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bullfighter comments

Posted in: No. of newborns in Japan hits record low in 2018 See in context

Yeah, the Japanese economy is growing, that’s why it has slipped from the largest to the third largest in the last twenty years. Salaries have decreased by up to 30% in the same time frame, yet the cost of living has increased by 20%. 

(1) The Japanese economy could grow but the ranking would slip as long as other countries grow faster.

(2) According to sources such as the US Federal Reserve Bank and the World Bank, the consumer price index (the usual measure of the cost of living) has been nearly constant in Japan for the past twenty years.


(3) The maximum claim I could find for wage decline in this period was 12.5% cummulative (around 0.9% per year) with recovery beginning in 2013.

Please post the statistical sources behind your claims.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: No. of newborns in Japan hits record low in 2018 See in context

Step 1: Jobs need to pay higer wages.

Step 2: Jobs need to be required to work not so many hours.

Step 3: Free Education -Kintergarden to 12th Grade-Inexpensive School Uniforms.

Step 4: Give mothers PAID maternity leave.

Step 5: People will have more children if you do the above.

Your evidence for that claim? Norway, for example, has essentially everything you propose. Last year the Norwegian fertility rate was 1.49 vs Japan at 1.42. Replacement rate is 2.1.

Japan already has paid maternity leave and education is free through 9th grade with income based subsidies available for 10th-12th grade.

Norway is one of the most affluent countries on the planet, It consistently rates as one of the best countries for raising kids. Yet, its fertility rate and that of other affluent Nordic countries with generous childcare provision is sinking rapidly.

I have not seen any explanation anywhere of why what is not working in the Nordic countries would work in Japan.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Posted in: Labor minister opposes banning female dress codes with high heels See in context

Missing from this article and almost all English language coverage of this issue are two important points:

(1) The Japanese petition was inspired by a British petition in 2017. This is explicitly stated on the Japanese petition site. In other words, a high heels requirement in corporate dress codes is not a peculiarity of "backward Japan."

(2) The British government explicitly took the stance that there was no need to prohibit such dress codes in effect saying the same thing as the Japanese government minister.

It is one thing to criticise corporate or government policy in Japan on the basis of universally accepted principles. It is something very different to make claims about Japanese backwardness or Japanese peculiarities when in fact it is easy enough to verify that similar patterns are found in "advanced Western countries" including the one that supplied the language for this venue.

The articles on the 2017 UK petition are numerous and easy to find. Search on "uk dress codes high heels".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Nissan had tech that drove Fiat Chrysler-Renault merger idea See in context

The author of this article is not a business correspondent nor is she a specialist on the automobile industry. Yesterday, I went through all major English language reports in financial papers and automotive industry publications on the breakdown of merger. These specialised publications focused on French government demands. Nissan was barely mentioned.

FCA itself explicitly blamed the French government, not Nissan and not Saikawa.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Ghosn's wife appeals to Trump for help in U.S. media interview See in context

"I am an American citizen. "

Lots of people are. Many of them have husbands in jail. But, they are poor, black, or Hispanic and no US television network would think of letting them make an appeal to the POTUS.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Labor minister opposes banning female dress codes with high heels See in context

Oh Japan when will you get out of the 1920's

Women in 1920s Japan seldom if ever wore high heels. Western dress was relatively uncommon even for the few women in white collar jobs.

Those who think Japanese firms are singularly conservative should search on "British banking dress codes" to get some comparative perspective.

Law firms also tend to be very conservative either through stipulated dress codes or peer pressure.

Many organisations in Japan do not stipulate footwear for men or women. Most colleges and universities do not care what the academic staff wears. My local ward office has got guys who look and dress like outlaw bikers and women who dress like they get everything at recycle shops.

You have this one wrong, high school girls wear their skirts short because they want to, not because they have to.

Indeed. Many schools have slacks as an acceptable uniform for girls. They are very unpopular. Also, as soon as they leave school in the afternoon, many girls hitch their skirts up well above what their school regulations allow.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Posted in: 4 injured after 80-year-old man backs car into them in Osaka See in context

 I think mandatory retesting needs to be implemented asap

When you renew your license at age 70 as I did two years ago, you have to attend a four hour course that includes lectures, various mechanical tests of your reflexes, peripheral vision, etc., and various common driving skills done on a driving school practice course.

