Donald Seekins comments

Posted in: Japanese foreign minister to assure Palestinian counterpart on aid See in context

Well, at least Foreign Minister Kawakami is trying to do something constructive. That's more than can be said about President Biden and his secretary of state, Anthony Blinken.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Posted in: SoftBank CEO Son says AI will surpass human intelligence in a decade See in context

Progress. prOGREss. Doom for humanity.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan tells citizens in China to lie low after Fukushima water release See in context

Japanese people should stop taking everything so personally. China is an independent country. It has the right to ban any food import that potentially could harm the health of its people.

There is nothing in the UN Charter that says that Japanese fishermen have the inalienable right to sell seafood to people in neighboring countries regardless of the health risks. A couple of days ago, I saw on television Japanese customs officials confiscating food items from Chinese and Vietnamese tourists. Japan practices "food protectionism" the same as China.

The ultimate cause of all this badness since 2011 is not China, but the criminal ineptness of TEPCO and Japanese officials.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Posted in: Ex-Japan PM Aso to visit Taiwan next week as ruling LDP vice head See in context

I happen to be an admirer of Taiwan and its democratic society. It is my "favorite" country in East Asia. But can we risk nuclear confrontation with China over the island territory? If Japan and the US keep giving moral and material support to President Tsai's government, aren't we risking just that?

Are Japanese and American young people willing to fight and die for Taiwan?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: U.N. group says people abused by late Japanese boy band producer deserve apologies and compensation See in context

"The numbers of victims may total several hundred."

I can't help thinking: in Japanese culture, is sexual abuse of subordinates a bug or a feature?

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Posted in: Japan eyes new system to fine cyclists for traffic violations See in context

"Leave the cyclists alone. Japan is one of the most cycle friendly country in the world. Discouraging cycling by fining people for an Idaho stop is wrongheaded."

I wonder what "proxy," the author of this comment, would feel if a careless bicyclist smashed into him/her while he/she was strolling down the sidewalk?

Given that many of the bikes are heavy (especially the infamous mama-chars) and usually going at top speed, this might be the last comment proxy composes to Japan Today.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Posted in: Lawmaker on crusade against South Korea's 'no-kid zones' See in context

Actually, I think that South Korea's "no kid zones" are a good idea. Japan doesn't have this, so wherever one goes in this country, one hears the screaming of infants or, much worse, toddlers having temper tantrums. It's most annoying. The problem is that a lot of Japanese parents don't know how to discipline their small children, and just spoil them by trying to placate them.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: China dismisses criticism of Wang's comments appearing to push for race-based alliance See in context

If Wang Yi had said that China, Japan and Korea share the same Confucian values, his comment would have been OK. Because these countries share essentially the same civilization (with important regional differences), East Asian cultural identity could be used to promote better relations, a sense of deep relatedness among Chinese, Japanese and Koreans. Wang's use of racial imagery was crude.

Actually, I have always been dismayed by Japanese efforts to put cultural and civilizational distance between Japan and its neighbors on the Asian mainland. Japanese ethno-centrism usually takes one of two forms: (1) Nihonjinron, theories of Japanese uniqueness, which claims that Japanese "civilization" is essentially different from any other on earth (and superior); and (2) the view, first advocated by Fukuzawa Yukichi in the 19th century, that Japan should turn its back on its Asian neighbors and become a "European" country.

Hopefully, Nihonjinron is largely a thing of the past (though it was echoed in Abe's bullsh*t about "beautiful Japan"), but PM Kishida's undying enthusiasm for emphasing that his country is part of the G-7, the elite club of "developed" nations, and his enthusiastic backing of Ukraine after Feb. 2022 shows that the fever dream of Fukuzawa, who advocated Japanese colonization of Asia, is far from dead.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Posted in: Kishida says he will attend NATO leaders' summit; stresses need for dialogue with China See in context

Since when is Japan in the North Atlantic? This is ridiculous!

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Posted in: Japan falls to record-low 125th in global gender gap ranking See in context

A few days ago, a frequent contributor to Japan Today comments said in connection with the Emperor's visit to Indonesia that the Southeast Asian country has great respect for Japan and may be as "advanced" as Japan in 50 to 100 years!

