blue comments

Posted in: Kishida to be 1st Japanese leader to attend NATO summit See in context

@OssanAmerica

A lot to unpack here.

"...But NATO is in the Atlantic...what does Japan have to do with it...."

OK kiddies, NATO is not limited to the Atlantic. Unless you think Afghanistan is in Europe.

You're definitely correct but geography DOES matter as much as logistics, whether in supply chain issues or (here) warfare/military operations.

Distance Brussels (NATO HQ) - Kabul (Afghanistan): 5,408 km

Distance Brussels - Tokyo: 9,452 km

"For nearly 20 years, NATO Allies and partner countries had military forces deployed to Afghanistan under a United Nations (UN) Security Council mandate. "

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_8189.htm

Correct, with emphasis on "*under a *United Nations (UN) Security Council mandate". No such thing on the horizon around here in Asia at this moment, just two big boys playing tit-for-tats.

*"NATO and Japan have been engaged in dialogue and cooperation since initial contacts in the early 1990s"*

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_50336.htm

Correct, but it does not change the fact that Japan is NOT a member at this stage.

What we are witnesssing is the polarization of Democracies versus Autocracies. And with Russia and China on the same side, regional separation no longer exists.

Correct, but geography still DOES play a role when parties/forces may be half a globe away as mentioned above.

For industrial resources purposes it may one day become important to get to the moon but the distance is not reduced, not even by an inch, whatever the importance of getting there and whatever the Gung-Ho spirit is and the technical and logistic challenges will remain...

Fortunately there is a movement, started under PM Abe to revise Article 9 to give the JSDF recognition and more freedom and leeway in deployment, which today after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, is as urgently needed as Finland and Sweden's application to join NATO. 

The "freedom" and "leeway" to do what, to be deployed where, when, under which conditions, by whom and for what purpose (and benefits for Japan) exactly?

Again, NATO nations are half a globe away and the organization was essentially set up to counter the threat posed by the Soviet Union which under its present incarnation of Russia still remains a threat as we now know and which will keep NATO pretty busy, as much as does islamic terrorism as well as right-wing violence/terror.

Again, China is half a globe away and as far as military expenses are concerned only the US can be considered, not a "regional" but a "planetary" force with enough of a logistic (and financial) backbone to be everywhere at anytime.

Japan has moved towards collective defense and JSDF can come to the aid of US Forces under attack. Without question this will eventually progress to include other allied nations like Australia, UK and organizations like NATO.

"Collective defense" as in: "US territory being attacked and defending itself"?

"Coming to the aid of US Forces under attack" as in "under attack in a US territory or international zone" or "in a territory or third-party conflict the US shouldn't have set foot in to start with" and where things may have gone in some cases slightly south...(e.g. The Dominican Republic (1965), Vietnam, Granada (1983), Gulf War (1991), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003) ).

If we are talking about a non-US territory, we may be talking about participating in an US "aggression" or US-participation in a "third-party conflict", none of which would qualify as "defense".

Abe and his cohorts are just selling out Japan (and its own JSDF forces) and when the first young servicemen (and women) from the JSDF will come back in body bags will the plebs (and possibly even the right-wing nutters) understand how much they've been had and for how cheap they all got sold...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Kishida's support edges down; voters critical about rising prices See in context

Kishida's support edges down; voters critical about rising prices

...but will anyway vote for the LDP at the next elections, so what gives?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: China launches high-tech aircraft carrier in naval milestone See in context

@OssanAmerica

Only two countries in the world have actual naval combat experience using carrier fleets. That's the United States and Japan. China can only do their best to copy what they don't have in actual experience. 

As far as IJA aircraft carriers and experience do go a, here a few excerpts (courtesy of Wiki);

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Japanese_Navy_in_World_War_II#Aircraft_carriers

"*Japan put particular emphasis on aircraft carriers. The Imperial Japanese Navy started the Pacific War with 10 aircraft carriers, the largest and most modern carrier fleet in the world at that time. *" (genuinely impressive)

...

