as_the_crow_flies comments

Posted in: Tokyo reports 2,447 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 16,841 See in context

The number can't be too high since the Paralympics are starting tomorrow.

Yes, it's setting the bar lower...

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Posted in: Opposition candidate wins Yokohama mayor election in blow to Suga See in context

Really hoping for a change in local politics. But not getting my hopes up too much.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan offers $410 mil in aid to support Turkey's hosting of refugees See in context

How about 410,000,000 vaccines for us in Japan?

How about Japan take some refugees?

As @dbsaiya says, they are paying to avoid anyone drawing attention to Japan's pitiful intake of refugees, whether Turkish, Kurdish or Syrian, despite supposedly being signatory to international agreements that put them in the 'international community' camp, where they like to think they have a place at the table. The only way to do that is to dump a wad of money on the table so the rest of the club look away from their refugee shutout policy. It works!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Georgian judoka ejected from Paralympics after assault arrest See in context

Good. He got what he deserved.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 5,074 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 25,492 See in context

Figures for people waiting for hospital beds? Figures for numbers of hospitalisations, not just severe cases? Figures for people on oxygen at home? Figures for people sick in hotels? Average time for Covid patients in ambulances to gain admission to a hospital? Numbers of deaths at home?

The age breakdowns are okay to keep giving, but you need to give more information please Japan Today.

Although deaths are slightly trending up in many prefectures, at least in Tokyo it could be that the increase in rates of infection is slowing down a little bit. Too early to say if the curve is being flattened, but let's see what happens to the 7 day averages of new cases over the next week.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Posted in: University students attending virtual classes struggle with isolation See in context

While I feel for this student, and the isolation she's feeling is obviously real, as others have said, this is something out of our control that has happened, as things do in life, and on a personal level, you need to learn how to deal with things you can't control.

Of course the other thing it shows up is the absolute paralysis of Japanese society, that it can't adapt, be creative and find ways around the challenges. I come across students who have been stuck in Zoom lectures with little chance for interaction. Of course they are isolated, bored, frustrated! It's a year and a half now, this is plenty long enough for university administrations to get up to speed, listen to the students, call on them to help, and figure out ways to socialise more online. If the oyajis are too clueless to think up new things, I'm sure the students could. Of course security online is an issue, but there could be much more online socialising, mental health support, practical counselling for students in financial difficulty, and as others have said, ways to develop some safe f2f meeting up for outdoor activities.

It's not all-or-nothing, black or white, in person or online. Bejasus, be a bit creative! Young people have a lot of energy, a lot of time on their hands, they should be reasonably tech savvy by now, rope them in to finding solutions. This is an opportunity!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Paralympic torch relay events begin in Tokyo as COVID concerns linger See in context

"concerns linger", "worries remain", "alarming" rise in Covid cases ...???

As @Mr Bogglesworth said above, they sure want to paint this as some kind of pyschological state, not something that causes pregnant mothers to be denied medical care, a newborn babiy to die in its home, thousands of people stranded at home, in hotels, in an ambulance as hospitals refuse to treat them, people to suffer unattended as the medical system is overrun, health workers to suffer burnout from the relentless, unending pace of severe cases, so-called 'oxygen stations' to be set up as hospital care is denied to sick people, the age of people getting seriously unwell keeps dropping. All of this more than any previous point in the pandemic. They call that 'lingering'? Are they mad? It's a bit like that other classic we've been treated to lately, 'they died while 'recovering'/'recuperating' at home'.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: First coronavirus case reported in Tokyo Paralympic athletes village See in context

In a nutshell, there are 15,000 athletes and 63,000 persons accompanying them staying in the village. To which the program added 200,000 additional staff to run the village (cleaning staff, caretakers, etc, etc). Long story short: approx. 300,000 people are working / staying in the village, ALL of which enter and exit the bubble on a daily basis!

Added to that:

How many police drafted in for the Olympics have been infected? The Mainichi did report one cluster, in police drafted in from Hyogo.

How many of those people working and mixing in the village have been vaccinated? How many were/are regularly tested?

