Japan Today

JadeDragon comments

Posted in: U.S., Japan trust each other but both wary of China: poll See in context

I am probably going to get my first negative with this but will try to show my reasoning behind it.

The problem with these type of polls. Is that they can't really be trusted much. The Japanese are never going to give their true feelings in such public opinion surveys.

Americans on the other hand tend to be a bit naive of really everyone. Knowing as much about Japan as Japan knows about them. Both countries are really not all that in touch with the world around them. At least in terms of understanding other cultures. Which might help explain why both get along somewhat.

Japan, US relations have always been complicated to say the least. It's a love hate relationship which I won't pretend to understand.

I don't believe either side really trusts each other all that much. However I do believe we both have a common enemy in China. Which is really what keeps this alliance intact. All one has to do is look at the lopsided trade imbalance however. To give some idea of the walls which still exist. After the war Japan quickly went through a lot of changes concerning modernization.

This happened starting with the US quickly intervening with Japan internally.

Surprisingly enough, American demilitarization and democratization was somewhat accepted by the people of Japan without strong resistance.

Under the occupation of the US SCAP program (Supreme Commander For the Allied Powers). Which was an institution in charge of formulating policies. However SCAP could not have functioned without the assistance of the Japanese government. Due to the language barrier among other things.

However this did actually help make bigger changes in creating demilitarization and democratization within Japan. SCAP helped people to gain freedoms of speech, press and the right to organize labor or farmer Unions. Within the context of the agreement it also gave the right to organize labor association and movements.

Nevertheless, the government also held an important role in modernizing Japan.

Japan concentrated on their industry and technology to achieve growth. For that the state gave assistance to several industries and adopted protectionism policies.

They then stepped in as a lender, as facilitator of access to foreign exchange, raw materials, or technology licenses. As well as stepping in when problems arise.

To help illustrate this somewhat. The most important yet somewhat flawed agency was MITI or (Ministry Of International Trade and Industry).

During the 1960's the Japanese government used economic policies. Such as tariffs to obstruct imports and protect Japanese firms from foreign competitors. Within the domestic market to become a modernized country.

In closing this is the one pitfalls however which might be the reason in part. Why the US, Japan trade agreement is so one sided over China. Had this policy never been put in place by the Japanese government. Then maybe China would not have the economic clout it has now. Holding both the US & Japan's feet over the fire.

It's an interesting observation but it also brings into question now. How do we move forward from here? I suppose whether we like it or not.

The Japan US alliance with all it's problems and unbalanced agreements. Is one based not so much on trust and understanding of one another.

But one of survival in the face of a truly global threat in China. Which is at the cornerstone of US foreign policy in Asia and indeed the world. Just my two cents for what it's worth. :)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Defiant Hashimoto says U.S. troops abused women during occupation See in context

Well this has certainly turned into a very lively debate hasn't it lol. Although I don't know what's better JT or CNN. Check out this link!!


There are several points I would like to touch on. Some of which have been covered some not so much. I find it odd why no one has mentioned China's involvement in all of this. After all they are the one's which first told the US should be concerned with Japan's nationalism. China is trying to drive a wedge between US Japan relations by trying to make US pick sides between Japan or Korea. Something of which the US can't do without angering one side or the other. Both are extremely important allies and US is being put into a very uneasy position of which China will no doubt try to exploit. The emphasis on the Ryukyu Kingdom as once being China's vassal state may enhance worries of some other countries which were also ancient China's vassal states at some point under the tributary system.

Thus it may boost the sense of a threat from China among some of it's neighboring countries. More importantly, using the Ryukyu sovereignty issue to resolve the Diaoyu dispute will make the latter more complicated, and help the Japanese right-wingers gain more support. According to a recent Asahi Shimbun survey, about 54% of voters are opposed to the ruling LDP's proposal to ease the requirement for initiating constitutional revisions, with a similar number opposed to amending the war-renouncing Article 9. However China's tit-for-tat strategy is absolutely correct. Japanese politicians are becoming more unpredictable & dangerous. Which are creating an unnecessary problem for US. Not withstanding the consistent visits to the Yasukuni Shrine & Abe's hawkish postures aren't helping maters any.

