blue comments

Posted in: We are not intelligence operatives. Checking resumes and academic records - that should be the extent of our job as a university. See in context

OK, got it. Thanks.

Always appreciate your insight.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: We are not intelligence operatives. Checking resumes and academic records - that should be the extent of our job as a university. See in context

@virusrex

Since universities can't actually confirm if a student is or not linked to foreign governments (unless the student declares it) that means the only solution is to refuse to accept people from those countries or be held responsible by the government if anything happens.

While I agree that the universities can't do that and systematic is the only option, is the statement actually slightly different.

Takahiko Sasaki, who oversees export controls at Tohoku University, saying his college will seek written pledges from staff not to teach sensitive technology to students or other faculty members with ties to foreign government entities without permission.

Correct me if I am wrong, but ultimately it is the university which accepts students (possibly with input from the staff in charge of the course).

But here, asking the staff to sign pledges does not seem to make much sense, it's like the university (who ultimately accepts the student) is forwarding the buck (and the responsibility/accountability) to their own staff.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: How do you feel about getting a second booster shot for the coronavirus? See in context

No problem. The 3 first ones just gave me a sore spot for 24 hours where I got them. Nothing to cry or whine about.

It seems I am considered "medically vulnerable", so if they contact me I'll do it. Also, around me several of my friends are or have medically vulnerable family-members, hence an additional reason to do so.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan tops world tourism ranking despite COVID restrictions See in context

@OssanAmerica

Many shops in Japan reject foreign credit cards -I am surprised when my cards are accepted, so much so that (just in case) I usually withdraw money from a combini at the beginning of a night out..*

*Have never run into any shop that did not take Visa or Mastercard, whether issued from a Bank in Japan or Overseas. In the cities many also take AMEX, as well as Discover which collaborates with JCB. They may reject foreign bank debit cards unless it is linked to MC or Visa.*

I can not really say about "shopping", as I am not much of a "shopper" myself (only the usual daily stuff plus clothing) and when I do, it is either one of these malls like Atre, Mona, Aeon where all shops use credit-cards. Smaller shops, I always carry enough cash. BUT...

...In the 18 years I have been in Japan, I do not believe I ever went to a medical facility (whether GP, otolaryngologists, dentist, dermatologist, ophthalmologist, physical rehabilitation clinic, pharmacy, etc, etc), whether being a ringy dingy medical outlet ran by an ojiisan past expiring-date, a Star Trek USS Enterprise medical deck-level clinic or even a full-fledged hospital where I could make use of my credit-card. Never. Ever. And I do mean credit cards in general (i.e. none of the facilities has any device to swipe cards!). Each time I ask, each time I'm being told: sorry cash only.

And I have lived in Ibaragi, Saitama, Kanagawa, Tokyo and (now) Chiba (actually Urayasu in Chiba, which being super close to Tokyo Disneyland is a magnet for tourists). And, frankly this has always be a pain, as depending on the treatment you require, a substantial amount of cash may be involved (e.g. yearly Ningen dock)...

Funnily enough though, any veterinary clinic I went to for the cats...did accept cards. But facilities dedicated to human patients. Nope, no such luck...While back in Europe and since the 90s, every medical facility accepted cards.

Unsure what the human medical world's beef with credit card is, but it's really mendokusai.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: The Russians (or Chinese, or North Koreans) are coming! What to do: Fight or flight? See in context

No surprises here. I would not expect any other level of responses even if it wasn't weekly Playboy running the poll.

The replies were not encouraging: Both 7% for both Russia and China, and 14% in the case of North Korea.

...

Next question: What percentage of GDP do you think should be devoted to defense? Here, 19.4% said they favor a major increase to 2% or even greater and 38.3% favored a moderate increase of between 1% but below 2% of GDP.

Me thinks the Japanese see the JSDF as a military "deterrent" or a force to deal with disaster-relief and nothing more (which makes sense to me actually). By simply existing is the deterrent function of the JDSF active, hence no need to increase the budget much further, just keep them operational.