Then you have those who were/are too good for the village. There were all sorts of teams staying at hotels around Tokyo. What were the infection figures for those places?

How many infections have there been at training camps and friendly matches pre-bubble? We can assume there are no figures being kept, or at least if they have been kept, they have not been released.

We saw from the Olympics that once the games end, then the rules went out the window for many in the village, as any possible threats no longer had any teeth, (if they even had before), so they felt able to go out and about, following the great example of Emperor Barfch.

Also, how many hospital beds in Tokyo did sick or injured Olympians, hangers-on, staff, etc. etc. take up in the end, at a time when locals have been told to stay home untreated?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Ballet dancer arrested over sex with 16-year-old girl at Tokyo hotel See in context

Probably 'she started it', or perhaps 'I was just trying to give her some advice.' POS. Throw the book at him.

-6 ( +11 / -17 )

Posted in: Delta variant confirmed in New Zealand; virus case total increases to 7 See in context

I feel sorry for the folks in NZ people in other countries are getting on with their lives.

I feel sorrier for the thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people (figure depends on the country) getting on with their deaths, or condemned to an indefinite state of chronic illness after catching Covid.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Number of severe COVID patients in Japan hits record for 4th day in row See in context

Stop blaming the Olympics for everything, I was at the Olympics and things were very tightly controlled, and so many preventive measures were taken bordering on ridiculous.

Yes and no. If you were 'at' the Olympics in the supposed'bubble' , there was lots of busy work making it look super controlled. But even then, staff in the canteen commented how in reality, the measures were not observed. There was contact between serving staff and athletes, many didn't wear masks even when not eating, they didn't observe distancing, spoke loudly, didn't use sanitiser... and on and on.

And if you were some of the invisible support staff, the bubble didn't apply to you at all. Tens of thousands of drivers were hired, many billeted in crowded dorms with no chance of social distancing. All the police, likewise. Clusters broke out in their lodgings. Volunteers, cleaners, caterers, security guards, all travelled in and out from their homes and families. Were these cases logged separately? No - so there is no way to really know the numbers of infections caused directly or indirectly.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 4,295 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 17,832 See in context

Definite lack of critical thinking skills in some posters, who just want to hang onto the daily changes, no matter how many times it is pointed out the the important data is trends, not fluctuations over a weekend. Is it really so hard to understand, or is it reluctance to let go of a shred of comfort?

As for random testing, it's not about grabbing people off the street. If widespread testing is available, you get a big enough sample of symptomatic and asymptomatic tests. Some of the asymptomatic ones will be negative, some positive. For example, in some countries, people in high risk settings like schools (Yes! I know. Maybe Japanese schools are different.....???) have to take weekly tests (lateral flow). Even with a less accurate test, it helps gather enough data to get a picture of the extent of community spread, and a positive needs to be followed up with a PCR. But at least anyone who gets a 15 minute result from the lateral flow test can isolate as a precaution while they wait for the PCR. This slows down the rate of spread.

And as far as severe cases go, the biggest increase is in younger people, not young people. Some places have actually prioritised students over older working people, who are mostly not vaccinated. Result - people in their 40s and 50s are now the main seriously ill group. The result of an incompetent government which has not prepared and planned for a pandemic, and are now reacting, ridiculously incompetently slowly, to the latest trend, whilst still denying what happened during the Olympics, and forging ahead with the next Paralympic circus. They must be eugenicists.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese companies to be banned from locking cell phone SIM cards See in context

@Zichi,this sounds very interesting. I'm technically a dweeb, so I have a couple of questions which are probably dumb, but bear with me.

Is this an AU contract? Does it only work with iPhones? (Thinking of if I change to the one your refer to from my current UQ contract on an Android phone).

If you travel overseas, can you use it with a locally bought sim?

Also, if you don't need a contract, why do you need to pay to cancel it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Olympics now ended, Suga pinning his hopes on vaccinations See in context

The cases of COVID related to the Olympics were only a few hundred, nothing to be alarmed,

Japan has continued the vaccination at the same time with the Olympics and is in 5th place as the country with the highest vaccination rate, below China, US, India and Brazil.

