Henny Penny comments

Posted in: Japan's 1st bill to punish hate speech submitted in Kawasaki See in context

I do not know for sure. Actually several cities in Japan classify non-和人, their descendants and even 和人 who have some sort of 'foreign background' as '外国人' certain official purposes. Read the comments of this page too as well as the article itself: http://www.debito.org/?p=15820

I read the article. Then I searched in Japanese to see how the term cited in his text 外国人市民 is used. When I searched on 外国人市民 名古屋, all the hits were for programs to help people with "foreign roots" adapt to life in Nagoya or seeking participants for committees looking into the problems people with "foreign roots" have in Nagoya.

Search for yourself to verify what I have said.

As for naturalized Japanese being treated as foreign by muncipalities or government agencies, that has not been my experience. (I naturalized in 2014.) I have received any and all entitlements due Japanese citizens and when I naturalized I was told without asking that not only could I now vote but I could also run for public office if I so wished.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's 1st bill to punish hate speech submitted in Kawasaki See in context

"bans discriminatory remarks against a person from a particular country or region in public spaces such as on the street or in a park."

Something seems to be missing here. Historically, the usual target for racists in Japan has been other Japanese. That's why schools, especially in western Japan, take up the "Dowa Mondai." If you read Japanese, it is not unusual to see racist comments directed at those on the receiving side of the Dowa Mondai, especially in Osaka.

Has Kawasaki forgotten about them?

And do the comments sections of on-line publications constitute a public space? I can think of at least one on-line publication that carries a very large number of "discriminatory remarks against [persons] from a particular country."

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Nearly 20% of Japan households using e-money but cash still king See in context

Good to see some people questioning the push to cashless in Japan. Cashless means there is an electronic record of everything you have spent, when, and where. Even if the data is anonymous, if you are a creature of habit (most people are), big data analysis can identify you with a high level of probability.

It's not a question of if but when in terms of this record being used against you.

In my experience with cashless in the UK, payment often takes longer than with cash even when the terminal does not misread your card or you do not enter your pin number properly.

Then, there is a question of what happens when the communications and power networks are down by of quakes, tsunami, hacking, or whatever.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: One year after arrest, Ghosn seeks to throw out case against him See in context

Stand by your rich white man!

Ghosn has been treated like royalty compared to what poor people, especially blacks and hispanics, receive in the US.

People here who are claiming that Japan is out of line with generally accepted standards need to read up on how the US system, for example, works if you are black.


Ghosn is doing better in Japan than the typical foreign national busted in France according to a British government document on the subject.


Am I the only one who has noticed that the French government has done essentially nothing to help Ghosn? Am I the only one who has noticed that the Renault workers have not been clamoring to get their Dear Leader back?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: 20-year-old woman stabbed to death in Niigata See in context

I cannot understand why some people interpret "low crime rate" as meaning there is no crime in Japan. Low is a relative term. Japan is one of a number of relatively low crime rate countries. Britain is a low crime rate country relative to the US especially in terms of gun crime. That does not mean there is no gun crime in Britain. Norway is a low crime rate country but it has also had horiffic mass shootings.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: One year after arrest, Ghosn seeks to throw out case against him See in context

The prosecutors could do the right thing and not oppose this. Surely they now know that their case will fail.

It is well known that prosecutors in Japan do not go forward when they think they will lose. That's why there is a 99% conviction rate. Most cases are dropped or handled without going to court.

Ghosn has already paid a one million dollar fine in the US to the SEC on a charge very similar to one of the charges he faces in Japan.

At the very least, that doesn't look good.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: Court rejects damages suit over same-surname-after-marriage rule See in context

I cannot get a family credit card because my wife doesn’t have the same surname.

Try a different bank. Before I naturalized and took my wife’s surname, we had a joint credit card with different names. They called once to verify that’s what we wanted. I said yes. The application sailed through.

> How does it treat men and women equally when the woman has to change her name. That’s just absurd!

She doesn’t have to change her name. He can change his. I did. It’s not uncommon in Japan. The law is gender blind.

Japan does not have "joint" credit cards anyway, so having a different surname would not have mattered. Just as Japan does not have joint bank accounts either.

Don’t know what you mean. My wife and I each have a cash card for the same account and a credit card for the same account. Before I took her surname, the cards had different surnames.

