EthanWilber comments

Posted in: Abe hails new trade era; hopes China will join pact See in context

It’ll be facing strong heading winds on the Hill to get it ratified (it’s still doable though), in particular, during the presidential election year in 2016. As for Chinese participation in TPP, that’s a long shot, Xi's China has wielded enough economic and geo-political clouds to stay put at least for now. Further, both the U.S and Putin’s Russian have been pre-occupied at the theaters of Mid-East and Ukraine, both countries need China to stand by its side so that neither the U.S or Russia wants to alienate its potential partner. The real problem is that TPP will not reverses Japan’s aging population and shrinking birthrate, by the time TPP in full swing, Japan could already pass point of no return. On the plus side, India may replace Japan as the major economic power in Asia and eclipse Japan’s “rising sun”. But Japan will remain a culture icon for a while.

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Posted in: 5 things to know about trade as U.S. Senate debate begins See in context

Based on those already intense and passionate engagements between supporters and opponents of the bill in Capitol Hill, a clean bill requested by Obama admin would unlikely occur if TPP passes.

For Japan, a final passage of TPP might be a turning point in so many ways. For starters, it’s a beginning of end of an era that many Japanese industries and farmers have done their businesses domestically and abroad.

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Posted in: Japan denies plan to join China-led development bank See in context

In this particular case, Japan might be doing the right thing – Why does Japan want to dig its own grave?

that said, Japan’s past glories are fading away,, fast. It’s future are uncertain even it’s trying to emancipate it from the downward spiral, yet what it can do are too late and too little given its demographic.

Japan will be here for long long time, that is for sure, especially as a tourists’ attraction, but as a credible worldly power, that’s overrated already.

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Posted in: Japan's global PR message could misfire with focus on wartime past See in context

A piece of cautious of note here: Abe’s attempts to revise history is not about S.K or China which are just decoys to energize Japanese voters with emotional appeals. You could think S.K, China and sex slavery as the pretext for a much bigger objective in revisionists’ minds.

Has anyone here still remember Abe’s passionate preaching a few years back – to get rid of Japan’s American-imposed “postwar regime and rewrite Japan’s constitution ?

So please stop dwelling on the decoys and look at the larger picture hidden in plain sight.

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Posted in: Japan's global PR message could misfire with focus on wartime past See in context

“Dragging people into a long discussion about history ... seems like they are going to brand Japan with that atrocity in terms of its image,” said Dartmouth College professor Jennifer Lind. “It’s a losing battle.”

For some reason, Abe's and co keep fighting a losing battle & war, the same way similar to his grandpa generation in WWII, with a dilution that Japanese army could have defeated the ally forces.(did that happend?) 70 years have passed, Abe’s admin is trying to rewrite the history. The answer is simple – not a chance.

Two days ago, The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Tokyo, Anna Fifield wrote a piece about Japan’s disastrous efforts to revise its history. Please refer: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/american-academics-condemn-japanese-efforts-to-revise-history-of-comfort-women/2015/02/09/e795fc1c-38f0-408f-954a-7f989779770a_story.html

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Posted in: Texas man killed by exploding Takata air bag: autopsy See in context

There is an apparentl misconception, for which, car dealers have the responsibilities to ensure the airbags installed in all of the cars at their parking lots to be safe. Such thinking is flawed by any measures. For starters, modem cars are complex machines that assembled in thousands of parts, and any part in the cars can go wrong. Car dealers are lack of resources and technical specialties to guarantee each and every part in the cars to be safe and sound.

Let’s cut the chase here, it’s Takata that made faulty and unsafe airbags. It’s only logical for Takata and Honda to own the responsibility and liability.

BTW, Japan might let TELCO to walk away from its liability, that won’t happen in the US or other countries in terms of Takata’s defects.

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Posted in: If you could live in any city in the world, other than where you live now, which one would you choose and why? See in context

I would have to say , New York City. For starters, it has over 10,000 restaurants. In other words, in NYC you can find every kind of cuisine imaginable on this planet. In addition, you have the best parks – Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn and free and tons of museums and Broadway shows for you to have a life. Do I mention, you can meet influx of highly creative and intelligent people including hot chicks with high caliber all the time ?

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Posted in: Japan asks U.S. publisher to change 'sex slave' reference in textbook See in context

Now, folks here know why Washington does not take Abe’s admin seriously. To put this in a simple yet complex way: in the core, Abe and co are just a bunch of right-wingers, revisionists and nationalists who deny, deny and deny the atrocious crimes committed by Japanese army during WWII.