The increase in infections It is not the fault of the government but of the stupid people who still do not follow the science and the prevention measures of contagions..

Little by little things will improve, everyone to get vaccinated.

Japan has world-beating capacity in fudging figures. If you don't collect the data, there is no evidence of your incompetence. They defined Olympic related infections in terms of a mythical bubble, which didn't exist. In reality, the Olympics involved the mixing of hundreds of thousands of people - policy, security, drivers, volunteers, cleaners, caterers, marshalls and other Olympic staff, as well as domestic and foreign media, domestic and foreign athletes, domestic and foreign health workers, curious bystanders outside Olympic venues... The bubble only applied to the incoming athletes and their entourages. Infections in all the other groups, where they have been picked up because of symptomatic infection, were absorbed into local figures - all over the country for the training camps, in Tokyo/Kanagawa/Chiba/Saitama for those staying outside the bubble. So we will never know the true figures, only notice that strangely, infections tripled during the course of the Olympics.

You missed a zero off the vaccination rate - Japan is currently 50th. Singapore is 5th.

The government has given mixed messaging and poor leadership, allowing the rich and mighty to do what they want, in front of the cameras, while telling the rest of us bars bad, trains good. Little wonder people become cynical and rebellious.

So things got worse in leaps and bounds, but they will improve little by little? That crystal ball of yours sure is impressive - can I have a shufty?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Man arrested for killing 82-year-old mother after laundry argument See in context

I don't want to let the son off the hook for what he did, but the lack of government support for caregivers, specially anyone trying to care for a dementia sufferer at home, can tip some people over the edge. Caregiving is not easy at the best of times, but if the person has dementia, you can be stuck in a loop where you repeat the same conversation, sometimes only minutes after you last had it. This can tip people who are already mentally fragile over the edge. We don't know enough to say what was the situation with this son - there are so many possible scenarios - but if we want to avoid more situations like this, we need to step up support for relatives caring for someone at home. Can you imagine not knowing how long you are stuck in an oppressive situation, maybe with noone to talk to, stressed out, and having crazy-making conversations with someone who may not even remember you are their son?

On the other hand, he could have been a self-centred ''()=&%$! who was used to being waited on and couldn't take the change in roles, but didn't want to see his future inheritance spent on a care home for his mother. I know a few cases like that around my neighbourhood, too.

All we can do is try and make our society a more supportive and compassionate one so that old people can live out their last years, specially when they become frail and vulnerable, in safety and dignity.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Suga's medical adviser urges tougher anti-virus measures See in context

Everywhere is facing a Delta surge. Japan vaccinated the most vulnerable just in time. This has minimized serious illness and deaths. Hopefully cases peak soon.

Not everywhere is facing a surge, and the seriousness of the surge tends to reflect that government's response to it. Effective responses usually limit the surge, ineffective ones tend to let it run rip.

Japan promised to vaccinate people with underlying conditions, but then failed to honour the promise. Therefore the vulnerable under-65's, and there are millions of them, have sometimes found themselves in the queue behind high-school students, because sports days, university entrance applications, job-hunting and other such rituals of Japanese society. It's a lottery, depending on whether your local government decided to prioritise the vulnerable under-65's or not. Mine didn't, so my immunosuppressed partner had to wait his age group's turn to join the queue to get an appointment.

It has not 'minimised' serious illnesses and deaths. This is why medical advisers are saying the country is reaching a situation where if you get sick, you're on your own.

Hoping is all this government seems to be capable of. Hope away!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 2,612 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 10,574 See in context

Government is not hiding bodies!

Here goes again: if you delay testing long enough and someone dies before they are tested, cause of death is officially not Covid. Something like a fifth of deaths in Japan are generally ascribed to pneumonia. Logical, as it is opportunistic and gets people with weakened immune systems. Considering the high rates of diabetes in Japan, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver and kidney disease ... lots of wiggle room there, if people haven't jumped through the right hoops before dying, for some causes of death to be ascribed to pneumonia, or one of their comorbidities. Specially if your hospital is worried about 'reputational damage' from being a Covid hotspot, let's say, if it is not officially designated as having a Covid ward. Someone dying of Covid there could have serious financial repercussions for the institution.