Hashimoto has only made the situation worse by his outrageous outbursts which only gives China more fuel. Yet if Chinese officials openly support Ryukyuan independence, it might push more middle voters to Abe. Once Abe and his LDP win the Upper House election in July, Abe will undoubtedly further promote constitution revision. My guess is that China might stand together with South Korea to try and convince the US that a reviving militant Japan will inevitably harm US interests in the region and push Washington to keep Japan in check. Guys please let's try to be civil here. This is what China wants and right now they are succeeding in that effort. Attacking each other and throwing insults isn't going to accomplish anything. We need to work together to keep the Chinese parasite from infiltrating our defenses. Just a different observation is all not hating or anything. :)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: 10 years on, Iraq war changed int'l opinion toward U.S. See in context

Nations die this way, empires collapse, societies atrophy, and countries implode (like the old USSR) or are conquered from within. In the United States, this phenomenon cannot be blamed exclusively on Democrats or Republicans as both parties represent coalitions of groups that all want something from the government. Indeed, if there is any difference between Republicans and Democrats in this regard. It's that President Obama has accelerated this process over the last four years. Yet institutionalized selfishness was a going concern well before Obama came along. All of which is suicidal, right? Yes, it most certainly is.

Can anything be done to arrest or reverse this process? Absent of some kind of revolutionary demolishing of governmental interventions, no, there probably is not. So what then might happen to America? Considering the current economic situation, some kind of collapse is of course possible. Most likely the United States will change into something else if not worse. Something akin to a totalitarian society envisioned by Alexis de Tocqueville, where its citizens are weighted down by mountains of rules and bereft of any dynamism, creativity, or imagination, subservient, socialist, and senile.

While many here might believe that the collapse of the US is a good thing. I am not nearly as optimistic. It will have a global effect of which could bring down nations and possibly lead us to a third World War before it's all said and done. I can live with a less influence US but I don't want a US which becomes a second China, North Korea or worse. I don't think any rational person would want that either. While the US reputation has been damaged greatly and pubic opinion is at it's lowest in decades. I would like to believe it isn't end game. What needs to happen is the American people need to quit being afraid of their government.

It is supposed to be a country for the people by the people which it clearly isn't anymore. If that requires a second revolution then so be it. US can be a great nation again but it going to take some sacrifices. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives (James Madison). In closing I think the world would be better off without governments as clearly none of them have the interest of it's people in mind. Let's hope greater wisdom prevails and the US return to what it's principles were founded on.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: China relentlessly harries Japan in island dispute See in context

The US will side with China with a promise of reduction of their debt to China, but that will cost the US its image of dependability not only in Japan but in other parts of the world so I do not see the US agreeing to this. 3) The US will stay out of the confrontation with secret promises that China will forgive part of the US debt, but they will 'honor' the promise of mutual protection if China attacks inhabited land.

Well XianDC the US does have a trump card which very few people seem to know about. China owes US a ton of money as well which it never payed back. So I say turns rounds fair play if they want to play this game. The Chinese government doesn't like to talk about it and the U.S. government doesn't want to raise it. Decades ago, Beijing defaulted on debt owed to Americans, as well as investors and governments around the world. Tens of thousands of American investors own this debt. The U.S. government may also own Chinese war debt unpaid since World War II. In 1913 the Chinese government began issuing bonds to foreign investors and governments for infrastructure work to modernize the country. As China fell into civil war in 1927, paying these debts became difficult and the government fell into default.

In April 1938, the Nationalist government of China began to issue U.S.-dollar denominated bonds to finance its war against Japan. The government issued these bonds and the U.S. government further provided over half a trillion dollars of credit to China in March 1942. China hasn't repaid this debt either, according to State Department records. When the new communist government took over in 1949, refused to pay any of these claims. In 1979, as part of normalizing relations, Washington appears to have dropped the matter of the war debt entirely. However, it is one thing for government decision-makers to let go of government debt. Yet it is another thing for individual citizens to press their claims. Some U.S. investors tried to sue the Chinese government in the 80's & 90's.