However, to judge the results so far, Abe and co have failed to gain any support on the international stage as for thise attempts to whitewash the history . On the contrary, U.N is working to approve heritage sites used by Japanese army sex slavery in order to allow new generations to remember victims of horrendous human right violations

Make no mistake; McGraw-Hill is not NHK.

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Posted in: China bristles at Japanese defense minister's remarks See in context

The reality is that Japan has neither the capabilities (weaponry and manpower) nor financial means to fight a war with its bigger neighbor.

So, the best possible way for Japan to do would be just ignore Chinese regime’s complaints and continue working onthe peace plan; and at the same time stopping verbal provocations which won’t solve any issues. Instead those empty nationlistic propaganda could jeopardize the ongoing negotiation on disputed islets. Frankly, Gen Nakatani's warnning has no teech at all in terms of putting a brake on Chinese military jets patrol in East China Sea.

The problem is that Senkaku islands are under Japan’s control, and they are disputed, and techinically speaking, they are not yet Japan’s sovereignty of land. This is why Chinese coastgurad ships routinely go there, and Japanese coastguard ships can only shadow them .

Japan is slowly and surely fading/graying into the background, any armed conflicts could speed up the structure changes.

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Posted in: Australians reject siding with Japan against China in island dispute: survey See in context

If the response from the west and US regarding to the controversial ADIZ declared by Chinese regime could server as precursor for the future reference of the disputed rocks in East China Sea, Japan might have learned some invaluable something from that.

The issue is that Japan shows little interest to accept the reality now and in the past. That was why it was defeated in WWII. (Kamikaze pilots’ lives were totally wasted for the blind and toxic nationalism.)

Again, peaceful negotiations, neither confrontation nor armed conflict, will benefit for those countries involved in territorial claims.

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Posted in: Australians reject siding with Japan against China in island dispute: survey See in context

@serendipitous, yeah right, on the paper, it is. but on the execution, there is many ways to back it off. FYI, Americans are sick and tired to put American servicemen's lives in jeopardy.

In case you don't know: Iraq and Afghan wars has cost America 1.6 trillion, and still counting. Enough is enough.

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Posted in: Australians reject siding with Japan against China in island dispute: survey See in context

There is absolutely no surprise. No country on the earth would be willing to back up Japan to fight for few remote rocks in the mid of nowhere; not Australians and not Americans either.

It’s better for Japan to get a clear picture now than later to make a fool itself.

Japan's concept of defense treaty is a msguided self-serving, to put it in a blunt way.

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Posted in: China launches website on disputed islands See in context

If my memories server me right, Japan Govt started official web campaign for disputed islands first.

Folks, take it easy; the keyword in this article and the issue is “disputed” . The US has never said that Senkaku Islands belongs to Japan, or China. It's under Japan's control and no country should use forces In territorial disputes.

As they say, it takes two to tango.

However, I think that both sides will come to their senses in 2015 and beyond on disputed Senkaku Islands since both Japan and China want to improve the ties for a wide range of reasons.

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Posted in: Abe invited to Moscow for V-Day ceremony in May but unlikely to go See in context

For once, Abe is able to stand by Japan’s long-term ally. That is a good thing.

Hopefully, for once, Abe will let his Putin-fantasy go. Putin has been using Abe for awhile, but the issue is that Abe does not get it - reality.

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Posted in: Cabinet approves Y3.5 tril economic stimulus plan See in context

Overall, this beefed up economic stimulus plan may have positive effects on Japan’s future.

For instance, the budgeted potion in this stimulus plan to spend on growing local economy would be definitely worthwhile, but the amount allocated, comparing with other earmarked programs, seems seriously inadequate. Once again, Japan’s politicians including Abe are somehow shortsighted; they care about voting blocs than anything else. smh!

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Posted in: Sony hack puts Abe in bind over N Korea abductee talks See in context

The hack done by N.K to Sony inadvertently exposes the flaws and weakness of Abe’s admin:

a. Japan’s loyalty to its long-term ally: this is not first time Abe irked Washington for his questionalbe dealings with N.K. For instance, in early July this year, Secretary of State John Kerry called Kishida and pointed out that Whitehouse should be consulted first before Abe would visit North Korea.

b. Japan’s misguided foreign policy: Abe’s foreign policy was primarily driven by Abe and co’s nationalistic sentiment against its big neighbor – China, Abe has spent incredible time and energy with an attempt to build an alliance to isolate China since 2013, to do that, he has flirted with Putin and opened checkbook to the countries which have territory disputes in South China Sea. But, Judging by the results, Abe’s foreign policy has success little when it comes to his goal.

