blue comments

Posted in: Mourners form long lines before ex-PM Abe's state funeral See in context

@Mostafa Sultani Hussaini

Now among other things that I want to do when I come to Tokyo is to respectfully visit former prime minister Shinzo Abe grave to mourn and give one more tribute.

Err, like his grand-father and father, his grave is most likely going to be in Yamaguchi or Shizuoka...

A lot of better things to do in Tokyo anyway...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Harris calls U.S.-Japan alliance 'a cornerstone' See in context

Harris calls U.S.-Japan alliance 'a cornerstone'

(yawn) For all the money we pay the US military weapon industry, this is all we get; a lukewarm standard (生温い定番) statement we heard dozens of times before?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan set to honor assassinated Abe at controversial funeral See in context

But the decision to give him a state funeral -- only the second for a former premier in the postwar period -- has provoked growing opposition, with around 60 percent of Japanese against the event in recent polls.

Not only simple "growing opposition". The problem is that there are neither reason, nor rationale nor (legal) foundations to do so. Lawyers, scholars, journalists, writers, politicians, the opposition but also people within the ruling party are challenging the whole thing in addition to the public.

A piece from ABEMA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBBzTvyx5bM

At 10:25 one can read Kishida's "rationale" for the memorial:

.the longest-serving PM: true, also very rare in Japan, but hardly worth anything more than a (much cheaper) entry in the Guiness Book of Records...

.his efforts/achievements as far as disaster reconstruction efforts go, reboot the economy and diplomacy.

Now, that's where things start to be pretty tricky (insert massive understatement here).

Disaster reconstruction took over a decade. Abe started by negating the situation (remember: "under control"), then had Japan decontaminate areas (but only partially) to allow return. But only those who never managed to re-start their lives elsewhere had to come back to what were essentially ghost towns. Icing on the cake, Now a decade later, we are going to toss the radioactive water we piled up for 11 years into the sea...

The economy had the rich become richer while the not-so-rich (insert massive understatement here) are still waiting for the so elusive trickle-down. The only thing they got was a colden shower...Add pathetic attempts are cryptocurrencynomics, casinonomics which amounts to (literally) gambling the economy away and tourismnomics which is a low-tier industry. Icing on the cake, the financial gap between have(somethings) and havenot(things) widening.

Personal anecdote: I was genuinely shocked to find out this summer that in my town (posh-imaged Urayasu in Chiba) we have soup kitchen for kids!!

The results of Abe's "diplomacy" efforts can be seen when looking at who is coming and (more importantly) who isn't. On Yahoo news a lot of commentators seem to have had a hard awakening on this.

Last but not least: Abe got shot while giving a speach. Hardly an "achievement" or rationale in my books.

Long story short, Kishida had been grasping at straws to satisfy the mad-as-a-hatter-right-wing-faction of the LDP and squandered whatever he had left of (ahem) credibility.

Not even a "perfect storm", just a complete mess...

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: A price beyond our expectations has been presented. We have been giving orders to reduce the cost. See in context

Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui, commenting after expenses for the Osaka Pavilion facility, which will be exhibited by the Osaka Prefectural Government, Osaka Municipal Government, and others at the 2025 World Exposition, were predicted to balloon to around 10 billion yen, some 2.5 billion yen more than the initial estimate.

Pretty much as expected...Tokyo (and upcoming Sapporo) Olympics anyone?

Funnily enough, a few months ago, there was news (maybe not on JT) that Osaka had problems financing their casino-caper which was slated for after the World Exposition.

Back then, I was wondering:

.whether the World Exposition's expenses were hitting the casino's expenses or

.whether actually both had problems to close their budgets

Silly posturing, overspending, lack of (budget) planning, etc. Not much difference between Isshin and the LDP.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Kishida begins 3 days of 'condolence diplomacy' around Abe funeral See in context

The Japanese government said that around 4,300 people are likely to join the state funeral for Abe in Tokyo, including roughly 700 people representing more than 200 countries, regions and international organizations.

Again, a little clarity and a lot of Kyodo-induced smoke.

According to this article:

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/0d9c3a0f6c4a4f496e22c4647a4eabc46420e3cf

117 countries, regions and international organizations (hello Mr. Bach from the IOC!) are being represented and coming from abroad. 101 countries, regions and international organizations have their representatives not coming from abroad but being represented by people stationed in Japan.

if you look at the list in the article, which is a little more than 100 person long of so-called "top representatives" (incl. incumbent heads, "vice-heads", foreign affair ministers but also: "exes", speakers of the house and various "ministers" or sorts).

We're still short of a LOT of people (around 500) of these fabled 700. Would love to know what makes up the bulk of these "700"? Are we talking about the entourage of the visitors (e.g. assistants, secretaries, interpreters)?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Tokyo tightens security for Abe's funeral See in context

@startpunk

Usually, ex-Presidents of the USA would go to events like this. Bush 43, Carter, Obama aren't attending? Of course, nobody would invite Diaper Donald. He would use the occasion to defect in order to escape justice.

(Response: no: while seemingly having been invited, Obama and Trump will not be attending (official). Carter or Bush' names were never even floated, so I guess no invitation or attendance by them either.)

And yes, uou're completely right. I was just setting Artbooks' record straight about France's Sarkozy's status.

