Japan Today

Christopher Pelham comments

Posted in: Japan confirms 1,512 new coronavirus infections See in context


It's up to the people to be responsible, and not expect the government.

The government is supposed to be of the people, by the people, for the people, not separate from the people.

Public policy cannot effectively be made by individuals. It requires leadership to create consensus and execute a coherent policy on everyone’s behalf with enforcement. The spread of the virus can only be stopped if most everyone follows the same guidelines of distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, not spending time indoors with strangers, etc.

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Posted in: Tokyo may pay restaurants, bars to shorten hours in August amid spike in virus cases See in context

Plenty of young people have been dying in the USA, in smaller numbers percentage wise than older people to be sure, but young people do get seriously ill and do sometimes die. More concerning perhaps is that MANY people have lingering or permanent heart damage or other chronic conditions as a result of having become infected, whether they were sick enough to warrant hospitalization or not.

Three-Quarters of Recovered Coronavirus Patients Have Heart Damage Months Later, Study Finds

Of the 100 patients studied, 78 had lingering heart damage despite being “mostly healthy … prior to their illness”


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Posted in: Queen Latifah: Let ‘Gone with the Wind’ be gone forever See in context

No one is talking about banning the movie. Queen Latifah didn’t mention banning the movie. Banning is something governments do. Is every movie theater and every other streaming service and tv station that is not currently showing a particular movie banning it? Of course not. HBO can cater to its audience and decide for itself what it wants to make available at a given time.

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Posted in: Virus travel bans separate families even as restrictions ease See in context

Some virologists say that it is impossible to completely contain a virus indefinitely, because some viruses are able to travel and survive, at least sometimes, through the atmosphere. And this virus as we know could be transmitted by asymptomatic people. It is now known that the first recorded case was found in November, but there is evidence of a surge in respiratory infections in the Wuhan area starting in August so the virus may have been circulating for months before it was discovered or a test for it was created. China may have made some missteps but they could not have stopped the initial spread. Furthermore, western intelligence agencies knew about the virus at least from January and from that time on Japan and all other countries also had the option of closing their borders and chose to wait. So China in any case in no way holds all the blame.

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Posted in: Journalist in Japan's #MeToo movement sues cartoonist for defamation See in context

Kazuaki, even if Yamaguchi been found not liable, Ito would still have the legal right to claim she had been sexually assaulted. At any time, Yamaguchi could sue her and try to convince a court that she was lying with malice.

in this case, Ito passed out, whether from a date rape drug or drinking we do not know because the police refused to test her. Therefore, it is absurd and highly highly creepy and suspicious that Yamaguchi took her, an unconscious intern seeking a job, to a hotel. Someone unconscious, or even nearly so, cannot give consent. Therefore, any sexual activity would be assault.

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Posted in: Journalist in Japan's #MeToo movement sues cartoonist for defamation See in context

Claiming someone is lying about having been raped is not a joke. It’s simply a claim. And in this case, it’s a false claim. Given that there was physical evidence that Shiori was raped and that a court of law agreed, a case that is hard to win, this cannot be looked at as merely a he said, she said. And Shiori’s life inside Japan was made impossible for speaking out, not something she would have done for kicks. And if you’ve bothered to hear her speak, you’d know that.

It’s in no way merely Japan bashing to stress that few sexual assault victims come forward in Japan. Japan does not even legally recognize many instances of rape or the concept of consent, and Japan routinely ranks toward the bottom of all nations in the rights of women.

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Posted in: As Japan reopens, coronavirus testing slowed by bureaucracy and staff shortages See in context

Actually, the first known case of COVID-19 was reported on Nov 17, 2019 in Hubei province before the discovery of the Wuhan outbreak. And it is thought that there may have been other so far undocumented cases earlier still.


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Posted in: Tokyo hospital reports group infections as Japan fears 2nd virus wave See in context

Burning Bush, in the U.S. more than 100,000 have died even with more strict measures having been taken in many places, and the virus shows no signs whatsoever of petering out. On the contrary, another 200,000+ deaths are predicted for the rest of the year. Letting the virus simply “take its course” would infect many more people more quickly and therefore kill many more. Is that what you want for Japan? How many more patients are Japan’s hospitals equipped to handle at once? Not many. How many patients with other conditions would be temporarily kept out of hospitals and doctor’s offices because of it? Too many.

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Posted in: ANA to require all passengers to wear face masks aboard aircraft from June See in context

The data from the pandemic are clear now. For a large part of the population, there isn't an excess of mortality. It just isn't there.

How dare you say that when nearly 350,000 people of all ages, many with no underlying conditions, have died? How dare you? Who the hell are you to insist that you be allowed to endanger the lives of others, and on someone else’s private property no less?

Right now we’ve got only 5.3 million infected. When we have 5.3 billion infected, we could have 350 million deaths. But you think it’s acceptable that half a billion people die for your convenience. Think again.