On paper the Civil Code provision is gender neutral like that. But in practice, in 96% of marriages in Japan the woman is the one who changes her name, so there is a huge imbalance in its effect.

In the US more than 90% of women take their husbands surname.

Missing from this article and the comments here is any mention of the Japanese 通称 (tsusho) system.

When I naturalized I took my wife’s surname but I continued to use my birth name (as a male I consider the term maiden name sexist). To do this I filed a standard one page A4 form that basically says “My legal name is X but I want to be known a Y.”

Most local government websites have a page that explains how you can register a tsusho. Some have explanations in English.

Under Japanese law you can even stand for election under your tsusho rather than your legal name. Both men and women do it.

While I personally do not oppose legal provision for separate surnames, I think it is a vastly overblown issue. Five years after taking my wife’s surname, I’m still using my European birth name everywhere except with the tax authorities and cases where I use my medical insurance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Emperor completes secretive key succession ritual See in context

As government expenditure goes, this is completely innocuous and is being used here simply for Japan-bashing. If those commenting here were really concerned about tax money being wasted, they would focus on something really big ticket such as government plans to buy more than one hundred F35s at a total cost estimated to be north of $10 billion.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Made in America: U.S. brands that became Japanese See in context

Good read.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Nissan slashes full-year forecast as first-half profit falls See in context


They will continue to try to spin this as all of Ghosn's fault in the J-media.

Don’t know what Japanese media you are viewing or reading, but there has actually been quite a bit of criticism of the Japanese managers at Nissan in Japanese language venues.


True. Nissan has a very uninspiring lineup now and though sales of SUV's and Trucks, at least in US are up, Nissan's share is DOWN from 2019 Q3 numbers. 

Because of it take several years to develop automobile designs and bring them to market, anything Nissan has on offer now was developed under Ghosn.


American business sites like CNBC they're also reporting in favor of Ghosn and how the whole scandal was super shady.

Other business cites including the Financial Times have been coming down hard on Ghosn. So too for US auto industry publications.


The fact that he's not rotting in jail like Ghosn is for financial theft, is damaging Nissan's reputation too. It's clearly one rule for them and one for us!

Rotting in Jail? He’s been out on bond for months.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: S Korean court holds 1st hearing on 'comfort women' civil suit See in context


I'd be interested to know how they verify that individual women were actual victims, and not just some old lady trying to make a quick Buck by being part of the lawsuit

It's not the old women themselves but their handlers who are doing this. The comfort women are their livelihood. Literally.

When the self-styled comfort women first came forward in the the 1990s, their stories were never verified. Now those women are either dead are too old to question without being attacked for cruelty.

Korean scholars who have noted discrepancies in their stories have been villified and ostracized.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan's new working visa acquired by only 219 foreigners in first 6 months See in context

@No Business

Precisely what I was thinking.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Tougher penalties introduced for employers over foreign intern disappearances See in context


Hmmm "supervisor bodies?" So is one government agency going to be overlooking another government agency here? Isn't that like the "blind leading the blind?"

Yes, but that's the way things are generally done in the US and the UK, probably other countries as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's new working visa acquired by only 219 foreigners in first 6 months See in context

(1) There is not much "skilled work" you can do in Japan if you cannot speak, read, and write Japanese.

(2) There is an assumption here that "skilled workers" could go to other countries with better pay, better working conditions, and lower taxes.

Would someone asserting this, please list those other countries?

In fact, very few countries accept skilled blue collar workers. Further, skilled blue collar jobs typically require that you have a license for your skill.

Britain, for example, has many foreign skilled blue collar workers, but only from the EU because the EU guarantees freedom of movement.

(3) If wages are low, working conditions are terrible, and taxes horrendous, why is it the Japan seems to have no trouble attracting an endless supply of English conversation teachers? (English conversation teachers has been treated as de facto skilled workers for visa purposes.)

(4) I get the impression that people commenting here have read nothing about the pay, work environment, and taxation of immigrant workers in other countries.

As soon as you make comments about something in Japan being high, low, good, bad, that is inherently a comparison with something. That something should be read data about the immigrant worker situation in other countries.

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

Posted in: Japan to tighten tax rules on wealthy people See in context

This looks like a very weak version of US FBAR/FATCA law.