Assuming the U.S. will come to Japan's assistance however, the responses went up, to 55%, 56% and 54%, respectively -- still not very encouraging.

Not mentioning that it is the Japan territory which is poised to become a battlefield, hence (like Ukraine) a landscape of ruins...Nobody is looking forward to that, hence...

The responses, for males only, were: Take up arms and fight, with 15%; not fight directly, but provide assistance to the Self Defense Forces, 28.2%; evacuate to a domestic location 32.2%; flee overseas, 12.6%; and neither evacuate nor resist, 9.6%.

Also, fighting with what exactly: mix Cup Ozeki into local Molotov Cocktail and throw them at the enemy? Fighting, as in who is fighting how exactly: contrary to Ukraine does the population have no military training either, hence giving weapons to the population is meaningless.

IMHO, the biggest take from this article (beyond stating the obvious) is how many people seem to think that...

It is an honor to contribute to one's country (14.6%/6.6%)

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: Up to 6,100 in Tokyo predicted to die in worst-case quake scenario See in context

Err...Like everybody above, do I tend to find the figures incredibly low...

Here, the figures from 2020:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-15/japan-is-preparing-for-day-x-earthquake/12339476

Highlights:

Professor Akira Fuse, an expert who simulates the impacts of natural disasters, says Government modelling suggests that if a 7.3-magnitude quake struck the capital, almost 10,000 people would die.

This ties into the article mentioning that the death figure is lowered down. Still...

"Nearly 20,000 people will have serious injuries from the earthquake alone — they will survive the disaster but will be in severe condition," he said.

The death toll could further spiral in the days after a significant disaster.

If there is a shortage of medical staff, there is a possibility that about 6,000 people among the 20,000 will die because of lack of treatment.

...

For him, another nightmare scenario would be a Shindo 7 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the Nankai Trough on the country's south coast.

"If the Nankai Trough quake happens, 320,000 people are expected to die if no measures are taken," Professor Matsuo said.

The Nankai Trough part of the problem is not mentioned in the article...Shoddy journalism or pre-election sale of "optimism"?

Also, the article is 2 years old. It is dubious that while Japan (and its heath services) were struggling with COVID that much "improved".

Here a much more recent article (March 2022):

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14575046

A major earthquake hitting Tokyo is not a matter of conjecture, just one of time, say experts who forecast a major temblor will strike below the metropolitan area within 30 years. 

*An estimate prepared for such an event assumes that in addition to a high death toll, at least 6,000 injured people would die from being unable to receive timely medical treatment.*

These are 6,000 people dying from lack of post-disaster treatment...Also...

The central government estimates that 23,000 people will perish in Tokyo and the neighboring prefectures of China, Kanagawa and Saitama if a magnitude-7.3 quake hits the area. Injuries in the capital would come to around 20,000, the Tokyo metropolitan government estimates.

So what is Kyodo offering this morning:

.a very (if not, only) Tokyo-centric article

.no mention of the Nankai Trough disaster

.fumbling around with death figures during and post-disaster

While I do get that simulation models do improve over time, I kind of doubt that this will happen over the last 2-months...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Why isn’t Japan as tech savvy as it should be? See in context

Shoot: pushed the "post"-button by mistake.

Final one:

Computer literacy as in "being an IT professional": this obviously amounts to choosing a profession where keeping up to speed with all the developments in the technology field is challenging to say the least. The problem being that in Japan the reward / incentive (i.e. salary) is simply not there to justify it...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Why isn’t Japan as tech savvy as it should be? See in context

Why isn’t Japan as tech savvy as it should be?

Computer-literacy as in "lack of awareness of risks (i.e.online fraud, computer fraud, need for pc / smartphone protection, etc)": I would think that the while Japan is a "very safe place", this created a "100% safe place"-myth or belief making people lower their guard even in face of what can be very obvious risks.

