Jeff Huffman comments

Posted in: Japan's low jobless rate masks grim reality See in context

MrBum June 1  06:32 pm JST As much as I complain about the closed-off, unique ways Japan does things and as many problems as they have, I don't think they're doing as bad on the income inequality front as other countries.

Past tense. Japan's income inequality has been inching upwards since the 1990s. Not as bad as the U.S., but increasing. What you had to say, however, about the two sides or immigration is spot on.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/16/national/social-issues/economist-questions-report-income-equality-holding-steady/#.WTBoVJLytpg

http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21643202-problem-not-super-rich-secure-v-poor

http://www.nippon.com/en/in-depth/a04201/

Robert Dykes Today  12:00 am JST Yet another article that doesn't even mention the real problem at hand. Japan brags left and right about it low jobless rate. But zero mention of how they have one of the worst "UNDER employment" rates.

Yup. I noticed that 40 years ago on my first visit. The Japanese, for example, are one of the few OEDC nations where the citizens still go to banks to do "banking." This behavior, and the amount of unnecessary labor it requires, is the equivalent of getting behind the one person in line at the grocery store who still pays with a check.

That being said, as others have mentioned, the Japanese are still miles ahead in all manner of customer service compared to North America and that almost always mean more people doing less work. You only have to compare productivity - Japan lags behind just about every other Westernized capitalist nation.

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Posted in: Beer, butter, postcard prices go up See in context

Another "only in Japan" article.

"Furthermore, due to the increased cost of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG), . . ."

Well, this makes no sense. As LNG prices, as with all petroleum derived fuels, remain low.

The rest is again, an example of the sick joke that is Japanese agriculture. Barley may need to be imported for beer, but it's a mass-produced grain that is difficult to raise in soggy Japan. Drop the tariffs and rationalize Japanese agriculture!

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Posted in: Tokyo’s ban on high school girls working in the controversial JK industry goes into effect this summer See in context

It’s worth noting that the new law wouldn’t be applicable to massage parlors, hostess bars, and other such enterprises (soapland, "health" delivery) in which women over the age of 18 (wink, wink) dress or act like school girls.

Only in Japan: Having to pass a law discouraging minors from working as prostitutes.

Gramie Today  01:42 am JST I disagree. The whole point of identifying people as minors is to decide that they do not have the experience to make informed decisions and accept the consequences. That's what adults do. We say that children are not able to properly decide to offer themselves as objects of sexual attraction, and then try to discourage adults from treating them that way.

No one is arbitrarily "identifying" (I think you meant classifying) children as minors. For every preternaturally mature 15 year-old, particularly in Japan, there are literally tens of thousands whose maturity is consistent with their age and life experiences.

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Posted in: Anime critic thinks Miyazaki may be unable to fill Ghibli talent void quickly enough for new film See in context

Atari May 30  12:24 pm JST I saw one of the job ads for background artists and animators and I can see why: monthly salary is 200,000 including overtime. This is probably before employment insurance, health insurance, etc. I'd love to work at Ghibli, but for this salary and in Tokyo? Not possible.

I wonder what other studios pay and how much of the business is now dominated by CGI. The Simpsons has been drawn in S. Korea for more than 20 years due to animation costs in the U.S. and I believe it is still drawn rather than done by computer.

There may still be a cache to working for Miyazaki and being able to include that on one's resume seen as a plus.

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Posted in: Robert De Niro: Once inspiring, U.S. now tragic dumb comedy See in context

mukashiyokatta Today  01:15 am JST Dumbass -- i.e. the populace are incredibly uninformed, only concerned about what's on TV

A rather broad generalization and suggests that the majority of Americans weren't paying attention in 2016. People keep forgetting this, and it must be confusing to a lot of foreign observers, but the Donald did not win the election. HRC tallied 3 million + more votes than the Donald. The majority of Americans did not want him to be president. He got in on what amounts to a technicality. The EC is archaic, anti-democratic and should have been eliminated more than 100 years ago. It has now saddled the U.S. with the two worst presidents in its history.