When you renew at 75 and older there is additional testing.

I do not have the time to investigate a wide range of countries, but I have checked Britain because I held a DL there that I let lapse. Japan is considerably in advance of Britain when it comes to checking elderly drivers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: UK’s diversity, innovation, skills, global culture help Hitachi revolutionise its railways See in context

Not to worry, the trains will not run on time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: More efforts sought against hate speech 3 years after law's enactment See in context

This is a common attitude on the part of the uneducated or reactionaries in any country. Surely you've heard "love it or leave it" before. Americans dish this out on a regular basis to their fellow citizens with the temerity to question certain policies of our elected lords.

I heard it many times when I was campaigning against the Vietnam War in Wisconsin. America, love it or leave it. I didn't and I did.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Nissan to cut CEO's pay for overlooking Ghosn's alleged misconduct See in context

I think Nissan should replace Saikawa as he is clearly not up to the job.

I'm sure you are right and the fact that he was handpicked by Ghosn in the first place shows that Ghosn was not up to the job either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe says he is outraged over stabbing rampage See in context

People alleging deficiency in mental health treatment in Japan need to explain why incidents of this type are far more common in the US which is allegedly something of a global standard in mental health care. Very similar comments about deficiencies in the mental health care regime have in fact been made in the wake of US high school shootings, the Orlando nightclub shooting, and other cases.

While there may be issues with mental health care in Japan, it is unlikely that any proposed reforms could completely eliminate incidents such as this one in Kawasaki.

Similarly, draconian controls can not totally eliminate incidents of this type. Communist China has them, and the ones that get reported are probably not all that take place.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese firms prefer to use 5G networks of domestic carriers See in context

But the one that the majority will buy, will be American - the iphone.

What's American about the iphone other than the brand?

They are mostly assembled in China in Foxconn factories. The parts come from Japanese, Korean, and other companies that actually manufacturer those parts not just in the countries where they are based but in other countries, mostly low wage countries in South East Asia.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to stop labeling people unmarried at 50 as 'lifelong singles' See in context

Average marriage age for women 29.4 years... that goes a long way to explain the lack of kids. That clock is ticking!

No, it does not explain the lack of kids. It's 29.6 for women in Canada, 30 in Belgium, 30.8 in France, 32 in Denmark, 30.9 in Germany, 31.3 in Italy, 31.9 in Norway, 33.5 in Sweden, 30.6 in the UK. Some of those countries have lower birth rates than Japan, some higher.

Japanese tend to have kids quite soon after marriage, not infrequently less than nine months after marriage and they tend to have the kids closely spaced. If you get started at age 29 you can easily have two or even three before the woman turns 35.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Indonesian man sues after being sent home for lack of Japanese skills See in context

Japanese language accounts of this are somewhat different. For example, the Japanese language Kyodo wire service story says



The English version looks like someone ran the article through Google translate and then tried to make the result into a readable text without checking the Google translation against the original Japanese.

The Japanese says "he was strongly urged to redo his [Japanese language] studies in his home country because 'his Japanese language skills were insufficient' according to the fishing cooperative.

Because the Japanese language article is very terse, speculation is dangerous but (1) it looks like he had previously studied Japanese in Indonesia and (2) when he showed up for training at the cooperative he did not have the Japanese skills he had claimed. (I stress that this is speculation).

In any event, the Japanese language article is poorly written, and the English article is worse. Finding original Japanese articles is easy enough. Just search on 広島 組合 インドネシア人.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: No gender bias in pass rate for Tokyo Medical University exam after scandal See in context

But TMU seems to have gone from being considered one of the better medical schools 

No, it was never "one of the better medical schools." Last year I translated a book on the development of the Japanese hospital system. The predecessor of TMU was part of that history. TMU started as a "cram school" for people trying to become doctors by examination only, something that was possible for a time in prewar Japan.