Computer-literacy as in "not having much IT skills (i.e. use of IT-tools: Excel and formulas, Word presentations, Powerpoint presentations)": I would point to the same as the overall lack of English language skills where while everybody learns it, there is no real use / requirement for it or using it is "mendokusai" above anything else...

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan tops world tourism ranking despite COVID restrictions See in context

Some clarifications about who's input it is and what it is meant to say.

https://www.weforum.org/reports/travel-and-tourism-development-index-2021/in-full/about-the-travel-tourism-development-index

Ultimately, it seems to boil down to:

The TTDI framework has been created with input from T&T stakeholders, including an advisory group that includes representatives from: Bloom Consulting, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the University of Surrey, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). In addition, the index relies on close collaboration with the following data partners: AirDNA, Bloom Consulting, Euromonitor International, GlobalPetrolPrices.com, IATA, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), STR, Tripadvisor, the UNWTO and the WTTC.

At the look of it, I believe only Tripadvisor has traveller feedback(?), the others seem to be professional organizations, which would make sense as Japan remains pretty inaccessible these days...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic film debuts in Japan; headed next to Cannes See in context

The documentary is financed by the International Olympic Committee and the local organizing committee, and is a requirement under the hosting contract.

While I get that, yet again, the buckets seems to stop at the country / city dumb enough to "bet on gold", you kind of wonder as to why the IOC asks for such rubbish? This to act as some kind of "demo tape" to provide to the IOC's snake oil salesmen touring countries and cities around the world: Look at the passion! Look at the emotion! Look at the full-packed stadiums! Look at the MONEY!!

Me thinks that like Disney's "Song of the South", is this movie poised to end up in the producers' vaults, never to see light of the day ever again.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Town recovers most of ¥46.3 mil mistakenly sent to resident See in context

@Asiaman7

… with the majority going to three domestic payment processing agents. 

What is a “domestic payment processing agent”?

Like James mentioned above, I would believe these to be online payment companies like Paypal (with Paypal you can have a "wallet" and keep money with them) or cashless payment companies. You have to provide them upfront with money or link them to your account to use their services.

As to why they started to pay back, well:

.these are ill-gotten funds

.possibly used (or not) in relation with an illegal activity: gambling

.which fund their client should never have had access to start with (I remember the guy living on a cheaply-provided land and housing program, hence not sounding exactly "rich", especially at 24 of age)

On the above points, I would also argue that if the "payment processing agent" accepted the funds without initially asking any questions (or even worse: enabled further transactions with said funds), it is obvious that their customer diligence / know-your-customer / anti-money laundering process miserably failed, hence them being eager to brush the whole incident under the carpet as this is trending in the media...

Long story short:

.the administration effed up by using outdated tech

.the bank handling the initial transfer effed up by neither checking the transaction, nor checking their customer (i.e. customer diligence, know-your-customer, anti-money laundering process all having failed...)

.the "domestic payment processing agents" all effed up exactly like the bank did

.the Financial Services Agency effed up for seemingly allowing for use of outdated tech as well as non-enforcement of anti-money laundering regulations amongst banking institutions and "domestic payment processing agents"

.the guy was defrauding money he knew he was not entitled to, which depending on the law, could translate into charges of: fraud, embezzlement, theft, etc.

Or how one single dimwit trying to take advantage of what is a simple administrative mistake manage to highlight a series of critical weaknesses in the whole national banking / finance system. The tip of the iceberg, me thinks...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Tucker Carlson: Voice of white America's outrage and fears See in context

When I was a kid these people were ranting and rambling on a crate at a street corner stuff like "The End is nigh".

Nowadays they're on TV. I guess that's called "progress"?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Biden urges N Korea to right 'historic wrong' of abductions of Japanese See in context

The abductee issue is being rolled out again. Must be election time soon, then?

Yup, in less than 2 months.

https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQOUA143WX0U2A310C2000000/

How quaint...