Abe was an "ex", so inviting "exes" would definitely be appropriate.

Now, here's the thing: Kishida is pushing the (ridiculous) idea of "funeral diplomacy"...with "exes"...? What would be the point? You want to talk to current heads, vice-heads or foreign affairs ministers, not "exes". (Not mentioning that there are enough platforms to do so and to meet and discuss with current heads, such as: G7, G7+1, G20, ASEAN, the UN, etc. Not even mentioning all these mentioning bilateral or other multilateral meetings).

It looks like Japan (again) thinks that things work abroad the same way as in Japan. The problem being that while in Japan, current politics are full of "exes" with some continuing to wield influence through their "factions", well, the same does NOT necessarily work abroad.

Abroad, "exes" usually quickly become "has-beens" and just write their memoirs or end up in the speaker circuit or on some big corporation's board of directors, so what would be the point of talking to them? Using them as bellboys to "forward messages"? Japan needs to get real about that thing called "diplomacy"!

But again, the whole memorial-thing was most likely to:

.appease the right-wing-nutter faction (results are dubious on this one, as there seem to be a lot of drama going on these days within the LDP in face of what an obvious train wreck the memorial has become...)

.have Japan/Kishida/Abe look "big" on the world stage (utter fail on that one, it may actually help people to realize where things currently really stand on that. To some, the awakening will be hard...)

.have Kishida his photo taken with a few "important" people (which is something he could anyway have done in the UN last week)

The problem to both Kishida and the LDP is that pretty much all of the above has been noticed and understood by both the media and the population. The fallout of this memorial-mess is far from over.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Posted in: Tokyo tightens security for Abe's funeral See in context

@Artbooks

And the President of France and and the PM of Australia and PM of India and many others.

Ex-president of France (Sarkozy got the boot back in...2012).

He's one of the "Ex"es from Huffpost's list such as UK's Theresa May, Italy's Renzi or Australia's Abbott and Howard

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Posted in: Tokyo tightens security for Abe's funeral See in context

With scores of foreign VIPs among those attending the funeral at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan, they do not appear to be taking any chances.

The list, courtesy of Huffpost:

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/0d9c3a0f6c4a4f496e22c4647a4eabc46420e3cf

At a quick glance:

1 prince (Bahrain)

19 PMs (首相) amongst which Lesotho, Morocco, Tanzania, Gabon, Bahrain, Moldovia, Serbia, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Cuba, Papoua New-Guinea, Australia, Singapore, India, Cambodia,

56 ministers (大臣) amongst which ministers for infrastructure, sports and education, tourism, agricultural development

11 spouses (夫人)

10 ex-somethings (元) 

15 vice-somethings (副) amongst which big vice-dogs from the US, China, Indonesia, Laos, the Kingdom of Eswatini (ex-Swaziland)

15 speakers of the house (議長) 

That's all folks!

As the total of visitors from abroad totals 700, does this make you curious about the 600 other "VIPs" from abroad.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan eyes hiking defense spending to ¥40 trillion over 5 years See in context

Japan is considering sharply increasing its defense spending to more than 40 trillion yen over the next five years, government officials said Saturday.

Of course, there is a concrete plan on what to actually do with that money? Right? Right?

If not, it will just amount to moot as has the aggregated mountain of cash Japan spent over the years until now...

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Posted in: LDP coalition party Komeito approves 8th term for leader See in context

Komeito, the junior coalition partner of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, on Sunday endorsed an eighth term for its leader Natsuo Yamaguchi ahead of a spate of local assembly elections next spring.

I've yet to meet a Japanese who does not consider Komeito as any else but a "faction" of the LDP, albeit an "external" one, reason being that they try to make it look like they keep themselves at arm's length of the LDP...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Frenchman, Japanese rewarded for research into narcolepsy See in context

In 1999, Mignot found a mutation in the genome of narcoleptic dogs. It was located on membrane receptors in the brain that respond to molecules outside the cell, similar to a lock and a key.

A news piece I saw as a kid in the 80s (or even 70s) always stuck with me.

It was about a family dog who (suffered from narcolepsy and) when getting excited would simply collapse like a ton of bricks and fall asleep. Throw him a ball or stick, make him run or try jogging with him and we would pretty quickly collapse and fall asleep. The family could easily wake him up again, but playing with him was completely impossible...

I was both fascinating and sad...Essentially, it was impossible for that dog to have a "normal" (dog's) life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Canadian PM Trudeau cancels trip for Abe's state funeral See in context

The Japanese government said last week that around 4,300 people are expected to attend the service in Tokyo, including roughly 700 people representing 218 countries, regions and international organizations.

To put things in more perspective than Kyodo would want you to know.

.from Japan the expected number of attendees was 6,000 with ultimately...only 3,600 having actually confirmed attendance. Yup, that 40% of the invitees passing over the whole thing

.from abroad, invitations were sent to 190 countries with ultimately...only 49 head of states / governments or former head of states / governments having actually confirmed attendance

Basically the "700 people representing 218 countries" are most likely people far down the government's hierarchy or org-chart, member of associations or corporations somehow linked to Japan or entourage accompanying these people and the 49 current but also former top dogs.

On the other hand, this week, Kishida was at the UN General Assembly and had all the big players close at hand...

