dk9000 comments

Posted in: British medical journal calls for global conversation on Tokyo Olympics See in context

Are people aware that the entire Olympic entourage coming into Japan is 1) mostly vaccinated and 2) about a 1/10th the number of people passing through Ikebukuro station every single day? Perspective, folks.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: JOC executive says Tokyo Games should be held without spectators See in context

Meanwhile literally more than 10 million people ride the trains to Tokyo to and from work every single day, but somehow 70k mostly vaccinated olympic folks following super strict protocols won't be able to come safely to Japan while there's a couple hundred masked and socially distanced spectators in the stadium to provide at least a hint of enjoyment? What's the logic here?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: A year after first confirmed death in China, coronavirus source still a puzzle See in context

Anything Daszak says should be met with skepticism. His team funded the Wuhan virology lab for years, supporting research on emerging bat-to-human viruses by literally creating such viruses. Him leading the WHO origins team is a conflict of interest of the highest degree. The fact that Daszak came out in february guns blazing to indite anyone who would even consider a lab leak hypothesis as a lunatic conspiracy theorist is damning and support this notion.

The fact is that a laboratory origin is not a conspiracy theory - it's a theory. One that should be taken seriously given the coincidence of the outbreak occurring right next to China's only lab that does Gain of Function research on coronaviruses. It's too bad we'll likely never know the truth, given that the CCP has had a full year to wipe every trace of whatever might have happened (and still finds it necessary to stall the WHO team for god knows what).

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Posted in: 4 dead after Trump supporters storm U.S. Capitol, forcing Senate to evacuate See in context

Trumpism and the radical right is a cult that leads to destruction. Woke-ism and the radical left is a cult that leads to the same. Can America find a center that features some shared notion of values and common ground? The question of this decade.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

Posted in: Actor Iseya gets suspended sentence for cannabis possession See in context

Japan followed the US in needlessly criminalising cannabis after WW2. They should follow the US again in de-criminalising it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan considers setting up panel on imperial succession See in context

Wow, that is fantastic news. A few months ago they were still considering on whether to take things into consideration, but now they've already progressed to a more definite considering. Could it be that Japan is finally entering the age of exponential consideration we've all been waiting for?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports record high 602 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 2,969 See in context

16 deaths a day.. My condolences to everyone related, but get some perspective folks. Japan is still one of the finest places to be these days. Looking forward to the Olympics.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Posted in: Pearl Harbor dead remembered in ceremony curtailed by pandemic See in context

The reasons for starting the war were complex and can't be boiled down 'imperialism' or 'those darned militarists' or even 'but we needed oil!'

Japan was a complex dynamic system at the time - still is - with a series of financial crises, resource scarcity, Western powers colonizing neighboring Asian countries, competing military factions, nationalism, resentment at America's gunboat diplomacy, political assassinations left and right, a complacent emperor, and the imperial navy's gamble to sneak up on a certain harbor in Hawaii all coming together in a maelstrom that led to that 'date which will live in infamy'.

Did most normal people in Japan want war with the States? Hell no.

Anyways, look what became of Japan now; shooting rockets into space rather than at enemy ships, coming back with asteroid dust and amazing the world. Plenty of (huge) challenges ahead, but things overall have been net positive. Let's keep it up.

Btw, Dan Carlin and his Hardcore History podcast currently has a fantastic series on Japan and the Pacific war in WW2, highly recommended.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Posted in: Pearl Harbor dead remembered in ceremony curtailed by pandemic See in context

At what point do we stop commemorating this? Or WW1 or other wars? Wouldn't it be better to move on?

Probably not for another century, at least. The extent to which the modern world was shaped by WW1 and WW2 cannot be overstated. Millions of people gave their lives such that we, here in Japan and many other modern democracies, can enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today.