US FATCA is even worse.


US citizens and green card holders resident in Japan should be far more worried about what the IRS wants to know about your Japan assets than what the Japanese government wants to know about your foreign assets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Yokohama legal firm refuses to return passport to Filipino woman See in context

So, a criminal organization is withholding the passport of one of their slave workers and it is the worker who is at fault? This is Japan!

Generalizing from one example to all of Japan is racist. Workers get screwed in all countries. You don't have to read more than a few days of US/UK papers to get stories of immigrant workers being treated badly. In the US/UK case, such stories are seen as the actions of individual employers, not the entire country.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Posted in: Nightclub files criminal complaint against Uruguay rugby players See in context

@Vince Black

They apologized. Why can't foreigners use the Japanese staple excuse "I was drunk and don't remember"

Foreigners can and do use this execuse. What gave you the idea that they don't?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan asks S Korean parliament speaker retract emperor comments See in context

@Norman Goodman

Nobody doubts German sincerity. Japanese sincerity over this is obviously non-existent. Insincere apologies are garbage.

Lots of people doubt German sincerity including Greeks, Polish, and Russians. My British friends are quick to point out that Germany never apologized to the European countries it invaded and it paid virtually nothing in reparations.

Moreover, the rise of the AfD (Alternative for German) is making many people within and without Germany very nervous. The AfD makes the Nippon Kaigi look left wing.

@Chip Star

Japan simply does not understand how to take responsibility for its actions. An apology is ineffective if you turn around and immediately continue to deny anything happened.

"Japan" is not a homgenous blob where everyone thinks the same. No apologies have been repudiated. There are deniers, but that is because we have freedom of speech in Japan unlike China and North Korea.

Treating "Japan" as a homogenous blob is racist. We have right-wingers, left-wingers, middle-of-the-roaders. There is no one "Japanese voice" on anything.

Generalizing about "Japan" or "the Japanese" is the same as generalizing about "gaijin" - it is racist.

17 ( +25 / -8 )

Posted in: Olympic golf must be moved because of heat, politician tells IOC See in context

The whole heat thing is wildly exaggerated, especially for golf. I have cycled 140 km and more on some of the hottest days in the past three years. I will be 73 in nine days. Competition running on hot summer days might be a problem, but golf?

And, like some other posters, I find it hard to see golf as an Olympic sport in the first place.

Finally, as a citizen, taxpayer, and Tokyo resident, I'd be happy to see the entire Olympics moved somewhere else, preferably to another country.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Prosecutors seek 7-year-terms for couple in Abe cronyism scandal See in context

Lock them both up. They've also got ties to Nippon Kaigi and who knows what other right wing nutjob groups. Racists, both of them. But they're also very rich and as we know rich people don't go to jail

Fine sense of due process you have.

Odd that no one has mentioned that they have already spent ten months locked up during the same period when people here were bleeting about Ghosn being locked up for a couple of months.

Compared to Ghosn, the Koike couple are hardly wealthy.

Do we have one standard here for rich white men like Ghosn and another standard for not particularly well-off Japanese?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Posted in: Justice minister quits over wife's alleged election law breach; 2nd cabinet exit in a week See in context

Endless corruption, endlessly.

Endless Japan/Japanese bashing, endlessly.

I grew up in the Chicago area. If this is the best that Japan and the Japanese can up with in the way of corruption, we deserve all the bashing that is directed at us in this venue.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan tax agency finds Ghosn used Nissan money for private use: report See in context

Even if it is a leak, that does not alter the fact that Nissan (not Ghosn himself) got hit up for underpayment of taxes. If anything this is further evidence of poor and/or corrupt management within Nissan. It does not add anything to what was already know about Ghosn himself.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Gov't to urge male civil servants to take more than 1-month childcare leave See in context


This is nice and all, and I know that Japan has far too many public servants, but this is useless unless it is enforced for all workers.

Japan is in fact known for having a relatively low number of national government civil servants.

They could write legislation making it mandatory that all companies have to let males take a month off to help with child rearing.

If they did, that would put Japan way ahead of the US which does not have mandatory legislation providing paid leave even for females.