What a joke. You simply can't make this up...

13 ( +22 / -9 )

Posted in: Japan may include Taiwan among nations giving flowers at Abe funeral See in context

@OssanAmerica

Awa no GaijinToday  08:08 am JST

The United nations doesn't recognize Taiwan as a nation or country because it isn't !

Wrong. The UN doesn't recongnize Taiwan as a nation because it has declared independence and sovereugnty, and has not applied for UN membership.

Err...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Member_states_of_the_United_Nations#Republic_ofChina(1945%E2%80%931971)

Republic of China (1945–1971)

Further information: China and the United Nations

Areas controlled by the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China

The Republic of China (ROC) joined the UN as an original member on 24 October 1945, and as set out by the United Nations Charter, Chapter V, Article 23, became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.[20] In 1949, as a result of the Chinese Civil War, the Kuomintang-led ROC government lost effective control of mainland China and relocated to the island of Taiwan, and the Communist Party-led government of the People's Republic of China (PRC), declared on 1 October 1949, took control of mainland China.

> The UN was notified on 18 November 1949 of the formation of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China; however, the Government of the Republic of China continued to represent China at the UN, despite the small size of the ROC's jurisdiction of Taiwan and a number of smaller islands compared to the PRC's jurisdiction of mainland China.

> As both governments claimed to be the sole legitimate representative of China, proposals to effect a change in the representation of China in the UN were discussed but rejected for the next two decades, as the ROC was still recognized as the sole legitimate representative of China by a majority of UN members.[citation needed] Both sides rejected compromise proposals to allow both states to participate in the UN, based on the One-China policy.

> By the 1970s, a shift had occurred in international diplomatic circles and the PRC had gained the upper hand in international diplomatic relations and recognition count. On 25 October 1971, the 21st time the United Nations General Assembly debated on the PRC's admission into the UN, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 was adopted, by which it recognized that "the representatives of the Government of the People's Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China to the United Nations and that the People's Republic of China is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council," and decided "to restore all its rights to the People's Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it." 

> This effectively transferred the seat of China in the UN, including its permanent seat on the Security Council, from the ROC to the PRC, and expelled the ROC from the UN.

> In addition to losing its seat in the UN, the UN Secretary-General concluded from the resolution that the General Assembly considered Taiwan to be a province of "China", which refers to the Greater China region. Consequently, the Secretary-General decided that it was not permitted for the ROC to become a party to treaties deposited with it.

For all intents and purpose did the UN take away the ROC's accreditation. Period.

Moreover:

Bids for readmission as the representative of Taiwan

...

These proposed resolutions referred to the ROC under a variety of names: "Republic of China in Taiwan" (1993–94), "Republic of China on Taiwan" (1995–97, 1999–2002), "Republic of China" (1998), "Republic of China (Taiwan)" (2003) and "Taiwan" (2004–06).

However, all fourteen attempts were unsuccessful as the General Assembly's General Committee declined to put the issue on the Assembly's agenda for debate, under strong opposition from the PRC.

While all these proposals were vague, requesting the ROC be allowed to participate in UN activities without specifying any legal mechanism, in 2007 the ROC submitted a formal application under the name "Taiwan" for full membership in the UN. 

However, the application was rejected by the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs citing General Assembly Resolution 2758, without being forwarded to the Security Council. Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon stated that:

The position of the United Nations is that the People's Republic of China is representing the whole of China as the sole and legitimate representative Government of China. The decision until now about the wish of the people in Taiwan to join the United Nations has been decided on that basis. The resolution (General Assembly Resolution 2758) that you just mentioned is clearly mentioning that the Government of China is the sole and legitimate Government and the position of the United Nations is that Taiwan is part of China.[

...

The following year two referendums in Taiwan on the government's attempts to regain participation at the UN did not pass due to low turnout.

That fall the ROC took a new approach, with its allies submitting a resolution requesting that the "Republic of China (Taiwan)" be allowed to have "meaningful participation" in the UN specialized agencies. Again the issue was not put on the Assembly's agenda.

For all intents and purposes did Taiwan apply again and again and got kicked in teeth repeatedly. Period.

As far as "Taiwanese independence" goes:

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

Currently, Taiwan's political status is ambiguous. 

> China currently claims it is a province of the People's Republic of China, whereas the current Tsai Ing-wen administration of Taiwan maintains that Taiwan is already an independent country as the Republic of China (ROC) and thus does not have to push for any sort of formal independence

As such, the ROC consisting of Taiwan and other islands under its control already conducts official diplomatic relations with and is recognized by 13 United Nations-recognized countries.

The use of "independence" for Taiwan can be ambiguous. If some supporters articulate that they agree to the independence of Taiwan, they may either be referring to the notion of formally creating an independent Taiwanese state or to the notion that Taiwan has become synonymous with the current Republic of China and is already independent (as reflected in the concept of One Country on Each Side).

Some supporters advocate the exclusion of Kinmen and Matsu, which are controlled by Taiwan but are located off the coast of mainland China.[3]

Essentially, Taiwan considers itself "indepent (enough)" and, while keeping the meaning of their thoughts ambiguous enough, is not pushing for any further "(clarified) independence".

Long story short: the disputes around Taiwan date back decades and can not be summarized by inane (and wishful) soundbites.