Personally, I hope we never forget, stop commemorating, or 'move on.' The freedoms we enjoy today were not free. They came at the greatest cost imaginable. We'd do well to honor that, now and for generations to come.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Posted in: Pearl Harbor dead remembered in ceremony curtailed by pandemic See in context

That today Japan remains so dependent on imported oil suggests Japanese leadership have not learned much since then.

Wishful thinking. Every nation in the world depends on oil, and will continue to do so for decades as we continue to fly planes, drive non-electric cars, pour cement, and wrap all our bananas in virgin plastic. Besides, it's not like Japan can just wish some oil into existence beneath its soil. Best we can do is import and invest in next generation nuclear tech and improved batteries to capitalize on the rapidly decreasing costs of renewables.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Posted in: Bird flu outbreak spreads to Fukuoka Prefecture See in context

Fun fact: some versions of bird flu that occasionally make the jump to humans have a kill rate of 60% (e.g. H5N1 avian influenza). So far they fortunately didn't spread too well, but one can imagine we may not always be that lucky. Makes the current coronavirus look like a walk in the park.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: No. of coronavirus infections in Japan passes 1,000 See in context

People here are saying 'Japan dodged a bullet' as if this is already over. It's not. One case at the wrong place at the wrong moment (e.g. any train in tokyo, anytime). and you go from containment mode to flatten the curve mode. You can only outrun a bullet for so long.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Mask diplomacy: China tries to rewrite virus narrative See in context

Live animal markets need to be banned full-stop, forever. They represent an existential threat to human life. When this over, the USA, EU, Japan, Australia - all need to band together and put economic pressure on China (and whatever other country thinks it's still a good idea to sell wild live animals) to make this happen.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: IOC reviewing Games scenarios; cancellation not among them: Bach See in context

No way the olympics are happening. The athletes themselves will boycot it. Many are locked in isolation mode for what will likely be weeks at a time, creating an uneven playing field between countries getting hit hard and those that are not. For the sake of the sports and the safety of the athletes and everyone they directly and indirectly come in contact with as they literally risk their lives to train outside, postpone this already.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump says U.S. watching Japan closely for possible travel restriction See in context

Let's not bash country leaders trying their best to stop this virus from spreading

What if those country leaders have repeatedly demonstrated incompetence in handling this situation? No one should be immune to criticism, least of all politicians. This single-minded kotonakare shugi thinking is the reason Abe is still in office after the countless scandals he's been involved in.

Do not forget:

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Transportation, tourism sectors hit hard by virus outbreak See in context

When Ebola hit in Africa in 1995 and presented an immediate danger to the whole world, we were not ready. This was 19 years after the virus was discovered. When it hit again in 2014, another 19 years later, we were still not ready.

SARS hit in 2002. Even though it was 40 years after human coronaviruses had been discovered, we were not ready. Now Covid-2019 is here 17 years later and we are still not ready.

Yes, we need to deal with the immediate threat. Yes, tour bus operators are going to have a tough time for a while. After this though, we must look at the bigger picture and figure out how to prepare ourselves better for outbreaks like this. Because they will come again and they will be worse.

Abe wants to violate the constitution and spend billions and billions on a Japanese army? Spend some of the money on virology and vaccine R&D, rapid vaccine development facilities, and anti-pandemic efforts instead. This is where the real threat lies, as we are clearly seeing now.

New viruses will continue to emerge. Pandemics will continue to happen - we've known this for more than a 100 years and yet we are never, ever ready. We need to be ready.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe says gov't will create ¥270 bil fund to fight virus spread; asks for public support See in context

In contract to South Korea, the Japanese government is managing the propaganda around Covid-19 by simply not testing suspected cases. Do not fall for this and assume the cases are still negligibly low. If you live in Japan - city or countryside - assume you are at risk. Wash your hands, replace in-person meetings with video, and avoid mosh pits at heavy metal concerts.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Makers distance themselves from Abe's 600-million mask pledge See in context

Here's a fun little experiment you can do at home:

Go outside in the morning when it's cold enough so that you can see the steam when you breathe. Put on your standard mask, then breathe. You will notice that when you breathe, most of the air is actually escaping through the edges of the mask and around the nose.

