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Posted in: Michelin-star sushi restaurant in Tokyo defends foreigner rules See in context

Another example of Japanese racism, which has grown much worse since Abe became prime minister. Even when the reservation is made by a Japanese on behalf of a long-term resident and fluent Japanese speaker.

It just goes to show no matter how long you live in Japan and now matter how hard you try to integrate, you'll never be fully accepted.

The Michelin stars should be revoked.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Posted in: Abe hails Japanese Holocaust hero Sugihara See in context

Sugihara is indeed a hero for what he did.

But while Abe is happy to hail the noble things done by Japan, he refuses to accept the darker side of Japan's WWII legacy. This story is just another example of Abe's hypocrisy.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Posted in: LDP panel summons media bosses over news programs See in context

A depressing but certainly not surprising development. The fact that government is able to "summon" media representatives to discuss the content of news programmes is in itself alarming.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese media self-censorship grows under Abe See in context

Just another example of the deep-seated insecurities of Abe, by far the worst Japanese PM in the post WWII era. Even faced with an opposition too weak to field enough candidates to be able to win the last Lower House election, he clearly was in fear of criticism. And in the new hard right climate, the media themselves - which I found to be relatively docile and deferential at the best of times when i lived in Japan - are now openly afraid of criticval analysis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Ex-adviser to Abe praises apartheid as means of immigration control See in context

A typical illustration of the type of people Abe likes to have around him as advisors.

Notice the way the issue is framed - the immigrants may be a necessary evil to support the Japanese lifestyle but are fundamentally not welcome as individual human beings in their own right.

I lived in Japan for many years, have studied the country and language formally, speak it fluently to a professional working standard and have a Japanese wife. But people like this still think we should be separated because we can never be "Japanese enough". I eventually gave up and returned to my home country as I watched these undercurrents that have existed for decades get much worse and more overt after Abe came to power. I'm glad I went home and I won't be coming back other than as a temporary visitor

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese right muzzling liberal media, say analysts See in context

Another example of deeply disturbing trends in Japanese society. It is now clear that Abe's tacit approval of the far right's historical revisionism (and the deep penetration of the LDP by far right societies such as Nippon Kaigi) has opened a Pandora's box that will now prove extremely difficult to close.

This is a society where hate speech is legal, ultra-nationalism is promoted by the government, dissent is increasingly persecuted and racism is inbuilt and increasingly manifest.

I recently left Japan after many years of residence out of growing concern about developments in general and for my own safety in particular. I shall not be returning other than a short-term temporary visitor.

9 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Yomiuri apologizes for using term 'sex slaves' in English edition See in context

It is likely the paper was "encouraged" to make the (wholly unnecessary) apology by the government. A depressing but not surprising event given the denialism of the current Japanese government.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: As debt piles up, Japan tries to lock in low borrowing costs See in context

"Domestic investors have been happy to buy government bonds"

Err, actually no. Domestic investors put their money in banks; it is the latter who (used to) buy the bonds.

Now even that is a side-show. The large majority of the debt issued is now bought by the BoJ; there are few genuine buyers left, just money running round in circles. The BoJ balance sheet is over 60% of GDP and growing by 15% of GDP per year. i.e. it will be close to GDP party by the end of 2016 at the current rate. For comparison, the Fed, BoE and ECB have balance sheets at about 25% of GDP. In reality, Japan is running an unprecedented and increasingly desperate policy which will surely end in failure.

Either deflation continues (the BoJ continues 'pushing on a string' and cannot stimulate new investment in an economy certain to have sluggish or zero growth due to population decline and wages carry on falling in real terms); or alternatively inflation runs rampant (the government effectively inflates its debt away by destroying the value of private sector savings). Under both scenarios, the Japanese people lose. Japan as a country will get poorer at least in relative and perhaps even absolute terms. What almost certainly will not happen is a 'soft landing' with inflation at a gentle 2% and consumers happily spending again.

An interesting secondary question is whether this process can unfold without the rise of political extremism, of the kind seen to a limited extent in recent years (defensive nationalism seeking to lay Japan's problems on foreigners).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: How do you feel when you speak fluent or reasonably good Japanese to a Japanese person and they insist on answering you in English? See in context

If it is a very brief exchange I will live with it, but for any length of time I would go half crazy, especially when the English is manifestly poor. I deal with by saying I'm French and don't speak much English.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's population shrinks as elderly make up 25% See in context

I agree with the posters who call for more immigration, but cannot see any realistic prospect of it happening on a scale large enough to make a difference.

