Japan Today

Guillaume Varès comments

Posted in: Japan chases 300 North Korean boats out of fishing grounds See in context

North Koreas is an authoritarian country, with widespread human rights abuse (and potential crimes against humanity). The government of North Korea is not recognized by 4 countries, including Japan (the official line is that South Korea is the legitimate government of Korean peninsula). Therefore, those fishermen should be interviewed first, and asked whether they want to be sent back to NK, South Korea or claim asylum.

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Posted in: Petition launched to stop forcible hair dyeing from natural color to black in schools See in context

People just need to stop obeying illegitimate orders. If a parent refuse to dye their kids hair and is supported by other parents and PTA, then there’s nothing the school can do.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Haneda's international terminal to be renamed Terminal 3 in March 2020 See in context

Good move. On tickets, international terminal was abbreviated as “I”, which can be confused with 1.

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Posted in: 24 of 50 new slots at Haneda to be given to Japanese, U.S. airlines See in context

Shouldn’t new slots be attributed by tender, independently of airlines national origins?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Arabs, Europe, U.N. reject Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital See in context

West Jerusalem is behind the 1967 borders. It will never be part of a Palestinian state for the simple reason that Palestinian negotiators are not even asking to have it. If the embassy is built well away from any potential future border, it will not prejudice land swaps in a final deal. 

If Trump had recognised a united Jerusalem, that would have been hugely controversial. The reason that the status of Jerusalem is officially undecided is because its borders are up for negotiation, but nobody in their right mind expects Israel to give up all of West Jerusalem or substantial parts of it (because the Palestinians are not even demanding that). Jerusalem is Israel's capital and it will continue to be Israel's capital even if some cosmetic changes to the 1967 borders are agreed. It's only controversial to people who oppose what has already been agreed in the peace process and want to push Israel back to the 1948 borders or remove Israel entirely.

Best comment of the day.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: S Korean court orders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay former wartime slave workers See in context


The 1965 treaty is between two governments. It cannot cover war crimes and crimes of humanity which are imprescriptible (see "Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity"). Therefore there can be a peace treaty and an agreement to stop global reparations, but that does not preclude individual criminal lawsuits. For example, the French train company SNCF has just started to pay reparations to American holocaust survivors transported to Nazi death camps using French trains.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Posted in: Cash registers to have cash withdrawal capability from April 2018 See in context

Don't care about it. I just want to be able to pay with credit card everywhere!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: APA hotel chain under fire over book denying Rape of Nanking See in context

APA hotels have a free magazine available at hotels. Every issue has one political page in English written by the CEO. This page is systematically filled with revisionist, nationalist, anti-Chinese and anti-Korean garbage. This is not news. I personally find it very unprofessional (to say the least) that this CEO uses his business to promote his political agenda. Even though it is his freedom to do so, it is also customers freedom to avoid doing business with them if they feel offended. I have been boycotting them for years.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Posted in: Y12 million stolen from convenience store employee on way to bank See in context

Not employing a professional money transport company is just asking to be robbed.

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Posted in: FamilyMart to install foreign currency exchange machines in some stores See in context

I never exchange any money when traveling as I usually pay as much as possible by credit card and I use local ATMs with my credit card for small change withdrawals. Not sure it is really needed, but I guess they analyzed the behavior and requests of foreign tourists before launching this project...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Group urges changing Buddhist temple mark on maps to avoid Nazi connotations See in context

Do you have any idea how massive of an undertaking you're proposing? Coming up with names for even just the major streets that don't have one would take months of work for bureaucrats across the country. We're talking about a society where people throw a fit about if someone builds a daycare in their neighborhood, and now you want everyone who lives on an entire street to agree on the name?