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Posted in: Fifth 'Pirates of the Caribbean' flick fights bloat See in context

Mike L May 25  03:57 pm JST This series jumped the shark when they had Keith Richards as his Dad.

On the contrary. That was it's best Hitchcock walk through moment. But otherwise, a fifth installment of a movie concept made of gossamer and dog turds to begin with?

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Posted in: Man held for setting 2 police officers on fire in Okinawa See in context

WA4TKG May 18  10:01 pm JST Have you ever noticed WHAT they're " Armed " with? It's a wonder the things work at all.

Most of Japan's armed police officers, all of whom are now armed in cities and large towns, carry the equivalent of a medium barrel .38 caliber revolver. Ask any firearms expert and they will confirm that revolvers are still a more reliable than a semi-auto, if a fraction of second slower. Special police and para-military units are armed as those you find anywhere else in the world - semi-auto sidearms and semi-auto assault rifles.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Nambu_M60

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Posted in: Man held for setting 2 police officers on fire in Okinawa See in context

englisc aspyrgend May 18  08:06 am JST I thought Japanese police were armed? Unless I am wrong, why didn't they just shoot him? 

As is typical with so many news articles posted at JT, this one is thin detail. However, a more obvious reaction to someone pouring gasoline on you would be to simply step away from the person or, since they are supposedly trained professionals, knock him to the ground before he could spark up. Since they never use them and probably receive only minimal firearms training to begin with, shooting the nut would likely have been about the least reliable and efficient way to have avoided harm in this case.

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Posted in: Oita zoo names baby monkey Piko after PPAP singer See in context

Aly Rustom May 17  08:00 am JST

The zoo drew some criticism in Japan in 2015 after choosing the name Charlotte for a baby monkey that year in honor of Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, the second child of Britain's Prince William and his wife Princess Catherine.

As a british citizen, I was deeply offended by this. But then I read here..

You need to find more important things by which to be "deeply offended," like your PM and Brexit.

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Posted in: Oita zoo names baby monkey Piko after PPAP singer See in context

Poor monkey.

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Posted in: Japan wrestles over smoking ban as Olympics loom See in context

Strangerland May. 3  08:01 am JST What makes you think smoking marijuana is a western thing? It's been part of humanity ever since we figured out it you could smoke it.

In the contemporary world, marijuana use is very much a Western thing as it is illegal throughout most of Asia and historically has never been much of a thing in Africa. Not even the otherwise progressive EU is consistent. India is one of the few nations with a long history of use where is it illegal but is tolerated.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis_by_country

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Posted in: Japan wrestles over smoking ban as Olympics loom See in context

Strangerland May. 2  10:22 pm JST Smokers die younger and cost less to heath systems. Plus they bring in tax revenue.

As a matter of fact, they don't die younger. The overwhelming majority of smokers who develop lung cancer, emphysema, etc. do so in their 70s.

I'm not endorsing cigarette smoking - can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke. But I get tired of the continued misrepresentation of the facts by the CDC, American Lung Association, etc., especially those regarding secondhand smoke. Yes, smoking does shorten the lives of many smokers, but it's taking up to ten years off the end of one's life. Rarely does anyone in his 40s die of smoking related lung cancer.

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Posted in: Asia weighs risk and reward in Trump 'bromance' with China's Xi See in context

"Bromance"? Goodness.

As with everything else, the bad ship Trump is rudderless and the single, brief meeting has done nothing to change the dynamic between the two nations for good or ill. The Donald simply has no idea about domestic or foreign policy. About the only "success" one might credit the administration with is the somewhat successful wag-the-dog missile attack on Syria.

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Posted in: Putin, Abe discuss economic projects on disputed islands See in context

socrateos Today  08:41 am JST Another difference is that Japan is not going to give just money but there will be Japanese workers on the islands, directly communicating with Russian counter parts and locals.