My experiences with two kids are similar. Guys don't need a block of time off unless there are complications. What guys need is to be able to take off time at short notice especially when the kids are in day care or the first few years of elementary school. Fortunately, I had a job that let me do this.

Since my wife had a work from home job, having me there for a solid month would have been detrimental to our marriage.

Specialists in childcare both Japanese and foreign know that this government push is PR driven. Bureaucrats are responding to mostly unjustified foreign criticism by trying to push up the stats in a highly visible way even if leave for fathers is in general not all that helpful.

It would be far more helpful to have less overtime and for it to be completely predictable but that would not show up as a single number that could be used for PR purposes.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Defense Minister Kono apologizes for joking about typhoons See in context

@Do the hustle

In 2019 I can’t believe they have not set up the entrance exams online.

Entrance exams in Japan (and other countries) are not offered online for what should be a very obvious reason: it is essentially impossible to verify who is actually answering the exam questions.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: NHK sues head of minor political party over unpaid subscription fees See in context

As someone who emigrated to Japan from Britain, I am always amused by those who rant about the NHK fee. The BBC plays real hardball.

You could be prosecuted if we find that you have been watching, recording or downloading programmes illegally. The maximum penalty is a £1,000 fine plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay.*


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan ramps up spending for typhoon relief, but workers are scarce See in context

@Do the hustle

There are 5 million JSDF members sitting around scratching their privates. Isn’t this what a National Defense Force is for?

The target strength for the JSDF is a bit under 250,000. The actual number is around 225,000.

I have yet to see a numerical claim by you that was even remotely close to being correct.

@Brian Wheway

[Y]es your right, Japan has to stop being so blinkered, narrow minded when it comes to opening up its boarders, there shed loads of people out there that want to work from other countries.

Japan does not exist apart from its people. You are in effect saying that the Japanese people are “blinkered, narrow minded.” That is a racist claim. Japan is in fact open. I am a naturalized Japanese citizen who came here from Britain.

Neither the US nor the UK accept skilled blue collar workers as such. Immigrants may end up in such jobs, but they get in under other rubrics.


[M]any US abled-bodied ships and personnel including shelters, food were at the ready within 30 minutes and available on site to assist but the Japanese government refused the assistance and so countless lives were lost that possible could have saved some of them.

The US provided substantial assistance that was gratefully accepted. This effort came to be known as Operation Tomodachi.



I have to wonder what motivates people to make completely bogus claims here.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Diaper rush: conquering a $9 bil market no-one wants to talk about See in context

In Japan, where adult incontinence products have outsold baby diaper sales since around 2013 due to a rapidly aging population

Bogus claim. Only one company said that its sales of adult diapers exceeded the sales of infant diapers. Clueless journalists mutated this company-specific claim into an assertion for the industry as a whole.

Further, since the average price of adult diapers is 5 times that of infant products, selling one adult diaper generates the same revenue as five infant diapers.

This claim is one of many urban myths circulating about Japan. We desperately need something equivalent to snopes.com.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Kyoto says it paid ¥1 mil to comedians for unmarked promotional tweets See in context

Kyoto goes to these extreme measures to promote tourism in the city and then complain there are too many tourists. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sees the contradiction.

The people complaining are not necessarily the same people promoting tourism.

Kyoto has a population of roughly 1.5 million. It is improbable that everyone in Kyoto holds the same view of tourism.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Lawmakers eye restoration of ex-imperial members to ensure male succession See in context

In reading about the possibility of female succession in both Engish and Japanese I have found no suggestion whatsoever that any of the females in the royal families want to be Emperor.

I cannot speak for them personally, but given all the constraints on the royal families, it would not be surprising if the royal women are more than happy to escape through marriage to commoners.

Masako is known to have been extremely reluctant to marry into the imperial household and as is equally well-known it did not do good things for her emotional well being.

Further, this is not an issue for foreign nationals any more than having female priests or a female pope is an issue for non-Catholics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't to start using 'family name first' order from Jan 1 See in context

Japan has been odd man out for too long. In English language publications, Chinese and Korean names have long been rendered surname first. (Hungarians do this as well.) Vietnamese also use surname first order.

Academic publications on Japan have been almost entirely surname first for decades.

Not obvious to me why foreign nationals should have any say in this. Japanese do not tell you what to do in your country. No reason why you should be telling me what to do in mine.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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