Then there is the issue of corpses conveniently getting 'fast-track' cremation:

And requests in Japan to test corpses for coronavirus are often rejected:  

So as the articles explain, while there is a public health interest to have accurate reporting, there are various interests within the industry in fudging it.

And then there is the knotty problem of people with Covid dying unhospitalised:

And the collateral damage of people dying alone and undiscovered

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Posted in: Aluminum cans slowly replace plastics to tackle marine pollution See in context

It seems aluminium is better than plastic, but it would be so good if Japanese businesses could stop with the baby steps and start taking the bigger ones which are needed to face up to the environmental crisis that's brewing. Businesses, individuals and governments need to change their behaviour if we are to slow down this runaway train.

Companies need to make it much easier for consumers to bring their own containers. Surely it's not so hard to design drinks dispensers that do this safely, and without needing too much labour? For those that haven't brought a flask, they could sell the flasks too, at a price that would make people think twice before not bothering to bring them. They could phase this in, gradually offering more choice than in bottled products, to give people time to get used to the idea, and make bringing your own container a more attractive option than buying something ready-packaged. Governments could legislate so that stores would have to charge a realistic price for the plastic or aluminium bottle, which could be with a deposit system like someone mentioned for a state in Australia, incentivising the consumer and also making them aware of the 'real' cost of one-use containers.

It takes the will, and some creativity, and we can tackle these challenges in a more radical way that matches the urgency of doing so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 84 COVID-19 patients died at home in Japan over 6 months: gov't See in context

Nine had died at the time of reporting while the dates of death for 24 patients were unknown.

What they must mean is that 24 of the bodies were so decomposed that it was not possible to establish how long they had been dead for. Put that way, it doesn't put the government response to the current bed shortage in a good light.

A total of 84 coronavirus patients recuperating at home in Japan died in the six months through June

They died while getting better? The opposition called the government out on this, so it's not just a translation issue. The truth is, they died at home after being denied access to treatment for Covid.

This is what we pay taxes and social insurance for?

 @IronBeard - thanks for the link

Also this article says that a knock-on effect of the pandemic is more deaths at home going undiscovered for weeks or months:

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: After Tokyo, Olympians hanker for 2024 Games See in context

So surprise surprise, the cult of me-me-me runs through the games. We've had to put up with these being forced on us, we will be paying the bill for these 'select few' to get their shiny bits of metal for decades, at least spare us their angst over not having their best friends to their party. Us and our pandemic experience were just a backdrop for them. The party ended over 48 hours ago! The world has already moved on! Forget them, like most of them forgot their 'host' nation.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Olympic exodus begins in Tokyo See in context

Clearly now they are all heading out, the organisers don't give a toss whether they observe social distancing, so it:s a free for all there. But glad to see most are wearing masks, even though they are packed in together. Probably the first time huge groups have been able to get together, apart from packing into buses together for transit, so I can imagine how special these moments are for them. Here's hoping none of them picked up corona while here and they don't go and seed it back in their own countries. I wish them well, but pity us left behind picking up the - what is it? - $17bn tab for their 2 week jaunt, which we will be paying for through taxes and cut public services for the next 3 or 4 decades.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Posted in: Measures that made Tokyo Olympics possible also left public disconnected See in context

For sale: One barely used stadium. Used once, no wear and tear. 95% of seats unused and brand new. Can be demolished and sold for high quality scrap as no longer needed. Contact stadium administration for details

@sf2k - can I add a few things in?