Workers doing what?

Not sure why the Japanese keep at this. Russia, as long as it is led by authoritarians like Putin, has no intention of changing the status of these islands. They are of little commercial value beyond fishing, so getting them back is largely symbolic.

Getting economically entangled with Russia is a losing proposition. Russia has nothing that Japan can't get elsewhere for the same price and without the political liability.

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Posted in: Can the Japanese government afford to let Toshiba, which fell into a negative net worth of Y620 billion at the end of March due to losses in the U.S. nuclear power business, go under? See in context

I haven't been following this that closely, but if other divisions of Toshiba are either in the black or not badly underperforming, it's socially and economically unwise to let the whole company fail. If possible, decouple what remains viable from the nuclear power division.

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Posted in: Victim's activities likely known to robbers in Y384 mil cash heist See in context

Men who allegedly robbed 384 million yen ($3.5 million) from a Tokyo gold buyer in Fukuoka city on Thursday may have known his activities ahead of time and thoroughly planned the heist, investigative sources said Friday.

And on the eighth day the Lord created credit cards and saw that it was good.

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Posted in: Japanese heavy metal band denied U.S. entry; club cites Trump policy See in context

Thunderbird2 Apr. 20 04:28 pm JST So would Adele, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Tom Jones... would they also need visas to perform in America?

Of course. Musicians on tour are, presumably, being paid. There is an "entertainment" visa that you must have. This is nothing new. In fact, this came up at SXSW as acts were warned that the visas sponsored by the festival were for performance at the festival only. Paid gigs outside the festival were not allowed.

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Posted in: Should airlines be allowed to overbook on flights (selling more seats than available to account for the likelihood of no-shows)? See in context

viking68 Apr. 18 04:20 pm JST An empty seat is lost revenue. Any corporation that doesn't try to get paid for an empty seat is failing their shareholders.

Don't fly much, do you?

I haven't been on a domestic flight in the U.S. in the last five years that was not full. I can guarantee you that if there was an empty seat that it was not unsold but the result of a non-show or last minute cancellation. In either case, the airline has not lost any money. One can hope that this disgusting incident leads to changes, specifically a regulation against over booking and making it illegal to force a passenger off a plane due to a booking error by the airlines. However, the airline lobby is probably too strong to expect these changes.

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Posted in: What do you think of the new Japan Today design? See in context

Ur spel chek doesnt work. It recognizes mistakes and words not in its, apparently, limited dictionary, but offers no suggestions. Haven't tried signing on anything other than Chrome, which is still the buggiest web browser known to mankind.

Also, treed comments pages are sooooo much better than the "stacked" format.

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Posted in: Japan planning for refugees in event of Korean crisis See in context

In the event of a "Korean crisis" I think Japan's greatest concern ought to be the possibility that N. Korea chooses to make any "engagement" a murder-suicide pact. I rather doubt that Kim will accept being defanged by the U.S. or anyone else without first inflicting maximum pain on the S. Korea and Japan for good measure. Further, China and maybe even Russia are unlikely to sit idly by while the U.S. destroys N. Korea's offensive capabilities.

Like Iran, N. Korea doesn't want a nuclear arsenal so that it can attack S. Korea or the U.S. Iran and N. Korea want this so as to minimize the possibility of a first strike by the U.S. knowing full well that were they to launch a warhead toward the U.S. it could mean complete annihilation of their respective nations. I don't believe N. Korea is close to building a targetable ICBM, which is actually more difficult than building a nuclear warhead. If they have something that can hit North America, at this point it's probably more like a V-bomb than a precision weapon and may fly so relatively slow as to be interceptable.

http://38north.org/2016/12/jschilling121916/

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Posted in: Should airlines be allowed to overbook on flights (selling more seats than available to account for the likelihood of no-shows)? See in context

theFu Apr. 17 09:54 am JST There is this science called "statistics." The airlines have years of data concerning most flights and have a very good idea how full a flight will actually be weeks in advance. Overbooking is a way to keep the planes full, pricing cost effective and profits for the airline corporations.

