Japan Today

Christian Weber comments

Posted in: Japan conveys objection to Trump's plan to add S Korea to G-7 See in context

Japan's position and reasoning (and support from its people) is incredibly banal and inconsequential. Hard to believe Japan and its people were once the 2nd largest economy with this small nation mindset and an envy of most other nations. Truly sad.

-4 ( +15 / -19 )

Posted in: With no passengers, ANA fills every seat on plane with masks and medical supplies See in context

What an unbelievably stupid and efficient way to fly these things. Cargo planes could have carried much more volumes for the amount of fuel it burned.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

Posted in: Revamped cabinet lineup signals Abe's gambit to stay in power See in context

Jaoanese people can't figure out why their economy has been treading water for roughly three decades, why women are held down, or why they have antiquated rape and child protection laws but they keep voting for the old men that are out of touch with reality. Way, way too funny.

Intellectual laziness at its finest.

Sums up pretty well

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: TEPCO will have to dump radioactive Fukushima water into Pacific, minister says See in context

Shouldn’t they keep this under wraps until the Olympics is over? An announcement like this will attract world wide attention and that will mean being forced to at least try and answer the difficult questions.

Bravo... a very typical Japanese approach to problem solving.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan to revoke S Korea's trusted trade status Wednesday as planned See in context

All happened as expected and planned by Japan. Interesting to see what happens next and when to cool down. Only beneficial for both if they do and make it work. I hope they do soon

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan, U.S. negotiators fail to reach agreement on trade See in context

As much as I hate many policies under Trump administration, I have to say I like his market instincts on certain things (like this negotiation with Japan). He knows where to poke at opponent to get what he wants and knows a weakness when he sees one. No positive outcomes for Japan in this unfortunately.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe says S Korea canceling intel deal damages trust See in context

In over a month of discussing this trade dispute on this website, I have yet to see even ONE legitimate reason from the anti-Japan crowd on why Japan was wrong in removing South Korea from the white list. All I see from the anti-Japan crowd is continued irrelevant topics about German atonement comparisons and Japanese student curriculum. Talk about obfuscating the issue, what does any of that nonsense have to do with Japan's right to remove SK from the white list.

Japan has every "right" to remove SK from its list of preferred trading partners just as Korea has every right to terminate whatever they want to sever with Japan and as the US has every right to put tariffs on Chinese goods and build walls at the Mexico borders. For one, just because you can doesn't make it a smart thing to do, and two, there are rules in the world that we have respected and followed for long because we all want behave like adults. A few things that I think have gone wrong in this feud:

1) Not mixing political and economic issues together is one. Trump showed he can, and Abe quickly followed

2) Not providing evidence and proof for the decision to take your neighbor off a preferred list is another (which by the way I have read violates a WTO rule that says you must give most favored conditions to member nations equally. I am no expert on this so I don't know if this is true)

3) Putting export controls on three elements that are crucial for your neighbor's economy clearly shows that your intent was to screw them. Nothing else explains how laser focused Japan's decision was and what purpose it has.

Let's not hide behind this rhetoric like an idiot that Japan has always been forthcoming / straightforward with their intent and this is a simple "technical matter" about Korea not explaining how Japanese exports ended up in someone else's hands. Unless I am missing something, the accuser - Japan - needs to provide evidence to establish a case against Korea, and needs to lay out the conditions that can restore the trading status. I think the Japanese intent in this was very clear - to screw Korea, nothing else. To say or believe otherwise is naive.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Posted in: S Korea terminates Japan intelligence deal amid trade dispute See in context

I thought a lot of you have said Japan doesn’t need any intel from SK and is actually better off without them so why crying foul now over some useless military pact?

Let revisionists be revisionists and victims continue to cry aloud over the sufferings of innocent Japanese. I realized nothing will change their minds. I hope their next generation is better informed and ready for a dialogue with neighbors.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Posted in: Macron expected to raise Carlos Ghosn case with Abe at G7 See in context

The way the Japanese prosecution system works in the 21st century is appalling at best. I would think China or Saudi Arabia would have a fairer way of carrying out the due process for the accused. No contact with family? Come on Japan!

