Hikozaemon comments

Posted in: We don't see any way that you can have fair trade with Japan because of all of the non-tariff barriers, Japanese culture, tight integration of the government policies and the companies. We don't see a See in context

Ah yes, Detroit - the quality car making capital of the world....

I'd love to buy a car from there... if it weren't for all these damned imaginary trade barriers....

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Posted in: Governor promotes Fukushima rice at Tokyo supermarkets See in context

Hmm, so let's be clear since we have a consensus.

People here seem convinced that (1) All Fukushima food should be treated as contaminated, (2) Japanese government standards, while stricter and testing more thorough than anywhere else in the world, cannot be trusted and all such food should be considered unsafe even if tested, (3) this is Fukushima's problem, and the people of Fukushima should be forced to consume all food produced there without spreading the contamination of that food elsewhere, (4) the people of Fukushima are unlucky to have lived with a nuclear reactor that melted down, but now that has happened, the best thing Japan and the world can do is isolate them and limit the spread of their contamination by boycotting and isolating them.

My advice to anyone, Japanese, gaijin, or Martian, is that if you want to stigmatize and isolate Fukushima produce, the ONLY way it is physically possible is to leave Japan. You can comment all you want, but as a practical issue, the choice is pretty simple. You either accept the risk and trust that everyone is doing their best to ensure safety, or you don't trust, scream about it, and stop eating anything you don't buy and cook yourself - which some Japanese are doing.

I'm staying. And eating out. I hope the government testing of Fukushima rice is thorough, and on that basis, that it does something to help the recovery of the prefecture and the people who are getting abused for being victims of all this.


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Posted in: NZ joins Australia in court against Japanese whaling See in context

IWC rules require sale and consumption of meat resulting from scientific catching. So it is sold. That is not proof of dishonesty. It is proof of Japan following the rules, and wilful ignorance of critics in trying to understand why there is a whale restaurant in Shibuya.

People ignore this fact because it makes good propaganda. Which is good for fundraising, but bad for a solution.

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Posted in: NZ joins Australia in court against Japanese whaling See in context

Janes- as you know, IWC rules require sale and consumption of scientific catch. The whole purpose of the IWC is to sustain the whaling businesses.

Yes, there is one restaurant in Shibuya that sells meat sold on scientific catches.

No one in Australia wants to think about why this is. They just point fingers and point out how superior they are.

You don't try to understand the other side, of COURSE they will dig in to spite you.

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Posted in: Clashes erupt across Egypt over Morsi's new powers See in context

HonestDictator - it is not just his religion - the Muslim Brotherhood of which he was a member until immediately before the election - banned in Egypt as a terrorist group until the revolution, is a parent group of both Hamas, and spawned guys like Al Zawahiri - ideological leaders of Al Qaeda.

It's not just a statement of which temple he goes to. He is politically alligned with a religious political party with some pretty extreme world views...

Still congrats to him on winning the election, and best of luck to secular Egypt (and granted, the secular dictators of Egypt did everything to justify their removal).


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Posted in: U.S. military to begin patrols during curfew hours in Naha See in context

A curfew!? Patrols?! It is like those guys are in the military or something!

Hang about...

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Posted in: NZ joins Australia in court against Japanese whaling See in context

I'm from both those countries, and they are very emotionally invested in beating up Japan over whaling, but they are wrong.

For one thing, it's true that Australians and New Zealanders feel a sense of entitlement and moral rights to exercise sovereignty over the international waters in the Southern Ocean. There is no legal basis for that - just the isolation of those countries and the sense of it being their "back yard", but legally it is baseless, and if a principle of extended sovereign rights over vast areas of international waters like the Southern Oceans, that is going to make any kind of marine activity impossible anywhere, and will exaccerbate territorial issues in more crowded oceans.

The movement to spread the moral value that whaling is wrong, to indigenous arctic peoples, Greenlanders, Icelanders, Scandinavians and Japanese, is a kind of 21st century reenactment of the spread of colonial missionaries in the preceding centuries, hoping to save and enlighten the inferior cultures of the world with Western religion and modernity. While that kind of religious colonialism has been discredited, secular countries take up this cause with the same logic, fervor, and good intentions of missonaries that spread around the Pacific wiping out local cultures a century ago.