So, on the Gender Gaps Report for 2023, Japan has fallen to 125th place. Indonesia is 87th place. Other interesting rankings: Namibia is at 8th place, Zimbabwe at 45th place, Laos is at 54th place, Mongolia, 80th place and Myanmar at two notches above Japan, 123rd place. Perhaps if Myanmar was not (mis-)ruled by a military junta, its ranking would be much higher since the status of women in Myanmar has traditionally been comparatively high.

Japan = high tech (though falling behind) + Neo-Confucian ethics.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

Posted in: Japan falls to record-low 125th in global gender gap ranking See in context

Question: What happened to "womanomics"? Shouldn't Japan be improving on the gender equality scale?

Answer: It was just B.S.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Posted in: Emperor, empress offer flowers at Indonesian military cemetery See in context

Fighto! says:

"What these Japanese did in leading Indonesia to independence is rightly celebrated today by Indonesians and Japanese. It is one of the reasons Indonesians idolize Japan - and aspire to be as advanced and developed as Japan in hopefully 50-100 years."

Oh, yeah. If the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy hadn't invaded Southeast Asia in 1941 and killed millions of people, jolly Dutchmen would still be drinking gin and enjoying rijstaffel in Batavia today.

-8 ( +9 / -17 )

Posted in: Emperor, empress offer flowers at Indonesian military cemetery See in context

Unsurprisingly, this article and the coverage given to the Emperor's visit to Indonesia by NHK glides over the inconvenient fact that during the Japanese occupation in 1942-1945, an estimated 4 to 10 million Indonesians died because they were treated harshly as forced laborers (romusha, who are well-remembered in Indonesian history) and because of drastic shortages of food, caused largely by the presence of Japanese troops.

Some of the romusha were even shipped off to Burma to build the infamous Thai-Burma railway. They worked and died shoulder-to-shoulder with Allied POWs. Despite Tokyo's proclamation of "Asian solidarity," Indonesian laborers were treated worse than animals.

The Emperor and Empress could have shown real respect for the Indonesians if they had apologized for causing them so much misery during the Pacific War. But instead, they indulged in a warm and fuzzy moment.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Posted in: Ex-Japanese soldier held in Soviet labor camp gives talks to children See in context

On Taiwan is Not China's response to my comment - "Then you have a serious problem dismissing war crimes and thinking a Latin phrase will make it acceptable."

Vae victis (woe to the conquered) was 100% the operating principle of the Japanese armed forces between 1931 and 1945. Their victims included not only Allied POWs and internees but millions of Asian victims, including those who were subjected to sadistic medical experimentation by Unit 731. Some POWs and Allied captives were even cannibalized by Japanese military officers and doctors.

Even the Romans wouldn't have done that to their enemies. I my opinion, the Soviets were justified in using harsh methods against Japanese army detainees.

And incidentally, before the USSR attacked in August 1945, it notified Tokyo that the non-aggression pact would not be renewed.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Ex-Japanese soldier held in Soviet labor camp gives talks to children See in context

To Nishikura and other Japanese victims of Soviet detention, I say Vae victis ("woe to the vanquished"). Given what the Imperial Japanese Army did in Korea and China since 1931, I'm not sure that the detainees deserve our sympathy.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Posted in: Japan, UK announce pact on defense, clean energy, semiconductors See in context

"Its affiliate Sumitomo Electric Industries plans to build a factory to make high-voltage cables in the Scottish Highlands, it said."

Great! Companies in London and Tokyo make an agreement to pollute the Scottish Highlands.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Posted in: Kishida tells South Koreans his 'heart hurts' over pain caused by occupation See in context

To establish firm ties with South Korea, Kishida needs to ignore the influence of ultranationalists in the LDP and other parties at home. Which he won't do, because it means political suicide.

Which is only one way in which Japan is stuck, because the Tokyo establishment cannot distance itself from the shadows of Nippon Kaigi and Yasukuni Shrine.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Posted in: Move aside, maid cafes — this Tokyo cafe has actors who pretend to be your friends See in context

Sad. I wonder when they are going to open a branch in Nara, where I live?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: U.N. expert urges Japan to sanction Myanmar junta See in context

It's no surprise that Japan's defense ministry is training Myanmar officers. Its conservative elites have a romantic view of Myanmar for historical, or pseudo-historical, reasons. During World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army helped establish the Burma Independence Army, which fought the British colonialists in 1941-1942. The BIA was led by Aung San, Myanmar's independence leader and father of Aung San Suu Kyi. They ignore the fact that Aung San switched sides in 1945 and supported the British campaign to liberate (or reoccupy) the country.