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan-S Korea rift may change regional economic, security structures See in context

@Alfie NoakesToday  08:23 am JST

"Koreans, however, have expressed their opposition to any state-orchestrated anti-Japan movement, saying the boycott should remain in the private sector. They have denounced politicians and authorities for exploiting the issue to advance their agendas. Many also tried to focus their campaign on criticizing the Abe administration, not citizens of the country."

Many posters on this site don't recognize Korea for what it is because they don't understand what's actually going on beyond reading sensational news headlines. The way Koreans are carrying out their boycott - aside from whether you agree with such a movement - shows it is a mature, democratic and citizen-led society where they are able to think and act for themselves critically without peer pressure for conformity. Many people here incorrectly assume (and blame) that the SK government is somehow backing up any of these activities, but it's not true. SK citizens wouldn't allow that as this incident above clearly demonstrates.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: Seoul businesspeople taking critical look at anti-Japan rallies See in context

Key word: “feelings”. This is all emotion driven.

Absolutely. Like virtually most of what happens in our society is driven by someone's emotion. Look at how Trump, many CEOs and middle managers are making most of their daily decisions. Data / facts help but it's always emotion that sways the decision one way over the other.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine for war dead See in context

@Brussel - all good points. Building on those and adding a few more facts:

German President Joachim Gauck once said, "There is no German identity without Auschwitz," meaning the ugliest part of your past is part of who you are. Has any of the last couple dozen Japanese PMs made a similar heart-felt statement that has been accepted by the Chinese, Korean and South Asians?

In “The Wages of Guilt,” Ian Buruma explains how German and Japanese pasts are viewed differently in their national psyches -

“When people in Germany speak about being betroffen (shocked), they’re not really talking about the invasion of Norway — they’re talking about Auschwitz and everything that’s related to it. There isn’t really an exact analogy in Japan. The Japanese can be just as betroffen as the Germans. But you see it less, because in Japan the war is remembered much more as a misguided military conflict and not (in terms of) a nation responsible for a huge and horrendous crime.”

Germans for long analyzed the phenomenon of Gleichschaltung (“conformity”) and how Nazis came to control public opinion in a society that cherished free will. German students in history class discuss questions such as "How is an individual to behave in a state based on bad norms?" By contrast, many Japanese high school students, when asked about harmful effects of peer pressure, would cite Nazi Germany as an example, not the Imperial Japanese army. In a culture more accepting of conformity, the harmful effects of obedience sadly don’t occasion self-examination

I am not saying Germany is perfect in any way and I admit to a personal bias. But putting Japan and Germany in the same category in terms of "how to handle your past misdeeds and ask for forgiveness" is not only intellectually dishonest but also inhumanely disgusting.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine for war dead See in context

All nations that have ever fought in wars have people others consider as "war criminals".

Wow unbelievable. Speaks volumes about what sort of history is taught in Japanese schools and Japanese kids are brainwashed. Imagine what would happen if this was what what Germans say about their war criminals?

I think the responsibility for this large scale mess in the way Japan today remembers about WWII squarely lies with the Japanese government. Stop playing victim.

16 ( +24 / -8 )

Posted in: Abe sends ritual offering to Yasukuni Shrine for war dead See in context

Hypocrisy at its finest - Japan honors its warheads and wants to remember its glorious past that inflicted so much pain on its neighbors. And Japan wants them to “forget the past and move on because we have atones for our sins”

It takes real courage and humility to recognize wrongs from the past and face criticism with dignity - just the things the Japanese society seems to severely lack.

15 ( +26 / -11 )

Posted in: S Korea-Japan dispute puts military pact at stake See in context

You've slammed your neighbor with your intention to purposely hit their economy on the basis of national security concern and your neighbor is saying "fine - no more military information exchange with someone who thinks I am enabling a threat"

This is the simplest form of a tit for tat tactic (not saying it's right or wrong) - why is this so hard to grasp? I don't think SK should break out of this agreement but I am sure anyone with a pea sized brain would understand why it's even on the table given the recent events?