If Korea did it, then Japan should be able to…


Under the new system, road names and building numbers will be assigned in sequential order, unlike the current system, starting from a street’s origin and running to its end point. The existing address system can be somewhat inconvenient to use because land-oriented lot numbers are not assigned in order. The new system, however, will make it easier to find one’s destination, as long as you have the right address.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Posted in: If you found a bag with a large sum of money in it, say 10 million yen, in some isolated spot, and there was nothing to indicate who the owner was, what would you do with it? See in context

From the FBI

If someone comes across an unusually large sum of cash, then one should turn the money over to local law enforcement as having large sums of cash are not normal behaviors of law abiding citizens. If the rightful owner(s) cannot be located, then the money would be returned to the finders.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Idol singer ordered to pay management company Y650,000 after going to hotel with male fan See in context


If the contract contains illegal clauses, then it can be considered invalid and therefore not enforceable. Furthermore, according to Japan Labor Standards Law it is illegal for a company to ask for monetary compensation to an employee.

That being said, a strong responsibility rests on the girl's family. Who in their right mind would deal with this kids of dishonest, scheming companies? Links between AKB and organized crime have been referenced, so in a way the family was kind of looking for trouble.

Now, if I was the family, I would countersue the management company, or at the very least I would never pay a cent to them.

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Posted in: Idol singer ordered to pay management company Y650,000 after going to hotel with male fan See in context


The age of consent in Japan is 13 years old under the Japanese national criminal law code.However, all municipalities and prefectures have their own particular laws such as Tokyo's “Youth Protection Law” which prohibit adults from having sex with youths who are under 17 years old.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Idol singer ordered to pay management company Y650,000 after going to hotel with male fan See in context


Japan Labor Standards law, Article 8 (Scope of enterprises covered)

(10) Motion picture production and projection, theatrical performance and other entertainment enterprises

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Posted in: Idol singer ordered to pay management company Y650,000 after going to hotel with male fan See in context


Some legal scholars are arguing that "chastity clauses" may be illegal under Japan Labor Standards law.

Labor contracts, like all contracts, are predicated on the assumption of agreement between two parties. But that does not mean that anything goes when it comes to their provisions. Four conditions must all be met to legitimize each and every term of a contract: kakuteisei (determinacy), jitsugen kanōsei (achievability), tekihōsei (legality) and shakaiteki datōsei (social justification).

It is the fourth, shakaiteki datōsei , that concerns us in the AKB48 case. This concept entails general ideals of morality and justice, specifically kōjo ryōzoku (public order and morality), a crucial and broadly ranging legal principle enshrined in Article 90 of the Civil Code.

Contract terms that violate kōjo ryōzoku are invalid. Textbook examples include: paying for a crime; terms that violate fundamental human rights, such as gender bias; terms that restrict individual freedom; and those that violate social morals such as human trafficking, prostitution or geisha provisions. While traditional geisha exist within the scope of the law, asking an employee to “entertain” a client does not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Idol singer ordered to pay management company Y650,000 after going to hotel with male fan See in context

I am wondering about the legality of this court decision. Since illegal contract clauses are not enforceable (Japan labor law), my guess is that this decision is illegal. If I was the family, I would contest the ruling and not pay.

Now, the real culprits here are the men who "invited" this 15 years-old girl in a hotel room (child abuse) and the management company for their shady practices and child exploitation.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Should permanent foreign residents in Japan have the right to vote? See in context

I have no problem with restricting voting rights to citizens, but in that case dual citizenship should be allowed and the (extremely stringent) criteria for citizenship should be relaxed. Kids born with dual citizenship should be allowed to keep both for life, and PR and special-permanent (Korean) residents should be able to apply for Japanese citizenship without having to formerly renounce their other citizenship.

It is quite an antiquated way of thinking to imagine you harmoniously combine several identities and citizenships. Mixed kids are a perfect example that one can perfectly be both Japanese AND American, for example, and such dual citizens should be considered an asset rather than a threat.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Do you think of Japan's World War II kamikaze pilots as brave? How would you compare them with today's suicide bombers? See in context

I don't think they had much choice anyway. There are multiple testimonies indicating that those men were often coerced. The reluctant ones were often pushed into the planes by other soldiers. Even those who did it willingly were misguided and died for a wrong cause, a fascist military State. We often hear Abe and others say that those soldiers "died for Japan", "for what is today's Japan". This is a complete non sense: today's Japan is the complete antithesis of Imperial militarist Japan. Those soldiers actively fought against the current foundations of today's Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Should the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco be amended to allow surviving ex-POWs and their kin to take legal action for compensation against the Japanese government? See in context

lost family in Ww2 in E europe and after the war property was confiscated from my family by the newly Communist governemtn and the realignment of borders in E europe. i have no right to seek compensation.

