusei” takes its name for the Japanese word for “state” and reorganization of Japan’s prefectures roughly into U.S. state authorities is the most dramatic goal of the bill in light of Japan’s constitutional structure. Unlike the U.S. constitution the Japanese constitution does not establish a federalist system with a national federal authority and state powers each with sovereign powers. Instead Article 92 of the Japanese constitution establishes that the organization and management of “regional public bodies” shall be established by the “regional autonomy law” in accordance with the principles of regional autonomy. In short, regional autonomy is defined in and governed by entities created by national law passed by the Japanese Diet. Through legislative changes to the “regional autonomy law” and other legislation, the Japanese Diet can (through the political process) define what a “state” is and what its rights and responsibilities are. The bill before the Diet outlines the shape and color of what Japanese “regional public bodies” may look like remodeled on a U.S. Federalist State model.
In contrast to the Japanese system, U.S. federal and state governments first find their definition in the U.S. constitution. While the Federal government has the power to “preempt” State authority within the scope of its constitutional authority, legal thought and a significant amount of litigation in both state and federal courts is occupied with defining the constitutionally required balance of these separate soverigns’ powers. Even the “federalization” of U.S. Law, the increasing preemption of state law in non-traditional areas, viewed with caution by U.S. conservatives, ironically reflects a balance between federal and regional autonomy. For example in the area of federal regulation, deregulatory policies preempt state laws to ensure businesses are free from a patchwork of diverse state laws and enjoy the benefits of deregulation. Irconically, these federal deregulatory policies place much of the state regulated activity under the purvue of States’ private civil law, e.g. the law of contract, tort, other state law.

Federalism principles contribute to another American phenonomen the Japanese government hopes to recreate—robust and independent regional economies. The geographically diverse nature of U.S. economy is viewed with envy by many Japanese policy makers. Unlike Japan where the majority of all economic activity is concentrated in one of three geographic areas, U.S. economic activity is widely dispersed. High quality new graduates in Japan face tough choices when it comes to employment. Top grads can find a plethora of jobs in the government or business sector in Tokyo or take a chance on going to a regional area where the most prestigious and compensated work is in the prefectural bureaucracy or the educational system. Divesting central authority and strengthening regional autonomy will allow high-quality talent otherwise stuck in Tokyo to return their home-towns to work and raise their children, sometimes more than doubling their quality of life with affordable housing, good schools, and locally grown food.
The synergy brought about by the influx of policy-making and regional planning activity, specialized professional talent can infuse the regional economy with financial and legal experts that have been viewed as grossly needed and in short-supply if available at all. Policy makers are well aware that this nimble and regionally focused policy making is crucial for Japan to respond to economic challenges of the increasingly global marketplace, and the dire social problems of an aging society and declining population base. The “doushusei” bill before the Diet is a clear area where U.S. can provide valuable insights to Japanese policy makers clearly grasping at how central and regional governments can govern in the best interest of the nation.