Japanese hardliners, who are still very influential inside this country's political establishment, like to say that if the IJA hadn't "liberated" Southeast Asia during the war, the region would still be ruled by European colonialists. This is pure rubbish.

The true legacy of the Japanese occupation in Burma is a brutal army that wages war ruthlessly against its own people in unending internal wars that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives over the decades and crippled Myanmar's ability to develop socially and economically.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Posted in: LDP wins 4 of 5 Diet by-elections See in context

After Japan defeated China in the First Sino-Japanese War, Li Hongchang and Ito Hirobumi met to work out treaty arrangements. Ito asked Li: "why is it that China can't carry out effective reforms?"

"We Chinese," Li replied, "are too fond of our old traditions."

Now the shoe is on the other foot, and it is Japan that refuses to change. The LDP victory is evidence of this. People vote for the party despite its repeated scandals and total lack of new ideas.

1 ( +14 / -13 )

Posted in: Japan approves Osaka as site of country's first casino resort See in context

It‘s gonna be amazing!

I mean the social problems.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: Gov't to approve plan for Japan's 1st casino resort in Osaka See in context

Gambling. With all its social problems, this is just what Japan needs. It will bring to Osaka the blessed trinity of gangsters, prostitution and drugs - not to mention the gambling addiction of people who probably couldn't afford it.

Nagasaki is next on the list of possible casino sites. For that city's sake, I hope they stop the project before it's too late.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Posted in: ChatGPT developer meets Kishida; eager to open office in Japan See in context

I heard on the news last night that a Diet member (probably from the LDP) suggested that AI could be used to answer questions to the prime minister and cabinet ministers during parliamentary deliberations.

Does this mean Japan can replace all the politicians with AI?


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Ramen manners debate: Should you put your used napkins into your bowl after you eat? See in context

I agree with falseflagsteve, above. Life is too short for all these silly rules. Japanese people pack their lives with all sorts or rules and regulations, reducing uncertainty to near-zero. And making their own lives miserable.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese gov't survey finds nearly 1.5 million living as recluses See in context

I still have bad dreams about my employment at a university in Japan. Back then, all the "harmony" with my fellow department members put me into a deep depression.

Japanese have succeeded in creating a society that is increasingly unlivable - even for themselves.

1 ( +19 / -18 )

Posted in: Nootbaar's pepper grinder move unwelcome in Japan high school tourney See in context

It always makes me a little sick to see Japanese high school baseball teams march out into Koshien like soldiers. Japanese baseball (at least on the high school level) is not about having fun, but learning how to conform and fit in.

0 ( +13 / -13 )

Posted in: Kumamoto stumbles over plan to recognize foreigners as citizens See in context

This article doesn't seem to clarify what is meant by "citizens." No foreign person is a citizen of Japan in the national sense without having naturalized (like, for example, the famous literary scholar Donald Keene, who renounced his US citizenship to become a Japanese citizen). What Kumamoto seems to be trying to define is "citizens" of Kumamoto City.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: WHO fires Japanese director in Asia, accused of racist misconduct See in context

"Documents and recordings showed Kasai made racist remarks to his staff and blamed the rise of COVID-19 in some Pacific countries on their 'lack of capacity due to their inferior culture, race and socioeconomic level.'”

I wonder if Kasai is one of those medics who has family connections to the "Devil's Doctors" performing medical experiments at Unit 731 in northeast China? After the war, many of the Unit 731 "alumni" became prominent in Japan's medical establishment.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: Ministry says files suggesting pressure on media were its documents See in context

"Asked by Konishi about whether she would quit as a Cabinet member and as a lawmaker if the documents are proven to be real, Takaichi, speaking at a Diet session on Friday, answered, 'Yes, I will.'"

No, she won't.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Posted in: S Korean President Yoon expected to visit Japan in mid-March See in context

I doubt that Yoon's agreement with Japan will "stick." Thanks largely to Tokyo's cold and stingy attitude concerning its war crimes, South Koreans are outraged by any concession to their former colonizer.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

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