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Guillaume Varès comments

Posted in: Robot caregiver See in context

Nothing against robots (actually those are quite interesting technological advances). But the real reason is at the edge for those kind of robots: the "elites" of this country believe it is better to invest in robots that to allow any immigration of nursing and medical personal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Citigroup to exit retail banking in 11 markets, including Japan See in context

Sucks. Best bank customer service in Japan. I guess they will sell it to one of the big banks with soviet-style bureaucracy and customer service.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Nobel winner Nakamura was salaryman who took on bosses See in context

By the way he is still Japanese, just not a citizen of Japan anymore.

That sentence doesn't make any sense!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Step in See in context

Knowing that a number of establishments reluctantly accept visible minorities (and rarely refuse them), this is a welcome sign. The owners are probably not aware that such wording sounds strange or even discriminatory in English (especially knowing that refusing a "foreigner" in a private establishment is anyway illegal in many countries), but I don't see any malice in it. However, I would recommend the owner to rewrite the sign as "Tourists welcome" or "Experience Japanese Karaoke, travelers welcome", etc.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Which country has the best high-speed rail technology in the world? See in context

In terms of reliability, frequency and cleanliness, Shinkansen is number one. However, there is no dynamic pricing on JR lines, unlike France SNCF (internet and time-based sales, etc.). I kind of prefer TGV's overall design (more modern and less blend than Shinkansen, that is quite grey and utilitarian), but overall Shinkansen has the best to offer.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreign talent doesn’t seem anxious to head for Japan anytime soon. Because the country has yet to develop the socioeconomic conditions and cultural mindset that will allow foreign talented individual See in context

@AKBFan I think he was talking about the plan to bring in "foreigners with abilities" (research scientists, skilled engineers, etc.). The plan fell short due to very low numbers of visa applications.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 'X-Files' auteur Chris Carter back with new series See in context

I watched the pilot episode a few months ago on Amazon, it was really disappointing. The first 10 minutes were intriguing, but the end was grotesque, with biblical references and a ridiculous monster.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Civil unrest See in context

Peacefully demonstrating in front of the PM's official residence is not "civil unrest".

24 ( +24 / -1 )

Posted in: Chile send Spain packing with 2-0 win; Dutch hold off Australia 3-2; Croatia rout Cameroon 4-0 See in context

Tiki-taka was an interesting concept (quite pleasing to watch as long as there are goals) but its weaknesses have been analyzed and used against them by their competitors (for example when Bayern won last year against Barca in the Champions League). They will probably have to reorganize their strategy and bring more attackers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: What to tell children when teachers go astray See in context

Why would they need to change the song? His professional or artistic abilities have nothing to do with that. Many songs, books, etc. were written by less than perfect people. Should we stop reading classic books by Celine because he was also a despicable antisemitic collaborator of Nazis?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe war dead See in context

The men and women who died serving their country deserve to be honored

No. These people did not serve their country, they served (most of them unwillingly) the political regime in place (a militarist dictatorship)… the same way that German soldiers did not serve Germany, they were coerced in serving the Nazi administration.

Therefore they did not die for Japan. Most of these soldiers were conscripts and were also the victims of State brutality. And those who committed war crimes do not deserve to be honored.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Our goal is to write a new constitution of our own that envisions a new era and serves a new role. See in context

That's the same LDP people who want to remove the notion of "Natural rights" from the constitution and replace it with "Duty to the State", or who suggest that "Freedom of expression" should be conditioned by "public order" (LDP pamphlet 2013).

http://japanfocus.org/-Lawrence-Repeta/3969 Japan’s Democracy at Risk – The LDP’s Ten Most Dangerous Proposals for Constitutional Change 危機に瀕する日本の民主主義 自民党憲法改正案、最も危険な10項目 The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 28, No. 3, July 15, 2013.

Such individuals are anathema to the LDP view of the relationship between people and government. Immediately following its rejection of universal rights in favor of rights based on “the history, tradition and culture of Japan,” the LDP Q&A pamphlet addresses the western influence on Japan’s Constitution: “[T]he current Constitution includes some provisions based on the western theory of natural rights. We believe these provisions should be revised.”

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Fukuoka town experiments with new road markings See in context

What about turning most small streets and roads into one way streets?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Disappointed Abe says Japan will abide by ruling on whaling See in context

The simple fact that without massive taxpayer funding, whaling is not commercially sustainable, is a compelling argument to stop the program. It is obvious they kept pouring public money to the system for all these years because there were non-economic reasons to it (nationalism, keeping afloat a dying industry for electoral reasons, etc.).

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: JR East launching app that will allow for real-time tracking of train services See in context

@educator60 There was a typo in my message too ;-) I meant, you should be able to print out your own ticket or download it to your phone and be able to travel with it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: JR East launching app that will allow for real-time tracking of train services See in context


I am perfectly aware that online reservations are possible with some shinkansen trains and for express trains. However, Eki-net still requires physical collection of train tickets the day before traveling, which in my opinion makes it totally worthless. A proper online booking system lets you book your own ticket or transfer a paperless online ticket on your phone for travel.