There is resistance to idea among older voters who are 25% of the population, but more like 30% of the electorate (because those under 20 cannot vote) and probably 40% of the electorate that actually does vote (because people in their 20s and 30s, although eligible, vote less often in practice). That ratio gives the elderly enormous political clout to resist both immigration and any cuts to their benefits.

Moreover, you might even argue those who vote from an "elderly perspective" (say those 10 years off retirement or aged between 55-65) pushes the effective voting share of the elderly block to 50% of the voting electorate, which makes it almost politically impossible to undertake reform.

Nobody in the Abe administration had said anything about boosting immigration as far as I know.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese firms want Abe to cool it on China See in context

this goes to show that self-proclaimed "patriotic" politicians often do much harm to the country the profess to love.

It is a good thing more sensible economic leaders and overseas political leaders (Obama) are reading Abe the riot act behind closed doors and curtailing his dangerous brand of demagogic nationalism. Also good to see polling data suggesting his economic reforms are popular while his nationalism is not: the Japanese people remain essentially decent, but they need to be vigilant to ensure Abe's more dangerous instincts are held in check.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Mori slammed for critical remarks about Asada See in context

A crassly stupid and grossly insensitive comment from Mori, but unfortunately not a surprise. As the article states, he has past form. It is staggering how bad Japan's politicians are compared to so many other aspects of the country's people and a pity they drag it down so unnecessarily.

It is clear from remarks like this that Mori is unsuitable to be in charge of the 2020 Olympics. He should be immediately replaced by someone with more grace, experience and a more international outlook. Does Japan really want someone who doesn't "want to learn the language of the enemy" as the face of the nation for the Olympics?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe calls for frank talks with China, South Korea See in context

Abe may want the talks, but he wants to placate his party's right more...his actions rather than his words show his true priorities.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: ANA apologizes over racial stereotyping in new TV commercial See in context

The LDP and JRP will doubtless be boosting their reservations with the airline. It will have pleased Abe, Ishihara and Hashimoto at least.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: S Korean activists to put 'comfort woman' statues in Asia See in context

They should put a statue in the arrivals hall of the airports in Seoul and Beijing to remind the visiting Japanese.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Aso says elderly should be allowed to 'hurry up and die' See in context

This sort of offensive drivel should hardly come as a surprise from Taro Aso, an over-privileged intellectually challenged idiot. But still, look on the bright side, maybe Aso will take his own advice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe sings national anthem as LDP prepares to 'take back Japan' See in context

Such arrogance of Abe to presume he can or should "take back Japan" from those who prefer to express their national identity in less jingoistic terms. . A number of the posters have suggested it is actually a good sign in that Abe's eye is off the ball and he will therefore not last wrong. I certainly hope they are right, and that he doesnt do too much damage in the meantime. But with something close to 400 of the 480 lower house seats in the hands of the Right or far Right, I wouldn't be complacent. Remember a good chunk of the official " opposition" is the Ishihara/Hashimoto alliance, who make Abe look like a moderate by comparison.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe wants to replace landmark 1995 war apology See in context

It will be interesting (if more than a little scary) to see the reaction in Asia if Abe proceeds with his disgraceful plan. There is always something richly ironic about how much damage these so-called "patriots" do to their countries.

In a country with a declining population, vast debts, no natural resources, a chronically dysfunctional political system and a culture that profoundly discourages any who would question established "authority", about the only thing Japan has going for it structurally is its proximity to dynamic Asian economies.

Give Abe a year and it looks as though he will negate that advantage and place Japan on the path of irreversible relative decline.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe tells envoy to improve ties with S Korea See in context

As Warnerbro notes, Abe's position is essentially delusional. One the one hand he "wants" to improve relations while at the same time espousing the very things that cause them to be bad (a refusal to acknowledge past wrongs perpetrated against the Korean people between 1910-1945 when Japan occupied the country and systematically aimed to destroy Korean cultural identity). The man is a grotesque parody of himself.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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