Good luck with those 600 million masks.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Woman confirmed as coronavirus case for 2nd time, weeks after initial recovery See in context

This is a concerning observation. Two general possible scenarios:

She never truly recovered and the virus lay dormant or follows a biphasic clinical course.

She recovered the first time, then got reinfected.

Critical questions to answer relate to how common this is amongst other patients, what the severity will be moving forward, whether this patient will be able to overcome the virus fully the second time around, and why there is an apparent lack of immunity in case of reinfection.

Until the doctors share their observations with the medical community through publication though, all claims regarding the above should be considered nothing but speculation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe urges 2-week curb on big events to stem coronavirus spread See in context

I'm not familiar with those online forums so maybe I'm missing out, but my impression living here is that the majority of Japanese people live in a rather confined Japanese-language media bubble and wouldn't be able to read the New York Times even if they cared to do so.

This article was written by Koichi Nakano though, a professor of political science at Sophia University in Tokyo. I wonder if he has much of a voice within the Japanese media - he really should.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe urges 2-week curb on big events to stem coronavirus spread See in context

Japan’s leaders are so out of touch with the lives of ordinary people that they seem genuinely uninterested in their plight. That, in turn, allows an entire bureaucracy to wallow in denial, even over a crisis like the coronavirus outbreak and just a few months away from the Olympics.

I wish everyone in Japan could read the article posted in the New York Times today. It's the ultimate breakdown of Abe's & co.'s incompetence. I suspect that if this were South Korea, Hong Kong, or any nation where the media speaks freely and where the value of confrontation-avoidance was not ingrained as much as it is here, people would be protesting in the streets by now.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to ban entry by foreigners who have visited Daegu See in context

How will they check if someone visited Daegu? Another fool-proof questionnaire to be filled in at the airport? Sounds legit.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Posted in: 23 passengers not tested before leaving cruise ship in Yokohama See in context

At a higher level, could this be what you get when the same party rules virtually unopposed since 1955, which selects all its prime ministers from its inner factions, and that consists almost exclusively of an aging generation of men that has been sitting on the comfortable laurel's of power for generations?

Complacency hidden by thick layers of bureaucracy and a spineless media. Everything looks fine until pressure is applied and the cracks start to show.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan plans HIV drug trials for coronavirus; cruise ship evacuations continue See in context

There is no cure for ANY Virus.

Hepatitis C is considered curable.

I wonder if HIV drugs being effective point towards a man made source of this virus.

Nope. It merely points towards the fact that both HIV and the novel coronavirus are both single-stranded, positive-sense, enveloped RNA viruses that share fundamental features in their enzymatic machinery and can therefore hopefully be targeted by the same drugs.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: 20 virus infections on cruise ship in Yokohama; passengers confined to cabins See in context

I wonder if the tests are specifically for the 2019-nCoV or include the 4 coronaviruses which have been around since years.

Tests are based on amplification of the 2019-nCoV RNA, so the trick to make it specific is to look for areas of the genome that don't change rapidly over coronavirus evolution but have changed enough in this novel branch of the family that they can be used as a distinctive signature. Since coronaviruses probably diverged around the last ice age 8000 years ago, differences are substantial and this is quite doable. 2019-nCoV closest's relative that is also active in humans is Sars (about 80% similar at the protein/genetic level).

More details on how these tests work:

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: 3,700 cruise ship passengers, crew face 2-week quarantine off Yokohama See in context

From NHK yesterday:

When the ship docked in Naha, Okinawa, nobody was found to have symptoms, and about 10 passengers got off. Officials plan to look into whether any of them had close contact with the Hong Kong resident.