"Following the Battle of Midway, in which four Japanese fleet carriers were sunk, the IJN suddenly found itself short of fleet carriers (as well as trained aircrews), robbing them of a strategic offensive capability.

*The IJN consequently undertook an ambitious set of projects to convert commercial and military vessels into carriers,** such as the Hiyō. Another conversion project, Shinano, was based on an incomplete Yamato-class super battleship and became the largest-displacement carrier of World War II. One exception was the Taihō, which was the only Japanese carrier with an armored flight deck and first to incorporate a closed hurricane bow. All three mid-war designs were sunk in 1944, with Shinano and Taihō being sunk by U.S. submarines, and Hiyō by air attacks. *

*The IJN also attempted to build a number of fleet carriers called the Unryū-class, mostly based on the older Hiryū design rather than the newer Shōkaku or Taihō for the sake of reducing construction cost and time. Most carriers were still under construction or cancelled by the end of the war, while the few completed ships never embarked air groups due to severe shortages of carrier-qualified aircrew.*" (much less impressive but in-line with the complete and utter debacle of Imperial Japan)

The IJA's "experience" didn't seem to go much beyond losing the actual advantage (and the units) they had when they started the war...

Let's hope the JSDF learned from their mistakes and will not stick our their necks a second time for an out-of-their-depth brass and political class. After all they had 77 years to think about it and come to their conclusions...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Japanese airline Zipair ditches 'Z' logo to avoid pro-Russia misunderstanding See in context

Momoiro Clover is just soooo busted! So is Mazinger.

Joke aside, this is getting sillier by the day...

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: Kishida unveils plan to set up pandemic crisis control unit similar to CDC See in context

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans Wednesday to establish an infectious disease crisis management agency to better prepare for future pandemics.

Let's just hope they are more serious about this one than the "Digital Agency" or the "Children and Families Agency"...

We could need an effective agency with a clear mission statement, experts put in charge and funded with adequate resources.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan enacts law to set up new agency to tackle children's issues See in context

OK, so this basically confirms that whatever was there and whatever was done until now didn't pan out, right?

Possible root-causes for that:

.budgetary constraints

.lack of staff

.lack of training

.lackluster legal framework

.other

Solution:

.increase budget

.increase hiring

.additional / adequate training

.fix legal framework

.other (as required)

What do we get?

The Diet on Wednesday enacted legislation to set up a new government agency to oversee children-related policies as the country tries to tackle increasingly complex issues such as child abuse.

(sigh) Yet another new agency....

 It will unify policies across multiple government ministries and entities to better deal with imminent issues concerning children, such as declining birth rates, child poverty and sex crimes.

...which will unify ministries and policies which didn't exactly perform or seem to have been adequate enough well until now...

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to "double" the budget necessary for measures to deal with the problems, without elaborating.

...but will get more money to continue to do whatever they did up to now (and which didn't pan out...)...

Issues related to education and school, including bullying, will continue to be handled by the education ministry.

...

In addition, a new advisory panel to the prime minister will be set up to discuss such issues as parenting, support for expectant and nursing mothers and protecting children's rights.

...while some areas remain strictly off-topic / no-touch...

The new agency will have more than 300 officials, including those recruited from private associations with expertise in child-rearing.

...and said new agency having more (?) / less (?) / the same amount (?) of staff, nobody actually knows with some input from whatever "private associations with expertise" are supposed to be (NGOs(?), NPOs (?), private corporations getting juicy contracts(?) )...

The minister in charge of the agency will be given the authority to urge other government offices to take corrective measures if their policies are deemed ineffective.

...and the minister in charge of said new agency having as a mission / jurisdiction to "urge" "other government offices" (what "other" government offices (?) ) to do, basically, what err, looks like his or his agency's job, it seems...

Seems like the usual:

.cushy-job-amakudari-position aimed at an old LDP dinosaur aimed at vote-grabbing in prevision of an election while providing zero bang for a LOT of your tax-payers' buck...