In short, Abe is singing out of tone with the rest world, his political N.K drama is losing audiences, fast.

Hopefully, Abe will wake up and smell the reality soon.

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Posted in: Sony hack puts Abe in bind over N Korea abductee talks See in context

“The Sony hacking, however, could end up giving Abe a face-saving excuse to end the talks if they aren’t yielding results.”

Such outcome remains to be seen. but, based on the track records of Abe's admin on dealing with N.K in those talks, it does not sound very promising.

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Posted in: Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan See in context

By large, Japan’s major news outlets avoid any news that would make Japan look bad or hurt Japanese business entities’ and people’s pride. At the same time, the anther end of the spectrum would hold true too. (if any news would boost Japan’s pride, the new agencies would give a full fun). Case in point, when Ms. Obokata claimed she made stem cell breakthrough, the Japan’s media machines were in full swing, yet last week after disgraced Ms. Obokata resigned, news agencies in Japan paid litle attention to the big news.

Nowadays, Japan seems to be run by elder people who don’t want to change and don’t want to hear and read less pleasant news even they are the facts and the truth. The worst part is that as Japan further turns greyer and greyer, the news outlets will cater to seniors' reading appetite and tolerance threaholds even more.

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Posted in: BOJ strikes more upbeat view on economy, holds off fresh measures See in context

I wish I could share Kuroda’s rosy view on Japan’s economy, but I can’t see his resonates logical given the fact that major world economies are shrinking at this point with an exception of the US. . For people who don’t know, Japan’s auto industry which is major pillar of Japan’ economy ia being battered by the airbag recall and free-fall of ruble which has caused Nissan to stop taking orders in Russia.

So far, y BOJ's measures have NOT generated lasting economy affects based on the track records of Kuroda. One even can argue that Kuroda's performance is mediacore at the best.

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Posted in: Japan auto lobby sounds alarm over weak domestic sales See in context

Although falling crude and retail gasoline price may give Japanese consumers a break at the pump, the saving which is equivalent to a small cut of tax may not necessarily translate into an attractive incentive to entice new vehicle purchases. In part, it could be blame for the aging demographics and higher cost to own a car in Japan, however I believe that main reason is because consumers in Japan are lack of confidence for their financial future.

When a considerable portion of population do not see their earning power to grow in next few years down on the road , then why should they take the risk to buy a big ticket items such as a car that may require to carry an auto loan ?

So far, Japanese middle class has not benefited much from Abenomics, there is little chance they will.

Nevertheless, if history is any guide , Japanese consumer could rush to buy cars right before next consumption tax hike slated in 2017 as a way to hedge for the saving. Until then, improving auto sales in Japan would be a tough nut to crack.

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Posted in: China drives growth in patent applications worldwide See in context

The problem is not how many patent applications China put forth since world needs innovations which drive economic growth. The issue is that why Japan loses its used-to-be leading position and is incompetent to compete in the global marketplace as well as talent pool

The inconvenient truth is that Japanese college graduates are lack of many essential qualities that allow them to take the challenges and make it to the top. In addition, Japan’s prevailing corporate culture which encourages salary-men and seniority mentality does not help either.

Japan is increasingly becoming the distant third economy, few patent applications from Japan may serve as a canary in a coal mine for Japan’s forthcoming.

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Posted in: Abe says economy is No. 1 priority as ruling coalition wins big See in context

Granted, Abe won the re-election, and LDP secured the majority in lower house; but this feeble victory gives little capital to Abe in terms of improving Japan failing economy.

Here is a clue, steep drop in crude oil prices ( $54.30 NYMEX as I am typing this response) would make BOJ’s inflation target even harder to achieve within its projected time frame. Without inflation, Japan could fall right into the all-too-familiar deflation black hole again and bring everything else with it.

Simon, for once I suggest you let Joebig’s grammar mistake go. The reasons are twofold: first, his intent in his statement was unmistakably clear giving the context albeit double negative were used . Secondly, it’s social media era and as long as readers get the points, almost anything goes let along count in the smartphone phone/tablet’s obnoxious auto filling function.