Although unfortunately the Foreign Sovereign immunities Act prevents this. The law generally says U.S. courts do not have jurisdiction in this matter. Currently The People's Republic of China owes a debt of over $850 billion to American citizens who are holding these full faith and credit sovereign bonds (many of them denominated in gold.) Worldwide, the debt China owes to all bondholders is estimated to be several trillion dollars. That is in addition to what it owes the US government on top of that. The U.S. government could dollar for dollar offset bond interest owed to China with interest, principal and penalties China owes the US. They could easily bring this up of which the Chinese certainly don't want ever to see the light of day. Just something I thought people should know about. :)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. ambassador pledges full cooperation over alleged rape on Okinawa See in context

As much as I was hoping this wouldn't happen again. I knew it was just a matter of time before it did. The military should not make promises it can't possibly keep. When you have some 40,000 troops stationed here. How can you assure that every one of them is going to follow the rules to the letter. The only way of doing so is either to ban all military personal from leaving the base. Or make the punishment so severe for any infraction that it will strike fear into anyone who even considers it. I understand where people are coming from and you shouldn't pass judgement until more facts are present. Yet people forget this is Japan and that foreigners in general walk a very thin line. The military of all people need to show the greatest restraint as they are under the microscope the most. Even knowing the risks and how it could turn into an international incident they still do it. Knowing full well how it would be viewed among the Japanese people.

I don't care how things are done in america or what excuse they may have had. Serving in the military should be more then just wearing a uniform. You are representing your country and should conduct yourself as such. You need to see your position as something more then a job. When I came to Japan I had to give up a lot. I left my family at home behind. I had to struggle with learning the language, culture & people of which were very different then my own. I worked so very hard to try to gain the trust of people who are important to me now. Then two idiots come and destroy everything I have worked so hard to attain. What is it going to take to get it through to our armed forces in Japan. That their presences is of the utmost importance and how they conduct themselves is even more so. If we can't guarantee these incidents not occurring again.

Then I say we kick out all and I mean all forces in Japan. Keeping only top military brass who know how to conduct themselves. Those who do not want to be stationed in Japan should be allowed to relocate. I would have shot these two myself had I come across them. As far as I am concerned they are traitors to our country and should be dealt a swift punishment. We need to start treating these incidents with extreme prestigious. I say we make an example of them. Life in prison with no chance of parole!! Not to mention making the family pay restitution to the victims family. Make it clear to everyone that if you choose to go down this path. Your life as you know it will end in a most unpleasant manner. Japan is to important of an alley to let a couple of low life idiots ruin it for everyone else. If that means talking it to extremes then so be it!! Time we start acting like the people we so often claim to represent. Words cannot describe my anger and disappointment in this!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreigners join weekly protest against nuclear energy: who they are and why they went See in context

This is a classic case of "Don't do as I say! "Don't do as I do." Well unless it is we Japanese doing it!! This is why neither my husband or I attend any protest of any kind. Any foreigner involved in a protest like this is going to be blamed for it. Even if their intentions were good, it doesn't matter.

She has lived in Tokyo for 24 years. Asked if she feels it's important for foreigners to make themselves visible at the protests, she replied, I don't consider myself not Japanese.

Face plant!! She has lived here for 24 years and this is all she has learned, what a waste!! Of coarse she is going to be asked that question. Just as every foreigner long term or not is ask that question. Just as my husband is asked if he can use chop sticks or use the bathroom. I admit I am at fault for this as well and have to catch myself when doing it. Although he takes it in stride and says.

Please show me again. I keep forgetting the proper technique lol.