0 ( +12 / -12 )

Posted in: NHK can now pester you through your mail thanks to new service from Japan Post See in context

On May 17, Japan Post announced a new special service where post can be delivered without the need for the recipient’s name — just an address will be enough to get it delivered. 

If you have recently or just moved in, you will appreciate receiving your predecessor's final notice...

Each item sent will cost, on top of regular postage fees, an additional 150 yen for standard mail — considerably cheaper than the average NHK Man hourly salary.

...but still far too expensive for what is essentially spam.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Biden says U.S. would respond militarily if China invades Taiwan; announces IPEF members See in context

@JeffLee

The countries that have incorporated the US as a central partner of their national security policies, ie, Japan, Canada, Western Europe, S, Korea, Australia, NZ, etc. have nearly all been at peace for many, many years now. They are also the world's most prosperous and successful societies.

Those that chose non-alignment (India, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Rwanda, etc.) or the Eastern Bloc are mostly violent-filled hells on Earth.

It's all in the art of selecting one's samples: here an article from Politico dating back 8 years (2014) but still pretty much right on spot about some of the not-so-cozy bed fellows the US have gotten cozy with.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/americas-most-awkward-allies-103889/

I guess that "yes", you could call some of these countries "peaceful", but as there is more than one way to skin a cat, there is more than one way to coerce, sorry, I meant of course, "lead" a society into a "peaceful state".

All-in-all, in case societies / countries happen to refuse said "leadership to peace", overthrowing governments also seems to be a popular past-time in Washington.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_involvement_in_regime_change

Some of them were indeed pretty ugly, but not all though. But we can be reassured that, of course, ALL were overthrown for "the greater good". If they say so, it must be true, ain't it...

I will go with the mantra, that nothing, absolutely nothing is free in this world...There is always a price to pay.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Posted in: BOJ under pressure as inflation tops 2% See in context

JeffLee

AgentX

Since when have prices gone down in JP?

Since the bursting of the Japanese bubble and until quite recently. The cost of living in Japan before 1992 was outrageous.

Don't know about where prices (or salaries for that matters) were back then, but what I know is that the bubble did burst 3 decades ago, in others words, that was:

.30 years ago

.2 emperors ago

.last century

So, you may (possibly) realize that nobody cares about a period were a lot, or most of us were not even remotely close to Japan.

As for prices going down, where exactly do you live? I have been here sine 2004 and a total increase of VAT from 3 to 7 percent devaluated my salary by the same...

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: With stricter guidance now in place with time management, take-home work is also increasing. They have to increase the number of workers and reduce the amount of work or do something like outsource it. See in context

I can see a JHS out of my living-room's window.

I first thought the last person to leave kept forgetting to put out the light in the teachers' room, but when asking a student via their parents was I told that: nope, the teachers are there until the lights go out which on weekdays is not rarely after midnight (after checking, I think that as a rule of thumb they do try to catch the last train)...Heck, even on Saturday evenings are the lights up until 10 pm.

On a side-note, the daughter of a friend graduate from an art university this year and was hired as assistant teacher in the same school. She received a very warm welcome but told "to pay attention to her health" as "things would heat up very quickly". She was also told that "two teachers were on sick-leave for health issues".

Looks like not only JHS and HS are impacted...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: U.S., Japan must boost deterrence as China learns lessons from Russia See in context

Second, we must further increase planning coordination as Japan looks to significantly boost defense.

Translation: We got a lot of expensive military junk to sell ya!

Our nations must urgently act to strengthen defense and deterrence because China, with its eye on Taiwan, is surely learning lessons from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

No clue where India and Australia stand on the issue, but I'm pretty sure that the US will not intervene and Japan even less...

Fifth, the United States must further advance economic leadership in the Indo-Pacific.

Translation: We = leader maximo. You = colonies. You bow knees in front us. Comprendre?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: 1,600 empty seats at major Japanese gymnastics competition reserved by single unpaying person See in context

They did consult the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department on what certainly appears to be a textbook case of “obstruction of business” the Japanese criminal law that penalizes those who deliberately interfere with people’s ability to conduct business. However, the association only said that they would prevent a recurrence of this incident by limiting the number of tickets one person could reserve.

