Japan Today

adm_kenshin comments

Posted in: Microsoft offers $99 Xbox consoles with a catch See in context

Erik, I sincerely doubt it. And if it does, just unplug it when it's not in use. The XBOX will run fine without it. A much larger concern is the windows operating system, ISPs and politicians.

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Posted in: Electric cars risk losing green sheen in Japan See in context

EV cars are "nuclear" powered in a sense.

Actually, if we think like that, all energy we use come from nuclear. Solar, wind, hydro comes from solar radiation, produced by nuclear fusion in the sun. Geothermal comes from nuclear fission deep inside our planet, which is why we have such high background radiation on Earth.



If you look at the wikipedia article, "deaths from energy sources per kWh produced", you'll find it is not nonsense. In fact, although I cannot be sure, didn't a dam come pretty close to breaking during 3/11?

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Posted in: Electric cars risk losing green sheen in Japan See in context

The short-term inconveniences of not using fission reactors will last some 50 years until we have reliable fusion power. Oil will not be affordable for long, and Japan will keep losing jobs at an accelerated pace.

Wind generators only work when the wind is blowing, disturbs animal habitats and requires lots of rare earth metals that are mined predominantly in China, with horrendous environmental damages. Solar panels are reliable and affordable, and can take over most peak use power in the countryside, but Japan does not have the space necessary to power the industry and cities with it.Hydropower is already built out, and more dangerous than nuclear in case of an earthquake.

Of all the renewable power sources, only solar power (and maybe ocean-based hydropower) stands any chance to offer a reliable and green power source, and even then base power generation is required.

As for hydrogen powered cars: hydrogen is difficult to store and very flammable. Better to join it with carbon to make a hydrocarbon, that can then be used in a fuel cell. The carbon can be taken from the outlets of factories. Alternatively, vehicles can run on hydrogen, and are later connected to the power grid and water service, and uses electrolysis to produce more hydrogen. As no hydrogen leaves the car, a safe tank can be designed.

But as for immediate needs: 1) start construction on generation 4 fission plants. They are much safer than the current old active-cooling plants, and the waste is only radioactive for 300-500 years. No fuel is needed as the waste from current reactors can be used as fuel.

2) Fuel cells everywhere where hydrocarbons are currently combusted. Diesel trains, trucks, cars, etc, should have fuel cells.

3) Long-term investment in fusion power technology. Also, long-term research into sustainable socioeconomic systems.

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Posted in: Defense, consumer affairs ministers to be removed from cabinet See in context

The diet could look at the cabinets of the fifties and sixties and see what made them so successful. They'll find that a key ingredient was that politicians did as few decisions as possible, leaving that process to the professionals (MITI etc).

Of course, in that day the goals of the large keiretsu advanced the country and the quality of life of Japanese people, the same might not be true today. Therefore, my suggestion is that the diet should create a new body, fill it with engineers (No politicians!) and tell them to device a solution for Japans many problems, fund them adequately (but not too much), but otherwise leave them alone for a few years. If they find something out, it'll probably be much cheaper and much better than what a political body could have accomplished, and if not, no big loss.

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Posted in: Vandals target metro subway lines nationwide See in context

pamelot: While I agree with your sentiments, please do not redefine words. The effort to redefine the words theft or stealing in particular has led to much trouble here in Sweden.

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Posted in: Shiga temple bans visits by gangsters See in context

smithinjapan: The temple is not allowed to ban visits by specific groups of people, that would be discrimination, which while widespread IS illegal in Japan. Interesting though that the police is encouraging this behavior. (The discriminated group in this case is people who are suspected to be criminals but haven't been proven so yet, or ex-cons who have served their time. I have no love for the Yakuza, but unless we follow the law ourselves, how can we demand that others do?).

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Posted in: Japan unlikely to win currency 'war of nerves' against speculators: analysts See in context

Now this is probably rather naive. I am not an expert on national economics.

So, the yen is too highly valued against the US Dollar and the Euro? Since Japan is a sovereign nation, can it simply not print more yen? This, using the supply and demand idea, should devalue the yen, right?

Then they could use that money to finance the Tohoku rebuilding effort. Or, give it out evenly to the people to raise domestic consumption.