This moral drive allows itself to use a lot of weak and emotional arguments to justify the science of its culturally imperialist position. Cries that the scientific whaling is a scam, not really intended to check whale resource levels. They claim it further endangers endangered species. A lot of people in NZ sincerely believe all whales are endangered.

The scientific whaling exception was left because the purpose of the moratorium was not to end the practice of whaling as morally wrong, but to allow whale stocks to recover, and to allow whaling nations to monitor that recovery. Of course it is also used to sustain the industry - and industry, that were it not for the inflammatory cultural imperialism of countries like Australia and NZ, and public support for groups like Sea Shepherd in those countries that make a living off antagonizing countries like Japan, might have actually died out here like it has elsewhere.

But I am glad that NZ and Australia are doing this through the international court process - I don't see how Japan can lose. And I believe it will result in some home truths needing to be stated clearly - Australia does not own the Southern Ocean, and whaling is not a universal moral wrong, just because Australians and Kiwis think it is.


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Posted in: Governor promotes Fukushima rice at Tokyo supermarkets See in context

Blendover - I think it goes further than that. If you eat out at all, don't need to be an expat. If you eat at the company caffeteria. If you eat a conbini bento. If you go to a Japanese izakaya or restaurant. If you get a quick Japanese fast food donburi. If you get a lunchbox set from the supermarket.

Unless you actually purchase and cook all your own food, three meals a day, or somehow can cut rice and vegetables out of your diet, you are going to eat Fukushima food - especially if you are in Kanto or anywhere north of there, for which Fukushima was and remains a breadbasket direct supplier.

Frankly, especially for Tokyo residents, it will be impossible to live here and not consume Fukushima rice without realizing it. Myself, and my family already undoubtedly eat veges from affected prefectures, and China (which still is a bigger and more legitimate fear, given the food safety issues they continue to have there).

I have no problem with people being hysterical about this. Just keep it to yourself and quietly leave.

Just don't go to Europe - their food is much more contaminated, and cesium standards are set much more loosely than those applied in Japan. But go to Canada, or Australia or something, and enjoy your life there.

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Posted in: Noda says LDP making pledges it won't be easy to keep See in context

I find it hard to see how the LDP will not have a lower house with 2/3rds right wing parties supporting constitutional reform after this election.

Which by the way, the constitution needs reform. There is no question about that. Article 9 aside (the only thing Japan's constitution is known for), the Japanese constitution, as a national constitution of any country is a joke. It is an occupation constitution, originally written in English by a handful of law students pulled in by MacArthur - probably in crayon.

I think the current constitution should be torn up and rewritten from the ground up - and I have no problem with going back to the Meiji Constitution as a base for doing that as Hashimoto is suggesting. My only wish for all this is that a referendum is used. The constitution should be apolitical. The impending right wing landslide in the next election should not be abused as an opportunity for political or ideological amendments without a clear direct public mandate for the amendments itself.

But if the Japanese public signs off, it would be good for Japan to actually have its own real constitution for the first time since it lost the war.

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Posted in: S Korea warns of Japan's shift to the right See in context

Bruinfan - By "Everyone Party", I think you mean Minna no Tou ,which is actually "Your Party" in English. That party, while soft as LDP offshoots goes, and likeable as its leader Watanabe is, is a pure LDP offshoot, that went independent simply in the hope of pushing specific policies and getting a shot at holding cabinet portfolios. They will support the LDP agenda both on foreign policy and on constitutional reform.

The only parties on the left are the Communists (polling 2.5%), the SDP (polling around 0.5%) and Ozawa's People First Party (not registering in polls), so there is NO hope whatsoever of moderating leftist influences in the next government.

And yes, as SamuraiBlue called it- for a drooling right wing nationalistic brainwashed country that routinely engages in nationalistic and miliataristic stunts to antagonize neighbors for political gains, it is pretty fresh for South Korea to be commenting on any shift to more nationalism in Japan, which even under Abe would still pale in comparison to the right wing militarism of South Korea.

If Ishihara was PM, you would start to approach the current level of the South Korean government - as Shintaro has himself suggested what Korea does with Takeshima - fully militarized with regular inflammatory leader visits, is exactly what Japan should do with the Senkakus.

