herefornow comments

Posted in: Japan free trade talks with EU a 'masquerade' - Ford See in context

and in particular in the case of Japan, there should be no mistake about it: these can be called free-trade negotiations, but the intention of the negotiating party with Europe is not to embrace the model of two-way trade.”

A world-class understatement. Japan could get away with this for decades when countries were desperate to get their companies even a small foot-hold in the country because of Japan's astronomical growth/recovery -- shooting to a place as the world's second largest economy. But now with an economy in over two decades of stagnation, deflation, terribly high corporate taxes, and legendary government restrictions/bureaucracy, the game has changed. But Japan's leaders are still reflecting the arrogance that the prosperity established there. And dis-mantling all those restrictions would take many, many years. Japan is between a rock and a hard place, and there aren't going to be any easy roads out.

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Posted in: Cherry blossom season officially begins in Tokyo See in context

The one week a year that I miss Japan. Kudanshita and Aoyama Cemetery were always my fiance and my favorite places to view the cherry blossoms.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan faces higher fuel bill as nuclear shutdown enters 3rd year See in context

Should the yen fall to 100 to the dollar and stay there for the next year, Japan’s purchases of oil, gas and coal from overseas would rise 25% to just over 30 trillion yen, in the unlikely scenario that import volumes hold steady.

The down-side of Abenomics. For every person or company that the lower yen will help in terms of improving exports, it hurts one for this very reason. And if wages do not rise, increased fuel bills will hurt domestic consumption.

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Posted in: U.S. Senate panel approves assault weapons ban See in context

At least ten senators have the courage of their convictions and are willing to tell the NRA to stuff it.

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Posted in: 116,000 civilians, 4,800 coalition troops died in Iraq 2003-2011 See in context

At least 116,000 Iraqi civilians and more than 4,800 coalition troops died in Iraq between the outbreak of war in 2003 and the U.S. withdrawal in 2011, researchers estimate.

Thank you George W, Dick, Donald, Condi and all your Neocon buddies. Not to mention the HUGE debt you ran up undertaking this nightmare. I hope you all sleep well at night knowing this is your real legacy.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Argentine Jorge Bergoglio elected Pope Francis See in context

I feel the Catholic Church has made a fatal error, electing an aging, staunch conservative once again. At least they went outside of Italy and Europe, but, they had a real chance to elect a younger more theologically open minded pontiff, who could lead the church in these troubled times.

MarkX -- I respectfully disagree. I think he is a brilliant choice for the very reasons you state. By picking someone with strong conervative credentials he can possibly move the church in new directions -- albeit in small steps. A more radical pick would have immediately gotten into trouble with the curia in Rome and potentially not been able to accomplish anything. For example, the press here in the U.S. is saying he possibly agrees with the use of condoms for protection from disease. That would be huge in and of itself. I say, give him time.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Panel says there was no cover-up at Fukushima nuclear plant See in context

“The company also should have made better preparations and explanations to accommodate the investigation team.”

Ya think?

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Posted in: Panel says there was no cover-up at Fukushima nuclear plant See in context

An independent panel said Wednesday that the operator of Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear plant misinformed investigators and blocked an inspection of key equipment last year, but that it was not part of a cover-up

No, it was just TEPCO being "transparent", as it has been since 3/11/11.

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Posted in: Doraemon 'Reborn' in new Pink Crown ad series featuring Jean Reno and Atsuko Maeda See in context

dubbed the Pink Crown. The company hopes that it will attract more female customers to the model

If Toyota announced they were introducing a pink car in the U.S. in the hopes of attracting more female customers, they would be the laughing stock of the business world, and every news program in the country would be asking how they could be that out of touch with society. In Japan, no problem. LOL.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: White House: Republican budget 'doesn't add up' See in context

Did the Republicans miss the results of the last election? These are basically the same ideas that voters soundly defeated just back in November. I for one believe Medicare and Social Security need to be trimmed, but this approach is just nonsense. Stop preaching ideology simply because your "base" needs to hear it, ad nauseaum, and finally come up with some ideas that are real world. God, the Tea Party movement has set the U.S. back at least a decade.