Some (but not all) former communist countries have restitution/compensation schemes for property restitution. For example, most of the claims have been resolved in Estonia (with property returned to original owners), while some countries have partial compensation systems (lump sum amount).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Should the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco be amended to allow surviving ex-POWs and their kin to take legal action for compensation against the Japanese government? See in context

@Alex80 Germany and German entities (such as private companies which employed slave labor) are still paying reparations to Jewish survivors. I am not saying that this shouldn't necessary be the case for Japan, but it isn't impossible to imagine that private Japanese companies that employed slave labor (such as the Aso Mining company) might be pressured into admitting the past and paying for some kind of reparations (a social fund, a slave labor memorial, etc.).

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Posted in: Should the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco be amended to allow surviving ex-POWs and their kin to take legal action for compensation against the Japanese government? See in context

If there is no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity under international law, wouldn't this supercede any treaty such as the Treaty of SF? Does anybody know?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Posted in: North Korea warns against airdropping DVDs of 'The Interview' See in context

USB sticks are now the most popular way to watch foreign material, as it is easy to hide, share and delete the content. I also agree that sending this movie will be counterproductive. Much more efficient would be to send USB sticks filled with educational material about history, the world, political philosophy about freedom and natural human rights, and of course material exposing the truth of this criminal regime (how the Kim mafia has billions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts, how the "socialist" propaganda hides the lavish lifestyle of the elite, lies about the Korean war and their "socialist paradise", etc.).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Hayao Miyazaki says Charlie Hebdo drawings of Muhammad were a mistake See in context

“Instead of doing something like that, you should make more caricatures of you own country’s politicians.”

They have been doing this for decades, and the result is often ferocious. There shouldn't be any limit to the right of mocking and ridicule, especially when you have to deal with a concerted tentative to silence opposition to radical Islam.

The whole point of satire is to expose and denounce established authority, maybe it of a religious, political or philosophical nature. Clearly, Mr Miyazaki doesn't understand that.

To put the blame on the victim is absolutely outrageous. Mr Miyazaki, you just spit on the grave of the victims. What about the Jewish victims of the kosher supermarket? Where they also guilty of being Jews?

Mr Miyazaki has lost all the remaining respect I had for him. What about starting caricaturing Japanese politicians and fascist groups (Zaitokutai etc.), Mr Miyazaki?

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Posted in: Gov't warns journalists to avoid Turkey-Syria border town See in context

Governments in free countries have no business in telling journalists how and what to report about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Little known deluxe bus services promise long-distance trips in comfort See in context

I am still wondering why JR never implemented dynamic pricing as in the air travel industry or as many train companies abroad. Long distance shinkansen travel is targeted mainly at business travelers and is unaffordable for many families. Dynamic pricing would allow JR optimizing sales over the year (Online promo sales, pricing depending on ticket category - exchangeable or not - and on the number of remaining available seats, etc.). The only affordable option for the average Japanese is LCC or bus travel. LCC is going to be a strong competition for long distance bus travel.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Man arrested for molesting elementary schoolgirl See in context

Onaka was arrested for allegedly molesting a 7-year-old girl in May, but released.

I am waiting for an official explanation from the police authorities about the first arrest. Why was he released the first time? Was he prosecuted? Who were the policemen in charge for the first arrest? Did they properly follow the criminal procedure?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Some fans love Pharrell’s 'It Girl' video; others call him a pedophile See in context

Nothing offensive here, just awfully bad taste!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: The fuel for Japan’s pedophiles See in context

This is not the first time. Amazon removed similar picture books a few years ago, after a group tagged content meeting Japan's legal definition of child pornography.


3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Robot caregiver See in context

the real reason why Japan is at the edge (please provide a post editing function!)

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