I checked the TMU ranking before it was hit by the admissions scandal. It was 40-something out of a field of 89. Foreign correspondents who cannot read Japanese probably confused TMU with more prestigious institutions having the same name.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kono to ask foreign media to switch order of Japanese names See in context

In the English language, given names come first. In the Japanese language, family names are said first. 

Not true and not a language issue. As a translator (Japanese to English) I am usually expected to put Korean and Chinese names into English in surname given name order and Japanese names into English in given name surname order for journalistic publications but generally academic publications want all names in surname given name order.

I would also note that the Hungarian custom is surname given name and there are other European cases where surname first is customary.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Posted in: U.S. men avoid spending time with female colleagues in the wake of #MeToo See in context

Not just the US. When I was teaching, I would never let a female student shut my office door. I made sure both of us were visible from the hall.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Petition launched to stop forcible hair dyeing from natural color to black in schools See in context

My oldest has naturally curly hair. He has gone through Tokyo public schools through high school. No hassles. My younger son has somewhat brownish hair. He has gone through Tokyo public schools up through his first year in high school. No hassles.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Doctor suspected of sexually molesting 4 women during health checks See in context

Do you have any idea how difficult that is in this country?

Don't know about the boonies but it is quite easy to find female doctors in Tokyo. Dentists as well.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Man stopped over erratic driving hasn’t had license for 40 years See in context

Actually, when we have our licenses renewed I'm always amazed at how quickly the huge crowds are processed.

That's been my experience. The process is remarkably efficient compared, for example, to California where I previously held a DL.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Doctor suspected of sexually molesting 4 women during health checks See in context

As my wife always said, woman go to Female Doctors and men go to Male Doctors!

Why? My personal physician in Japan for more than a decade is a woman. She's just as competent to deal with "male problems" as a male doctor. The doctors who delivered our two sons were male. My wife was happy with that.

I did have one creepy encounter with a Japanese doctor. He was male. I am male.

However I highly doubt there will ever been any follow up to this news, and one won't find it in the national press either, so, just another one of "those" stories here!

Revocation of medical licenses for malpractice including わいせつ行為 (gross sexual indecency) does get reported in the news. Legal associations and the JMA (Japan Medical Association) also report disciplinary actions against medical practitioners.

Don't take my word for this. Search for yourself starting with 免許取り消し 医師 (license cancellation physicians).

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Resolution submitted to rebuke lawmaker over Russia war remarks See in context

In 1940 members of the Social Masses Party led a movement to get Saito Takao expelled from the Diet for questioning the "holy war" in China. Unless felony conduct is involved, calling for the censure, expulsion, or resignation of DIet members is a short-sighted and reactionary strategy. It may well set a precedent that will be used later against left-wing opposition.

Let the voters decide whether they want this guy in the Diet. That's what elections are for.

In the case of Saito, the voters put him back in the Diet in 1942.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Employment rate of Japan's university graduates at 97.6%, near record high See in context

I wonder about the accuracy of this statement. How was the data collected and disseminated. As the government took this survey the numbers are going to be skewed to the positive side.

Unless the rules have changed since I retired two years ago, the students report whether they have received a legally binding job offer and from what entity. It is the ratio of those with offers to those who were looking for jobs that is reported. Students who go to graduate school or into family business or who simply don’t look for jobs are excluded from the calculations.

Generally, universities take more note of rankings published by the Toyo Keizai Zasshi and the Nihon Keizai Shinbun then the government reports. These and other economic newspapers and magazines do their own research and surveys. This works to keep the universities honest.

I doubt there is much fudging of the numbers. When I retired two years ago, even weak students at a third tier university were getting good offers. In 2007-2008 even good students at prestige universities had trouble getting jobs. I had some ask me to give them a failing grade so they would be short of credits and could spend another year looking for jobs.

98% employment? If you consider 60% of the workforce on part time contracts full time

Relatively few university graduates get part time jobs. The bulk of people in part time jobs are middle-aged women and older men. There are also some who did not get regular jobs when the market was really bad in 2007-2008.

And one wonders why the economy has stagnated ever since the bubble burst.

You are putting the cart before the horse. The stagnant economy led to a proliferation of low pay jobs, not the other way around.

Japanese companies have a long standing policy of approaching top students during their HS grad. yrs & began “grooming” them for positions within their companies.