Add this to the Digital Agency and cohorts of other なんちゃって government agencies which are piling up...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: What are some movies that you really liked, but got terrible reviews? See in context

Agree with Spaghetti Westerns (bad dubs could kill off any good movie), Dune or Star Trek The Motion Picture.

Will add:

.Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) (a misunderstood masterpiece with a different cut in Europe that makes actually much more sense),

.Orca (1977) (always found it heart-wrenching and dramatic)

.Meteor (1979) (essentially a much maligned version of the very successful Armageddon but with 20 years of a head-start),

.Flash Gordon (1980) (Flash Gordon IS alive and kicking in this movie as flashy and colorful as a box of Quality Streets chocolates!)

.Jaws 3-D (1983) (always found it much more entertaining that the better rated second episode and according to those who saw it in 3D MUCH MUCH better in that format),

.A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (1985) (hated it as a teenager, love as an adult how much it stands out of the crowd amongst the movies back then),

.Ninja III: The Domination (1984) (an improbable mix of Ninja action x Flashdance x The Exorcist, only in the 80s)

.Death Wish 3 (1985) (completely over the top MAGA-crowd pleaser with 3 decades of a head-start),

The 80s were a great time to be alive and go to the movies.

Will add for the 90s: Batman and Robin (1997) (hated it when it came out but having seen it again 2 weeks ago, while the story remains unfathomably silly, the sets are actually pretty incredible)

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Sounds of Tokyo train station visualized in trial for hearing impaired travelers See in context

Err...And the point is...? Like, creating a Japanese version of Meta, like the "Mangaverse" where some specific sources of sound will flash up on screens throughout the city like you are in the pages of a comic books or something...?

This really helpful to the hearing impaired? (this is meant as a genuine question to the hearing impaired who may be on this board)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: So long, Internet Explorer. The browser is finally retiring See in context

At home I did use it literally two times only when we got a PC with Windows 95 back in the 90s.

I accessed the internet a first time, everything cool.

The second time it simply didn't want to access anything anymore and I started to freak out (I was still wet behind the ears back then). Once I did manage to access the internet I downloaded Netscape which I knew from a friend whose family had internet before us.

IE never worked a third time and this was the begin of my non-IE browsing history:

.Netscape

.Firefox

.Safari

.Opera (only for a brief time out of curiosity)

.Chrome

While at work, whatever company I land at always, always, always IE.

IF we ever have a choice to start with (Firefox or IE or Chrome or IE) from some arcane reason does management always drop the non-IE browser to the dismay of all employees...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Disney's 'Lightyear' banned in 14 markets after same-sex kiss controversy See in context

Disney's latest animation "Lightyear," which features a same-sex kiss, has been denied release in more than a dozen mainly Muslim countries, a source close to the company told AFP on Tuesday.

When you're a little kid and see a couple of adults "smooch" in a movie:

EEEEEEeeewwww. That's disgusting!!

Decades later, when you're an adult and see a same-sex couple "smooch" in a movie:

EEEEEEeeewwww. That's disgusting!!

Conclusion: some people never grow up, I guess...

2 ( +12 / -10 )

Posted in: Points cards are popular at many shops and other places of businesses in Japan. How many do you have? See in context

Out of the top of my head: 3 cards

.a Ks Denki card, not a point-card per se but a card enabling a price-reduction in percentage at the shop's cash-register, frequent use.

.the whatsit-card from Seven-Eleven for the rare times that I need to buy something late at night, rarely use it though

.a T-point card which I was using before COVID whenever I was going to a Family restaurant when coming home late (and trashed) from work.

On the T-point card, as I started to work remotely back in 2020 I have been hardly using it and noticed that I had quite a loot in points, points which I was going to lose by end 2020. I also noticed that I similarly, I had a lot of points on my SMBC credit-card which incidentally were also going to get lost by end 2020.