Also, credit card recharge is only available if you register the co-branded View card. Ticket machines at stations only accept cash as a mode of payment for recharging Suica.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: JR East launching app that will allow for real-time tracking of train services See in context

What about allowing charging suica by credit card and booking intercity and all Shinkansen trains online?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: NHK boss forces directors to submit undated resignations See in context

I agree with the comments suggesting that the independence of NHK is seriously compromised. One way or another, State TVs are under government control and therefore are illegitimate. On a side note, I am wondering how I would react to such a threat if I was a NHK director. I would probably refuse to sign such a letter and wait to be fired. Let the boss takes his responsibilities and assume his line.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo 2020 chairman Mori critical of Asada, ice dancing brother and sister See in context

The good thing now for the Japanese olympic team would be a publish an official rebuttal and request Mr Mori's immediate resignation from the Tokyo 2020 organization committee.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Starting taxi fares to rise in Tokyo, Osaka See in context

Taxi fares should not be regulated by the government. Supply and demand should solely determine market prices. In the next few years, private unregulated on-demand transportation services (Uber, Lyft, etc.) are going to dramatically change the paradigm. Uber just started operations in Tokyo, it will be interesting to see how things are developing...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Bishop burned alive by Japanese troops in 1937 may become patron saint of abuse victims See in context

As usual, the revisionists did not waste time insinuating that the Imperial army would be innocent, but the question of whether the bishop was killed by Japanese soldiers had been studied for many years and had apparently been settled.

Hermans, who has conducted two investigations in China, presented his findings at a Beijing symposium three years ago.

Chinese official archives have very little information on Bishop Schraven, since a lot of historical materials disappeared in China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Fortunately, “many documents about the massacre could be found in European archives, such as the French and Dutch foreign ministries,” he said.

Then, according to Hermans, a crucially important letter was found in the Vatican’s secret archives last year. A Japanese colonel wrote to the papal representative in Beijing at that time: “They died as martyrs for their missionary ideal.”

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Posted in: Abe visits Yasukuni shrine; calls it pledge against war See in context

Aren't there already annual secular memorial activities at the Budokan and the memorial Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery? So why go to a highly controversial Shinto site? Of course, this is purely a political statement and a signal sent to nationalist groups.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan passes law to start reform of electricity sector See in context

@Spanki, Get Real and SimondB

To paraphrase Bastiat, there is what is seen and what is not seen. What you don't pay through your energy bill ( because of government price control), you will pay through your taxes. The best way to avoid unfair monopolies or cartels is to allow for full and unrestricted competition (which is far from the situation in "some western countries").

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan passes law to start reform of electricity sector See in context

"to completely nationalize the energy industry and keep prices capped. "

There is no free lunch. If the consumer does not pay the full price, then the taxpayer will.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: If TEPCO is broken up, as some are advocating, who will supply power to the eight prefectures it serves, who will employ its thousands of workers and who will pay compensation to victims of the Fukush See in context

Get rid of the monopoly and allow multiple companies to compete on the whole Japan grid. In addition, get rid of the energy law that forbids foreign investors from owning utilities. Compensation is already paid mainly from the taxpayer, so a breakup of TEPCO probably won't change much.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Lighten up,' French magazine tells Japan after Fukushima cartoon complaint See in context

Freedom of expression for those calling for Korean "Holocaust" (with NO official condemnation) but pressures on foreign governments for trying to censor foreign satirical newspapers. Talk about double standards...


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Lighten up,' French magazine tells Japan after Fukushima cartoon complaint See in context

If there is is freedom of expression in Japan for weekly demonstrations calling for the mass murder of Koreans in Shin-Okubo (which Japanese politicians refused to condemn), then there should be freedom of expression for foreign satirical papers. It's not meant to be serious, the whole newspaper is filled with irony, jokes and satire.

43 ( +56 / -13 )

Posted in: Fukushima question continues to dog Tokyo Olympic bid See in context

FYI the straight distance between Paris and London is 342 km. Between Fukushima Nuclear Plant and central Tokyo (Chuo-ku), it is 210 km.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Aso retracts Nazi remarks amid criticism See in context

It's not the first name this guy refers to the Nazi regime. A few years ago, he paraphrased Hitler when he said during a public speech: "Japan is one nation, one race, one culture". It's easy to dismiss Aso as a moron (which he probably his, based on his record). But this guy is clearly dangerous. It's not a secret, he and some of his friends want to get away with the postwar democratic regime and replace it with a strong State with "Japanese characteristics".

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Posted in: S Korean court rules against Mitsubishi Heavy on forced labor See in context

I believe these lawsuits are encouraged by the unwillingness of these businesses to acknowledge the use of forced labor (independently of the official reparation status, which Japan suggests has already been "settled" between both governments). These companies should come clean with their past (official acknowledgement, free access to company records for historians and journalists, memorial on company premises, etc.) so the issue can finally be settled. Because most of the victims are already dead, this is more of a moral than a financial issue.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

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