If for some reason, printing money is not possible, perhaps buying products prized in Dollars could change things? Basically, go on a shopping spree now that the yen is high. Increase the size of the strategic oil reserve. Buy some small pacific island. Anything but dollars!

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Posted in: 14 men, aged 16-45, busted over national child pornography ring See in context

I think one of the reasons there is such perceived "indifference" toward child porn in Japan is because we have a different image of what it is.

When someone says child porn in Sweden, most people think of a young (elementary school age or younger) girl, kidnapped and exploited for money. Whereas, in Japan, most people probably think of a high school girl doing enjou kousai and allowing it to be filmed.

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Posted in: I will continue until the government finally gets its act together and takes over. I can’t let their inaction cost another precious life. See in context

Usually when politicians mention the word 'hero', they talk about soldiers going to other countries to do their bidding, or police officers who keep the tax money rolling in. Unlike them, Shige and his group are worthy of that title.

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Posted in: Iran to try 3 Americans who crossed Iraqi border See in context

And all of this could have been avoided if the US hadn't propped up the Shah against Iran's earlier secular government.

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Posted in: Obama's bow to emperor causes outrage in Washington See in context

Well, he did break state protocol. Then again, the US does have some things to apologize about, even to Japan. Such as the direction the country took after the crisis in 1989.

It might also be gratituity. Without 'loans' from Japan, Obama would not be able to keep Capitalism going and thus would be out of a job (as Politics is closely tied to the monetary system).

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Posted in: Royal relay See in context

Wether a monarchy is irrelevant or not is besides the point, Japan is a democracy (in name at least) and the majority of the people wishes to keep the monarchy. As it is not a technical matter, of which the best solution can be scientifically identified, the subjective view of the majority is the best grounds for making decisions in this field.

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Posted in: 2016 Olympic race too close to call ahead of vote See in context

Now that I think about it, the US might need the games the most. Chicago is a dump, and only receiving the games would let Obama convince the congress to let him rebuild it with tax money. A giant project like this is just what the US needs to move into the next financial bubble and get the economy going.

Tokyo has a much greater political ability for deficit spending, and thus doesn't need the games as much. I don't know about Rio or Madrid.

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Posted in: 2016 Olympic race too close to call ahead of vote See in context

Well, Madrid wont get it, as London will have 2012, and the main reason people say Tokyo wont get it is that the 2008 games were in Asia. Unless, of course, that wasnt the reason at all ;).

Chicago shouldnt have it either, the US has already hosted olympics at least twice. Japan has also had the games once, but that was quite a whie ago, and so I'd say they are the Nr2 deserving to win.

SA has never had the games, they deserve it the most.

Still, money will decide this, like usual. Money and Obama's skill at manipulating feelings, maybe.

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Posted in: Low-income bachelors victims of widening 'sex gap' See in context

It's interesting to see just how many problems would disappear if we stopped using money.

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Posted in: Hatoyama backs fiscal regulation; says he's not turning to socialism See in context

Monoflow, I agree with you, but what do you suggest to use instead? Democracy is not an economic system, as you know.

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Posted in: Hatoyama backs fiscal regulation; says he's not turning to socialism See in context

GJ: His policies, as far as I can see, is only temporary measures at best. As you say, Capitalism (in the US) ended with the great depression, for reasons that anyone even remotely knowledgeable about supply and demand should be able to figure out.

Japans 'exportism' is dependent on the export market being capable to buy all the produce of the factories. If this is true, then wages will increase with productivity, and unemployment stay low. However, this stopped working in the 1980's. The physical characteristics of the world economy changed when South Korea and China became capable of advanced industrial production, thus there is NO way to return to the past.

This does not mean that Japan is screwed however, just that we need to rethink our economic plan. In the 50’s, the new Japanese government let the technocrats in MITI run stuff. Thus, they looked scientifically at the world situation and developed a plan to make Japan powerful and rich. This plan succeeded quite well, but it was never supposed to go on forever. The plan had a limit of 50 years or so, after which a new plan had to be devised.

By the 1980's, when it was time to change to the next plan, MITI was no longer in power. The Japanese technocracy had changed into a bureaucracy, which goal was to maintain the status quo, not improve the nation. Additionally, bureaucrats does not use science to determine the best method, but they use their own policies. The result should astonish no one.. The politicians themselves, when they did make decisions, made them in favor of big business.