There is this science called "computers" which allow the airlines minute-by-minute control of bookings. Most flights everywhere sell out as there are only so many options to any given destination in a day or a week. If a flight is often less than full, then the airlines need to make scheduling adjustments. Overbooking is not done to guarantee against revenue shortfalls because the flight didn't sell out. Most tickets anymore are not fully refundable unless you cancel months in advance. However, most airlines won't take reservations months in advance any longer. Overbooking is the airline hoping for no shows on a popular route so that they can earn additional revenue.

Everyone understands that airlines do no control the weather and sometimes have to unexpectedly move a crew. However, the latter should never be accomplished so that passengers are in any way inconvenienced.

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Posted in: Potato chip shortage due to typhoon damage in Hokkaido See in context

As with the periodic butter shortages, another example of how inefficient Japanese agriculture remains. It's long past the time where the government offered decent buy-outs to get rid of the hundreds of thousands of small holders so that, where possible, farms can be consolidated and employ increased mechanization. This won't ever give Japan complete food security and extreme weather will do what it will, but the persistent backwardness probably reduces it by 10-20%. The LDP created and maintained this situation for decades, so they ought to fix it.

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Posted in: Diet proposes one-off abdication law for emperor See in context

gokai_wo_manekuMAR. 18, 2017 - 07:53AM JST The Emperor is a free individual human being, and should be able to do what he wants. However, he seems to be a slave.

Not quite a slave, but most certainly under the control of others, and not just since the war. The Japanese emperor has never had anything close to the dictatorial powers and control one assumes goes with being a hereditary monarch.

paulinusaMAR. 18, 2017 - 07:54AM JST They don't want to create a precedent and make it too easy for a future royal family member to call it quits when the stress gets to be too much. Make them feel as if they are obligated for life.

Yes! Just think of what it would do to the social fabric if an aged and tired figurehead could actually retire when he saw fit. Heaven forbid that these otherwise powerless people have any control over their own lives.

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Posted in: Tillerson says N Korea has no need to fear U.S. See in context

toshikoMAR. 17, 2017 - 07:46AM JST Last 20 yrs. When NK began shooting nuclear missiles?

Do you have special intelligence data not known to the rest of us, because, to my knowledge, N. Korean has never even fired a conventionally armed test missile and certainly never a nuclear armed missile. Once detonated, the latter would be pretty readily identifiable.

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Posted in: Tillerson says N Korea has no need to fear U.S. See in context

Tokyo-EngrMAR. 16, 2017 - 04:54PM JST I am not a Trump supporter and do not he him fit for office. On the other hand I think the media is very biased against him (and there are some that think this is the right way to deal with him) and there are some issues where it is senseless to try to attack him.

However I cannot even begin to comprehend the appointment of Tillerson to the Secretary of State position. It shows a tremendous lack of judgment or understand of what it takes to run the U.S. government.

I think Tillerson is likely out of his league on this.

You realize you just made contradictory statements? If Trump is unfit to be president, then of course not just his choice of Tillerson but his entire cabinet was a mistake. Therefore, the press can't hammer on him enough.

IllyasMAR. 17, 2017 - 01:39AM JST Says someone with absolutely zero military or political experience. If you think that multinational corporations, ESPECIALLY oil corporations, don't deal with political and diplomatic matters then I have no idea what universe you're living in. You're only making such a ridiculous statement because you don't like the Trump administration and are willing to attack it on even the flimsiest grounds.

Yes, transnational corporations commonly deal with foreign governments. But the only thing they are dealing with, in Tillerson's case, is how to sell or extract oil. No human rights issues involved. No military or general security issues involved. How can I "compensate" this government official for his help without getting caught?