Such a Japanese thing to say haha. Don't take it personally as this is just what we Japanese do. Letting her ignorance and pride get in the road is only making her look like another clueless Gaijin. I appreciate people are wanting to show their support. Although in Japan let us handle our own fights. If you want to show support do so by contributing in other ways which aren't going to put in the line of fire. :)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to ask international court to settle S Korea isle dispute See in context

The fact that Japan is willing to take it to the ICJ shows who is the more mature of the two. If Korea is so certain of it's claim. Why are they not jumping at the opportunity to prove it lol. It would be like Russia trying to prove it's sale of Alaska to America was not valid lol. I am sure they wishing that now when Grand Duke Konstantin, the emperors brother, who headed the Admiralty, believed that it would be better to get rid of Alaska haha.

Read more here: http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/06/06/51364629.html

This is similar in the since that no one even knows if there is anything on these worthless rocks as is just speculation. So wouldn't it be in Korea's best interests to prove it if they are so certain of their claims? Japan is at least showing it wants to put an end to the dispute one way or the other. Time Korea put it's money where it's mouth is and man up.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Korean man assaulted by extremists for protesting Japanese war crimes See in context

Pretty stupid however you look at it. It would be like someone protesting in front of the WWII memorial in Washington. If he got the crap beat out of him he would be lucky. More likely disappear never to be found again. Not saying it makes it right the police not acting responsibly and removing the threat before it got out of hand. I just hope a similar incident doesn't happen targeting Japanese which had nothing to do with this.

0 ( +7 / -6 )

Posted in: Which city would you like to see get the 2020 Olympics? See in context

While Japan's performance was above what even I expected at these games. I doubt it will do much to change people's opinion much. Although now with Korea winning the 2018 Winter Games. Japan's chances are likely slipping away fairly quickly now. Not to mention the IOC isn't going to even consider Japan when the majority of the public doesn't support it. Every host city as far as I can remember has been overwhelming supportive in their bid. This is kinda a basic requirement for any potential host. According to my wife, many of her friends do not want the games now or in the future. When I ask why she said:

they wouldn't be good hosts and would create more problems then what it's worth.

Well that is the diplomatic response I guess but is probably pretty accurate. She says that Japanese have a lot of growing up to do before they should ever be allowed the privilege to host the games. Never thought it it that way but it is a privilege i guess is it not? Not to mention a very large commitment of which many Japanese might have a hard time swallowing. Rough estimates for the London Games have been put somewhere around 15 billion. That is about twice as much as what they had originally stated. Although from what I can see most Brits feel it has been worth it. Something of which I can't say would translate here as well. So with that said my choice would be Istanbul as others have stated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Top U.S. swimming coach calls China's Ye 'suspicious' See in context

People could say the same for Michael Philips or Armstrong and they do. Like winning 19 Olympic metals isn't suspicious? Well then I would be passing judgement just like everyone else. Track & Field isn't even worth mentioning as is under the microscope as is. What we seem to forget is that China now has access to the same level of training and coaches as US does now. In fact like it or not many former US Olympic Coaches are training Chinese athletes. So it isn't any wonder they are getting so good. Well at least outside their traditional dominant sports like Badminton, Table Tennis, Diving etc. Kitajima trains in the U.S. with a group of swimmers that includes Philips and others. Some US divers are working with Chinese coaches now. US archery team has Korean Coaches now. US Olympic Ski coaches training Chinese freestyle skiers which are among the best in the world now btw. What is happening now is that finally the level of competition is starting to catch up with the rest of the world. Yet when China, Japan, Korea, perform well everyone becomes suspicious. It is about time is all I can say as it is raising everyone's game. Look at the Koreans & Japanese Volleyball teams which have improved considerably since the last Olympics.

