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hampton comments

Posted in: Kishida unveils plan to tackle birthrate crisis See in context

There will always be couples who cannot have or do not want children. That is not the issue. The problem is the number who only want one child. The main reasons have been stated already. Education costs a fortune, mums who quit jobs are often not able to return to the same roles, houses are small in major population areas, childcare is inadequate, and prices are flying up all the time, with little or no wage increases. The richest generation in history, Japan's elderly, has to be pandered to by the government because they elect the governments. Kishida will look after them first. Japan needs the politicization of its youth and young families to have any hope of real change.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Kishida says he is willing to meet Kim Jong Un over abductions See in context

He must be thinking about a snap election.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Britain, Japan to reach new defense, technology agreement See in context

Japan's auto industry is doing very nicely, and gives the best value for money and best quality in the world. But Japan is behind when it comes to EVs. The problem for Japan is that the EU will only permit the sale of new EVs in the EU, with no gasoline engines or hybrids permitted, from 2035. Others will soon make similar announcements. This will be the real test for Japan. The market leaders are mainly in the US, China and Europe, with only 2 Japanese manufacturers in the top 15, so Japan has to really catch up.


Quite right for the Japanese to be cooperating with friendly powers in more areas, including defense.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: 9 dead, 7 wounded in Texas mall shooting; gunman dead See in context

bass4funk, thanks, that is interesting. I think it's good to hear both sides of this discussion. It feels like you and others would not be opposed to tighter (sensible) gun legislation if it were not politically charged and could be done properly and sensibly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 9 dead, 7 wounded in Texas mall shooting; gunman dead See in context

bass4funk and a few others, I think a lot of Brits fully understand why a lot of Americans feel the need to own guns. We can imagine what it is like to think that someone armed to the teeth could invade your home or property, with you knowing that a phone call to the cops might not bring any help for 30 minutes or more, by which time you and your family are dead unless you are armed. I think we can see that with the current proliferation of firearms, many would believe they need then for their own self-defense. We can also see that certain restrictions would leave the good guys with fewer guns without taking them away from the bad guys.

What I personally don't understand is why you don't want more positive legislation to try and keep weapons away from criminals and from people with mental health problems. What is wrong with tighter gun controls, which might serve to protect you from criminals? Why not require full background checks before selling someone weapons that have the ability to kill large numbers of people indiscriminately? Why do you want these things sold to anyone who wants them, regardless of age, background or mental state? Why the feeling that someone wants to take away your only means of self-defense, when I can't find many seriously suggesting taking guns away from the good guys? I honestly think better gun legislation would be positive for law-abiding gun owners like yourselves and would help protect you and yours from the less law-abiding. Just my take on this, as a Brit who no-doubt doesn't fully understand the reality of life in many parts of the U.S.A.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: British people urged to swear allegiance to King Charles III at his coronation See in context

Since the English Civil War ended in 1652 there have been almost 400 years of unbroken and unchallenged democracy.

Yes, a democracy which still has an unelected monarch as Head of State, an unelected House of Lords as an Upper Chamber, a first-past-the-post electoral system to guarantee election wins for the established parties that support the monarchy, and the requirement to swear loyalty to the Royal Family in order to take up an elected seat in Parliament. Women couldn't even vote until 1928, and for much of that period we had rotten boroughs and a death sentence for 222 offences, including cutting down a tree and robbing a rabbit warren. I am not ashamed to be British at all, but fair play old chap, that is taking things a little too far on the democracy front.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: British people urged to swear allegiance to King Charles III at his coronation See in context

I don't particularly like the royals, but I am also not an abolitionist. I will not be swearing any kind of allegiance to an unelected monarch, even though I have no dislike for Charles or his immediate family, and quietly wish him all the best. I think he is a decent man, who can be a source of stability in a divided nation.