I looked up the possibilities to change them into some nifty (but useless) present (thanks, SMBC!) or transfer them to some card where they may (again) get lost after some time and ultimately decided to convert the whole loot into points via Yahoo. I thought about either:

.using them for purchases on Yahoo auction or Yahoo shopping

.donating them to (animal) charities through Yahoo bokin (募金 - donation)

I went for a charity which I found via a Yahoo news article according to which they were running into problems due to COVID. Unfortunately, they didn't have a Yahoo bokin account and when I suggested they open one, they were told by Yahoo that no further donation accounts would be opened as they (Yahoo) were overrun by similar requests since COVID started and decided to freeze opening of new accounts.

I asked the charity what pet-related stuff they needed (food, toilet-sheet, etc), got the list, bought it for them and got it delivered directly to them through Yahoo Shopping, courtesy of "Naoto Date".

Therefore, if you have point-cards you don't really use or points about to get lost on your credit-card, you can either generally convert the points to wallet-money for shopping or better, for a good cause. Give it a shot, if anyway you don't really care because the money is peanuts, just think that "small streams make big rivers" to those at the receiving end as they say.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Bitcoin plunges as major crypto lender halts operations See in context

@Strangerland

A cryptocurrency operator criticizing another cryptocurrency operator? 

Cryptocurrencies are decentralized. What are these operators you speak of?

Sorry, semantics, I guess.

Somebody operating a business dealing in cryptocurrencies criticizing another person operating a business dealing in cryptocurrencies.

This better?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Bitcoin plunges as major crypto lender halts operations See in context

Sounds like the turkeys who got invited to Thanksgiving are starting to realize what Thanksgiving is all about...

It's the latest high profile collapse of a pillar of the cryptocurrency industry. These meltdowns have erased tens of billions of dollars of investors' assets and spurred urgent calls to regulate the freewheeling industry.

"Urgent calls"? From those investors who are losing their shirt in this debacle, I guess. Well, for many the whole point was to stick it to the man and escape regulation. What goes around comes around and here you are now...

On Sunday, the cryptocurrency lending platform Celsius Network announced that it was pausing all withdrawals and transfers between accounts in order to “honor, over time, withdrawal obligations.” Celsius, with roughly 1.7 million customers and more than $10 billion in assets, gave no indication in its announcement when it would allow users to access their funds.

Doesn't sound good...

In exchange for customers’ deposits, the company pays out extremely generous yields, upwards of 19% on some accounts. Celsius takes those funds and lends them out to generate a return.

There is nowhere you can invest in in current finance or markets that could generate a 19% yield unless taking an insane risk of losing it all...Effectively, this is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.

Even while Celsius was failing, the company's website advertised that users can “access your coins whenever, keep them safe forever.”

...

The move surprised investors and depositors. In online chats, they questioned why their investments weren’t protected.

A lot of people didn't read the fine print, it seems. On J-TV it is literally in fine print at the end of every and any crypto-currency TV advertisement.

It’s possible that Celsius’ investors, which include Quebec’s pension fund, may get their investment back before Celsius' depositors will.

An effing pension fund?!?!? You gotta be kidding me!! Suddenly the news about a move to more "riskier investments" by Japan's GPIF makes me VERY nervous...

“This was yet another bank run. You're not reinventing anything here. They were promoting their services as a better savings account but in the end, you're just another unsecured lender,” said Cory Klippsten, CEO of Swan Bitcoin, who has been publicly skeptical of Celsius' business model for years.

A cryptocurrency operator criticizing another cryptocurrency operator? Ahem. Let's keep this quote somewhere warm for potential later use should Swan Bitcoin get itself into trouble in the future as well...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's defense budget needs to be ¥10 tril: LDP policy chief See in context

@Peter14

Unfortunately, pretty much none of this is going to happen.

Spend wisely on research for domestic weapons and systems that can bolster the alliance and perhaps earn some foreign sales to put money back in the kitty.

The domestic industry is in no state to do so. Here a pretty dire assessment from last December (2021).

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14512775

Expect all the money to be spent on, as usual, US military weaponry with the current drop in exchange-rates giving Japan much much less bang for their buck.

As long as they dont waste it and get more planes, ships, missiles and troops on the ground, and provide all with more field training.