Luckily for the Taiwanese they have smarter people leading the show than the silly soundbites some have to offer.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Toy firm allegedly bribed ex-Tokyo Olympics executive See in context

How long can the J-cops tapdance around Dentsu without raiding their offices?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: North Korea fires ballistic missile into Sea of Japan See in context

Fishing for attention with a nuclear missile as a rod. Pretty original, at least in the days. Now that schtick has grown pretty old. (yawn)

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: The controversy over Abe's state funeral See in context

"He is seen as the nemesis" by some in Japan, said Kazuhisa Kawakami, a political psychology professor at Reitaku University. "His state funeral is, in a way, used by his political foes as a weapon to galvanise their bases."

Err, the CDPJ was silent for so long (most likely because some of them had ties to the Moonies), the DP had its very own leader (Tamaki) having ties to the Moonies, Isshin has pretty much half their representatives in bed with the Moonies, which basically only leaves the JCP and Shamin. Support for the JCP hoovers at around 3% while support for Shamin around 1%. On the other hand around 60% oppose the funeral. It's obvious that beyond supported of the JCP and Shamin, the opposition is overwhelmingly grass-rooted and comes from the public.

The reason being as stated below:

Abe was also far from universally popular in Japan, despite his record-breaking tenure. His nationalist views and persistent allegations he was involved in cronyism engendered deep-seated antipathy towards him.

Abe's "popularity" was a short-lived one trick poney (Abenomics). After 3 years or so, when the public understood that they were being taken for fools was he just being "tolerated". When then his endless conveyor belt of scandals started did he grow increasingly unpopular and ultimately the public was relieved to see his back in 2020. Abe's 8-year tenure generated short-lived hope, impatience, irritation and ultimately anger.

In less than one year has Kishida managed to corner himself in the same spot as Abe after a few years:

.nobody is expecting much from his even shorter-lived one trick poney (new capitalism)

.gone are the days were he was waving his little green/blue/don't recall the color booklet with his notes on "what the public wanted" and just started to shove something they would never accept (the funeral) down their throats, pretty much like Abe ramming unpopular laws and policies through parliament

.he has to deal with a truckload of scandals (arguably the Moonie one is not of his of his making but it doesn't really matter), amongst which Kishida has added a slate of funeral-related ones all by himself

Kishida's 1-year on the job generated short-lived hope, impatience, irritation and ultimately anger. At best, he will remain a lame duck, at worst, he's already finished. Whoever may be the next PM (Kono?) is irrelevant, he will face the same impatience, offer pretty much the no-go solutions and will ultimately last not longer.

The LDP has nothing of value to offer and hasn't over the lack few decades. Now, if only public anger would translate into concret votes at elections, we may be going somewhere. It maybe unknown territory, but it can only be better than having the country die of LDP-fuelled political cancer. But again, I'm not holding my breath.

-2 ( +10 / -12 )

Posted in: Hundreds demand cancellation of Abe's state funeral See in context

@theResident

Mmm. Several 'hundred' protesters. That kind of sums it up. Seems that more non Japanese residents on this Webpage alone are against it.

Don't agree with it either, but there's a lot of other things you could be complaining about where your taxes are going.

Move on.

Latest state of affairs:

Sankei (hysterically conservative): 62.3% oppose the ceremony.

https://www.sankei.com/article/20220919-5ZN5RXZSYVIBTE5V77JYCH6POI/

Yomiuri (conservative): 56% opposition.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/35327589b5291368feb6d7cf08fd408d8383340b

NHK (you know them): 57% opposition

https://www.nhk.or.jp/politics/articles/lastweek/89020.html

Kyodo (you know them too): 60.8% opposition

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/31a2758dec6878aa3f16cf25623f411932f03b66

Jiji (yet another known face) 51.9% opposition

https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2022091500727&g=pol

Mainichi (opposition): 62% opposition

https://mainichi.jp/articles/20220921/k00/00m/040/212000c

Asahi (oppostion): 56% opposition

https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASQ9D3GNCQ9DUZPS002.html

Abe has been one of the most if not the most divisive, controversial and corrosive politician in recent years. He was when in office and alive, which sealed his public image before he was killed.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Hundreds demand cancellation of Abe's state funeral See in context

Aly RustomToday  10:44 am JST

*When Tokyo-based event organiser Murayama was revealed as the only bidder - and therefore the winner of the 176m yen contract - for the state funeral, eyebrows were raised as it was the company Mr Abe used to host an annual cherry blossom party where he faced allegations of cronyism."**

the corruption and rot continue from beyond the grave. unbelievable

Unsurprisingly, evidence is now popping up that the bidding process was rigged and the list of conditions tailored to only allow for Murayama to apply to the process.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/4933736678a073e5233ba2ca094e6ed330e55a15?page=1

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Why do you think South Korean movies, such as "Squid Game" and Parasite," for example, are achieving greater success and recognition abroad than Japanese films? See in context

Why do you think South Korean movies, such as "Squid Game" and Parasite," for example, are achieving greater success and recognition abroad than Japanese films?