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Posted in: Japan one-ups Scotch with whisky, coveted around the world See in context

Japan one-ups Scotch with whisky, coveted around the world

Scotch is a whisky. Just as bourbon is a whisky. And if you're ever in Scotland, you will learn that Scotch whisky is the whisky. Rather, the headline should read "Japan one-ups the Scots with a whisky coveted around the world."

ClippetyClopMAR. 16, 2017 - 11:03PM JST For some reason this annoys me. I want Scotland's Scotch to be the best Scotch. In the same way that I want France's Champagne to be the best bubbly. Irrational but I'm old and I can think like that (after a few Scotches)

Well, "Scotland's Scotch" is the best Scotch (whisky) because it's the only Scotch (whisky). Otherwise, it's a Kentucky whiskey, an Irish whisky, a Canadian whisky or a Japanese whisky. Further, there is no "best" as that's a subjective judgment.

The same is true for sparkling wines, except more so. The French can insist that anything made outside the Champagne region of France cannot be called Champagne, even if it is produced by méthode champenoise. However, that is no determinate of what is "best." in sparkling wine. Hell, how many different vintners are there in Champagne producing sparkling wine? Brut is not the same as demi-sec and some are produced with chardonnay grapes and other varieties with pinot noir.

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Posted in: As N Korean missile threat grows, Japanese lawmakers argue for first strike options See in context

Morons. Not even the U.S. could launch a withering enough first strike to assure that N. Korea's C&C were destroyed as well as all the thousands of rockets, missiles and artillery pieces aimed at Japan and S. Korea.

sensei258MAR. 09, 2017 - 06:53AM JST I'm not for the first strike option, for history's sake and so Kim couldn't say "I told you so". But if NK takes a real offensive action against Japan, then the retaliation should be swift and overwhelming.

Every major city in Japan and, likely, S. Korea would be in flames before Japan could mount a retaliatory strike. In any case, most of the response would be from the U.S. Air Force and Navy as Japan does not possess anything close to "overwhelming" force.

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Posted in: Do you think that U.S. President Donald Trump can unify his country, in view of the massive protests against him and his disputes with mainstream media? See in context

CaptDingleheimerJAN. 25, 2017 - 10:48AM JST No, I don't. Trump could single-handedly save every animal on the endangered species list, outlaw petroleum, red meat, and guns, come out as a gay man, trade the presidential limo in for a Prius, and all the liberals would still hate him.

Except that the Donald isn't in the least inclined to pursue any of those things so you have no argument.

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Posted in: Do you think that U.S. President Donald Trump can unify his country, in view of the massive protests against him and his disputes with mainstream media? See in context

ramses68JAN. 24, 2017 - 05:11AM JST I would be inclined to say no. Without ignoring the media and getting to work as the President he won't unify anything, and unfortunately he seems to lack the ability to ignore the media.

The media is the least of the Donald's problems, which starts with the fact that he is easily the least qualified person ever to be "elected." His popularity was lower on inauguration day that it was at the election. The longer he is in office, the more divisive he will become. This has nothing to do with the media.

As for the womens marches over the weekend...? I'm not entirely sure that they weren't misrepresented by either the organizers, or the media, at some point.

Knowing some two dozen women who marched in Seattle, DC, NYC and Los Angeles, I can assure you that they were all very much marching in opposition to the Donald and the hard right agenda of the current GOP.

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Posted in: JR Kyushu runs 'Kiss My Nagasaki' campaign See in context

smithinjapanJAN. 18, 2017 - 05:59PM JST (plants face in palm). Some day they'll ask native speakers if something is a good use of English or not. Some day.

Oh no they won't. At the school where I taught decades ago, the non-English speaking advertising department would routinely create promotions for the school containing English, but not show it to one of the native speakers on the staff until it had already been approved by other non-English speakers and gone to the printers. This hasn't changed in 30 years so why should we expect any change now. Just wait until about two years before the Olympics and Engrish this and Engrish that starts showing up around the country. Again, the Japanese just don't care.

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