I would have a lot more respect for King Charles if he pressurized the parliament into removing the necessity of swearing an oath of allegiance to the Royal Family as a prerequisite for taking up an elected seat in the House. This rule prevents any republicans sitting in Parliament, even after winning democratic elections.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

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

Yeah, you're probably right Simon. Even in that case, once in power the media and bureaucracy would destroy them anyway, so even a minor miracle would be short-lived.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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

Simon Foston - I know, and it's ridiculous. It costs tens of millions of yen to win an election. The entire system is rigged in favor of the ruling party. But Yukio Hatoyama was elected, so it could happen again. I know he was from one of the main families and originally LDP, as well as stunningly wealthy. We can but hope.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

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

The list of things needing to be addressed is endless. But where is the united opposition party proposing fully-costed plans that address the needs of the people? If that doesn't exist, the rural elderly will re-elect LDP candidates time and again. Japan needs a united opposition with clear policies on health, education, pensions, defense, taxation, childcare, depopulation, birthrates, NHK etc. etc. At least a proper opposition might help keep the LDP honest, even if it couldn't win elections against the elderly voters who have been trained to support the LDP.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: China ships stay in Japan waters near Senkakus for record time See in context

China should stay out of Japanese waters, but as these islands are only 120 nautical miles from Taiwan, there is no surprise that Chinese or Taiwanese vessels might be spotted 'near' the islands.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: 'Don't blame women': Japan birth rate drive sparks online debate See in context

It is mainly a financial issue here in Tokyo area. My neighbours and I all have children, but no one has three kids because we cannot afford it and don't have space. Education costs a fortune, the pension system is unstable and life employment no longer exists. There are so many things that could be done, but nothing sensible is done. How about some of:

Make childbirth free and the money from ward offices additional for parents.

Make all healthcare free until the age of 18.

Guarantee free quality state education until age 18 for 2nd and 3rd children. Cram schools are a racket that scam working families. Make them illegal. Schools can charge 200,00 yen or more for a basic uniform! Shut down these scams that fleece families and they may have more kids.

Cut the university courses to 3 years from 4, as in the U.K. Have all the kids earning in the workforce a year earlier instead of adding to swelling college debt. No one needs a 4 year undergraduate course.

Pay mums full salaries for 18 months of maternity leave and 100% enforce their return to work on the same salaries at the same positions when they return, with massive penalties for any company that doesn't do this.

Make the schools run on fixed normal schedules that we can easily work around. The current system is pathetic. School from 08:30-08:50am one day, then closed for a test, and then running on a Saturday suddenly. UK schools could run to regular daily and weekly schedules. Why is this so impossible here?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Posted in: Man who let one-year-old son die after shooting him with air gun gets 16 years See in context

I don't support the death sentence, but if you're going to have it, surely slowly torturing a baby to death is worthy of it. Instead, we get the normal short sentences for child murder. I don't understand. They should get life without parole for this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't considers lifting anti-COVID recommendation to wear masks indoors See in context

It seems sensible to mask up when social distancing is impossible, like on packed trains and in crowded supermarkets. Other than that, people do it because it has become a social norm and because the masks help keep the face warm outdoors and hide a lack of make-up. It doesn't matter what the government says, having 98% of people around us masked 24/7 is the new normal.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: Prince Harry says UK royals got into bed with tabloid press 'devil' See in context

Harry is one of the richest and most-entitled men on the planet. He is worth a fortune and has a life most of us could only ever dream of. Does he really think the average Brit, struggling to pay the bills, keep the heat on, and put food on the table, is really going to feel massive sympathy for him because his brother pushed him over and there were comments made about his wife that could be taken to be racist? Royal protocol means the palace won't respond to any of this and it will blow over soon enough. I wish Harry and Meghan well, but I think he should stop feeding the media and get on with enjoying his dream life in California. Wish I could.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Kishida urges wage growth to revive Japan's economy See in context

If he is pledging wage growth, how about he raise the minimum wage? No, thought not.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: China warns against Japan-Australia defense accord See in context