Exportism no longer works, this is evident. Japan needs a new tool.

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Posted in: Hatoyama backs fiscal regulation; says he's not turning to socialism See in context

Bamboohat: Actually you are wrong here. Redistribution of wealth is a necessity to keep the economy going. This is because the purchasing power of the consumers is drained, as money is funneled into savings and corporate profit. This money was traditionally invested into new factories, but nowadays we have enough factories so it is instead invested into financial systems, and so the money does not create new jobs.

With few new jobs, there is a reduction in consumer spending and while there is an abundance of goods on the market, the consumers cannot afford to buy it all. Demand is reduced, which leads to a recession, and as more people are laid off, a depression.

As Japan has been an export country, most of the industrial production was bought and thus we didn't have these problems. However, in the US the consumer had been living on credit for a long time, and as more and more of their salaries are tied up with servicing loans, they can buy less Japanese imports. Especially if their main asset, their houses, would decrease in value...

Now US consumers cannot buy all of Japans industrial production, and thus Japan is entering a depression. The solution the Japanese politicians have suggested is to increase consumption by Japanese consumers. The only way to do this atm is to increase their purchasing power. That means redistributing wealth.

1) Redistribute wealth from the future (ie deficit spending, to be paid by future tax payers). This is at most a temporary solution, and it will have repercussions in the future. 2) Redistribute wealth from the industries to the consumers by raising wages. This would work, as all those profits aren't doing anything good for the economy anyway. However, prices might increase, as the owners of industry would like to keep their profits, or they might move the industries abroad. 3) Expropriate money invested in financial instruments, and use it to finance government deficit spending. This would work too, until civil war broke out that is ^^. Furthermore, the old would be in trouble since their savings are in the same financial instruments.

As you see, all three methods are painful and success is not guaranteed. I therefore suggest that working within the economic system might not be optimal. However, if the DPJ tried to change the economic system the result might be as in No 3, ie there would be resistance by the wealthy.

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Posted in: Some wonder if Japan's new leaders have economic vision See in context

jbro888: Fiat money is not naturally scarce, but it is kept artificially scarce. The central banks CAN make it abundant, yes, but if they do, the result is hyperinflation. The money will lose its value.

So to summarize: Gold is naturally scarce Fiat is artificially scarce

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Posted in: Some wonder if Japan's new leaders have economic vision See in context

tkoind2, it is not only the 'right thing' to change the system, it is necessary. Measures to prop up the system will only have temporary successes, until we have another depression.

First, however, Hatoyama & Co must decide what the goal of the economy should be. Is it a sustainable way of living? Is it a high living standard for the populace? Is it to take advantage of all the latest innovations of technology? The market capitalism is incapable of providing any of these. I won't bother explaining why, because we are all faced by the fact.

If we decide on a number of goals. we can from these design a system that will work using the common method of engineering. It is not difficult, and it does not take a long time. It does however take some radical thinking...

If we look at the subject of money, we see that wether it is fiat currency or gold, it all has one common feature: it is scarce. This is a necessity, as money in itself has no value. Only the fact that it is scarce makes it useful in trades.

This leaves us with a problem however: as money is scarce we can never have enough to provide a decent standard of living to every citizen. We can never have enough to even buy all the production of our factories, and if we can't do this the result is ever increasing unemployment. If we tried to make enough money by printing more, it would lose its value. This is called hyperinflation.

So the radical thought required is this: the system we device cannot use money.

There are a few suggestions for a money-less method of distribution (of both goods and labor), but I feel that the most relevant one is Technocracy. I am currently working to design a technocratic plan that would work for Japan and other resource-deficit nations, but in the meantime if you are interested you can read more about it here: http://www.technocracy.ca/simp/begin.html

tokyokawasaki: No, nothing will change. This is because the current situation is a result of our economic system.

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Posted in: Calls already coming in for fast action after DPJ sweeps LDP out of power See in context

All of those who are against massive deficit spending: Do you have an alternative that doesn't imply radical reduction of people's living standard?

For those of you suggesting that unemployed should be retrained: retrained for what? There are not enough new jobs to soak up the unemployment, without government creating new ones.

