Henny Penny comments

Posted in: Japan looks to encourage paternity leave by raising subsidies See in context

This is Japan. Nothing will ever come out of this.

Ridiculous and insulting comment. The US, for example, does not have mandatory maternity leave, let alone mandatory patrnity leave.


Japan may not be up to the standards of some countries, but it is well ahead of the single richest and most powerful country in the world.

We also have a proper national health insurance scheme, elder care insurance, nationally mandated daycare centers, and a range of other services that do not exist in the US.

This is slavery! Plain and simple! 

Use of this term in this context is inappropriate and grossly insulting to the millions who have suffered under real slavery.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Over 3 mil freelancers in Japan amid rise of flexible working styles See in context

Commentators here are right to question government use of "freelance" as described here. It looks like pasting a trendy label on diverse patterns, some of which have been around since the beginning of the industrial revolution. When I came to Japan in 1971 what this report is calling "freelance construction workers" were called "day laborers."

There is, however, nothing all that Japanese about what is described here. Similar patterns are found in the US and the UK. Blaming this on Abe is ridiculous and ahistorical. The legal changes that made it much easier for a wider range of companies to hire more temporary workers for a greater variety of jobs came during the Koizumi administration more than 15 years ago.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Pakistani, in Japan for 31 years, files lawsuit seeking special permission to remain See in context

When a Japanese government agency makes a decision (that involves foreigners) there is no emotion or compassion shown..

Japanese government agencies tend, in my experience, to cut a lot of slack for foreigners that they do not for Japanese citizens.

I have benefitted from this on numerous occasions, twice with immigration authorities.

Further, I have a comparative reference. I spent most of a decade in Britain as an invisible foreigner and had numerous opportunities to see how authorities dealt with foreign nationals. As in Japan, it is a mix of the good, the bad, and the indifferent.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Road rage suspect arrested after dashboard camera records assault See in context

I drove 1600klm on the east coast of Australia last week and did not see one road rage incident.

Perhaps you see in Japan what you want to see and ignore in Australia what you want to ignore. I read the Sydney Morning Herald on a daily basis. Road rage stories are not uncommon. Reddit has a subreddit dedicated to road rage stories. Incidents from Australia figure prominently in it.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Can Tokyo's efficient rail system handle Olympic strain? See in context

Show me any single place as nasty as this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwbPdF5dIgQ

The video is from 2008. The trains appear to be on the Seibu (private) system which has been very significantly upgraded since this video was made. (The video is probably older than 2008.)

You can see much worse on commuter lines in India.

That's a regular day. Now imagine thousands of spectators and thousands more tourists. Sure, 1% of company employees may be allowed to stay home and work.

As noted above, the video is more than a decade out of date. It apparently shows the morning rush into Tokyo from the suburbs. The tidal flow for Olympic events will be in a different direct and a different time.

The video also is clearly showing a winter scene. Heavy winter clothing causes additional crowding that is unlikely during the summer of 2020.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Heat on agenda again at newly-built Tokyo 2020 hockey venue See in context

I think that making forengers exhort themselves in abysmal conditions is a Japanese thing.

How many times does it have to be explained that the timing was decided in response to pressure from American television networks?

Saying this is a "Japanese thing" is an ethnic slur.

Further, 37 is not that bad. I've cycled 120 km in Japan (Tokyo - Kumagaya and back) when the temperature was at that level and I'm 72.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo 2020 paratriathlon test shortened due to bad water quality See in context

The Tokyo Olympics is set to become Abe's crowning glory. As a sort of symbol for his turning his country's economy around with Abenomics! (sarcasm)

The push for Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympics came from Ishihara Shintaro, not Abe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Writer hopes Japanese step out of 'comfort zone' as society diversifies See in context

London is much more diverse than NYC and far more livable.

"Diversity" in the US is superficial. Census data shows neighborhoods to be very homogenous and very segregated.