Exactly! So, why didn't they do exactly that?

This could change in the future, but perhaps they felt they were partly to blame for having such a glaring vulnerability in their system and decided to just leave it at that.

Exactly! Again, a basic control / prevention / security-issue like they happen on a daily basis in Japan...

There’s also a chance that since they had a name to follow up on, they found that the person wasn’t acting maliciously, but just had trouble using the system themselves and made the reservations by accident.

Err, like the guy tried 1,600 times to reserve one single seat? Unless severe mental issues, no doubt this was a deliberate act. Nothing more here than a pretty pathetic (and doomed) attempt at saving face here...

Guys, now really. Get your act together for Christ's sake...

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Lebanon receives Interpol wanted notice for Ghosn See in context

The officials did not give further details about the Interpol-issued Red Notice, which is a non-binding request to law enforcement agencies worldwide that they locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive. A Red Notice is not an arrest warrant and does not require Lebanon to arrest Ghosn.

Lebanon does not extradite its citizens. Ghosn has citizenship in Lebanon, France and Brazil.

As Lebanon ranks 154 (of 180) in the corruption perception index and we have to assume that Ghosn (who has Lebanese citizenship) has taken enough money on this trip, me thinks that he will continue to enjoy his "early retirement" over there with nobody able to do anything about it...

https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2021

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if him being barred from leaving Lebanon was a part of that...

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan's civil courts to digitalize many procedures by FY2025 See in context

Under the amendments to laws including the civil procedure code, legal proceedings that now require exchanges of documents and face-to-face meetings will go digital or get digital alternatives by fiscal 2025.

Knowing Japan's track-record in the field, 2025 is to be taken as "tentative", very "tentative". If only, because that will be a LOT of oyajis (i.e. lawyers, prosecutors, judges) to get digitalized as well, not even mentioning defendants and plaintiffs who will have the buck forwarded to them and requested to provide evidence in digital format to their respective lawyers (at an additional cost). All the above are going to love it!

Defendants will have access to them via the court's server.

Court oral proceedings can be conducted via online conferencing software, and online witness examination will also be allowed in cases where an individual lives far away and does not oppose the arrangement.

Of course, servers and communications are all protected by top-level safeguards and security, right? Right?

Divorce mediations will also be possible online, enabling their settlement without the sides meeting in person.

A (gaijin) friend of mine got divorced from his J-wife a few years ago. She never showed up in court, then he dropped out as well for their lawyers to sort it out...So, business as usual, I guess, but with a digital "not connected"-twist, eh?

Out of consideration for the technology averse, whose constitutional right of access to the courts could be threatened by the changes, individuals choosing not to appoint legal representation are excluded from the online submission requirements.

So, either you agree to walk the digital plank, or you have to forfeit legal representation, then? Does not exactly look like the constitutional right is being protected here...

The government moved ahead with the amendments amid criticism from business circles that the civil courts are inconvenient and behind the curve internationally.

What would be a Kyodo-article with the usual self-goal?

Understanding that this will require a lot of IT-knowledge and knowing that the country already lacks IT-specialists, me thinks this is pretty much a non-news...

@Rodney

I wouldn't exclude a MyNumber connection to this. 2025 will be the year early adopters will need (after 10 years) to renew their physical cards. I wouldn't be surprised if the renewal figures drop off a cliff if no further incentive / opportunities to use the card...Hence all the agitation around MN acting as a social security card or driving license which is to be implemented devil-may-care before 2025 with small details like security being fixed somewhere further down the lane (if ever)!