If the question is "specifically" about Squid Game and Parasite, me thinks its the falling-down-the-social-ladder subjects in these two which resound strongly amongst the current public whatever the country or culture. It's in the air, that capitalism has reached a level where any of us could fall and end up at the bottom of the social food-chain overnight. COVID or the war in Ukraine and the resulting cost of living/inflation crisis will make the situation only worse and make that fear only stronger.

As for things in general, I think one needs to look at the whole visual entertainment industry: movies, dramas and anime.

While there are great "classic" J-movies and directors and J-anime is hugely popular, I believe it is more "by accident" more than anything else. J-movies got top prizes at cinema festivals in the days. J-anime was never produced with a foreign audience in mind either and was only sporadically available in certain geographical zones where is was "so different" that it was very popular.

Today, J-anime has gone global mostly because it always "clicked" or had the potential to "click" with the audience and real-time global availability is here to stay.

On the other hand, J-movie, in my book at least, look less and less like movies and more and more like glorified "TV specials" shown on the silver screen. How many J-dramas had a "last chapter" or bonus "episode" coming out in the cinemas?

J-anime does not need to change as things happen in some "Japaneseque" fantasy (anime) world that seem to click with audiences abroad, but J-movies for once, are far too much grounded in "Japanese" culture and society and strictly geared towards a J-audience with some member of the audience abroad being curious and ready to see these movies and some...well, not.

As for J-dramas, back in the days, when cinemas were getting clobbered by the popularity of TV and big studios had their movie-staff move over to produce J-dramas which started to have a "movie" or "cinema"-look or feel. But when the bubble burst, sponsor money disappeared overnight and both movies and TV shows looked increasingly "cheap" as a second handicap.

A third problem being that somewhere along the line, J-drama and movie producers got themselves in bed with the idol-industry, churning out vehicles for idols who couldn't act if their lives depended on it, idols who are largely unknown abroad or at least outside of Asia.

Incidentally, I saw a piece on TV last year comparing the Korean, the Japanese and the Chinese movie/drama industries.

In Korea does the government provide incentives to foster local movies / dramas / anime as "soft power" and getting foreign audiences interested in Korea (the country). In China, investors are pouring huge amount of money for a, well, huge national audience while not really caring for (or needing) a foreign audience to make money. In Japan, well, no J-gov investment, on the contrary, the J-gov piggybacks on the success of some types of cultural exports (e.g. anime). But more than anything: no money, but again, one could argue: why putting more money in them if nobody is interested in our movies / dramas abroad?

Long story short: the Korean and Chinese industries are looking towards the future, the Japanese movie/drama industry seems to be just going in ever decreasing circles.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Posted in: Looking at the global environment, Japan is lagging in attracting high-skilled and knowledgeable foreign human resources. See in context

Looking at the global environment, Japan is lagging in attracting high-skilled and knowledgeable foreign human resources.

In 2007, I was working in a big (and I mean big) US company in Japan. The word was then was to move the IT to Singapore (they since did), as: it was cheaper, the staff was more qualified and the tech-level was higher.

But the real problem was that the last decade has been pretty much a PR-disaster for Japan.

I would put the starting point at the Fukushima disaster. Hundred of thousands of foreigners (the so-called "flyjins") left. My take is that a lot didn't return. Moreover, following the disaster did a lot of students, professionals but also family members scheduled to come to Japan scrap their plans, same for the recent in-comers back then.

in 2015, I applied to a job (didn't get it in the end) where the company's choice a few months earlier was a guy who ultimately rescinded his application because "his wife was worried about Fukushima". This was 4 years after Fukushima.

Then, under Abe's helm, we had pretty much a decade of scandals, political ones and corporate ones. Don't get me wrong, we already had decades of them, but under Abe it was literally a highway pile-up at shinkansen speed. All these scandals did make headlines in the international press but also in the business press and in the general professional press making readers wonder what was the hell was going on here in Japan.

Then came the Carlos Ghosn mess. I recall a few articles where recruiting companies in Japan mentioned that candidates for top jobs in Japan wanted to wait and see what happens with Ghosn first. After the whole thing ended with Ghosn's piano caper, I doubt they were still considering to come here. There were articles in the international and business press stating that companies were moving their top management to neighboring countries as well.

Then came the COVID-crisis and the J-gov's infatuation with the Olympics despite a general public opposition to holding the event making readers worldwide ask themselves about Japan as a "democracy".

Then came the lockdown with, again, hundred of thousands of foreigners living and working in Japan or scheduled to come to Japan being impacted.

My take being that workers slated to come to Japan and short-term residents in Japan "got the message" and left, and so did a potion of the mid-term residents, leaving mostly long-term residents soldering on. But again, when you grow old, your career starts to stutter in Japan...

As for students, those already in Japan, or slated to come to Japan as well as preparing to come to Japan either left or aimed for another country instead. Now the problem is that students looking at / considering to come to Japan in a short future realigned their plans as well.

Now we are in the midst of the Moonie scandal tainting politics and making people yet aqain wonder a lot about Japan politics and democracy since, well pretty much since it officially started 6+ decades ago, not mentioning, yet another infatuation of the J-gov, this time with the funeral ceremony around what is internationally known as a shady character (Abe) and again public opinion.

"Skilled and knowledgeable" human ressources would do their due diligence before coming and in regard of the above, think twice before coming. As for "less skilled and knowledgeable" staff, the word on mistreatment of foreign workers is out there, both within and out of Japan, again, making people think twice before coming.