Well, the region wouldn't need military blocs were it not for the aggression of China.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Husband of former princess Mako passes New York bar exam on 3rd attempt See in context

Really good to hear he passed this difficult exam in his second language. Good on him.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Liz Truss quits after six chaotic weeks as UK prime minister See in context

The sales tax is an interesting example, albeit a simple one. Cutting it can increase consumption and increase the total tax yield. Raising it can dampen consumption and lower the yield. Yep, we know. Regarding the 45p of income tax against 40p, actually, whether or not this could have increased the tax yield is irrelevant at the moment in the UK. People have faced 12 years of austerity from Conservative governments. Many people cannot afford to heat their homes. Working people with multiple jobs struggle to feed their families and are forced to use food banks. Public services are a shambles. Every public service has been cut and the poorer in the society have borne the brunt. This is the result of 12 years of Tory policy, although, to be fair, it has been aggravated by Covid, Brexit and the war in Ukraine. A new PM who comes in and instantly gives a tax cut to the wealthy is clearly out of touch with reality. That Liz decided to try and do this in her mini budget with Kwasi showed that she has no idea what is happening in her country and proved her to be unfit for leadership. We need a general election and a new government (from Labour) with a proper mandate and fresh ideas. But the Tories are so unpopular now that they will try and hang on until January 2025 with a new leader. Dear oh dear.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Liz Truss quits after six chaotic weeks as UK prime minister See in context

One of the many negative effects of Brexit is an estimated annual loss of 4% of GNP for the UK. That is about 100 billion pounds annually, of which almost 40% would have been tax take. Jeremy Hunt, our wonderful Finance Minister, is scrambling around looking for 40 billion pounds or so to balance the books. I wonder where that money could have come from then! Liz Hunt, who managed to be a worse PM than Theresa May, is the only person I have heard of in the UK who has looked at the "benefits" of Brexit over the last few years and changed from an ardent remainer to a passionate leaver. What evidence of Brexit success caused that U-turn? We now know she U-turns on everything because she is always proved wrong at lightning speed. "Dear, oh dear" was certainly one way of putting it. Thanks to King Charles for that summary of Liz and her policies. She should never have been anywhere near the running for the job of PM.

The Conservatives can hold off on an election until January 2025. If they called one now, they would get virtually wiped out, so an election anytime soon is unlikely. We could have more than two years of this Tory shambles before we get a chance to vote them out. There will be untold problems this winter when millions will struggle to heat their homes and feed their families. That could create the pressure for an early election, although Penny Mordaunt or Rishi Sunak will be a lot more competent than Liz Truss. What a mess and what misery for so many.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Slain teen parents hope U.S. gun control fight will continue, 30 years on See in context

A little more research shows that around 60% of daily gun deaths are suicide by gun. But there are around 42 homicides each day on average. There was absolutely no reason to shoot this kid, or even confront him. I am so glad my family and I don't live there.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Slain teen parents hope U.S. gun control fight will continue, 30 years on See in context

Americans have a right to own guns, but this doesn't mean they should have a right to gun down children going to parties. Hattori was dressed as John Travolta, wearing a white tuxedo. No one on earth robs a house wearing a white tux after ringing the doorbell. Peairs went back into his house after shooting a 16-year-old child. After realizing he had made a mistake, he did not even call an ambulance. Hattori's friend had to go next door to a neighbor for help. The court cheered when Peairs was found not guilty of manslaughter, but he did not even need to step outside for a couple of kids in his yard. He decided to confront them, armed, and took a life, instead of calling the cops. That should be a crime. On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot dead in New York City. Since then, over 1.5 million Americans have been killed by guns. If you go there, be aware that 321 people get gunned down every day on average and 111 of them die. Mostly it is gang violence, but often times it is not.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Kishida aims to cut utility bills with new economic package See in context

smithinjapan, yes, those sorts of policies are what we need. He might even introduce subsidies for new cars, which are obviously more fuel efficient than older cars, so we can have a bung for Nissan, Honda and Toyota.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Film explores innocent man's decades-long imprisonment See in context