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Posted in: Fukushima eyes 2020 Tokyo Olympics for recovery message See in context

Unbelievably disgraceful and disrespectful to try to cover up the danger Fukushima still poses. And Japan wants to theme the upcoming Olympics as "Recovery Olympics"? Like WTF Japan?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump dismisses trade war fears; China warns of market chaos See in context

The U.S. has collected $63 billion in tariffs from China since June 2018. Oh my!

This gave me a good laugh - thanks! :-)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: As Japan frets about dearth of AI talent, Daikin develops its own program See in context

That there sums up the problem in Japan. IT workers are dumped with late hours, low pay and "do-as-you-are-told" - attitude from superiors. No chance for creative thinking and entrepreneurship. This is why Softbank chief Son is always criticizing the Japanese edcuation & corporate system. He has seen how backward it is.

Very true, but doesn't this basically sum up the corporate Japan across all sectors? Japan needs to change and become much more agile, nimble, and adaptable to stay relevant in the next century. Unfortunately, I am not holding my hopes high.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan says S Korea export curb not retaliation for court rulings See in context

HillclimberToday  09:31 am JST

It's both. South Korea's lax export controls and handling of court cases involving the 1965 treaty.

What South Korea really needs to do is: be more trustworthy trading partner, and stick to the treaties word-for-word, and if there's a problem arising involving those treaties, then talk to Japan about it... don't refuse meetings to try and get leverage through other means.

You can't and shouldn't mix an economic and political issue under the broad national security banner. The former is a fairly easy and technical issue to solve - Japan just needs to lay out technical requirements for SK to meet and prove that they've been met. Should be easy for both parties to come to reasonable terms. I have not heard or read that Japan has provided SK with evidence and clear demands in terms of how SK should control his exports, so I question Japan's genuine intent here.

The latter is much harder to solve and should not be meddled with economic and trading issues. That's how the global affairs are handled (until Donald Trump that is and Abe is learning quickly from his master) because there is a common understanding that "politics is bad for business." Abe is taking an amateur approach to a very complicated issue in a highly politically charged region involving the super powers. He needs better advisors.

BTW - I never understood this demand from Japan that SK should "fix" the court ruling. How should the Moon administration handle the decision by the Supreme Court in a country where there is a clear separation of power among the executive, legislative and judicial branches? Close the courts and declare martial law?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan says S Korea export curb not retaliation for court rulings See in context

The Abe administration has been absolutely an amateur in handling this SK conflict as of late and deserves much criticism for its inconsistency and incompetency in managing the media.

Quoting from a recent article on Foreign Policy: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/08/06/japan-started-a-war-it-wasnt-ready-to-fight/


Japan has repeatedly insisted that it has evidence that South Korea has not taken proper precautions to prevent the export of these products to third countries. Despite media reports that this involves North Korea, sources say the countries involved are in the Middle East. Japan has also said angrily that it has been trying to get South Korea to discuss the topic for months at least, only to be rebuffed.

Various parallels have been drawn with Abe’s actions and U.S. President Donald Trump’s use of trade as a weapon, and in a similar vein, the announcement last month has seen a Trump-style mixture of statements, re-statements, and shifts in strategy within the government.

Basic public relations knowledge would suggest that announcements of this kind should be accompanied by at least some evidence of your reasons, background briefings to specialized media and diplomatic representatives to build your case, and, most importantly, a clear and consistent line of what is going on. All information for public release should be channeled through one office to ensure consistency, and there should be one public face for comment. Finally, contingency plans should be in place to handle unexpected developments (a boycott of your nation’s goods would be high on the list).

Chief government spokesman Yoshihide Suga, who heads the Cabinet Office, has said that while the export controls were for “national security reasons,” he has also dangled the notion that South Korea “did not offer a satisfactory solution over the issue of former workers on the Korean Peninsula before the Group of 20 summit and we cannot help but to say the relationship of trust has been severely damaged.”

After the government started pushing the national security concerns, Abe switched tack, going back to the wartime issues. “South Korea, with its handling of the former Korean wartime laborers issues, clearly demonstrated that it is a country that does not keep promises. Naturally, we have to assume it also fails to keep promises on export controls,” he said on a television talk show.


So which story are you sticking to today?

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

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