Akula comments

Posted in: Tokyo reports 184 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 613 See in context

The numbers are fairly stable, but they aren't going down in the big cities. Active cases seem to have stalled at around the 6000 mark for a few weeks now.

It is worth pointing out though that 19 prefectures have less than 10 active cases, and 3 of those 19 have no active COVID cases at all.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Facebook shuts NZ political party's page before polls over COVID-19 misinformation See in context

To be honest, it is hard to see why Facebook has done this. Few people in New Zealand take this party seriously, and they have zero hope of getting any representation in parliament.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Posted in: Ardern set to win in New Zealand's 'COVID election' See in context

I will concede that her party has largely done a good job through this pandemic but that is about it.

Ardern campaigned in 2017 on fixing child poverty - it got worse in the last 3 years. They campaigned on Kiwibuild, a project to ramp up housing supply and fix housing shortages. It was a catastrophic failure. Ardern campaigned on a light rail line in Auckland, saying it would be built by 2021, it hasn't started and probably never will. Pre-COVID, the economy was limping towards recession given the business unfriendly nature of the Labour led government.

All this adulation from overseas focuses on Ardern's image and not what her government has achieved.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: Ardern set to win in New Zealand's 'COVID election' See in context

Ardern is being rewarded for some decent crisis management, but without COVID her government would have been toast. They failed to deliver on just about everything they promised. Over-promise and under-deliver has been their legacy to date.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 166 new coronavirus cases See in context

Numbers staying low. These consistently low numbers seem to be a disappointment to many posters on this site.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

Posted in: Shinkansen to get speed boost along Tohoku route See in context

The Hokkaido Shinkansen will eventually get to Sapporo around 2030 and that is essentially the goal here. Without speed improvements, a bullet train to Sapporo from Tokyo will take too long and people will just continue to fly between the two cities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 78 new coronavirus cases See in context

Nice to see the number lower but we see this kind of variation every week with weekends and so on.

In any case the number of active cases is falling so we can be thankful for that.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 146 new coronavirus cases; nationwide 434 See in context

Tokyo seems to be doing okay but the Hokkaido numbers are a bit of a worry. Still under 6000 active cases in Japan which is a tiny percentage of the population.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Posted in: All Blacks, Wallabies draw 16-16 in first int'l rugby match since March See in context

Australia deserved to win, although their second try was questionable as well.

I hope like anything for New Zealand's sake that they get Beauden Barrett back next week. Mo'unga was awful.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern poised for big win in election, poll says See in context

Some people seem to think that the dislike for Ardern is a gendered thing. A nice way of deflecting attention some real issues with her and her party. If anything her party is let down by having so many incompetent men in cabinet. Hipkins, Clark, Twyford, Davis etc. Most private sector companies in New Zealand wouldn't employ these guys.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan, Mongolia to cooperate on 'Free and Open Indo-Pacific' See in context

It is hard for Mongolia being sandwiched between Russia and China and I have no doubt as a country it needs to be skillful with its diplomacy. It helps that Russia and China are natural enemies (even if relations may seem good at the moment).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 2 remote Hokkaido towns seek to host nuclear waste storage site See in context

It's a bit of a conundrum. I spent time in Ehime, and there is a nuclear power plant out there in the south of the prefecture which as I understand hasn't been operating post Fukushima.

The plant provided hundreds of high paying jobs in an area with not that much outside of agriculture and fisheries, and provided much of the local town's budget, with the town having facilities that larger cities in Japan would be lucky to have.

Lose the power plant and it is a massive financial blow for the local area with all that entails.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: In Nagasaki, bank consolidation may expose flaws in economic rescue plans See in context

There are too many regional banks in Japan and many of them probably should merge. Each prefecture in Shikoku for example has 2 banks, so that's 8 banks for 3.8 million people in addition to the various credit unions that operate.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern poised for big win in election, poll says See in context

@strangerland

No it hasn't. Her government is extremely popular for how they have run the country over the past few years.