Might want to hurry up with those plans, officials. Better yet, please ask them very kindly to be tested, regardless of whether they were sipping cocktails on the deck with our coughing friend from Hong Kong or not. I'm heading to Okinawa soon and would like to know whether I should pack swim shorts or a hazmat suit, cheers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: 3,700 cruise ship passengers, crew face 2-week quarantine off Yokohama See in context

Not doubting you, just wondering who has collated this info? Linky...

Clear data from China is hard to come by, but here's an early report that looked at 41 patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV in Wuhan. 13 ended up in the ICU, 6 didn't make it.

Median age of ICU-admitted patients was 49, but there have been report of younger people ending up in the ICU as well (a couple in France, the patient in the USA from the Lancet report, etc.)

Also that being the case, then China have built enough temp isolation facilities (for now) then?

Given the reports of many people being sent home for lack of hospital space, I very much doubt it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: 3,700 cruise ship passengers, crew face 2-week quarantine off Yokohama See in context

I hope Japanese doctors are keeping up with the latest research and case reports. This can turn ugly even for young, healthy people, with a high complication rate (~20% ICU) requiring oxygen and ventilation treatment. If this were to spread widely, demand for oxygen and ventilation could easily overwhelm available supply, and Japan needs to be prepared and stock up while there is still time.

Moreover, several existing antiviral drugs have shown efficacy and have been used on a compassionate use basis with good results (e.g. remdesivir). Hopefully there is enough of an English-literate contingent in the Japanese medical community to widely disseminate this important information.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan seeks to contain economic impact of virus See in context

As long as you have perfect immune system, you have nothing to worry about.

Ok great, glad we all have 'perfect' immune systems. I'll just make some extra kale shakes.

The virus will die in 14 days by itself. 

Nope. Incubation time is up to 14 days. How long it takes for the body to clear the virus after symptoms appear is far from clear.

Pretentious people are more dangerous than uneducated ones.

You sound both pretentious and uneducated. Please stop.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan seeks to contain economic impact of virus See in context

Interesting study that appeared in the Lancet two days ago, one of the foremost scientific medical journals:

*In our baseline scenario, we estimated that [...] 75,815 individuals have been infected in Wuhan as of Jan 25, 2020. We estimated that in the baseline scenario, Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen had imported 461 (227–805), 113 (57–193), 98 (49–168), 111 (56–191), and 80 (40–139) infections from Wuhan, respectively. If the transmissibility of 2019-nCoV were similar everywhere domestically and over time, we inferred that epidemics are already growing exponentially in multiple major cities of China with a lag time behind the Wuhan outbreak of about 1–2 weeks.*

Followed by:

*Given that 2019-nCoV is no longer contained within Wuhan, other major Chinese cities are probably sustaining localised outbreaks. Large cities overseas with close transport links to China could also become outbreak epicentres, unless substantial public health interventions at both the population and personal levels are implemented immediately. Independent self-sustaining outbreaks in major cities globally could become inevitable because of substantial exportation of presymptomatic cases and in the absence of large-scale public health interventions. Preparedness plans and mitigation interventions should be readied for quick deployment globally.*

If this is anywhere near accurate (there is uncertainty, but the fact this appeared in the Lancet certainly lends credibility), then you can 100% add Tokyo to the list of large overseas cities with close transport links to China that could become outbreak epicenters.

After all, asymptomatic transmission has been confirmed in multiple cases, and incubation times can be up to 14 days. If travel from major cities in China proceeds unhindered, asymptomatic cases will inevitably end up in Japan, and I find it hard to imagine a scenario in which Tokyo does not become a major outbreak center.

So, want to contain the economic impact of this virus? Save the olympics. Cancellation would be a disaster of unprecedented proportions, but what if Tokyo gets hit hard in weeks to months from now? Good luck containing that in the most populated metropolitan area on earth.

In other words, now is the time to follow the USA, Australia, and Singapore and temporarily bar all foreigners who have recently visited any place in China.

It sucks for everyone, but it may be the only public health intervention that could prevent this from spreading in Japan.


2 ( +2 / -0 )

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