For sale: One barely used stadium, with tags. Cost $1.43 billion new, only used once, no wear and tear. 95% of seats unused and brand new, still in original box. Junk status, can be demolished and sold for high quality scrap as sadly no longer needed. Offers. Contact government for details.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: IOC gives itself more power to remove sports from future Olympics See in context

"the Olympic movement"? "the Olympic family"? What lovely soft, fuzzy words. How about changing those to "the Olympic mafia" or simply "the Olympic Cosa Nostra"? So they are awarding themselves some more power? My, what a surprise! I guess while they were at it, they gave themselves a pay rise, and nominated Herr Barfch for his Nobel.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: FamilyMart repackages popular rice balls reducing 70 tons of plastic waste per year See in context

It's good that they are making this effort with one product. Considering the number of onigiri that people buy here, it will make some difference. Baby steps.

Next, I would like conbinis to take bigger, more radical steps. Here are a few:

Commit to renewable energy goals. e.g start using solar on the buildings they have stores. The big chains have the clout to build this into their rental contracts, and they could start with all the one storey dedicated buildings.

Reduce lighting in stores by at least a third. They could have done this as they moved over to LED, but chose to stay in 1970's light overkill mode.

Have the store thermostat set around 27 in summer, and use ceiling fans.

Use more eco friendly chiller cabinets. Not open shelves.

Plant green screens around their car parks - e.g bamboo. Helps with carbon capture from customers cars, reduces heat island in car parks, so customers don't need to sit in cars with aircon pumped up full.

Move their business towards less reliance on ready meals that are either heavily overpackaged, or lead to massive food waste. Instead, start selling some products from dispensers that customers can bring their own containers. If they do this, it will start to move from being a niche thing, to changing the way we buy things. Aeon in particular is well positioned to do this, as they have supermarkets too.

Do something about the wasteful design of their coffees from vending machines. Again, encourage consumers to bring their own flask.

Some of these are based on them continuing their current business model e.g. ones about installing solar and greenery, but what would really help is if they start thinking about moving to a low-waste business model, which will mean more meaningful changes. These big conglomerates doing this would really start to make a difference.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: I want the government to seriously consider legal measures, including lockdown-like restrictions on movements. See in context

I'm curious, has anyone here actually used their Abenomask (as a mask)?

It's funny you should say that. I did wonder why the government put a pack of sanitary towels in my mailbox. They were absolutely useless.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Faster, higher, older: Pensioners defy virus fears to keep Olympics running See in context

I admire their spirit, and if they want to volunteer, that's up to them. If it had been even 20 years ago, it would have seemed fitting to say it's fine to run the show on volunteer labour. But the IOC has descended into a money-grubbing, grasping, arrogant monster that puts itself above governments, above the law, above the public interest and the Olympics as they are now need to be brought to an end. The pandemic has exposed just how exploitative their 'volunteer' system has come, and yes, it shows that something stinks if the broadcasters are creaming off fantastic profits, while the grunts at the bottom are working for nothing.

And by the way, they are not all vaccinated. Many of the over-65's will be, but only a small elite section of volunteers were offered fast-track vaccination. The vast majority were left to sort it out with the rest of us, and just given a vial of sanitiser and two masks. Even the professional drivers were given no help to get vaccinated, unless their company had a programme that got them jabbed in time to work on the Games.

These tens of thousands of volunteers are also moving all over the place, in Tokyo and in camps around the country, commuting between home and venues, potentially carrying the virus into and out of the bubble. Whether they have 'fears' or not doesn't matter, all this movement of people presents a risk to all of us, based here, or coming in for the Games.

Back to volunteering, there are so many fantastic ways to pay it forward, or back, or sideways or whichever way you like. You don't need to wait 50 years to do it. Volunteerism is slowly growing here, since the Kobe earthquake, and specially since 3/11. It may not have a sports theme or remind anyone of their old mother, but you can be sure it will give meaning to life, and make a difference to many. Also, many of this generation maybe miss the greater sense of community they grew up with. Volunteering is a great way to recreate that. And they can have a million pointless meetings and create complicated systems for simple things to their hearts' content. And in times of corona, it's good if they do this instead of going to the doctor because they feel lonely and want to get out of the house.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 3,709 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 12,014 See in context

This means that a much lower number of the under-65's are ending up in ICU or dying, 

Whoops, I meant a much lower number of the over-65's are ending up in ICU or dying. And also a much smaller proportion of ICU cases are over 65's.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 3,709 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 12,014 See in context

The numbers show that the vaccines are working as the majority catching covid are younger people who haven't been vaccinated yet.

