JJ W comments

Posted in: Japanese are very cautious about vaccines because historically there have been issues about potential side effects. The government has been involved in several lawsuits which adds to people's deep caution. See in context

Ma-HuDec. 29  06:53 am JST

historically there have been issues about potential side effects

Which issues are these?


Issues like the Green Cross' involvement in the HIV-tainted blood scandal in the 80s, as well as the Japanese National Institute of Health's involvement in coercing hibakusha in Hiroshima and Nagasaki into cooperating with their unapproved vaccine studies without their consent.

Of course it didn't help that these organizations were largely led and staffed by alumni of biowarfare units like Unit 731 during WW2. So there's a certain irony in that the lack of the Japanese public's trust is itself a side effect of the country's evasion of war responsibility, both to foreign countries as well as to its own domestic victims.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: Obama, in memoir, recalls Japan's revolving-door leadership era, bowing to emperor See in context

Interesting how Obama seems to characterize the American Right with the same disdain that he describes the Japanese Left. I guess nationalism and racism in other countries is palatable to establishment liberals as long as they don't result in "aimless" and "sclerotic" departure from US policy objectives.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: NHK apologizes over tweets said to fan discrimination against Koreans See in context

Just because there's 'testimony' from the time, does not mean that A) the testimony is true, or that B) editorializing won't insert errors, fantasies, and outright falsehoods in the sake of a desired narrative.

Yeah it seems more like some right-wing historical fiction fantasy where the closet nationalists at NHK got a wee bit too comfortable and said the quiet parts out loud.

Although judging from some of the most popular Tweets and the quantity of Twitter replies from ordinary Japanese people (even those not afraid to show their real faces in their profile pics) who seem to think they did nothing wrong, "quiet parts" might be a bit too generous to describe a pervasive societal sentiment that almost certainly enjoys sympathy among a majority of the population.

On a related note, it's kind of disheartening that Japanese left-wingers and liberals are comparatively silent on social media and not given the same level of support, when their voices are needed the most to push back against these racist narratives.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Moon says he is always ready to talk with Japan over historical disputes See in context

Here we go again with this endless story.

Come on, be a decent human being. How would you feel if someone complained about Japan's "endless story" of commemorating the atomic bombings every year? There were and still are real victims.

-5 ( +27 / -32 )

Posted in: Why is anti-Japanese sentiment remaining from the World War II era almost non-existent in countries like Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia, unlike in China and South Korea? See in context

Because China and South Korea are no longer weak, poor countries who have to walk on egg shells and beg for financial assistance.

Absolutely, even when China signed the Joint Communique with Japan in '72 they were economically weak, so they couldn't afford to bring up historical grievances and jeopardize any potential economic partnership. Now that China is in a different position, of course, they've become a lot less reserved about pestering Japan about historical issues.

Southeast Asia by no means has forgotten about the horrors of WW2, it's just that often political decisions have to prioritize economic growth and expediency, while important moral questions find themselves taking a back seat by necessity until the right time.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to mark 75th anniversary of World War 2 end in scaled-back ceremony See in context

Abe, who has adopted a less apologetic stance toward the war, pledged last year "never again to repeat the devastation of war" but did not echo the emperor's words of remorse.

That must be a real dilemma for right wingers, to have to deal with the cognitive dissonance of revering the Emperor while at the same time realizing that his more sincere approach of dealing with history might not be ideal for the good of their revisionist narrative.

13 ( +20 / -7 )

Posted in: Japanese university awards first-ever ninja studies degree See in context

C'mon really? Their biggest mistake was revealing that they awarded this degree to begin with!

"First rule of ninja studies..."

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Police arrest suspect in Kyoto Animation studio arson attack that killed 36 See in context

I wonder if the stigma associated with discussing mental health issues in Japan played any part in exacerbating the suspect's situation. Did he feel ashamed to ask for help, or did he decide to commit the selfish act anyway in spite of getting the support he needed?

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Posted in: Ex-comfort woman in S Korea criticizes protest rallies against Japan See in context

From the JoongAng Daily:

"Lee declared that she won’t attend the Wednesday demonstration starting next week, although she will never stop demanding an apology from the Japanese government. 'The organizer just exploits the students and takes away their pocket money, while giving them no proper education.'  "

So it seems like her primary concern here is more regarding the lack of financial oversight and questionable methods of recruiting young Koreans, than any fundamental disagreement with the group's long-term goals. Otherwise it would be a complete 180 for a former comfort woman to suddenly change course and give up on what has essentially been her life's purpose.