Alleged American respect for cultural diversity is quite recent. The US was built on ethnic cleansing and genocide. In graduate school I shared a house with a guy who was a social worker handling "native American" cases. As I result I had a chance to speak to "native Americans" from a number of different tribes. As one might imagine their take on immigration and diversity is quite different from what one usually hears and reads.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Can Tokyo's efficient rail system handle Olympic strain? See in context

Many comments here by people who have apparently never had to deal with commuting by rail in other major cities. London can be very nasty. Two years ago I took my two Tokyo born and raised teenage sons to London. They found the crowding in the London Underground very intimidating compared to Tokyo. When I worked in London, I avoided the Underground whenever I could. You never knew when the trains might stop between stations for long periods with no announcements as to why.

Further, anyone who thinks commuter trains in Tokyo are crowded has not seen what passes for normal in India. Search on "commuter trains India" for videos.

The picture is misleading. The scenes of the picture are rarely seen today. Trains in Tokyo are not as much crowded as in the past.

Not obvious to me why this posting should get some or any down votes. It's true. I've been commuting in Tokyo since 1971. It was much worse then. Less than 10% of Tokyo trains had air conditioning. The schedules on some lines actually listed the few trains that had air conditioning.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Study debunks Japanese belief in link between deep-sea fish, quakes See in context

I don't think that any "research" was necessary to debunk this myth. Only stupid people would believe it. Were those so called researchers paid to do that? Seriously.

Not necessarily stupid. Undersea volcanic or seismic activity might cause deep sea fish to appear near the surface.

The research was conducted not to debunk the myth but to see if there was any natural phenomenon behind it.



The study itself was published in English:

『Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America』(DOI:10.1785/0120190014)(June 18, 2019)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Four frustrating attitudes women in Japan run into when interviewing for jobs, grouped by age See in context

That there is discrimination against women in job interviews means that Japan is a normal country relative to, for example, Britain.

Do a search on "interview discrimination women uk" as I just did and you will learn that it is common in Britain.

There is a consistent pattern in comments to Japan Today articles in which a statement that there is X in Japan is interpreted as meaning X exists only in Japan and everywhere else is better.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump asked Japan to buy farm products: report See in context

Neither Trump nor US farmers want a truly open Japanese market. Australia, Canada, Thailand, etc. are actually the countries offering the best quality and price on many agricultural items Japan imports from the US. As with its purchase of F35s, Japan buys from the US to fend off criticism, not because US producers offer the best quality for the best price.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Mother, 1-year-old daughter die after apparent leap from apartment building See in context

One thing that Japan should be of about is it extremely poor systems for managing mental illness.

Are you a specialist in comparative mental health systems or are you just repeating a common cliche?

You hear of these new mothers killing themselves and their children fairly regularly in the news. 

I see similar cases reported in US/UK newspapers.

The technical term for mother child murder suicide is filicide but this is seldom used in journalistic reports. You will, however, have no trouble turning up US/UK examples if you search on mother child murder suicide. For example,



You will probably hear of more Japanese cases not because they are more common but because the Japanese and US news media is structured very differently.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Major Japanese companies pessimistic about economy: survey See in context


Certain OTC drugs may be more expensive in Japan but overall prices for prescription drugs are relatively low. It is the US that is notorious world wide for drug prices.


But what really sets the U.S. apart from most other countries is high prices.


US drug prices higher than in the rest of the world


And countless other articles.

As for pricing of ibuprophen, I checked the price for the domestic product sold under the trade name イプ? The price is on the order of 7-10 yen per pill. The imported product might cost 123 yen per pill but the domestic product is far less expensive.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: S Korean boycott hitting sales of Uniqlo, company says See in context

Japan isn't a true democracy so this fact is lost on most. Hence the downvotes.

In what sense is Japan not a true democracy?

As a general principle treaty obligations trump domestic law. Because compensation to forced laborers was covered by the 1965 treaty, Korean courts should not be ruling on this issue.