Not too sure what good all these additional vehicles would do as the JSDF's fill-rate is not optimal.

Look under (2) which is the variations between budgeted (定員) and current effective (現員)

https://www.mod.go.jp/j/profile/mod_sdf/kousei/

Overall, we are at 92% of budgeted personnel capacity, in addition to which, here an article from Sankei Biz (Sankei being the main right-wing media group in Japan) pointing already back in 2019 to a consecutive 5-year-failure to fill the budgeted personnel.

https://www.sankeibiz.jp/macro/news/190816/mca1908160500002-n1.htm

Both the above meaning that there is little sense to increase the number of planes, ships and overall vehicles as long as the increase in personnel does not follow suit

Like the rest of the Japanese society is the JSDF suffering from super-aging, as well as more and more JSDF personnel switching to more lucrative jobs in the private sector. On this topic, 10 years ago, when my wife was working in an ophthalmology clinic group, was there one subsidiary where all (male) doctors were former JSDF personnel. HQ always referred to that particular clinic under the nickname of the "barracks" or the "base".

As a stop-gap did the JSDF raise the age limit from 26 to 32 back in 2018 as well as accepting more female personnel. Expect down the lane a delay in retirement age as well. Pretty much like the rest of the society.

And add forward bases on the Senkaku's, outposts and other islands a distance away from the main Islands for early warning, and solid forward defenses against air and sea incursions.

Agree, but the LDP is all about barking and not biting (remember that Japan is heavily dependent on Chinese money and "Don't 'Bite the Hand That Feeds You" as they say). As they have yet to, even remotely, mention anything along these lines, I would think that Takaichi's above yapping is the most you'll get out of them...

As for Takaichi's statement of intent...

*"We need to conduct substantial research and development in the fields of space, electromagnetic waves and cybersecurity," said Takaichi, who is known to share a hawkish stance on security similar to that of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.*

...it is pretty moot talk as Japan is at least 2 decades behind in IT, tech and cybersecurity as news on information hacks, leaks and tech-issues constantly keep reminding us. Japan is said to currently lack over 100,000 experts in the IT-field, a number which is deemed to continue to increase every year.

As far as scientists go, over the last decade, I've seen my share of documentaries explaining in gory details on how much their research run on fumes and a lot of them are looking to other shores where their knowledge will be more welcomed and the payoff more substantial.

Long story short: I would unfortunately expect more money being wasted than anything else, pretty much like they usually do.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: China and the U.S. blame each other for escalating tensions over Taiwan. Who do you think is more at fault? See in context

I voted "China" as the obvious answer...

But it's so obvious that I start to wonder. Was this a trick question of sorts...?

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Posted in: Poverty in Japan spreading and deepening See in context

@Legion

@ArtistAtLarge That's a bottom feeder mentality. Anyone with a skillset that's high in demand will always have options.

I think you are describing one area that is actually mine. I work in internal controls / internal audit / risk management / anti-money laundering which are not popular fields for "cultural" reasons in Japan (i.e. they are confrontational roles where you need to challenge the environment, the staff and the management) and are therefore in even higher demand in Japan than anywhere else, have 2 decades of experience and all the certifications you may want to back it up, but strangely enough I only get contacted for offers which while being more demanding (larger organizations, larger scope of responsibilities, more travel)...only offer less in hard cash in return.

I heard a lot last year about the "great resignation" taking place everywhere and that we're all in a "candidate's (job) market"-situation...well, just not in Japan where the ruling party, the Keidanren, the corporations, the predatory recruiting and intermediating industry are all up and roaring about shafting you as a worker...

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: Residents of Fukushima village allowed to move back in after 11 years See in context

For how long is Kyodo going to milk that story?

Katsurao Mayor Hiroshi Shinoki indicated he was considering bringing back residents through revitalizing local agriculture, the area's key industry.

Err...

Around 337 sq km of land in seven Fukushima municipalities remain subject to the difficult-to-return zone classification. Of those, a total of just 27 sq km in six of the same municipalities comprise specified reconstruction and revitalization base zones.