Actually there has been misstep after misstep. Kiwibuild, Auckland light rail, Czech drug dealers being granted residency and so on. Although I disagree with aspects of how Ardern and co have handled COVID, they have done a passable job. Prior to that it was a dog's breakfast. Ardern was booed by the crowd at a rugby game in Eden Park last year, which shows how unpopular she was amongst much of the population pre-COVID.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern poised for big win in election, poll says See in context

But this just goes to how a strong and competent response to the coronavirus has changed this party's fortunes. Labour actually got less votes than National in the last election, but Peters, the kingmaker put them in power. They were poised to lose again, but the response to the coronavirus has gained Jacinda and Labour a lot of respect.

This is the one point I can agree with. Ardern was very much looking like a one term Prime Minister prior to COVID coming along. She got some things right during the response, such as sidelining some of her less competent ministers who would not inspire trust in the public, the hapless Phil Twyford, Kelvin Davis, David Clark and so on. Unfortunately though it remains that there is very little talent in her caucus, and outside of Ardern, Grant Robertson and one or two others, they have very few people of genuine ability.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 203 new coronavirus cases See in context

Japan is kind of meandering along here and that is okay. Infections are low enough to justify just getting on with life. The economic cost of a further shutdown is unnecessary, and it does seem that East Asians in particular are less vulnerable to the virus.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern poised for big win in election, poll says See in context

Ardern talks a good game, but over the past three years her government has been found wanting. They are very good at announcing policies but not good at implementing anything. Kiwibuild was a spectacular failure for example.

That said, the only hope for National is that the Greens fail to make the 5% threshold, which appears unlikely at this stage, but we can live in hope.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern poised for big win in election, poll says See in context

Bad news if so. Labour has quite a week team behind her. When you have people like Phil Twyford ranked at number 4, then as a cabinet you are seriously lacking in ability to get the job done.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 142 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 505 See in context

Tokyo seems to be doing alright but the numbers in Hokkaido seem to have increased recently. Hopefully the outbreak there can be brought under control.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Posted in: Singapore Airlines to resume flight to Fukuoka in November See in context

Positive news. A step in the right direction.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Biden says next presidential debate should be called off if Trump still has COVID-19 See in context

Doesn't seem like an unreasonable request on Joe Biden's part.

I did see Trump on TV yesterday and at points he did seem to be having some breathing difficulties. For all the bravado I suspect there is a way to go before he is better again.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Posted in: Tokyo ward assemblyman under fire over remarks against LGBT rights See in context

One of the key issues facing Japan is that of demographics, so I think we need to tread very carefully around treating same-sex relationships as being 'normal'. I agree partially with Mr Shiraishi.

-1 ( +15 / -16 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 66 new coronavirus cases See in context

Great to see numbers dropping, although I know it will disappoint many posters on this site. Japan has done a great job of containing the virus and getting it under control.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Posted in: Okayama in Michelin guide See in context

I've always liked Okayama as a city although it has been a long time since I was there for any other reason than to change trains.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Shock, sympathy, mockery: World reacts to Trump virus infection See in context

There has been much schadenfreude over the last few days over this. Although I am not a fan of the Trumps I wish Donald the best for his recovery.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan's job market worsens in August as coronavirus damage persists See in context

3% is not high but I guess this only covers those that are registered as unemployed.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 235 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 637 See in context

The downward trend in active cases has stopped. It seems to be a big city issue though. 4 prefectures have no active cases at all, and a further 14 have active cases in the single figures.

Hopefully we will see a further downtrend though over the next few weeks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 144 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 470 See in context

Still going in the right direction with active cases now under 6000. Still would like to see lower numbers though. It is proof though that you can contain the virus without having to lock an entire country down.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Posted in: Japan to reopen borders for all foreign visitors with permits to stay in country See in context

Opening up is the right thing. Hopefully I can be back in Japan next year for a visit.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 59 new coronavirus cases See in context

A brilliant result and just goes to show how well Japan has done in handling the virus.

Already there are around 15 prefectures with 10 or fewer active cases, and Saga, Iwate, Ehime and Shimane have no active cases at all.

Japan's approach of taking measures to mitigate, (masks etc.) without shutting down the economy has been the right one.

-9 ( +11 / -20 )

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