Point is, both Korea and China seem terrified of Japan ever actually becoming like they are. Which I am too - but they should have no right to even speak on the subject based on recent history. Pure hypocrisy.

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Posted in: Geeks seek love at masked match-making event See in context

I'd love to join if they'd let me wear a paper bag on my head.

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Posted in: Governor promotes Fukushima rice at Tokyo supermarkets See in context

And yes, btw - no matter how hard you try to avoid this stuff, if you eat out, you WILL eat Fukushima rice. Restaurants, supermarket bento makers, onigiri shops, convenience stores will by the best rice they can get at the best price, and they don't have to disclose the origin of the rice they use.

So if you really are going to get all paranoid about Fukushima rice, you'd best leave Japan now.

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Posted in: Governor promotes Fukushima rice at Tokyo supermarkets See in context

Love the "not my problem, boycott Fukushima even if it is tested and shown safe" attitude here.

Foreigners like to point out hibakusha, buraku and Minamata victim discrimination against Japanese by Japanese as some kind of Japanese phenomenon of stigmatization and discrimination.

But let's face it - gaijins in Japan are probably the worst perpetrators of this kind of stigmatization, and the comments above on this thread prove it.

Righteous unless it affects me....

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Posted in: Kamei to form yet another political party See in context

Michael Craig - Hatoyama and Ozawa ran the Liberal Party for a number of years that merged into the DPJ. It never polled very well, but they stood out to me as having a well thought out centrist list of policies they ran under - they basically aspired to be like an overseas political party. Just had the wrong people at the helm.

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Posted in: Kamei to form yet another political party See in context

Kamei deserves some credit - in spite of setting up his Kokumin Shinto as an almost cynical fund for lobbying against postal reform, funded by the post office, he did prop up the DPJ and give it a leg to govern throughout the last three years (I always believed the DPJ should have tried to court Komeito instead). They were also a stabilizing force against the ramblings of the SDP which lowered its reputation further with Fukushima's performance as welfare minister.

I'll also credit Kamei - he broke with the DPJ on policy based principle, namely Kan's betrayal of the DPJ pledge not to raise the sales tax during his first term.

In the end of the day, the money behind his party spoke - when he tried to take Kokumin Shinto out of coalition, his party kicked them out (other members remembering their purpose being to get post office political funding to remain in power to oppose postal reform).

I'm guessing post office privatization is no longer a flagship issue for him because that banner remains with his mercenary party. Separated from postal reform, where Kamei has spoken out on policy issues, I've generally found he actually makes a lot of sense, even though I disagree with his TPP opposition.

In the end of the day, the new party is just a banner under which he will get directly reelected to his seat. That said, free of the LDP, and out of the pocket of the Post Office, I probably can actually say that for this first time, I actually find him likeable and wish him the best in the next election.

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Posted in: More opinion polls show LDP favored to win election See in context

I think it's clear that the LDP will win by a landslide. What is more interesting is whether the DPJ can even hold onto third place, and whether any of the new parties can challenge the Soka Gakkai Party for the third position, although frankly, LDP is looking like it will get such a lead that even the no2 and no3 parties couldn't outnumber them.

The real question I guess is whether the LDP will even need coalition partners outside of Komeito (or even Komeito, for that matter).

It's hard to see the left getting any traction - DPJ will get at best around 15% of seats, Communists about 2.5%, SDP, Greens, and Ozawa's Party around 1%. Other parties are really all recent LDP spinoffs or far right parties. Komeito is the most center of the remaining parties but they are still firmly in bed with the LDP.

It should be a walkover for Abe's stable return. My only hope is that he doesn't give coalition partners, like Ishihara, a platform for trouble making.

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Posted in: Chiba riot cop arrested for offering schoolgirl money for sex See in context

Apparently, the riot was in his trousers...

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Posted in: Opposition LDP keeps lead - poll See in context

Debucho - Abe has NO policies, just sound bytes - the LDP's manifesto is to do "what they said" - the bureaucrats. Which makes them the same as the DPJ right now, only more experienced.

41% no affiliated does not mean potential votes - it means no votes.