Still a lot of work to be done, me thinks...

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan, Singapore to start talks on defense equipment transfer pact See in context

Japan, Singapore to start talks on defense equipment transfer pact

> Japan and Singapore will start negotiations to reach a deal on the transfer of defense equipment and technology, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Saturday, setting the stage for more security cooperation in a region facing challenges by an assertive China.

Err...What exactly is Japan to transfer to Singapore?

Here for example a recap of their earlier attempts at exporting made-in-Japan military hardware. Not exactly impressive...

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

Here also a pretty dire assessment of the current state of the military industry in Japan (in English).

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14512775

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Posted in: China vows it will fight to the end to stop Taiwan independence See in context

Six wargames scenarios, courtesy of Reuters of which none is ultimately favorable to Taiwan (i.e China ends up with enough of an upper hand) and with the last one being actually pretty bad for all of us here in Asia.

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/taiwan-china-wargames/

All scenarios assume involvement to an extent of US forces but also Japan (involvement of the latter being, in my book, a pretty bold assumption...Anyway, everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion.)

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Poverty in Japan spreading and deepening See in context

@Speed

This same article, sans Ukraine and Covid, could have been written back in 2012. Hell, try back to 2000 or the 90s.

Completely agree. I remember reading an article back end 90s in Europe about the パラサイトシングル (parasite singles) in Japan where adult young people continued to live at their parents' out of convenience but also economic need while actually having started to work.

Fast forward to 2022, a friend of mine and her husband live with their son who is going to graduate from university in medicine next year. Despite his career already made (his specialization is in high demand), he already asked them a few years ago to let him continue to live with them after he graduates and starts working in order to save money. Oh yeah, his girlfriend has also been living with them for the last 2-3 years while having started to work last year. It therefore looks like we are looking at パラサイトカップル (parasite couples) these days...

Next step: parasite grand-children?

The J-gov just loves world crises: sub-prime, COVID, Ukraine (next Taiwan?), in order to cover for the catastrophic results of its own political and economic failures.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Posted in: Dead man found in car in parking lot; police say body may have been there over two years See in context

@purple_depressed_bacon

A car that sat in a mall parking lot for over two years and nobody thought to even take a peek inside to investigate who it belonged to? I call bull.

Not a joke, but when doing our stray cat (trap - neuter - release) patrol in the apartment complex' parking lot, there is this abandoned car in the lot: four flat tires, the hood color looks...burned(?), there is tons on stuff in the front and back seats that you can't see the inside (TBH it looks like the car's windows have been obfuscated on purpose(?) ).

I noticed it 7 years(!) ago. Did mention it to the other members, nobody got a clue. The lots are private, so "as long as the rent is paid"...

I've been expecting this one to make headlines ever since...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Wholesale prices surge 9.1% in May; weak yen boosts import costs See in context

"If the yen depreciates further to 140 against the dollar, the weak yen impact will surpass 50 percent and the government and the BOJ would have to change its message that the recent bout of inflation is mainly because of higher energy prices," Suehiro added.

Don't worry. Weeks ago, did Mrs Watanabe already notice when doing the groceries...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow: Kishida See in context

Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow: Kishida

So, on one side is Japan continuing to bet the farm on tourism and on the other hand waving around the risk of a conflict engulfing Asia? Forget tourism then or are they betting on soldiers and mercenaries on leave to come and have some fun here?

It's the 21st century, the era where Japan was some kind of Asian Las-Vegas where everything that happens or is being said in Japan / Vegas would stay in Japan / Vegas is OVER. National newspapers and news outlets have covered all major social / financial / corporate events, decisions and scandals. As such will this be all over the news all around the world as well.

Japan can not have its cake and eat it at the same time. NOT.NOW.NOT.EVER.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: Businesses pin hopes on foreign tourists as Japan set to reopen border See in context

Again and again and again is Kyodo just re-hashing the same figures without much background explaining them or the situation around them.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan marked a record 31.88 million in 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak. Amid COVID-19 travel restrictions at home and abroad, however, the figure plunged to a record-low 245,900 in 2021.