And again, we all know where Japan had been standing on salaries for the last 3 decades, don't we?

It is said that "building a reputation takes time, sometimes decades, but trashing it only one misstep". Japan has trashed its reputation over a decade. It will take a LOT of time but get the stains off its reputation, if even possible...The problem being that Japan has already run out of times decades ago...

Japan needs to fix itself before anything else and stop relying on foreigners just when it's "convenient". We, foreigners, are not a "convenience", we're a "resource", a "human" one. We need to be treated as such, and frankly, so do the Japanese nationals too.

For all intents and purposes, is Japan currently nothing more than an underfunded and extraordinarily badly managed "black company (ブラック企業)". Tossing out the "management" is a pre-requisite to any hope for improvement across the board.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Posted in: Growing number of people working into their 80s and 90s See in context

One thing that always irks me is when in the news they interview an elderly person or an elderly person is involved in some incident, they label the person as "無職 (unemployed)". You therefore have "unemployed" people in their 70s, 80s, 90s. Well, if they've retired, obviously they do not work anymore and frankly from a certain age onwards you should be expected to have "retired" and not to continue to "job-hunt".

I would really appreciate the media to use a term in that sense implying "retirement" instead of "unemployment". (In case of people still in working-age (in their 30s, 40s, 50s), it would be appropriate though).

On another side, around me there are 2 couples with both husband and wife working who were to hit the 60 year-mark between last year and this year. Last decade, all four said they would retire at 60. Like myself, I would call them "middle-class" and not living above their income.

Well, they all since then changed their minds and all 4 are now targeting 65 as the retirement age. When asking them, they all said the same things: uncertainty around their elder parents' health, uncertainty around their own financial situation (less income over the last years and such) and uncertainty around their kids' future who graduated from university.

In none of the 4 above cases was there much pep talk around "feeling genki and still wanting to plough on", just a lot of depressed talk about finance, household expenses and health-related stress...

Politicians have cushy and well-paid jobs until their 70s, 80s and above and actually do have a choice. Blue and white-collar workers neither have cushy or well-paid jobs nor a choice.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan saw fewer than 400,000 births in Jan-June period See in context

*The data include figures for Japanese nationals living abroad and foreigners residing in Japan.*

Well, we're all in the same (sinking) boat, aren't we...?

The number of babies born in Japan and to Japanese expatriates... 

...

The data include figures for Japanese nationals living abroad and foreigners residing in Japan.

Genuine question: do other countries include in their national birth-rates their nationals living abroad and their children born abroad?

My take would be that, living abroad, contributing to (foreign) local social security and pension funds, these would be the other (foreign) government's responsibility and be included in that country's own stats...? Also, some countries have the concept of double-nationality (possibly until adult age when the person then needs to choose one of both).

As such, Japanese nationals and children born with Japanese nationality born abroad are generally counted in their country of residence as a part of that country's population (albeit as being holders of a foreign passport). So why is Japan counting some other country's population as part of their own? You can't be part of 2 "populations" at the same time...Funnily enough, Japan also considers foreigners residing in Japan.

If you want to count Japanese "nationals" or Japanese "passport holders", I guess it's ok but then you shouldn't include foreigners residing in Japan. But as we are talking about births/deaths, we are talking about the "population" (of Japan) which is a different topic with different stakes.

For reference.

Merriam-Webster:

Definition of population

1 a: the whole number of people or inhabitants in a country or region

b: the total of individuals occupying an area or making up a whole

c: the total of particles at a particular energy level —used especially of atoms in a laser

Here a link to the MOFA's data on Japanese expatriates.

https://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/toko/tokei/hojin/index.html

As of October 2021, there are 1.34 Mio JPY residing abroad with 807K long-term residents (60%) out of which 537K having permanent residency for their (foreign) country of residence. Why would these people be counted as the "population of Japan" for births/deaths stats purposes???

Again, it may be just Kyodo fuzziness generating more questions than answering them...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: The Japanese government plans to launch a nationwide travel discount program in October to support the hotel, restaurant and transportation industries hard hit by the pandemic. Do you think this is a good idea? See in context

The Japanese government plans to launch a nationwide travel discount program in October to support the hotel, restaurant and transportation industries hard hit by the pandemic. Do you think this is a good idea?

Basically GO TO strikes back, eh?

What exactly did GO TO achieve so far?

.give us two man-made COVID waves

.have HIS help itself to 600 Mio JPY they embezzled

Those who can travel already do so, those who can't being are asked to pay for the former. You can't make this up.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan floats issuance of gov't bonds for more defense spending See in context

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants to boost defense spending to 2 percent or more of GDP, which is in line with the benchmark for North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states.

What has NATO to do with Japan?

Moreover, the GDPs not being in the same league, is Japan with its 1% cap is already pretty much aligned with the EU NATO-member heavyweights (France, Germany with the UK being more of a stretch).

GDPs

https://www.worldometers.info/gdp/gdp-by-country/

Military spending

https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/military-spending-by-country

Japan's fiscal health is the worst among developed nations, with its debt more than twice the size of its economy. The yet-to-be-compiled state budget for the next fiscal year from April is expected to hit another record as spending will likely increase to rework the defense posture.