The problem remains that a scheme like MN requires a rock-solid IT-foundation to be seated on, said foundation (and the relevant security) being nowhere to be seen as of now...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Man arrested for spending mistakenly sent ¥46.3 mil in COVID funds See in context

@Henri

@Ian

I worked in banks for nearly 2 decades (including anti-money laundering!), it is clear that the bank own processes failed here. Things may have been made more complicated to them because of a the floppy (which I understood may have given the impression of a second batch of transaction or a second transaction), but still the bank effed up. No doubt on that. (The fact that Japan finance laws still allow for use of floppies or outdated technology is another problem in itself though and would need fixing asap!)

Now, this whole joke of a story also brings up a lot of questions about how the guy moved the money out of his account or possibly withdraw it to then upload it again to another bank and account before then proceeding to (allegedly) put it into an account with an online casino. It seems that the anti-money laundering processes of his initial bank (on which he received the money) and the ones of a possible second bank on which he may have uploaded the money again did completely fail to do their due dilligence on the guy, the origin of the money and what he intended to do with it...

Some people in another article pointed to a failure of MyNumber, I would disagree on that as initially MyNumber (or its predecessor: Jumin Kihonbango or Juki) were never designed with combatting money-laundering in mind in the first place. (Still, MyNumber remains pretty much useless, hence a pointless white elephant, but that's another topic in itself...)

The real problem here, being that there are standards around minimum procedures and safeguards for banks to implement to prevent illegal transactions and/or involving ill-gotten gains and/or to proceed to illegal operations, and Japan is already known in the finance world to be vastly behind the times on this...

Anyway, do not expect the Japanese banking system to stand trial here. At least not this time...For this to happen, a much worse eff-up, involving much much more money, a much bigger (and more known) bank and a possible much much bigger fine (most likely to be handed down by a foreign finance watchdog organization) is needed for that. But, yes, one day this will happen and it ain't gonna be pretty either...

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Posted in: Man arrested for spending mistakenly sent ¥46.3 mil in COVID funds See in context

On Taguchi's claim that he lost all the money on gambling, Norihiko Hanada, the mayor of Abu, expressed surprise earlier. "We want to trace the flow of the money in the lawsuit. I want him to return it, it's not too late."

Tracing the money makes sense, if only to confirm that it was completely blown on internet gambling and can therefore not be recollected. Still, if some of the amount remains unaccounted for, it could have been used for buying assets (e.g. car, land, etc) which could be seized and re-sold or they could try to cancel the transaction.

On the charges, I'm no lawyer, but back in Europe, what he did would be definitely be illegal.

First, contrary to what some people on this board are stating, there is generally no legal "finder's keeper" to speak of. And it is especially not up to the finder to decide on this.

"Finder's keeper" may play in certain country when it comes to valuables which obviously have no owners, such as antiques (e.g. somebody's stash of coins minted back 200 years ago). But even in case of antiques, do laws in many countries foresee that the state and museums have priority and offer in exchange a percent of the estimated value in cash (but not the actual item found). Again, you are expected to declare your finding. But again, dealers in antiques may have a duty to notify the authorities if somebody comes with a stash of antique valuables so, you've been warned...

If you find something (e.g. a sum of money or a wallet with money in it), you are "expected" to "do the right thing", bring it to the police. Generally, law foresees that you will get a percentage of it should the owner come out or the whole of if should the owner not come out. Again, you are expected to declare your finding.

Of course, if nobody or no cameras are around to see you, nothing prevents you to take the money or take the money out of the wallet and throw the (now empty) wallet away.

The problem here being that, of course, the administration knows who got the stash and, of course, are going to ask for it to be returned. Either that dimwit was too stupid for words, or he may have wanted to "use the money to make more money" before returning it. But, I mean, gambling?? What a grade A moron!

The bank / administration did a genuine "mistake" (albeit a stupid one!), while the idiot, while knowing that it was a mistake, took the money and ran. Now, everything will depend on what the law states. It would be "theft", "fraud", "embezzlement", "abuse of public funds" or whatever...