...

Before the pandemic, Asakusa had seen a boom in hotel openings and many expected a rush of overseas visitors in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics, originally scheduled for 2020 during which the Japanese government aimed to welcome 40 million foreign visitors.

And we could already see back in 2018 that the glut of tourists instead of being spread all over Japan was just limited to a very few selected locations.

https://statistics.jnto.go.jp/en/graph/#graph--inbound--prefecture--ranking

We have all seen Kyoto, from one end of the city-limits to the other end, being overrun by tourists who were most likely to not have that much of a "great experience" being squeezed and stepping on each other's feet.

Tourists who had a positive travel experience will become positive advocate of the destination when back in their country. Those who didn't, well, won't...

In return, did Politicians only vow to increase even further the amount of tourists to insane-level without

(1) any explanation on how they were to achieve this besides the Olympigs and

(2) without any strategy on how to make all prefecture benefit from the influx and

(3) without any strategy on how to have the most popular locations deal with not only future but also current over-tourism

"The impact will be much smaller compared with when Japan welcomed more than 31 million people. But accepting inbound tourists in stages is the first step toward further relaxing the border measures" and is a very important development for the economy, he said.

If there is one thing that the COVID-crisis taught us, it is that tourism is a terribly fickle industry: sickness (we're still not out of COVID, Monkeypox may be a thing to watch out for and after SARS, MERS and COVID is it just a matter of time until the next pandemic), economy (the world economy is currently tanking!), natural disaster (which Japan is prone to, what do you think would happen in case of the Kanto "Big One"?), war (the potential for war over Taiwan looms and is being unabashedly waved around by...J-politicians), man-made disasters, etc.

Keiji Kanda, a senior economist at the Daiwa Institute of Research, said given that inbound tourists before the pandemic spent about 150,000 yen on average during their stay in Japan, the economic impact "cannot be underestimated."

And if you look at it, did the increase in spending by tourists start in 2015...

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1154846/japan-tourism-expenditure/

...which was the year the 爆買い (bakugai or "explosive buying") by Chinese tourists started.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%88%86%E8%B2%B7%E3%81%84

Chinese households have seen their finances clobbered by COVID as well. As such, I would expect less of that for the time being even if the Chinese begin to travel again.

Luckily, tourism is not the only thing that Japan can leverage from but if you look at the last 10 years has Japan being betting the land, the barn, the machines, the livestock, the farm on:

.crypto-currencies (remember how Japan wanted to become a crypto-powerhouse?) The current situation between a risk-averse population, current headwinds if not chaos in the industry, the lack of regulations and droves of operators leaving the country when the government even mentioned the possibility to inntroduce a regulatory framework tells you everything you need to know where this is heading.

.casinos and gambling, a project were corruption was ripe and where the J-gov was betting on a set of locations which are currently limited to only 2 with even the Osaka one having difficulties to budget their project, or that the J-gov was all about aiming for foreign tourists before then discussing only about how to identify nationals accessing the venues also tells you everything you need to know where this is heading.

.white elephants such as the Mitsubishi jet which crashed and burned due to (amongst other issues) a patent infringement from Canadian manufacture Bombardier, the Linia maglev-train which has been deriled by J-experts in: trade as a "non-seller" to foreign countries due to a ridiculous price-tag, in infrastructure experts as "non-necessary" due to an adequate coverage of Shinkansen-lines, in finance as impossible to become beneficiary unless...selling tickets at prices that nobody can pay and in environment as having a destructive footprint in several locations it goes through.

.national military industry which is pretty much dead and buried but which can expect to have tons of cash thrown at them.

.tourism, a fickle and low-end industry which before being clobbered by COVID was already in overheating.

Long story short: Japan has been going for only shiny, cool quick cash-grab projects and offers no long-term idea, strategy or vision and as such has been standing like a deer in the headlights for 3 decades...