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Posted in: Ganbare Nippon See in context

Hope they win this thing again. Japan could use a dose of good news right now.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Vienna Philharmonic lifts lid on Nazi history See in context

nigleboy -- also, before you respond, you might want to consult Wikipedia, and learn the difference between "irony" and "analogy". I said the situation was ironic, which means some parralells can be drawn, not an analogy.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Vienna Philharmonic lifts lid on Nazi history See in context

Except for the fact that your irony is way off. Austria=Korea(Japan's neighbor)

nigelboy -- nonsense. Nice try. The irony is spot on, the Philharmonic is coming clean on atrocities it comitted, not Austria. (They already did that, in 1991. Or did you not read the article, or just conveniently ignore that?) Meanwhile Japan vacalates. Man up and stop looking for semantic dodges to hide behind. Also, Yasukuni, which I referened, is just like the Philiharmonic, in that both are private entities which have, over the years, had strong governmental ties. One has chosen the moral high road, and one has chosen to spin the "victim" speak.

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Posted in: WBC brawl raises concerns in Japan See in context

Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese to play in Major League Baseball, said the incident was a result of the Mexicans not understanding the rules.

Wrong. The Mexicans understood the rules just fine. But there is a greater, un-written rule, among major-leaguers that you play the game like men, not little boys.

“The Canadians had every right to bunt in that situation and that is not unusual in Japan,” Murakami said.

With resect to Murakami, the big league stadiums would be empty every night if the game was played like it is in Japan. But, then again, maybe that is why Japanese attendance and TV ratings are dropping.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Vienna Philharmonic lifts lid on Nazi history See in context

The famed Vienna Philharmonic has acknowledged that many of its musicians were Nazi party members during Hitler’s rule and that its director may have delivered a prestigious orchestra award to a Nazi war criminal two decades after the end of World War II.

Kinda ironic that this article is appearing in "Japan Today", a country that still has government members go to Yasakuni Shrine to pay tribute to Class A war criminals every year. Wonder is this dawns on any Japanese folks and maybe makes them understand a little why their neighbors get so upset when they do that?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Abe vows Japan will emerge stronger from 2011 disaster See in context

promising that the nation would emerge stronger from its worst disaster since World War Two.

Same BS the government has been slinging for two years now. Doesn't make the 300,000 folks still in temporary housing one bit better off, does it?

Abe had earlier run an advertisement in English-language newspapers on Monday extolling the virtues of a resilient “New Japan” two years after 3.11

This is really what the J-government is best at -- putting a lovely veneer on things to mask all the real issues so that the outside world things the country is still great. How sad.

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Posted in: Americans gave $712.6 mil to disaster-hit Japan: report See in context

Individuals, companies and non-profit groups have donated $712.6 million to help crisis-stricken areas over the last 24 months, the Japan Center for International Exchange said in a report.

And this does not count the billions in aid rendered following the quake by the U.S. military, especially the navy. As the commercial says "A global force for good".

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: KKR, Carlyle, others seek limit of Japan government funds See in context

It's wrong when Japan does it, but when Obama bails out the US auto industry it's fine.

Jeff, if you knew what you were talking about, you'd know there is a huge difference. When Obama, actually it was Bush who started the ball rolling, bailed out the U.S. car companies, it was to institute the "tough love" I spoke of. Which in GM and Chysler's cases involved managed bankruptcies, massive layoffs, re-structuring union contracts, and, even allowing foreign ownership into Chrysler (Fiat). That is NOT what the J-government is going to do.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Emperor, empress lead tributes on 2nd anniversary of disaster See in context

figures show 315,196 people are still without a permanent home, many in cramped temporary housing units.

Complications associated with stressful living conditions have killed 2,303 survivors of the quake/tsunami, government figures show, while domestic violence and depression are increasingly noted as problems in some communities.

Shameful. I was still living in Japan at the time of the quake and remember vividly all the prognostications by people in the J-government, as well as many posters here on JT, about how the quake would be a "change-agent" for Japan and a chance of the country to once again display its legendary efficiency and re-build the Tohoku area better than it was. In short order. Instead, it has been a display for the whole world to see -- and trust me, the U.S. papers have been having articles every day this week about the situation there -- of legendary Japanese bureaucratic red-tape and inefficiency which has left the victims in the lurch while folks in Tokyo and the rest of the country, go on with their lives and waste money on things like PR for Tokyo SkyTree, instead of reconstruction. One figure this article conveniently leaves out is how much money has actually been paid by TEPCO to the victims/the number of claims settled. It is embarrasing. Nor does it mention the victims who have relocated who are shunned in their new communities because of an irrational fear of radiation exposure. Instead of pausing for a moment of silence at 2:46, the whole country should collectively look themselves in the mirror and realize how shabbily they have responded in the two years. But, don't worry, getting the 2020 Olmpic Games will solve everything, because that will lift all these poor folks' spirits.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: KKR, Carlyle, others seek limit of Japan government funds See in context

I agree with the Japanese gov't to try and help these companies their own way, private equity firms be damned!