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Posted in: Japan set to fully lift coronavirus emergency in Tokyo, 4 other prefectures See in context

On Saturday, Hutchinson said Arkansas is seeing an increase of Covid-19 cases in what the governor calls a second peak.


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Posted in: Japan set to fully lift coronavirus emergency in Tokyo, 4 other prefectures See in context

Kanagawa and Hokkaido also did not meet the required level for new infections in the past week.

I am shocked that Kanagawa and Hokkaido are being required to have new infections! What kind of policy is this?!

In other countries that have reopened public areas and businesses, there has been no uptick in coronavirus infections and deaths. 

In some states in the United States such as Florida, North Carolina, and Texas (and a number of others) where restrictions have been relaxed, the numbers have begun trending upward again. Given that only a small portion of the population has been exposed and (potentially) developed antibodies, it's absurd to expect otherwise. If people with the virus are allowed to come into contact, especially prolonged contact, with others who are vulnerable to infection, then the virus will spread, and the more people who gather, the more will be infected.

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Posted in: As Japanese gov't slow-walks stimulus, small businesses fear collapse See in context

What is this absurd talk of having to wait to print paper applications?! Requiring THREE IN-PERSON APPOINTMENTS to apply for small business aid during a pandemic is the height of folly and murderous. Get the applications online and get them online now. At the very least, process them by phone and fax.

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Posted in: Schools reopen in some parts of Japan after pandemic shutdown See in context

"Two new studies offer compelling evidence that children can transmit the virus. Neither proved it, but the evidence was strong enough to suggest that schools should be kept closed for now, many epidemiologists who were not involved in the research said.”

One study in Science of Chinese students found that the children are only 1/3 as susceptible but contact three times as many people when in school so their risk events out. Another study in Germany found that children who are infected have as much or more viral load as adults and are likely at least as contagious as adults with the virus.

— May 5 NY Times

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Posted in: Workers, parents feel strain as state of emergency extended See in context

Richard GallagherMay 5  12:41 pm JST

An array of commentary. An individual from NY who claims to have a read on Japanese hospitals, that they are unable to accommodate more SARSCoV-2 patients. Which hospitals and where in Japan?

Richard, I appreciate your effort to request and discuss more details and nuances, but I didn’t make this up. Right here on Japan Today it was reported yesterday that ambulances are driving around for hours unable to find a hospital that will accept a suspected COVID-19 patient!


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Posted in: Workers, parents feel strain as state of emergency extended See in context

oldman_13Today  07:00 am JST

Time to end the lockdown and let nature run its course. The damage has been already done and we don't need more to destroy the world economy.

Reports are that the Japanese hospitals are unable to accommodate more COVID-19 patients at this time. That means it is NOT time to end the lockdown. Only a small percentage of the population has been infected so far. Even here in NYC, it’s estimated that less than 20% have been infected so far. Nearly everyone will get infected eventually. The purpose of the shut down is to spread that out so that everyone who does become critically ill can get the medical care they need and have a better chance of surviving.

It may be time, however, for the government and financial elites to start providing sufficient support to all the small businesses and workers effected by the shutdown so they can get through it without going bankrupt.

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Posted in: As Japan fights coronavirus with shutdowns, rats emerge onto deserted streets See in context

I few weeks ago I filmed the rats running wild one the sidewalks of St. Mark’s in NYC, which is lined with Asian restaurants and usually crammed with Asian students but is now largely deserted.

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Posted in: Tokyo governor asks residents to grocery shop only every 3 days See in context

Here in NYC, the number of shoppers allowed inside is limited and a queue is set up and monitored outside. Six-feet social distancing is enforced in the queue and, as much as possible, inside the grocery stores as well. It seems to work pretty well.

It is not necessary to eat fresh fish or meat every day and other items keep long enough that one can eat a healthy enough diet without shopping more than twice a week.

It’s unbelievable that a politician would say that forgoing one holiday of sightseeing is a tragedy. Thousands of people dying is a tragedy. Looking out for one’s neighbors is an honor.

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Posted in: Japan advises against travel to 50 nations including U.S., China See in context

Do the hustleMar. 31  07:22 pm JST

@I don’t understand why so many people keep going on about testing. If you are distancing yourself and practicing good personal hygiene testing is irrelevant.

As long as there is no shutdown and businesses are open and people have to go to work, there cannot and will not be sufficient social distancing,

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Posted in: IOC says no need for any drastic decisions on Tokyo Olympics See in context

Continue training?! In their homes?

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Posted in: Coronavirus temporary legislation likely to clear lower house on March 12 See in context

Will the government also order people to attend the Olympics?

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Posted in: Fukushima staff may have to use raincoats as virus threatens protective suit production See in context

I read that while Protective suits do not shield you against ionizing radiation, they do keep radioactive particles off of one’s body, so they do offer some degree of protection, and plastic raincoats probably offer similar protection depending on how they fit and close and cover the body.