Chinese Women's beach Volleyball is ranked among the top in the world now. I just wish Japan would follow suit as there are some outstanding players here as well. Japan has more then one Saori Kimura which has been outstanding. She has scored as many points as some of the men and yet people still question. Korea's Kim Yeon-Koung the same applies which isn't the only thing people question her about not counting her height. What you have never seen a 6"4 Korean before!! Anything which helps promote the sport any sport regardless of what country they are from is fine by me. I think most of their fellow athletes would agree as what other time is their sport put in such high regard other then the Olympics. The likely-hood is much less then it used to be which says something of the IOC crackdown which has helped. Athletes are tested several times a year sometimes without warning, so it is a lot harder to pull off now days. Something I doubt the Chinese are any more capable of doing then anyone else. She is just an amazing swimmer much like Phillips or Satomi Suzuki is so just accept that.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Nuclear fears galvanise usually sedate Japan See in context

Well my husband and I agree on this but it does concern me this will embolden nationalistic groups. I cringe every time I walk by the megaphone protestors trying to kick every foreigner out of the country. They are a dangerous and unpredictable group and I fear for my husbands safety every time we run into these type. Now imagine this kind of protest but with right wing nut jobs mixed in.

The current anti-nuclear rallies are different from the ones against the U.S. - Japan Treaty, which had an ideological and political agenda.

I disagree with this statement as it is not any different and is very political. The same goes for the base issue. I have talked to some that wish the treaty to be nullified and for Japan to return to it pre-WWII position. Fat chance of that happening though. While the current anti-foreigner sediment might not be as strong as the nuclear issue at the moment. It should concern anyone living in Japan that these kind of rallies which we Japanese aren't used to. Can give right wing groups the ammunition they need to galvanize the population though misdirection. Thus putting the blame elsewhere which of coarse happens fairly frequently here. Maybe this is what JT meant by trying to clarify that statement but I say it is not that different.

I am all for change but at the same time I don't want this to be a launching pad for others to push their agenda by redirecting the conversation. You can bet the nuclear just as the oil industry will do all in it's power to change or manipulate public opinion. Just as the oil companies do to bankrupt promising technologies which are seen as a threat. Which brings up the 10 million dollar question. What are we going to use to replace the 53 or so reactors that are no longer in use? There are very few green power options which will work here in Japan. At least at the level that would be required to replace 53 nuclear reactors! Geothermal, solar and wind might be an option but I doubt that will be anywhere enough to cover the difference.

Not to mention it takes power to generate power. Which would be magnified 10 times creating an even bigger problem. No non-nuclear power source comes close to generating what is needed in modern day Japan. You would need to build 4 dams the size of Three Gorges in China just to make up the difference. Even that wouldn't be enough as would come up short. What I fear is that we will start relying on fossil fuels even more which is even a worse alternative. We Japanese don't want to end up living in a city like L.A. or Beijing. Where even breathing the air can be toxic to your health. That is something many Japanese don't have to live in constant fear of.

I don't like nuclear either but unless some of you have a better alternative which works. I don't know what choice we have until then. Maybe fusion power but that is more science fiction then fact. We are no where closer to that then we are to landing on mars. While I am happy to see people finally speaking up it won't do much good even if the government listens to us, which i doubt. I am not disagreeing with anyone here but we need to be realistic. If nuclear power can be that easily replaced don't you think other countries like Germany, Switzerland, America and Japan would have come up with it by now.

It is going to takes years if not decades to change what we have build over the last 60 years from nuclear power. You can't just change that overnight and people need to realize that or face the consequences. I am sure I will get a negative on this even though I am not disagreeing with everyone here. If I could wake up tomorrow and be free of all things nuclear then the world would be better because if it. Just don't expect it will happen overnight like so many of these protesters expect it will. Time to face up to reality while working toward a solution we can all agree on. A nuclear free world which is in everyone's best interests.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Junior high school English in Japan from the perspective of students See in context

I learned English almost exclusively from traveling abroad and online courses. My writing is almost native but I can thank my husband for that. I learned very little in school and agree with the sediment that writing should be a focus not speaking. You can communicate just as well if not better through writing then speaking anyways. If you want to learn I suggest you go online and do it. Much better then what you get in class anyways. I really do wonder though what the point is of teaching English here when no one is going to use it. Unless you are a business student, planing on working abroad or maybe within the medical, finance or public relations industries.