MarkX -- Nonsense. You think too much like Marx. One of the major reasons big Japanese firms, like the electronics ones, have fallen behind their global competition, is just that attitiude. These firms are terribly inefficient by global standards. And, as stated in the article, a "soft restructuring" backed by government funds, more concerned about employment than efficiency, will only prolong their problems. Sometimes "tough love" is the best sloution and Japan Inc needs to face that fact and stop hiding behind the government's skirts. Man up.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: China calls on Japan, U.S., EU to avoid devaluation See in context

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The only thing keeping the U.S. from declaring China a currency manipulator are the political needs we have with them, like NK.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Toyota shake-up signals new direction See in context

But its management style had come in for criticism in recent years as too parochial for a global business,

Yup, just one of the serious flaws on the Japan Inc. model. Good to see Toyoda-san recognizes it, and is shaking things up. Unfortunately most CEO's in Japan do not have that kind of vison, nor the clout his last name gives him, to do the same. In most cases, CEO's were elected by their cronies on the board with the expectation they would not bring radical change. Japan is at least two decades behind the times in terms of management direcion.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan's 'long war' to shut down Fukushima nuclear plant See in context

Melted fuel debris is to be removed from the reactors from 2021 and the entire project wrapped up within 30 to 40 years

In other words, kids born at the time of the quake will be middle-aged, and still paying through the nose in taxes and high utility rates, for this disaster. Sure hope their parents enjoyed all the "cheap electricity" they got from all the nukes. Their children are just going to suffer the consequences of their willful neglect of safety concerns.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: Abe says Tokyo deserves 2020 Games See in context

How surprising. Abe calling on the sympathy vote. Give us the Olympics or you don't care about the victims of the tragedy. Victims, by the way, half of whose reconstruction budget we are admitting to have misspent.

Either conduct yourself in a way people will admire, or in a way which inspires contempt. You can't play both games.

Barry -- absolutely spot on. Japan Inc., led by Abe, is shameleesly using the deaths and continued suffering of thousands of people to try to guilt the IOC into giving them the Olympics, when they could not win it on their own merits a few years back. This is a disgusting display and Japan should be ashamed of their "leaders" for spending tax money to support it.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Posted in: Sharp announces $111 mil tie-up with Samsung See in context

Models display Sharp's line of Galapagos tablet comptuers in Tokyo on November 29, 2010

Just realized how ironic this caption is. The Japanese electronics firms have struggled in great part due to the infamous "Galapagos Effect" -- them desinging products principally for the Japanese market and becoming too inward focused. And here they are less than three years after having introduced these "new" products, getting help from Samsung.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Sharp announces $111 mil tie-up with Samsung See in context

Wow. Guess the phrase "Japan Miracle" is certainly dead as it applies to the electronics sector. Hope Sharp gets back on its feet. Japan needs it and Sony, Panasonic, etc. to re-gain their footing in the global market.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Fukushima lags in recovery from disaster See in context

Yeh, but don't worry. Tokyo is going to win the 2020 Olympics as a testimony to the tremendous recovery, so this is all just a non-issue. Can't Fukushima folks understand that a little suffering on their part is for the better good of the fat-cats/Japan Inc. in Tokyo that will profit from the games?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Saitama man dies after hospitals reject him 36 times See in context

1) Japan does not have socialized health care.

slumdog -- really, what is it then? LOL.

This is a legal matter that has nothing to do with health care coverage

Horse feathers. This is a direct result of the rules that are followed by paramedics -- who are really just glorified taxi drivers -- and hospitals as set out by the national, prefectural, and local health authorities. This is absolutely an indictment of the Japanese health care system and I'm glad I am no longer a potential victim of it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan could miss fiscal target even with 3% economic growth: gov't document See in context

Japan will miss its target for cutting its fiscal deficit even if it achieved nominal economic growth of 3%, unless there are further cuts in spending, according to a government estimate obtained by Reuters on Monday

So all of you economic gurus/Japanophiles who say Japan's debt is no problem since most of it is held domestically may have missed just one small point. That being the the absolute size of it has become so large, that with a shrinking/aging population and a declining economy they are unlikely to reach a primary budget balance under the best of circumstances -- in a decade.

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Posted in: Father dies sheltering 9-year-old daughter from blizzard See in context


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