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Survey suggests about half of Japanese companies has an 'old guy who does nothing' See in context

@LamillyToday

These old guys were the young guys that built Japan and their fathers before them

Tut tut. I'm afraid you're pretty much of the chart on every point...

I'm 51 and was born in 1970. As far as the "young guys that built Japan" are concerned, any of the "old guys" in his fifties was born mid-60s at the earliest. By the time that generation graduated from university we were hitting 1991 and the bubble economy was bursting. Anybody younger (e.g. 40s) graduated post-bubble. As such, it is dubious they contributed to anything and were most likely pretty busy trying to survive in the mess that was the post-bubble era...

As far as "their fathers before them" are concerned, they may have "contributed to building Japan" but should be at least in their 70s, hence not likely to linger around the office these days and not be the subject of this article to start with...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Diet speaker suspected of bribing local officials in 2021 election See in context

The scandal is the latest to hit the lower house speaker, who was recently reported by a weekly magazine to have sexually harassed women including a reporter and an employee of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The old geezer (78) is the former head of the uber-right-wing Hosoda-faction (raving monster loony faction) and (officially) Abe's former faction-boss, although I strongly believe that while handing Abe the "keys" to the faction he remains its "owner" for all intends and purposes.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%B4%B0%E7%94%B0%E5%8D%9A%E4%B9%8B

It's funny to see how as the faction-head he managed to remain in the shades for nearly a decade while once out in the open as the speaker he crashed and burned pretty much immediately.

Oh yeah, since 2018 is this guy also heading the Political Ethics Review Board for the House. You can't make this up. Not sure what the biggest joke is: that such a board actually exists or that such a tosser heads it...?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Survey suggests about half of Japanese companies has an 'old guy who does nothing' See in context

@quercetum

They like to read newspapers.

In my first company in Japan there was literally an old geezer who's nickname was "新聞の男 (the guy with the newspaper). Guess what he was doing all day locked up in his office.

Ultimately, he got dragged out of his office and had to pretend to work, but because of a lot of internal company politics (his reporting-line "graciously" gave him over to my area who was in dire need of staffing in the middle of a hiring freeze), and with me ending up as his staff it was ME who was doing HIS job while already being overworked!

I started doing some serious digging in the company and found out that over the last twenty-six effing years he got tossed around by every dept onto other depts until he ended up in our area.

I did have a serious discussion with our manager, who first didn't believe me but facing all the evidence that I put on the table had to accept facts.

He had a discussion with the guy and later a second meeting with me. "XX-san, would like to continue working." to which I said "*Of course, he wants to!** As it is ME who is doing his job. Look at our time-stamps: he leaves at 17:30 sharp while you and I who actually run this place are leaving at midnight! It is either me, who works, or him. Your choice."*

Two weeks later he was out, with a package for the 26-years of doing nothing. Good riddance.

And yes, in pretty much every of my companies in Japan was there one or more of these guys whose job seem to provide more work to the people around or under them.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Posted in: It is weird to require an approval from a spouse when taking a pill. Is Japan still living in the middle ages? See in context

I actually found out about this situation 2 weeks ago thanks to this article.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/31/japan-to-approve-abortion-pill-but-partners-consent-will-be-required

Suddenly all these sad stories about young / recent mothers killing their offspring (and possibly committing suicide), or abandoning them in coin-lockers or toilets start to make sense, eh?

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Posted in: Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto battling stage IV cancer See in context

Tough road ahead. A friend lost her husband of 40 years to pancreatic cancer last summer.

Wish him all the best.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to subsidize municipalities promoting Tokyo Olympics legacy See in context

Japanese municipalities that hosted overseas athletes for training camps before last summer's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be eligible for new subsidies aimed at promoting people-to-people exchanges with their respective partner countries, sources familiar with the matter said Monday

The J-gov splashing some tax-payers' cash on the oyajis running municipalities just before an election and while preparing a bid for the winter Olympigs in Sapporo. How quaint...

Will money's use be traced once given? Not holding my breath.

The Olympigs, the "gift" that never stops stealing from the tax-payers.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites


©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.