...to which one can add the below article from today for good measure:

https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan-over-75s-top-15-of-population-for-1st-time

Japan is walking the way of the dodo bird, but a dodo bird going at full throttle in a tank. (#sarcasm)

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: There are serious doubts about the eligibility of the group, formally called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, as a religious corporation. Many say the government should file with a court for procedures to disband (the Unification Church) under the Religious Corporations Act. See in context

There are serious doubts about the eligibility of the group, formally called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, as a religious corporation. Many say the government should file with a court for procedures to disband (the Unification Church) under the Religious Corporations Act.

Don't forget Happy Science which also has a political party. Now, that would make things start to get interesting.

All-in-all, make all religious groups, shrines and temples pay taxes. (would love to know how much Yasukuni Jinja is making, seeing all the bigwigs parading there).

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: Kishida cabinet support rate drops to 40.2%: poll See in context

Kishida cabinet support rate drops to 40.2%: poll

Depends who you ask. There is a little something for everybody to call his own.

Kyodo's job is to placard the J-gov: 40.2%

Same job being done by the NHK with (a week ago): 40%

https://www.nhk.or.jp/senkyo/shijiritsu/

Nikkei Shimbun (conservative / finance) even shows a very optimistic: 43%

https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQOUA1636O0W2A910C2000000/

Asahi (opposition) TV shows a much less optimistic: 36.3%

https://news.tv-asahi.co.jp/news_politics/articles/000268846.html

Interestingly enough Jiji's job is pretty much to the same as Kyodo and the NHK (i.e. to placard the J-gov)...but their poll shows a very sad: 32.3%

https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2022091500727&g=pol&p=20220915ax08S&rel=pv

Mainichi (opposition) Shimbun's poll shows an abyssmal: 29%

https://mainichi.jp/graphs/20220918/mpj/00m/010/050000f/1?inb=ys

Everybody agrees on one thing: Kishida's approval ratings crashed through the floor and are still travelling southwards now heading for the South Pole.

Reasons are simple:

.Kishida's "New/Social capitalism" has gone AWOL pretty much since the very beginning. After having been kept waiting 8 years by Abe to deliver on his "Abenomics" nonsense, they will keep any new empty suit (incl. Kishida) who runs the show on a much tighter and shorter leash and want results much quicker.

.As much as the plebs didn't care about the Tokyo Olympics which got shoved down their throats, they do neither care about the Sapporo Olympics or this joke-amorial which are currently being shoved down their throats and for which they have to foot the bill. Some news outlet speculate that Kishida may want to pull an "Abe" on the voters and force down a snap election down their throats. This would not be popular at all...

.Despite the moral bankruptcy and corruption in J-politics did the Moonie-scandal manage to shock even the most hardened and cynical J-voter.

What can Kishida or the LDP do? Not much.

Currently all "big" names in J-politics are has-been PMs and Ministers who already all crashed and burned while showing blatant incompetence, a flair for corruption or have zero achievements to show. None of them, except maybe Kono has any public support of sorts.

The second problem is that the LDP has nothing to offer that it did not already offered but did deliver on: a "beautiful country" (2007) under Abe...who got booted out of office, "Abenomics" (2012) under Abe...who got booted out of office, "Tokyo Olympics" (2021) under Suga...who got booted out of office, "Social capitalism" (2020) under Kishida who is currently in freefall.

The public has lost what was left of trust and patience. They want a plan that concerns them, their jobs, their salaries, their kids, their health and retirements, their income and their living expenses and not some wonkey PR-scheme like Tokyo/Sapporo/Iwo Jima Olympics, no plan to honor His Shadiness, no なんちゃってagencies like the Children or Digital agencies, some super-duper fast Linia train or Harry-Potter-like magical My Number cardathingy.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan loses way to solve N Korea's abduction issue for past 20 years See in context

After the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit in June 2018, then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reversed his signature "maximum pressure" policy against Pyongyang, voicing eagerness to hold a meeting with leader Kim Jong Un "without conditions."

Well, essentially Trump wanting to attract attention to him and his greater self just let Abe (and Japan) out in the rain and met with Fatboy Kim, which is why Abe feeling the rug having been pulled under his feet, suddenly reversed his stance, desperately trying to not look like a fool (a task far too daunting for him and which he miserably completely failed at).

Japan loses way to solve N Korea's abduction issue for past 20 years

Well, "loses way"? What "way"?

If you take in consideration banzai posturing for petty electoral purposes, then I guess that Japan did put in a LOT of efforts. If you only consider real efforts to come to some solution and bring the abductees home, then not so much...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 60% of people with foreign roots questioned by Japanese police: survey See in context

It's funny...

I just realized that I may actually be the only one on this thread to have:

. faced a Japanese detective (刑事) in an official investigation

.in what may have actually been a case involving...a dead body (again, wifey and I were later told that the jumper "survived" but...jumping from the 19th floor and surviving?? Really??)

And the whole interaction was all about whether I (or wifey) had been at a very specific point in time that morning on our 10th floor terrace and whether we happened to cross eyes with a guy on his way down to kiss the asphalt...

