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Heffalump comments

Posted in: Japan aims to remove daily arrival cap in October to spur tourism See in context

Having run inbound mountain hiking and walking tours in Japan for 20 years, I'm looking forward to the borders reopening soon.

I believe the government's policy is wrong. I also suspect that one reason tour operators are currently required to submit tour information and personal details to the authorities is so they can get hold of and data which might otherwise not be available to them.

I, and other travel professionals who have been in the business in Japan for a long time, think conventional package tours simply aimed at boosting numbers is neither sustainable, nor appropriate, for Japan. This is an opportunity to rethink the future of the type of inbound travel market which might best benefit local communities in rural and mountain areas. There is so much unrealized potential here.

However, I doubt whether anything much will change. The whole Visit Japan campaign and the subsequent boom was largely built on enterprising small and medium size tour operator overseas who came knocking on the door 20 or more years ago, when I found that many Japanese were surprised that overseas visitors were actually interested in discovering Japan!

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan tops global new COVID cases in week to Sunday: WHO See in context

It would be sensible to open Japan to visitors.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Posted in: French prosecutors issue international arrest warrant for Ghosn See in context

Note to the editor. A responsible newspaper would not describe someone who is facing charges as 'disgraced'. He has not been disgraced. Not yet, anyway.

I don't believe he would receive fair trial in Japan, a country with a suspect record of detaining and removing unwanted non-Japanese.

0 ( +12 / -12 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 14,445 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 81,655 See in context

Suffice to say, then, that the numbers in Japan seem jolly good relative to ours here in the UK.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan widens virus restrictions but some people becoming less cooperative See in context

Slow, slow, quick quick, slow ... Japan dithering and well behind the curve, again.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan's commercial whaling season begins in coastal waters See in context

"We would like to provide fresh and delicious whales for everyone who is waiting."

Well, Mr Ito, the fact is that in recent years Japanese people, on average, consume 30gms of whale meat per year. I would think that there are a few who do want to eat it whilst the vast majority don't. Fewer and fewer people are buying and eating whale.

I hear the old argument, what about Norway, Iceland ... Are their economies really dependent on the killing of whales? Wish they would cease, too.

The argument 'Well, we've always caught whales, holds no water at all'. The human race did many things in the past!

That vessel in the photo looks pretty new. I wonder where funds to buy that came from? There's a lot of money aimed at reviving the local economy washing around the Tohoku coffers. Maybe wrong, but could possibly be a government grant?

I've nothing against community fishermen setting out in their boats during the Edo Period to catch a small whale, or even perhaps when food was really short and whale bacon was thing. But the Japanese do not need to kill whales today.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 175 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 695 See in context

Why do we only get Tokyo data? Are there no cases in the provinces? Is the risk of infection when traveling in remoter parts of Japan low?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Suga apologizes after LDP execs visit hostess bars during state of emergency See in context

Stupid government, stupid politicians.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's governors want more areas cut from travel program as needed See in context

Quest Japan, Hike Japan walking adventures, is a very small specialist Japanese operator based in Tokyo. All our tours have been cancelled this year. If we're lucky we may get one or two this autumn.

The average spend by each of our clients after arrival in Japan, for a typical 2-week itinerary, is 500,000 yen. This money goes directly to our partners and suppliers, often in rural, mountain, benefiting remoter local communities. It doesn't go into the hands of the likes of JTB, NTA, or Kintetsu. If we have a group of 8, and our group sizes are small, then that means about 4 million yen revenue each tour group for the communities we visit. It may not seem much, but it means a lot to the ryokan, minshuku restaurants, guides etc. we work with.

The future of high value inbound tourism to Japan is now looking uncertain. It certainly is for the foreseeable future. We have younger guests, but many of our clients are active, but retired, and in their 70s.

I wonder if the Japanese government has any plans to help businesses like ours, as well the huge Japanese travel companies with links to government who I suppose will benefit from this controversial Go To campaign.

I somehow doubt we'll be seeing much to spark our sector of the market into life again soon.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka reaches Australian Open final, closing in on world No. 1 ranking See in context

I see in Osaka a great young tennis player. So good for the game to have fresh stars in the making.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: JOC chief Takeda denies corruption allegations See in context

Could they not have fitted a few more microphones, and a lie detector?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: No. of foreign tourists to Japan hits record high 31.19 mil in 2018 See in context

Do people think these numbers are sustainable, or will remain at this level into the future? Particularly after 2020. Or is it just another boom, before a bust, or at least a slight deflation?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Judge says Ghosn being detained due to flight risk and possibility he may conceal evidence See in context

A man, who in my country would be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, wouldn't be brought into court in handcuffs. But he is, in a country where a guy on death row for a long time recently committed suicide. What next in Japan?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese ships leave for 'research whaling' in Antarctic Ocean See in context

There is no justification for Japan's commercial whaling, which this is. It's also Japan sticking a finger up at us and being bloody-minded (but having to hide miles out in the oceans hoping no-one will see them). Whaling traditions (bo***cks!).