If the forced laborers are unhappy, they should be challenging the Korean government. It is the Korean government that bears responsibility for the treaty with Japan and what was done with the money Korea received from Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: 1 dead, 6 injured in Shizuoka traffic pile-up; truck driver arrested See in context

I'm actually surprised Japan doesn't have more fatal traffic accidents. People just do not pay attention when they drive. It's downright scary. Do these people think it's a game?

How many countries have you driven in? My experience includes all of the US (including NYC, Chicago, SF, LA), Britain (Scotland, England, Wales), France (excluding Paris), and Cyprus. My Japan experience is mostly Kansai.

Based on that range of experience, I would not judge driving in Japan as particularly "scary." My own truly frightening experiences have been in the San Franciso Bay Area. Much worse than anything I've ever seen in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo police voice need to provide more info to foreigners ahead of Olympics See in context

Have to explain our laws are 10/20 years behind the rest of the world 

Some specific examples, please.

"Rest of the world" covers a lot of ground. Trying to bring controlled substances into Japan usually results in you being tossed out. In some countries, you risk the death penalty.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic construction worker dies of suspected heatstroke See in context

Its obvious. The Japanese organisers fancy their chances of a haul of medals because their athletes are more accustomed to the Japanese summer heat.

It is well known that the timing of the Olympics was set by foreign television networks that did not want the Olympics going on at a time that would compete with American football or European soccer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan considers naming Yomiuri chairman as ambassador to Switzerland See in context

US ambassadorial appointments are notoriously political with "plum" appointments going to party donors and activists. This happens under both Democratic and Republican presidents. Is there some reason why it is acceptable for US administrations to do this but not Japanese?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Students take stand against sexual violence at Japan's universities See in context

The sexual discrimination and abuse of females in prevalent in every demographic of Japanese society.

Do you have hard evidence for this claim, particularly evidence that shows Japan to be worse than other highly developed countries?

With the large numbers of University students working in the redlight industries in Japan, maybe because of this the male students cannot see the difference.

Evidence for this claim?

Wonder how they feel about a sexist national media that runs articles about women's increasing breast size

This is a reference to British tabloids, right?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Multiracial athletes sparking debate in Japan ahead of 2020 Games See in context

If someone with zero ancestry obtains citizenship via legal means, they will not be considered Japanese by most Japanese people, and will be an issue for that person.

Not my experience. The only people who have questioned whether I am “Japanese” have been gaijin.

It's a nationality, an ethnicity, and an identity. Sure, if you have Japanese citizenship, you are technically Japanese. But in all reality, very few people in the world are going to accept you as being Japanese.

That is not limited to Japan. I lived in Britain for a decade. My ancestry is 100% British. I could have taken British nationality easily. Had I done so, I would have been an American with British nationality, not a Brit. For one thing, every time I spoke, my northern Illinois accent would announce that I was of foreign origin. Some Brits claim to like American accents; other get hostile.

Allowing dual nationality would be a good help I think.

I would think it would have just the opposite effect. You would be announcing that you are indeed haafu.

The problem for Japan is it does not accept dual nationality.

It accepts it in practice but not explicitly in law except in the case where you have a second nationality in a country that does not allow you to renounce your citizenship. Then it is explicitly allowed.

The Japanese government makes no effort to track down people with dual nationality. There is no penalty for holding dual nationality.

When Renho was found to have dual nationality there was a big flap but she did the paperwork to renounce her ROC nationality and life went on.

In Australia if you are a member of parliament and you are found to hold dual nationality, you get tossed out even if the other nationality is British or New Zealand.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Posted in: 'No Japan' banners scrapped in Seoul district after outcry See in context

Japanese people protesting? Japanese never protest.

That's not what the historical record shows. There were massive protests in the past over renewal of the mutual security treaty with the United States.

Violent protests against the construction of Narita Airport went on for years.

Protests against US bases in Okinawa are on going.

There have been very large scale protests against Abe and his plans to revise the Constitution as well as large scale protests again the restart of nuclear power stations.