Having a strong command of the English language will do you little if any good in Japan. ALT is a compete waste of money time and resources which could be put to better use elsewhere. I found it at first unusual when I asked my husband why he learned Japanese. He said I did it for fun!! This is something you would never hear from a Japanese. If it doesn't serve some sort of purpose as in a job or career advancement then what's the point. My husband later pointed out as well.

It's important in helping to understand Japanese people and culture more accurately within it's various contexts. After all you can't expect to understand another culture without first learning to communicate. It allowed me to push myself beyond my limitations as well as make me a better person because of it.

After all these years I think I understand that now and am grateful I found someone like him. Fate has looked good upon me hasn't it. My English speaking ability is still not great but reading and writing has done more to help with that then any Japanese Jr High/ High school class could have ever done. With all do respect I have to question then why so many continue to teach here when it is clearly futile doing so. At least if you are going to teach do it where you can put your skills to good use.

Even Korea is a better choice as they are screaming for teachers right now. Not to mention Korean students win hands down. Most are genuinely interested in improving their English. They are respectful and easy to teach. Not to mention the pay is twice that what it is in Japan for English teachers. We Japanese have some growing up to do of our own first and only then should language even be a part of the school curriculum. What that said just stick to online courses which are better anyways or a patient understanding husband. :b

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: In N Korea, learning to hate U.S., Japan starts early See in context

Another insightful post there Reiki. I am really beginning to enjoy your posts as of late. Sorry didn't mean to put you on the spot or anything haha. Yea I have kinda wondered that myself. Yet every government is to blame in a since for it's own propaganda. As long as it fits within one's own agenda, thus keeping it's population in the dark. That is the problem when you give power to a few individuals or an individual which carries their misguided ideology through the population. Hitler was one of the most dangerous indoctrinators of all time. How can one person have so much influence over an entire population? After all Hitler would have been nothing without the people blindly following him of which they did in mass. Patriotism is fine but nationalism we would be better off without. After reading this I am beginning to wonder if there is any hope for North Korea left at all. Are they beyond the point of no return? While there isn't anywhere the anti-Americanism in Japan like it is in North Korea. Schools still teach a mostly false history of which Japan is seen as the victim.

Japanese text books clearly paint a very different picture of history then what actually happened. I wouldn't want to gauge at how much Anti-Americanism there is in Japan. Although I wager it is no more then from any other foreigner or Gaijin present there. There is still some strong nationalistic views though which are clearly very anti-west. Although how must of that comes from school vs the government's own propaganda I don't know. Being Japanese myself I know of how strong the group mentality plays within society here. Although I am also proud of the fact that we Japanese do and will speak up even though it is in the minority. We don't all blindly follow what is fed to us so unlike North Korea. So we can come to our own conclusions. I admit when i first met my husband I had some serious reservations. Many of my concerns were of coarse completely false. I am ashamed I spent so much of my life thinking I knew the west when I clearly did not. That I am truly thankful for as fate has looked good upon me. I try not to think about that to much as is disrespectful but I agree that we all can stand a little re-education. ^-^

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Man cooks, serves own genitals to 5 paying diners See in context

Just when you thought you have heard it all the gantlet is dropped once again. The AP is going to have a field day with this story once they get hold of it. What is so shocking about this isn't so much about this man and his plight. Well yea it definitely does make your stomach turn but then again so does a lot of things in Japan. It is the fact anyone would even consider the option of paying someone to basically commit an act of cannibalism. They say once a bear attacks a human and eats him. It must be destroyed as has developed a taste for human flesh. I can't help but make comparisons.

Hello Clarice, I'm having an old friend for dinner. Bye. As in reference to the Silence Of The Lambs which still freaks me out to this day when I see it.