Now the gambling-"defense" is interesting as, well, gambling is illegal in Japan. of course, nobody can prevent people from doing that in practice, but if the accused actually confesses to have misused the banking system to transfer ill-gained money to proceed to an illegal activity (i.e. gambling), me thinks that he has handed the prosecution his own rear on a silver plate. He should have gone with a "somebody knocked me over the head and the money was gone" or the ever-classic "I was drunk and don't recall" defense instead.

Anyway, a moron, a real one. He deserves what's coming his way and it ain't gonna be pretty...

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Posted in: Once-neutral Sweden seeks NATO membership in historic shift See in context

@Desert Tortoise

Agreed on both your comments on all points.

Up to nowadays has Turkey historically been a "bridge" between the Orient and the Occident and as such as key ally to US, NATO and Europe. With a wannabe strongman and religious zealot like Erdogan and a lot of potential leverage in Turkey's hand--which Erdogan is definitely ready to use (or, arguably to "abuse")--make the man a very uncomfortable ally to work or hang out with.

I too, believe, US, NATO and Europe are keeping their fingers crossed for him to lose the elections or kick the bucket asap.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you think self-driving cars will eventually put millions of people out of work around the world? See in context

I did vote "I don't know".

At face-value: yes, and not only cars and drivers, but trucks, lorries, cars, taxis, buses, as well as trains, subways (which are arguably much much easier to automatize as they follow a pre-defined set of "tracks").

Also, I couldn't find the article again, but I think 1-3 years ago there was news of a pilot-less cargoship(?) of sorts or sizeable ship navigating pretty much on auto-pilot (a crew was still onboard though).

Even more surprising, 3-5 years ago, I was at a party at a friend's in Tokyo where somebody brought in an airline pilot from Europe. Said pilot, who (I want to highlight this) was completely sober when he had all discussions stopping at once and you could hear a needle fall on the floor when he mentioned that airline pilots are already pretty much not needed anymore as planes can fly without them.

Somebody argued: You mean the "autopilot", but they (the pilots) are still needed for take-off and landing, of course. To which he said, nowadays planes can already take-off and land on their own.

Somebody else argued: Then why are there still pilots in the cockpits?

"Would you board a plane without pilots?" he asked...

Still not sure whether he was pulling everybody's leg or whether passengers should start to freak out though...

Going back to the question:

.the answer is, of course, "Yes", but only IF millions but tens of millions of cars, buses, taxies, trucks, lorries, trains, subways, ships and planes do switch from manned to unmanned, but this will be expensive, very expensive and not all economies can take that, even less in a COVID-clobbered world economy, and even then, the move may be opposed and not only by drivers or pilots but passengers (who get cold feet) or freighters (who will most likely have the cost forwarded to them, at least in part), in which case

.the answer would be "No".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Once-neutral Sweden seeks NATO membership in historic shift See in context

@Desert TortoiseToday  

The choice is theirs, they are welcome. 

I wish the welcome part was entirely true. Ascension to NATO requires the unanimous approval of the member nations and it appears one nation, Turkey, is hardening its opposition to both Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Turkey claims both nations harbor terrorists, which is another name for political opponents of President Erdogan who had to flee Turkey or be imprisoned. Truly Turkey under Mr. Erdogan has become a state sponsor of terrorism with their support of Nusra Front and their use of Syrian jihadists as mercenaries in Libya, but oh dear according to Turkey it is Finland and Sweden that are the "terrorist states".

All true, of course, but Turkey's economy has been clobbered over the last decade and its dependency on Russia placed it between a rock and a hard place.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018%E2%80%932022_Turkish_currency_and_debt_crisis

https://www.politico.eu/article/turkey-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place-on-russia/

"Money talks" as they say. Wouldn't be surprised if Turkey is preparing its negotiating position with other countries member of NATO to get some kind of an economic life buoy in return.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: Some residents of Fukushima village can finally return home in June See in context

Usual Kyodo-food were lack of meaningful information is cause for concern.