Hang around Nagatacho or Kasumigaseki and you will see groups of Japanese protesting this, that, and the other thing just about every day of the week.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

Posted in: Being forced to change your name is nothing more than a violation of human rights. See in context

Women are not "forced" to take their husband's name. Husband's can take their wife's name. I did. Men taking their wife's surname is socially accepted.

If you want to continue using your birth name (I was never a "maiden" and never will be one) professionally (I did), you submit a 通称名登録 (registration of alternate name) and life goes on.

If you are citizen, you can stand for election under an alternate name. Both men and women do this.

Japanese who marry a foreign national and change their name can register their Japanese birth name as their alternate name and continue using it.

City and ward office websites usually have a page telling you how to register an alternate name. Here is an example from Toshima Ward in Tokyo.


While I do not personally object to changing Japanese law to allow separate names, I do not think this is a vital issue and certainly not a violation of human rights.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: An interview with #KuToo founder Yumi Ishikawa See in context

Very discrete of the author not to mention that Ishikawa was inspired by a similar petition in Britain a couple of years ago. Ishikawa herself, however, has noted the British inspiration.

Same thing happened in Britain. A brief flap. Then the movement died out and the government did nothing.


5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Chinese filmmaker shines spotlight on Japan's wartime sexual violence See in context

Under Abe things went from bad to worse, funding extremist schools trying to whitewash history books and all his grandfather was responsible for being the A-class war criminal he was.

Kishi Nobusuke was arrested but never indicted let alone tried or convicted. "Class A" war criminals were judged in terms of political crimes, not atrocities.

Schools don't whitewash history textbooks. These are produced by larger publishers. The texts are written by the people they hire.

Simple.....Germany admitted fault and took responsibility. They have tried to correct all of their wrongs. 

There were two Germanies. East Germany admitted no fault and took no responsibility. West Germany accepted responsibility "for what the Nazis did" but paid no compensation to the countries it invaded.

Just a few days ago, this was news.

Germany has recognized its moral responsibility for Nazi wartime atrocities in Poland. But Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ruled out financial reparations.


-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Theme-park food to be taxed 10% if eaten at table; 8% if eaten while walking See in context

No Europeans here?

People from many European countries find the sales tax in Japan ridiculous low. I came to Japan from Britain where the sales tax (VAT) is 20.0%. In Ireland it is 23.0%. In Sweden it is 25.0%.

In Britain, as is proposed for Japan, the VAT rate depends on whether you "eat in" or "take away."

Commentators here are ridiculing Japan for something that is not at all unusual in Europe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to decide on Aug 2 to remove S Korea from preferential treatment list See in context

I spoke with a licensed arms dealer familar with Japan and Korea. I asked him if there was any merit to Japanese claims that chemicals and other items useful in weapons manufacture imported from Japan to Korea were being exported to countries that might pass them to North Korea. He said he had not studied this particular case but in general the ROK was known to be very porous. He described it as a sieve.

Other sources have told me that long before the current flap there was pressure within the Japanese government to remove the preferential treatment for the ROK because of the fear that high tech Japanese products were ending up in North Korea.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan struggling with social worker shortage to help recluses See in context

Japan has issued 6,000 marriage licenses to men who have married a virtual hologram of Kitsune Miku. There’s a perfect example of ignoring mental health.

There is no such thing as a "marriage license" in Japan. Marriage in Japan is done by registration at your city or ward office. The required documentation precludes anything remotely comparable to what you assert.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Two disabled candidates win seats in upper house election See in context

I haven't seen any mention of another much-maligned minority - women.

Women are not a minority in Japan. There are roughly three million more females than males in the Japanese population. The difference is even larger in the voting age population.

In the Tokyo electoral district three of the six elected were women. One of those women belongs to the Japan Communist Party.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Reports say suspect in deadly Kyoto arson attack had grudge See in context

The building has been reported as having met fire codes. Small office buildings are not required to have sprinklers.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

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