@Fiddlers, the trouble is, we don't know, because of suppressed testing, which doesn't give the experts enough data to really suggest causal links. As things stand, vaccination in the time of Delta is to bring down your risk of serious illness and death. It currently seems that both vaccinated and unvaccinated can get infected and pass on infection. This means that a much lower number of the under-65's are ending up in ICU or dying, but on the other hand, as the virus outbreak surges, more and more younger unvaccinated are getting symptomatic illness and getting sicker, so hospitals are filling up. The government response is to make it harder to get into hospital.

Of course the priority is to get as many people vaccinated as possible. Everyone is important, but maybe they should prioritise the vulnerable under-65's (there are millions of these), and people in their 40's and 50's, then people in their 20's and 30's, followed by teenagers.

We are paying the price for the government's incompetence and stubbornness over vaccination - not preparing properly for mass vaccination, not approving vaccines and starting faster, not using the AZ stocks they had, not adapting logistics when they saw there were problems with their system. Not cancelling the Olympics and throwing all the resources at their disposal at tackling the pandemic.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Posted in: Factors behind the accidents could be the inexperience of out of town drivers working in Tokyo and in some cases, drivers might have been in a hurry to arrive at venues on time. See in context

Accidents happen... Just pray that they are not fatal.

That's not how it works. The driver rear-ended another vehicle. It could be a week or two before spinal injuries from whiplash make themselves known, which could be life-changing for the victims. If you are a professional driver, you are held to a higher standard than regular drivers, and the law reflects it.

If they are 'volunteers', did the organisation (JOC) spell out their responsibilities before taking them on, properly organise logistics so they have realistic times to get from A to B to avoid putting them under dangerous pressure, train them on Tokyo roads, give them a chance to get used to the vehicles, give them a reasonable shift with proper breaks, so they are not overtired, provide a place to cool off to make sure they can concentrate on the road for the period they work, maintain the vehicles properly...? Are they properly insured to carry passengers? If they are paid a per diem to cover their expenses, does that void their volunteer status and possibly their insurance? If so, is the driver personally liable for 3rd party injuries?

Very often, organisations sail close to the wind when the legal status of an activity is not clearly defined, unlike for professional drivers.

I would not be at all surprised if a big chunk of the blame for this situation really lies with the JOC, which is obviously 'too big to go after', and the individual drivers will take the fall for a chaotic and dangerously organised system. @Alfie Noakes' link above to the Asahi article makes clear the professional drivers have been tricked and are being poorly treated. Would anyone be shocked if the JOC has hoodwinked 'volunteer' drivers into doing the same job but not paid for it?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Olympic vehicle injures 2 in suspected hit-and-run accident in Tokyo See in context

More info here:

Over the course of several kilometers, the driver in his 50s transporting officials involved in the Olympics repeatedly veered the vehicle into the walls of the expressway and rear-ended a light van as well as a truck, police said.

The case is just one of dozens of traffic accidents involving people connected to the Tokyo Olympics, police said.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, about 50 traffic accidents involving people related to the Olympics occurred in Tokyo over the week starting on July 23, the official opening day of the Games.

So that's even worse - this not only was quite a serious accident, and the two injured people were in a vehicle that was rear-ended, the driver apparently veered all over the place for several kms. He says he was taken ill.

I wonder if he was driving on unfamiliar roads, in an unfamiliar vehicle, under pressure to get the officials to their venue on time... The news articles don't give much info, but it does make you wonder if the drivers were properly trained, given time to get to know the vehicles, given proper breaks. Is the way the organisers set up the driver system legit? Do they have proper insurance to do what they're doing? Often with these kind of things, a legal grey area is exploited, and everything's fine. Until it's not.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

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