This will be a low turnout with Komei, DPJ and Ishin polling equally around 10% competing for 2nd and 3rd place.

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Posted in: Rockets hit near Tel Aviv as Gaza death toll rises See in context

Athletes - reading your post again.

In theory Israel withdrew military force. Reality is Civilians construction projects keep expanding their settlement into Gaza. As Taramara posted before

You can't be serious...

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Posted in: 9 lawmakers quit DPJ as dissent over election grows See in context

I believe one rather opportunistic DPJ member intends to join the LDP...

There is only one party running in this next election - the LDP, and they will win by a landslide.

The Soka Gakkai party will remain its primary coalition partner. Then you will have the DPJ which will poll 10% or less, a possible Hashimoto/Ishihara far right coalition polling around 10% and the Ozawa and the leftist parties making up around 10%.

Ozawa's party won't be a viable "third force" after the election, but it will get at best a bunch of seats and about 1-2% of party votes, and will probably look to form a new version of the DPJ with DPJ dropouts and SDP members after the election as a third party.

Hashimoto's party has a better shot at coming in third after DPJ and ahead of Soka Gakkai. I agree, the 2nd/3rd place will be interesting to watch, but also a signal we are back in the 1990s with no organized or credible opposition to the LDP left. The task will be to see how the other parties organize themselves during the next 3 years when the LDP is comfortably back in power.

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Posted in: Rockets hit near Tel Aviv as Gaza death toll rises See in context

Athletes - Unlike Hamas, Jihad and friends randomly firing missiles into Israeli towns hoping to hit children, I don't accept that in any of the strikes so far, the Israelis aimed at civilians deliberately.

What set this off was ongoing missiles being fired by Gaza at its neighbor - why do they need to fire a dozen missiles each day at Israel? What good will come of that? Are they justified by history? The embargo? Does only Hamas have the right to attack Israel, not the other way around? Does Hamas get a free pass to endanger Palestinian and Israeli civilians?

Yes, Israel is the more powerful, and has the greater onus to avoid civilian casualties, I can agree with that. I also fully agree that any deliberate targeting of non-combatants is a war crime.

Yet, the entire Hamas strategy is to (albeit ineffectively) target and terrorize non-combatants.

Let the UN go in - all for that. Let Gaza be a state. All for that. And as a state, it should behave like a state - both Gaza and Israel should recognize the existence and borders of the other, and allow the other to exist beside it in peace.

I hope this whole thing ends soon with both sides backing down.


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Posted in: Rockets hit near Tel Aviv as Gaza death toll rises See in context

When is there ever a first strike?

Gaza has been constantly firing rockets into Israel, Israel assassinates a Hamas leader, Gazan groups go crazy firing more rockets, Israel now appears to be preparing a ground assault.

Israel is supposed to do nothing and accept the reality of militants firing rockets randomly into Israel every day?

At least Israel has the ability to select targets when it retaliates.

I hope there is a ceasefire ASAP - but surely that must mean zero rockets being fired out of Gaza in exchange for zero incursions into Gaza by Israel. Now that reservists are being mobilized, it looks like Gaza is going to face the same misery it did during the last Israeli invasion of Gaza. Seems like a better idea to me to agree to stop firing rockets at them.


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Posted in: Nuclear power, TPP will be focus of election: Maehara See in context

As Michael Moore said about the 2004 election - the choice is between the guy who says he is going to screw you, or the guy who lies to you and screws you.

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Posted in: Japan, N Korea open talks on abductions See in context

Smith - DPRK sent a bunch of signals in 2002 that there would be more admissions if Japan reciprocated the first abductee releases with concrete steps towards normalization of diplomatic relations - and the implied promise of reparations like those Japan paid to South Korea to settle all colonialism/war claims.

DPRK played the abductees as a political card - remember releasing Soga and Jenkins, but holding their children to force them to return? And the same with the other abductees. DPRK was trying to get away with holding onto the hostages.

Japan didn't play politics - it said it required full release of all abductees and their families. DPRK released sloppily thrown together death certificates and some random cremated ashes.

Fact is, it is clearly a mistake, as it was in 2002, to presume that there are no more Japanese abductees alive in DPRK. And the welfare of hostages is not a political relations/ransom chip. DPRK should not expect to have relations with Japan while it clearly is not coming clean on abductees.