Kinda takes that meaning to a whole new level doesn't it. Anyone who could even bring themselves to such an act as a paying customer does question as to their mental state of being. If I had ever found out my (wife, husband) committed such an act. I would have a very hard time seeing them the same way after that. There are only a few remote places on the planet where cannibalism is still practiced. Thankfully they are so remote and removed from modern world most people will never come into contact with it. Yet when it happens in a society like Japan. It does bring up a whole lot of moral & ethical questions about what road we are going down. I hope for we Japanese sake that this story is one which remains just that and fads into darkness. :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan faces 'extinction' in 1,000 years, researchers say See in context

Yet another great post their Reiki. I think we all can agree with that. JT is great that way and is why we have such a large online community here. So don't sweat it you are in welcome company. Family takes precedence over career in many cases in Japan. Japanese women are expected to quit their jobs when they have kids usually. Yet it isn't an equal partnership and are expected to carry most if not all of the family responsibilities. The system really needs to change here making it easier for married couples with kids to get the support they need. You are pretty much on your own which creates more problems then what it's worth. Marriage is becoming less & less desirable as it creates to much stress for couples. You ask the average young person what their thoughts about marriage are here & most have a negative opinion of it. They say it is to expensive or is to stressful. When you add in the corporate work structure which doesn't allow for time off usually when your wife is pregnant doesn't help matters either.

The government needs to get off it's but and start addressing these issues which is only adding to this growing nightmare. As far as to your question about Tokyo public work force. NYC is somewhere around 350-400 thousand. At least last time I was employed with them many centuries ago lol. So Tokyo would likely be double that or maybe just around a million would be my guess? No doubt this will be a problem when you add in a significant elderly population to the fold. Hospitals are already in financial trouble not counting senior care. Of those 65 or older, Japan is the highest in the world with 23% versus 13% for Hong Kong and 8% for China. That is due to lower birth rates as you and others have mentioned. Having worked in the heath care procession myself. I know a little about this. Dementia rates in Japan roughly double every 5 years once an individual crosses 75 years of age.

In Japan, 24% of the elderly who need care will need it for 1-3 years on average. Around 58% will need care for more than 3 years. Japan has three types of nursing homes (which not all Japanese even know how they are different): There are special nursing homes for the elderly (publicly funded for those with no families and without financial means of paying for their care), healthcare at facility for the elderly (also publicly funded but with some payments via insurance), paid nursing home with care service (a very small public subsidy). The explosive growth in this area has to do with the Japanese governments opening up of this sector to private investment. This category however is not straight-forward due to restrictions by the Japanese government. Some of the reforms in this area are necessary because there was an excess of supply in the Japanese market for senior care facilities. Why is this so? People who did not really understand the needs of the aging Japanese population designed the facilities, go figure. All in all change is definitely needed no doubt.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Ford asks steep price for Japan to join TPP talks See in context

I am not a big fan of Ford myself. I prefer Chevy & Toyota personally but I don't think this really has much to do with Ford or the auto industry. All trade agreements suffer from the same fundamental flaw: They are not self-enforcing. Trade agreements depend upon vigorous enforcement, which requires official complaints be made when violations occur. In 2001, the US entered into a similar trade agreement with the country of Jordan. The agreement was heralded for its progressive labor standards. However more recently instances of foreign workers in Jordan forced into slave labor, stripped of their passports, denied their wages, and compelled to work for days without rest. These incidents have been occurring in Jordan because Jordanian labor laws preclude protections for foreign workers. Due to Japan's protectionist policies in retrospect. They are able to ship more than 200 cars to the U.S. for every one car the U.S. is able to export there. A one-sided free trade agreement with Japan will lock in an advantage that has already created a more than $40 billion U.S. auto-trade deficit. European and Asian auto makers also struggle to sell cars in Japan's which has an import penetration of less than 5% That is compared to an average of 40% among developed markets.

This imbalance is entirely due to non-tariff barriers such as Japan's aggressive, export-driven currency intervention, which gives its domestic companies an unfair advantage. The biggest U.S. trade accord in almost two decades is currently with South Korea. Which will cut about 80% of tariffs between US & South Korea. Although in Japan's case once there is no need for domestic labor in America for Japanese companies, they will close up shop. Tax revenue from Japanese imports will disappear and Japanese export revenues will balloon. The auto industry isn't the only ones skeptical of Japan's involvement in TPP trade talks. U.S, European & other international insurance groups have raised concerns that pending legislation to overhaul Japan Post could make it easier for the state-run firm to offer new insurance products, which could provide it with an advantage over foreign insurers that don't face the same regulatory requirements.