I will file this encounter under "weird things that happened to me in Japan"...TBH, that file is actually getting pretty thick...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: 60% of people with foreign roots questioned by Japanese police: survey See in context

@letsberealistic

Curious to know, are you like me, are you also of average to small stature, caucasian and with dark brown hair? Are you also quite good at assimilating into Japanese society (i.e. behaving like the locals?).

I guess, yes. Now the hairs are grey, but yes, I think it is a pretty fair description.

I have been working remotely since 2020, but when going to work, it's basically dark suit, briefcase and necktie (it pretty much goes with my function/job). If the J-cops would stop me, I'm more than fluent in Japanese but again, you will only know if you stop me and start talking to me...

In my private time, I'm dressed super casual. But, yes, I do consider me as not "standing out" in any way. Maybe an advantage of looking, well, (ahem) pretty boring...(ouch! self-goal here).

But TBH, I'm from Europe and racial profiling IS an issue back there as well...It's just that in Japan, WE are the foreigners and it is US who maybe (or not) targeted.

Will I never be stopped...? Well, I don't know. I can just say I haven't been so far (keeping fingers crossed).

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Obama to skip Abe's state funeral; Hagerty to attend See in context

In 2016, Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima, accompanied by Abe who was prime minister at the time.

Back then and for a very short time was Obama's visit to Hiroshima written up to...Kishida Fumio, which made sense as Kishida was Abe's Minister of Foreign Affairs from December 2012 to August -2017. Then Abe hijacked all laurels from the visit, which was made possible by "friendly" far-right news outlets (Sankei Shimbun and Fuji TV).

dbsaiya

Considering Abe ran off to visit Trump right after the 2016 election snubbing the sitting president, Obama, it sounds fine to me.

Which (again) makes pretty much sense, Abe being a right-wing populist in the Trump vein, living a sheltered life in an echo-chamber silver-spoon fed by the sycophants surrounding him.

As for the memorial, and for all intents and purposes have the wheels already fallen off this whole nonsense pretty much from day one onwards.

From an international point of view, it was supposed to be a tribute to the "international figure" that Abe alledgedly was and his so-called "diplomatic achievements".

If you want to look at international diplomacy, you need to look at...the French. If there is one thing that the French are known for and respected for, it's their diplomatic efforts and skills and from day one onwards, did Macron snub the memorial and now it's...disgraced one-term ex-French president Sarkozy currently spending most of his post-presidential time in French courts (already one guilty verdict!) who will attend. Ex-chancellor Merckel was said to be coming...until 2 weeks ago and even before the Queen passed away. Ex-president Obama was said to be coming...until a few days ago.

It was reported that two weeks ago (and before the Queen passed away) did half of the 190 countries to which invitations were sent not yet even bother to answer back...

But even before that, did the timing of the memorial ceremony make no sense whatsoever.

Even if putting the Queen's death aside as nobody could foresee it, it was still the very week after the UN General Assembly and in the month of September. Essentially, September marks the end of summer recess and all upper/lower houses, senates, parliaments and whatsits do go back to work. The Gaimusho knows that.

The Gaimusho should also know that in the US the mid-term elections are looming, in France Marcon who won the presidential election has to deal with a fractioned parliament, the Brits are changing their PM, the Brazilians have a tense and potentially explosive presidential election coming up, as foreseen did the far-right enter Swedish parliament while in Italy are the fascists slated to win big in the coming national election. All these national elections will have regional effects in North and South America as well as Europe.

Let's also not forget the ongoing fall-out from the COVID-crisis, the fall-out from the ongoing war in Ukraine, the tension around Taiwan, the worldwide cost of living crisis and inflation and the climate emergency. Basically, the whole city is on fire, everybody is running around firefighting and Japan is setting up a booth at a street corner to sell some god-awful lemon juice and wondering why nobody is showing up??? This for real???

Essentially, between an event where heads want to go to pay respect (and be seen) which is the Queen's funeral (9/19), an event where heads want to go and act/work (and be seen) which is the UN General Assembly (9/21-9/23) and an event were heads would go if they have time on their hands (and where only Japan would like them to be seen) which is Abe's funeral (9/27) it would basically mean that heads of governments/states would be away for 10 days or so while there are national and international emergencies all across the board. Something will need to give and the most likely candidate is pretty obvious.

On the national Japanese stage is the population overwhelmingly against the memorial while the J-gov seems to be in panic-mode with invitations being sent out to all current but also former elected representatives (not later than yesterday was a guy on showing his invitation and stating on TV how baffled he was to having been invited as he left politics...back in 2016 after...an interrupted first term in parliament). Other current and ex-parliamentarians showed their invitations with handwritten and tipp-exed corrections changing the dates on this invitations making the whole thing look at best like amateur hour or at worst like a wheel on fire.

The J-gov is hellbent on holding the memorial and it will not be canceled, we all know that. But the population is equally hellbent on crashing the party. For all intends and purposes have both sides already succeeded in their aims.

While the LDP will have its memorial, the population (and international circumstances / priorities) have already made it as hollow in meaning as the Olympics were. Just yet another pyrrhic "victory" to an LDP completely disconnected from all or any reality with Kishida's approval rating poised to continue to crash through the floor after that. Well, that's 事業自得 (what goes around comes around) to ya.

You simply can't make this up...What a waste!

-4 ( +12 / -16 )

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