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Posted in: Nagoya exhibition defends pulling 'comfort woman' statue; opponents say it's censorship See in context

The deterioration of relations with Korea is an absurd justification for removing the statue because removing it is contributing to the deterioration of relations, whereas exhibiting it was potentially helping to heal. Only when the past is accepted without guilt and admitted to can there be honest and loving relations in the present.

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Posted in: Father's story about parenting on a train highlights Japan’s hidden prejudice against male parenting See in context

nobody really seems to mind this arrangement

Well that’s an unsupported and ridiculous statement with which to begin this article. There are a lot of people in Japan advocating for better work-life balance for men and for more and equal opportunities for women to work outside the home. Strict gender roles ignore the basic and unavoidable reality that talents and interests are distributed across the sexes and therefore force and confine people to roles to which they may be ill suited and do not want to play and prevent people from doing what they really want, from capitalizing on their abilities, and from maximizing their happiness. The fact that this is still an uphill battle does not mean that everyone accepts the status quo!

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Posted in: Aichi Triennale Art Festival receives 770 threatening emails See in context

The purpose of art is to inspire experiences that bring people closer to some aspect of truth. The comfort woman statue has certainly brought into the light continuing feelings of contempt for women and guilt for what happened in the past for all the world to see.

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Posted in: Healthy breakfast on a busy school morning? It's not so hard See in context

No miso soup?

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Posted in: Chinese filmmaker shines spotlight on Japan's wartime sexual violence See in context

The point is to prevent it from happening ever again. We cannot consciously correct a problem until we first acknowledge it. Yes, it’s true that war is insane and commanding people to commit atrocities naturally puts horrific stress on their psyches, leading them sometimes to crack and look for means of relief in tragic ways. That doesn’t mean that the chain of command should sanction and organize mass sexual violence and other horrific human rights violations as a means of “servicing” or rewarding their soldiers or as a means of spreading terror — or DNA. There’s a reason we make rules and laws and a reason that many are effective in reducing crimes and modifying behaviors. Don’t just throw up your hands because your uncomfortable or tired of hearing about a problem when you can demonstrate your love and compassion for your fellow human beings.

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Posted in: High court nixes call to halt nuclear reactors in southwestern Japan See in context

Nuclear power is not a solution — and certainly not an essential one — to global warming. Current nuclear power plants require a constant supply of lots of cool water to keep them from overheating. Climate change is raising water temperatures and causing severe changes in ground water distribution, threatening the supply of such water and putting nuclear plants in competition with local communities for fresh water.

Furthermore, climate change threatens to cause serious social and political instability and such an environment is not well suited for managing an ever increasing supply of nuclear material and nuclear waste for which there is no known or even envisioned method of safe storage under even the best of conditions.

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Posted in: Book offers spirited claim that 1999 was best year ever for movies See in context

I’ll give him that it was in some sense significant that a new Star Wars trilogy started and that Blair Witch pioneered hand held movie making and online marketing, but Phantom Menace is widely regarded as so so and Blair Witch is actually a terrible movie. The Matrix was innovative and has had a huge impact on culture. American Beauty will I think hold up. But to compare that lot with some of the other classic years is nuts.

Take 1974: Godfather Part II, Chinatown, A Woman Under the Influence, Blazing Saddles, The Conversation, to name just a few.

Or 1967: The Graduate, Cool Hand Luke, In the Heat of the Night, Bonnie & Clyde, In Cold Blood, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Belle du Jour....

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Posted in: Farmers struggle to keep cows left behind near Fukushima plant See in context

I can’t believe there is no mention of the most famous animal caretaker in Fukushima, Naoto Matsumura, subject of the wonderful documentary “Alone in Fukushima.” http://aloneinfukushima.com/en/

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Posted in: Tamaki invites U.S. lawmakers to Okinawa to see base reality See in context

It may not be your intention, but some of you sound so heartless. The U.S. occupied and ruled Okinawa until 1972 and continues to use about 25% of its land for bases to this day. It’s probably not too much to say that the bases impact all life there. Think how frustrating that must be. There is good reason that 80% of Okinawans expressed a desire that the base in Futenma be moved. The burden on Okinawa is heavy.

It’s my impression that both the U.S. and the central Japan government want the bases there because of the strategic value of the location and because the people of the main four islands of Japan do not want more bases and have much more political clout and perhaps practice some discrimination against the people of Okinawa. This likely further adds to the resentment of the Okinawan people. As long as the U.S. Japan military aalliance holds, the U.S. will likely have the last say about the location of the bases.

IMO improvement is most likely to come, if it comes, when the world goes off fossil fuels and its nations no longer compete for natural resources. Then hopefully a deeper peace and spirit of cooperation will come to the region and these bases will no longer be seen to be needed.

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