Without deficit spending, the economy would collapse, as the purchasing power of the consumer class is not enough to buy the production of the factories. Still, deficit spending is not a long-term solution, as eventually it will lead to hyperinflation, when foreign countries are no longer interested in buying the debt.

Money, mankind's oldest and most revered tool, have reached its limit. It's time to try something new.

realist: The LDP, for better or worse, have kept Japan rather free actually, at least up until 1999 and the terrorism hysteria. I hope the DPJ will continue with these liberal policies. Otherwise we will get moralist hell as in Sweden.

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Posted in: DPJ looks to reshape Japanese economy See in context

I just can't understand these people. Just look at the numbers, do a little math, and you'll see that even if the consumers' purchasing power could be increased temporarily, that won't automatically lead to an increase in spending. The fact is that Japanese people already can afford all they need to. The market is saturated. Foreign markets are also either saturated or lacks purchasing power. There can be no more (long term) growth, because supply is already way above demand. This is a physical fact.

Furthermore, attempts to increase demand for consumer products will lead to little success. Most people already have their essentials, and can't afford luxury products. The same is true for most export markets.

A rethinking of the economy much more radical than DPJ's suggestion will be necessary. Or, we could lower supply by starting a war. Guess which one the politicians will pick ^_-

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Posted in: Recovery? What recovery? See in context

"A sustainable growth path with price stability"? Is Japan going to abolish capitalism and look for a new solution?

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Posted in: Konami pulls plug on 'Fallujah' video game See in context

Well, most war games have a very inaccurate description of the battles involved, so they can retain the 15+ rating. Therefore, I believe this game would leave out a lot of detail a movie wouldn't. Games are held to a much tighter standard than movies.

It's quite sad because the interactivity of games is one of the best ways to show an audience the soldiers' viewpoint. Perhaps if more people played realistic games, and not EA crap, they would know how hard it is to avoid civilian casualties and thus protest more against the next war.

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Posted in: Hitachi launches Gazopa for iPhone application See in context

Cool stuff!

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Posted in: What is the most effective way to put an end to Somali piracy? See in context

techall: Only this time it's the rest of the world whose been breaking treaties.

There are two solutions to this problem. 1) Might makes right: The 'International' community colonize Somalia in a 'UN protectorate'. 2) Parley! ^_^. Talk with the pirate factions, force all ships to travel outside Somali territorial waters, and only guard this corridor. Pirates who still attack ships outside of Somali waters can repelled by the world's navies, the rest can go back to fishing.

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Posted in: For fans of locomotives, it’s full steam ahead See in context

It's nice that, while not always accepted, so many sub-cultures have their own place in Japan. It's also nice how you could be an otaku publicly and not be beaten up ;)

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Posted in: N Korea warns Japan that intervening in rocket launch will be act of war See in context

Isn't a missile any object, guided or not, that is launched by humans with the intention to reach a target instead of just going as high as possible? There's a reason arrows are called missile weapons ^_^.

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Posted in: The power of rumors See in context

You guys are talking about 2chan as if it was a single being, which it isn't. There are in fact 10 million users of it. Its large enough to have created its own sub-culture, in which unfounded rumour and slander is used as some form of humour. No one actually believes it, at least not anyone on 2ch.

I would however agree that 2ch's collective intelligence have dropped considerably, as most of the serious people have left it for other avenues, or stay in the less popular sub-fora.

I am also greatly saddened by the fact that people would rather sue someone than just disproving their claims. There are circumstances in which it might be the best solution, for example personal slander unrelated to any official capacity which the public actually believes in, and the person involved would rather not publizise parts of his personal life.

Otherwise however, if the posters on these fora are so stupid, it shouldn't be hard to disprove their lies. If your friends or other people who mean something to you still believe in them, who are the really stupid ones?

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Posted in: Motorcyclist campaigns to keep his family’s killer behind bars See in context

In my opinion, life without parole is worse than a death sentence. While I don't agree with the death sentence in general, with today's lousy psychiatric care it is perhaps better for these few dangerous and obviously mentally ill REPEAT offenders.

Still, I definitely thik the courtroom should include a few psychiatrists, who can give an idea of wether the particular criminal has a chance at becoming well again or should just be executed because it's better than spending the rest of one's life in a padded cell.

Oh, and get rid of the hanging already. It's sick and messy.

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