The benefit of coming clean is clear for DPRK - If Japan pays a similar package to that it paid to the South, you are talking about a measure to immediately boost the sustainability of Kim's regime, and that will materially benefit the welfare of citizens in DPRK much as Japan's payments to South Korea did aiding their post war recovery.

Given the cheapness of life in DPRK under the regime there, it seems to me the benefits of resolving this issue to Japan's satisfaction far outweigh the benefit of sticking to their lies. I hope for DPRK's own sake that this gets resolved - and indeed, that the 350,000 DPRK citizens in Japan can finally get an embassy and be allowed to directly send remittances as a result (instead of going through PRC as they do).


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Posted in: Critics ask if Abe learnt from mistakes when he was PM See in context

Truth is that Abe will represent continuity from Noda on most counts.

Noda has been borrowing LDP policies since he came in - but he and the DPJ cannot remain in power without a democratic mandate that they are about to lose.

I personally would like to see change - another shot at actually implementing the 2009 DPJ manifesto. People who want stability however - you have it with Abe coming back.

A lot of people screamed about him as a hawk when he replaced Koizumi, but none of that materialized. He will be like Noda, a right leaning pragmatic servant of the bureacracy. It is a mistake to presume he is idealistic in any way other than the occasional meaningless soundbyte.

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Posted in: Japan, N Korea open talks on abductions See in context

Nothing was supposed to happen in 2002...

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Posted in: Noda to dissolve Diet on Friday, hold election on Dec 16 See in context

Yubaru - you are buying the institutional line on Ozawa, that wants him out of power. Remember, the right wing parties wouldn't agree on the 3 party deal with the DPJ unless Ozawa was removed - it is those forces that also brought the false political charges against him via grand jury.

You're swallowing the propaganda on him - and THAT is dangerous, but expected.

Ozawa wants to get in the limelight to have another shot at the reforms of the DPJ manifesto that he basically authored, that the Japanese public voted the DPJ in to implement - namely wresting of power from unelected bureaucrats to elected lawmakers. He is power hungry, but for th eright reasons and that is why institutional media and power brokers - protected by Japan's right wing, are so afraid of him

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Posted in: Noda to dissolve Diet on Friday, hold election on Dec 16 See in context

Rhino - the LDP did exactly what the DPJ is doing: what it is told by the Ministry of Finance. A resumption of power by the LDP in the next election will be a vote for continuity with Noda's policies.

Hatoyama was a flake, but he also represented a brief flicker of hope for voters actually being able to decide what policies governments govern with.

Kan was ousted not because of the nuclear village but because he was a liar, who put factional politics and the advice of his handlers in the Ministry of Finance that he oversaw prior to being PM - ahead of the promises to the Japanese public that he and his party were voted in on. He split the DPJ and lost its support - and would have barely survived two weeks after 3.11 had that disaster not extended his life.

Noda is the most effective PM since Koizumi. He is also the most LDP leaning PM since Koizumi. Effective at getting his policies through - he destroyed the DPJ because "his" policies are those of the LDP and not the DPJ, and it was because the LDP supported him that he got the tax increase and other pro-bureaucracy initiatives through, against the beliefs and mandate of his party, and half of its members. The LDP and Komeito have sustained him, and though effective as a status quo PM, this last act, while the DPJ is polling nearly 10% approval, will almost guarantee its annihilation at the next election, and ensure a smooth transfer of power to Abe, who will run Japan with the same economic policies as Noda in the same way as an LDP faction transfers to another.

The people ARE smart. They show this in polls that show nearly 60% of voters in Japan don't want to vote for any person or any party. They will vote this next election by not voting, leaving it to the diehard rural voters to send the LDP back to power.

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Posted in: Noda to dissolve Diet on Friday, hold election on Dec 16 See in context

Yubaru - what makes you think that Ozawa would ally with right wingers?

He is affiliated in opposition with the SDP - they despise him, as he does them.

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Posted in: Noda to dissolve Diet on Friday, hold election on Dec 16 See in context

Wow - not often you see a prime minister spontaneously commit ritual suicide on TV.

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