One of my neighbors is a judge and has been for over 25 years. He told me he has never once found anyone to be not guilty. Apparently, the police are always right, and never make mistakes, so the judges don't have to judge, they only have to sentence. They are more severe on those who show no remorse, so if you didn't commit any crime to start with, and won't sign a forced confession, you are in the worst possible place when it comes to sentencing. That is basically the system. I understand fewer cases come to court and the prison population is comparatively low, but this cannot be right.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Posted in: Body in Chiba river confirmed as that of missing 7-year-old girl See in context

Surveillance cameras show she went to the second park near the river alone on her kickboard, which was found in the Nagareyama park. She was clearly not abducted from the local park, but no one knows for sure what happened after those surveillance images. No one actually witnessed her in either park, but the weather forecast was poor that day, so maybe that is why. I think she had a sad accident, but not everyone thinks so because the area where her shoes were found was searched several times the day she went missing, and no one found socks and shoes there.

The full story with a Japanese news link and video is here.

12 Days After a 7-Year-Old Girl Disappears in Japan, a Child’s Body Is Found in a River (vice.com)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Body found in Chiba river may be that of missing 7-year-old girl See in context

According to local media in Matsudo City, Saya had learning difficulties and was not able to speak Japanese well. The first volunteers out looking for her were the family and the local Chinese community. They searched this riverbank several times within hours of her disappearance after finding her kickboard in the park and found nothing. The shoes were found the following day in the same place they had searched. Locals here are not convinced this girl took off her own socks and shoes and fell in the river and cannot understand how the search teams failed to spot them. Surveillance cameras only show she travelled towards the park alone on her kickboard, but no one witnessed her in either park, and of course no one knows why she did not go to the local park and wait for her mother there. The police found another body in the river during the search, this time an adult male. He has not been identified and his discovery in the river is not being treated as suspicious! This was only reported locally. I still think this was an accident, but plenty of people here do not believe it was.

There is a story here with a lot of details.

12 Days After a 7-Year-Old Girl Disappears in Japan, a Child’s Body Is Found in a River (vice.com)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Body found in Chiba river may be that of missing 7-year-old girl See in context

Saya was filmed on several surveillance cameras going towards the second park. She was definitely not abducted from the nearby park her mother thought she was going to. She headed towards there on her kickboard, alone, as proven by surveillance footage. There are no witnesses who saw her in either park, but the weather forecast was poor, and most people stayed home that day. The Edo riverbanks are very near the park where the kickboard was found, and that's where her shoes were found. The area is overgrown and slippery, not a clean concrete bank. Most likely this was a sad accident, but she must have known which park her mum was going to meet her in, and according to her parents, she was afraid of the water and did not go near the river. If walking on the riverbank, why would she take her shoes off? Kids don't tend to sit on wet riverbanks with their feet in the water. It is a bit strange.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Toy firm allegedly bribed ex-Tokyo Olympics executive See in context

This is the tip of an enormous iceberg. Mr. Ishihara himself was never made to account for the money that disappeared in the bidding process, despite telling the public that every yen would be accounted for. How many brown envelopes stuffed with cash would have surrounded the event itself? I wonder why they are only gunning for Mr. Takahashi. He must have upset the wrong people.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: 60% of people with foreign roots questioned by Japanese police: survey See in context

Long ago, I went to an izakaya with a bunch of guys from Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The police were waiting outside for us to leave. Apparently, a worried Japanese person had told the police there were non-Japanese having a beer, which was suspicious of course, and required investigation. It took around 10 minutes of shining torches and checking cards to confirm we were all legal. The crazy thing was that they didn't bother to card me. They just carded the ones who looked Asian. They just assumed the white guy was a legal English teacher and would have a proper visa. That was a real eye opener. White foreigners here should not think this doesn't happen. It happens all the time, but mainly to those with African, Asian and South American backgrounds.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

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