How is this going to benefit either side when neither is willing to meet in the middle. Why should there even be a trade agreement when Japan refuses to be an equal trading partner? In a since I can see what some people's reservations are in this. What is going to happen when exports start to dry up? It is already happening with Sony which is laying off thousands of mostly foreign workers, no surprise there. Sony is loosing it's market share to Samsung in the export market. Not to mention Korean products are extremely price competitive as where Japanese tend to be among the highest in the industry. I prefer Samsung myself as I can't afford Sony's overinflated prices. Not to mention in Japan that is all the worse. There is no easy answer when it comes to trade but it shouldn't be a one sided affair either. Although I don't see this changing anytime soon. At some point Japan is going to have to open up more if it wants to remain a legitimate player in the global marketplace. Otherwise people will just stop buying their products and look to their competitors. Good luck keeping enough domestic demand as US can't even do that on it's own. Whether we like it or not trade is the engine for the global economy. No one country can survive without it on it's own.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Kirin releases fat-busting cola See in context

This looks yummy!! Much better then the coke zero crap which makes false claims just to sell more products. As far as diet products go they are worse then people realize. According to the Mayo Clinic. Products that are basically sugar water, or fake sugar water, actually have a negative effect on the hydration of our bodies. People should be drinking at least 8 full glasses of water daily, and when you factor in the soda consumption you will have to drink up to ten. Not to mention many diet drinks have the artificial sweetener, aspartame. There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption. It seems surreal, but true. How can one chemical create such chaos? Aspartame dissolves into solution and can therefore travel throughout the body and deposit within any tissue. The body digests aspartame unlike saccharin, which does not break down within humans. There is an enormous population suffering from side effects associated with aspartame, yet have no idea why drugs, supplements and herbs do not relieve symptoms.

It depends on the person though as some aren't effected at all. Even these individuals are susceptible to the long-term damage caused by excitatory amino acids, phenylalanine, methanol, and DKP. While artificial sweeteners and other chemicals currently used in diet soda are safe for most people, and there's no credible evidence that these ingredients cause cancer. Some types of diet soda are even fortified with vitamins and minerals. Diet soda isn't a health drink or a silver bullet for weight loss. Although switching from regular soda to diet soda may save you calories, some studies suggest that drinking more than one soda a day regular or diet increases your risk of obesity and related health problems such as type 2 diabetes. So in contrast it is hard to say this will be all that beneficial. Let's just hope enough research has been done on this product to back up it's claims and not mislead the pubic. I might try it though just for taste test purposes. Who knows I guess.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: A long way up See in context

Whether people accept it or not SkyTree was necessary. At least they were doing it for the right reasons and not as a competition. Tokyo Tower no longer gives complete digital terrestrial television broadcasting coverage because it is surrounded by to many high-rise buildings. This will also help with radio broadcast signals as well so it's really a win win. This is something New York could use as it is even worse then Tokyo. In contrast what is even more amazing is how fast they put this up. Freedom Tower has been in the works for 10 years which is somewhat a joke. At least Japan is moving forward and gets things done. At least in this case. At $806 million it was a bargain as most projects this big cost twice as much. Not to mention it could not have come at a better time. Looking forward to going up in this. :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: AKB48 candy ad criticized for encouraging homosexuality See in context

If I am not mistaken Megumi Ueno of the band Zwei was a lesbian? I can't be certain of this as I wasn't really a fan of theirs. They were quit popular though at the time. Just one of many taboo in Japan. Some of which I won't mention here which would shock some. Anyways I think people are overreacting as usual. Just like the 2NE1 Scream Video was accused of being Anti-Japanese. As a Japanese myself we overeat on every little thing here. Really pretty shameful as we have no problem doing it to others as long as it doesn't concern us.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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