In engineering, possibly, but on a very small scale. I’ve taught at Japanese universities from the top (University of Tokyo) to the lower middle and I’ve neither seen nor heard of anything comparable to what you describe.

the LDP have screwed the economy so badly in the last twenty years that people have stopped having children

Actually, the fertility rate in Japan dropped most dramatically during periods of high growth and started recovering when the economy was at a nadir in 2007.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: What it’s like to experience reverse culture shock after leaving Japan See in context

I had a Canadian student (a woman) wrote me after she returned to Canada saying that she found it difficult to cope with Canadians who had never been to Japan but who were sure they knew all about it. They had their fantasies and did not want to hear about daily life in Japan which is generally very mundane.

I encountered the same pattern when I was answering questions on Quora about Japan. Some people who have never been here thought they knew more amount the country than I did even though I've been here more than twenty-six years off and on from 1971 and from 1997 permanently.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Study urges mandatory measles jabs as cases surge See in context

This article says the vaccine cost pennies. Then why does it cost over ¥6,000 here? That's a lot of pennies.

They may cost pennies to produce but drug companies tend to charge whatever they can get away with. Here is a current price list for the US compiled by a US government agency.


If I am reading this source correctly, you can expect to pay at least $75 for a rubella vaccination in the US.

I looked at Japanese language sites. What you will pay depends on your age, whether a local government is subsidizing the cost of a particular vaccination, whether there is a required examination prior to getting the vaccination, and other factors.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan tests next-generation bullet train See in context

An while they are at it they could update their software to the 20th century and make tickets available for purchase online.

This already exists and there are instructions in English.


This seems very similar to what I use in the UK.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese security guards at U.S. military base carried loaded guns on public road in Nagasaki See in context

Further evidence of our quasi-colonial status vis a vis the US. Maybe we should apply for statehood.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: 18-year-old boy apparently hangs himself from school gate See in context

Does Japan's declining birth rate suggest that, however unspoken it may be in Japanese culture, there is a subconscious recognition of our dire circumstances and precarious future

Japan's declining birth rate does not suggest anything because the Japanese birth rate is not declining. The birth (aka fertility) rate bottomed in 2005 but has been rising since then albeit with a bit of wobble at the second decimal place.

Yes, it is true that high schools do pressure graduates to choose a college or university although, it is not so prevalent in public high schools. On the other hand, private high schools are much different and large amounts of pressure is heaped onto students to choose a reputable university and to pass entrance exams.

There is enormous variation among both public and private high schools in Japan. There is no "one size fits all generalization" that is appropriate. A small number of public high schools build their reputations on how many graduates get into elite universities. My younger son goes to one such high school. My older son went to a very different high school where almost no one went to even a near-elite university.

There are both public and private high schools in Japan that are known mostly for the jocks they produce. Some private high schools are essentially vocational training for professional baseball in Japan. Many private high schools in Japan were originally started to take up the kids who could not get into public high schools went high school education became socially but not legally compulsory in the 1970s.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan aims to cut number of dementia patients in 70s by 10% over decade See in context

The criticsm being posted here suggests that what the government should be doing is nothing. If the government ignored the issue of dementia and the media ignored it, there would be nothing to criticise.

Alternatively, rather than criticising, which anyone can do without effort, how about making some concrete proposals for dealing with dementia?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Report reveals alleged labor issues at 2020 Tokyo Olympic building sites See in context

As usual, many of the commentators here are making claims about Japan without offering proof or hard data comparing Japan with other countries. Opinion is not proof. Assertion is not proof.

As someone who grew up in the construction industry and started working as soon as I could get a work permit (age 14 in Illinois at that time), I know from personal experience that construction work is dangerous. Pay varies enormously depending on whether you have a skill and a license or whether you just do gofer (pick and place) work.

Japan is not an exception to this pattern.  

Working long hours and consecutive days may be a sign of exploitation. It may also be something you want to do because construction work is both seasonal and cyclical. You pack in as many days and hours as you can when the weather is good and the jobs are there because there will be periods when there are no jobs or days when you cannot work because of the weather or because another contractor is running behind.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

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