0 ( +14 / -14 )

Posted in: 2 firms fined Y380 mil over maglev bid-rigging See in context

The whole project is stupid, particularly as it'll further damage Japan's mountain and rural environment in a big way. Perhaps they could use more or less the same route as the Tokaido Shinkansen, and construct MAGLEV in stages along it? Surely that will still be fast enough for most of us?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan, Britain hold joint military exercise in central Japan See in context

Japan needs to have armed forces, but much smaller in number than the current forces; they should be specialized professionals equipped for Japan's role in the 21st century, and be independently responsible for helping to ensure regional security. The US should gradually pull its forces out of Japan and allow Japan to take full responsibility for helping ensure regional stability and security. And Japan should be a partner, where required, in any action which is taken to combat threats or conflicts abroad. Give Japan a seat on the UN Security Council. Why not?

Are those guffaws I hear from those who believe the US will never pull out? That Abe won't stop at that? That Japan wants to rule the world? Perhaps that's the problem. Most people see it as inconceivable Japan could ever be trusted or responsible for determining its own destiny.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan drops bid for World Heritage listing of southwest islands See in context

Or the planet?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Luxury complex Tokyo Midtown Hibiya opens See in context

Rather head for somewhere more intimate for a shopping, drinking, meeting people experience ... Yanaka, Meguro, Yotsuya ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 years until kick-off See in context

Wherever. As long as England's there.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 2 dead after small plane crashes in Nara mountainous area See in context

I've been organizing and leading walking tours in the mountains of Nara and points south and east in the Kii Peninsula for Hike Japan and Quest Japan for nearly 15 years. I've seen very few private light aircraft in the skies. Lots of crows and kites!

Most unfortunate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Koike to push for smoking ban before 2020 Olympics See in context


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan forces a harsh choice on children of migrant families See in context

I wonder how easy it is to 'get permission' to travel outside the prefecture they live in? I would have thought that it might help them find work if they could travel more freely.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Two quakes turn hills into deadly cascades of mud See in context

I know little about this subject, but isn't water a major factor in landslides? Mud is soil mixed with a lot of water. Planting the right sort of vegetation would help, and I'd have thought that, if possible, channellng of water away from areas of soil - normally on an incline - which could potentially liquefy and slide down onto areas of human habitation or activity might help? Only trouble is that there are thousands of locations around the country which must be at risk. Travelling extensively around Japan, I've seen many, many examples of poor land and resource management. Those who suffer tend to be people living in the smaller rural and mountain communities. The problems Japan has to deal with as a result of its geology/topology Japan have been compounded by successive corrupt governments and misguided, ineffective policies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't eyes 20 mil foreign tourists a year by 2020 See in context

Hi Nostromo, Do you know when that JNTO survey was done, and if the results are published on the Web?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: TEPCO hires nuclear safety advocate See in context

I wonder if Lady Judge would care to live in Fukushima or Kashiwazaki?

Nuclear power is not the best long term energy policy for Japan. No highly paid consultant is going to persuade me otherwise. But I'm just a heffalump.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan will never stop whaling: minister See in context

Japan is whaling in the whale sanctuary in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. There is no justification whatsoever for whaling there. As for 'Whaling has long been part of traditional Japanese culture', so were outcasts and non-humans, doing away with the Ainu, ritual suicide and beheading. Grow up, Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Gov't approves TEPCO request for extra Y697 bil in public funds See in context

Ten trillion yen! How can those who support nuclear power for Japan justify the risk of having to pay such astrononomical compensation and decommissioning costs after an earthquake (admittedly a big one) which will amount to a sum approaching the GNP of New Zealand? Not to mention the appalling cost to people's lives, the environment, and the economy more widely. And there are how many more nuclear power plants which could be similarly damaged by another earthquake or tsunami? Surely nuclear is a bonkers energy policy for Japan? Those who disagree are simply living in denial.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan comes out big winner at U.N. conservation meeting See in context

I agree Tanabata san. I feel Japan is a loser in the sense of losing credibility both in terms of any commitment it claims to make in terms of wildlife conservation, and in political terms. Whilst Japanese fishermen are fortunate in having an abundance of fish in the seas around Japan, and - dolpins etc. excepted - make a reasonably good job of managing catches, when they go further afield they tend to do what the stereotypical Japanese tourist does. Tabi no haji wa kakisute. Whether in the Southern Oceans or the North Atlantic, they really couldn't care what happens to species which will, sooner rather than later, cease to exist. All the social and regulatory pressures at home vanish as they hunt without much concern for the consequences. In global terms, the behaviour is irresponsible and shortsighted, that of a loser telling those watching to 'get lost'.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan comes out big winner at U.N. conservation meeting See in context

Japan = loser

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Whale watching See in context

This breaching beauty looks like it's having a whale of time. Guess we better get used to seeing whales in this form. Not much time left for the real ones, unless we do something, and the Japanese government takes an intitiative for a change and does what I feel most Japanese people really want them to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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