Here's Katsurao

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%91%9B%E5%B0%BE%E6%9D%91

The population plummeted from 1,531 in 2010 to an "estimated" (whatever that means) 365 as of April 2022 which would actually be quite a lot (around 25%). If one looks at the graph, the population peaked out at 3,062 back in...1955. It had been dying off ever since.

As other commentators said, these people have nowhere else to go, hence went nowhere over the last 11 years and can only come back to square one...

As for Futaba, population (currently: zero) peaked out in 1985 (8,219) with 6,932 back in 2010.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%8F%8C%E8%91%89%E7%94%BA#%E4%BA%BA%E5%8F%A3

If the place was slowly dying out, I would expect all those who could bail out to do so over the last 11 years, leaving, again, only those with no options to chose to return...

Interestingly, in Okuma, population (currently: zero) was actually increasing until 2011 (11,511).

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%A4%A7%E7%86%8A%E7%94%BA

At face-value, if people had a reason to come to Okuma (jobs, salaries, etc), I would expect the population in Okuma to have more of a "choice" to come back or not as well as having had more options to re-start somewhere else over the last 11 years.

It would be interesting to see where things stand in summer next year after the restrictions have been lifted but something tells me that Kyodo won't do much follow-up beyond next spring...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Do you use toilet slippers at your home? See in context

No. We had them in the past but nobody actually bothered (the room is a simple and cramped toilet + wash-hand basin), so we ditched them and only put them occasionally back again in case of visitors in case they want to be bothered.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Man who mistakenly received entire town’s COVID-19 relief money vanishes See in context

In the time it took the town to take legal action against the man, he cleaned out his bank account, quit his job, abandoned his home, and went on the lam. 

So, the plan is basically to run around with a briefcase heavy with 46 Mio JPY (plus whatever amount he owned before that). He won't go very far.

To transfer the money "discreetly", he would first need to get it back into the banking system (not impossible, but difficult), transferring is again not impossible but difficult--especially transferring without leaving a trace.

We won't pass airport security with a briefcase full of cash and most likely will not be able to do so with a ferry either, so no trip abroad on the menu. He's basically trapped in Japan using cars, taxis, buses, subways, trains or shinkansen where he will stick out as the paranoid-looking-guy-who-never-lets-go-of-his-briefcase.

Even if he makes it into the weeks / months / years, when you're on the lam, you'll always be looking over your shoulder. Always! Adding that 46 Mio will never be enough to get him through a life and until an average lifespan grave, what's the whole point...? Not mentioning that he may attract attention of the "wrong kind" (if you get my drift).

Verdict: an opportunistic idiot who handled himself a LOT of problems...Well, happens pretty often when you're stupid...

That idiot had better to go to the nearest Koban, do a dogeza, hand over the cash and hope for leniency (which he may actually get, as all parties involved (city and bank) effed it up so spectacularly on all accounts, hence would love to extinguish that dumpster fire asap!)

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Posted in: Director Martin Scorsese said recently that many people today rarely bother to watch movies or TV shows made before their own time. Do you agree, and if so, why do you think this is? See in context

Born in 1970. Back in Europe, whatever channel I had access to (several countries worth of TV channels actually) showed movies ranging from the 1930s to pretty much the 70s actually: mute movies (Chaplin, Keystone Cops, Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, etc, etc) had dedicated time-slots.

Gradually, older movies (think '30s, '40s movies' airing got limited to late-night and cinephile slots and programs), then when we hit the 80s did '60s and '70s movies started to be limited to day-time filler-slots. By mid-90s, I had to buy DVDs or go to the city's cine-club to watch any of them.

Back in the heydays, did TV keep the "memory of cinema" alive. Now, no that's over. Even public TV would like to make some (serious) ratings.

I agree with all above posters who watch older movies and do so myself for the same reasons.

As for the question, having pretty much no chance to be exposed to older movies (and preferably at a young age) will gradually make it, I believe "impossible" would be the correct word, for new audiences to get used to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Recent Comments

Popular

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites


©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.