What I am trying to say is that grammar and word of choice are inded important aspects of language skills; however, there is no need to dwell on mistakes. I made a lot of grammar mistakes in this forum (sometimes intentional) . However, it’s you call. :)

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Posted in: Abe says economy is No. 1 priority as ruling coalition wins big See in context

"But with only around 52 percent of voters casting ballots, there may be questions over whether Sunday’s result really is an endorsement, or just the default reaction of an electorate numbed by a lack of viable alternatives."

With record low turnout, Abe can hardly claim he has the mandate. On top of that, there is little chance or time for Abe to reverse Japan's downward tread in the aspects of geopolitic and economy.

Japan's future is big question mark; just looking the number of seniors on the streets, the grey matters.

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Posted in: Sony CEO ordered 'The Interview' toned down; Rogen objected See in context

What about the too familiar disclaim declared by Sony studio on every its movies “the view and Opinions expressed in the film do not reflect the view and Opinions of the Sony Studio …”

Sony CEO's manipulation in the movie "The Interview" indicates that Sony has been lying to the public all along. That begs an essential question; do major Japanese companies have the moral fibers o are they just the tools of J-govt ?

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Posted in: Hong Kong police arrest protesters in main camp See in context

It’s very disappointing: another voice and appeal of democracy has been muted by an authoritarian govt and its proxy. Comparing with Egypt and Thailand, HK’s failure is not that bad, at least, it avoided the bloodshed.

I guess that’s would be a reality the west has to face with little choice for time being.

Hopefully, The students leders anr activists in HK will regroup and swing back with more soon.

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Posted in: Toyota recalls cars in Japan, China over air bags See in context

Airbags have prevented so many people in car accidents from harm’s way, that have been proven based on world automobile accident data. In other words, the function of airbag as an effective safety measure should not be doubted.

Takata’s defective airbags must be replaced ASAP because those airbags could kill innocent people. This is just cut and dry, Takata as a reputable Japanese company should own the issue and make necessary amendment instead of dragging its cold feet.

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Posted in: U.S. defends Asian alliances against China criticism See in context

@scipantheist, it appears to me that you are an old schooler, and you have not done any business with China or visited it in recent years.

It’s indisputable that the Chinese regime is an authoritarian one, and some of parts in China are still underdeveloped. But that does not necessarily mean that the US’s influence in the region and the world will never be challenged. Unlike Japan, the US will not bury the head in the sand.

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Posted in: U.S. defends Asian alliances against China criticism See in context

Sadly as it is, It’s too late for the US to reverse the dynamics which have been facilitated by both Japan and America for last two decades.

Today, officially the US has been pushed to the second largest economy by the China even though not many people in the world are aware.

According to The International Monetary Fund reported that this year China will produce $17.6 trillion vs the US - $17.4 trillion.

Put this piece data in the context , The US or EU simply can’t afford to ignore China’s fast growth which presents 16% of worldwide economy. In year 2000, The US’s economy was three times bigger than Chinese one. 14 years later, it has surpassed the US.

It’s true, the US will still dominate the landscape of the global economy for years to come and Americans are richer and freer than its counterpart, but that could change as well, not one knows.

The sudden rise of China is a tectonic shift and such shift of power in the region would be extremely hard for Japan to adjust to such game-changer psychologically and politically.

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Posted in: These young men who died here believed they were defending their family and loved ones. We need to rediscover their sacrifices and learn from them. See in context

It’s actually a good sign for young Japanese adults to show keen interest in Japan’s war history which has been systematically and deliberately diluted by Japan for decades. The more they learn about the facts and truth pertianing to the atrocious crimes committed by brainwashed Japanese soldiers from sources beyond Japanese history text books, the better and more clearer pictures they would be able to see.Today internet has made vital info available at clicks away, whitewash don't work well as that 10 years ago.

After being openminded and studying history from different counties’ accounts about WW II , young Japanese would be more likely to see their roles in the lens way different from Uyoku dantai.

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Posted in: Takata refuses to comply with U.S. demand for expanded air bag recall See in context

@5petals "Nothing new here, we saw the same behavior during the Fukushima meltdown. Confusion, stalling,and blaming. Months of daily data updates on TV that suddenly ended. I never figured that one out either."

You have very valid point. Japanese way to deal with less rosy stories including its war time past does show a consistent pattern, unfortunately.

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