Unfortunately I expect that the right-wing media in Japan will sensationalize this news to its fullest potential, and use her words to their advantage by delegitimizing the idea of raising awareness for the concerns of wartime abuse victims as nonsensical.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Posted in: Beijing bans 'uncivilized' behavior to improve public hygiene See in context

Wasn't it Mao who said that manners were "bourgeoisie"? It's crazy how far back the Cultural Revolution set the entire country of China, when you realize they're still reeling from the effects even now.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Not staying in See in context

To be fair some of them could be out getting essential items like food, water, etc. But then again I'm sure there are plenty of delivery services available in Tokyo. Also they do seem to be walking pretty close together, that doesn't look like enough separation for an effective "social distancing" campaign.

The kind of civil disobedience that the caption suggests seems very uncharacteristic for a nation like Japan with an ordinarily strong sense of communal respect.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe says schools to reopen after spring break; remains cautious about big events See in context

I dunno, even after accounting for the cultural aspect of Japanese being orderly and well-mannered, the entirety of Tokyo metro (~40 million people) having only "over 100 cases" just seems like an absolute statistical impossibility to me. Given that there's still a shortage of masks in the area, people must be hyper-vigilant about washing their hands, religiously staying 6 feet away from others in public, and not touching their faces at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Moonstruck: Japanese billionaire's girlfriend applicants top 20,000 See in context

What's kind of funny about this whole situation in sad but also kind of sexist way is that Maezawa was advertising this as some momentous opportunity to become the "first woman to travel to the moon."

How great would it be for the history books to read about how the first female on the moon was a dating contest winner rather than an aspiring astronaut, as a way to inspire young girls to pursue the sciences. Frankly, I'm actually hoping that NASA will succeed before he does.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: South Korea calls for ban of 'rising sun' flag at 2020 Olympics See in context

Even if the Rising Sun flag is innocuous, it's still a really odd choice. The bigger question is, why would fans wave a military flag at a sporting event if not to make a political statement?

Unless Yomiuri Giants fans are known to fly the Rising Sun during domestic baseball games, for instance, it seems like a calculated move to incite a reaction among an international (East Asian) crowd.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Posted in: Letter threatening to hunt Koreans sent to S Korean embassy in Japan See in context

oldman_13Today 07:31 am JST

Yup, all it takes is just one incident of an alleged threat against Koreans by Japanese, for the anti-Japan brigade to condemn all Japanese and negate the overwhelming numbers of Japanese who have nothing but love for Koreans.


"Overwhelming numbers of Japanese"? "Nothing but love for Koreans"? Surely you must be joking. Take a look at the public opinion polls comparing Japan and South Korea, and you'll notice that a majority of Japanese respondents consistently have more negative views towards SK in almost every category than vice versa.

Even at the peak of the Hallyu Boom in the early 2000s, which was as close to a so-called "golden age" of Japan/SK relations as you could get (relatively speaking), the enthusiasm over Korean dramas in Japan among a limited (primarily female) demographic was largely drowned out by the even more fervent counter-reaction against this sudden popularity of Korean culture, often in the form of protests against stations like Fuji TV for airing the shows.

To this day, even Samsung phones sold in Japan are branded as "Galaxy" rather than "Samsung Galaxy", because otherwise a lot of Japanese consumers would stop buying them, regardless of their quality.

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

Posted in: Abe's ruling bloc set for solid upper house win: polls See in context

Simon FostonToday  01:02 pm JST

A large number of them are members of Nippon Kaigi and other such groups, so they may be feeling pressure not to cause problems for a PM who's promoting the right-wing nationalist militarist agenda.

I see. So does the average Japanese person not know about Nippon Kaigi or just not care? I imagine a kind of reasoning by cost-benefit analysis is not uncommon among those who are aware, where the perception of the LDP as a party that can "get stuff done" takes precedence over any discomfort people might feel about their nationalist shenanigans.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump defiant as lawmakers blast his 'racist' attacks on 4 congresswomen See in context

As idiotic as Trump's statements were, it's very encouraging that there was sizable criticism from both sides condemning his racist language. By comparison, I wonder how vociferously the Japanese public would push back if PM Abe were to tell Renho to "go back to her country", for instance. (If I remember correctly he had his own "birth certificate" moment with her a few years back.) It's just helpful to keep things in perspective every once in a while.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Abe's ruling bloc set for solid upper house win: polls See in context

What is it about Abe that makes people keep supporting him?? I know the common refrain is "political apathy" among the Japanese electorate, but why Abe in particular? It seems like even with his scandal-plagued administration that man is politically bulletproof. To my knowledge he's the only prime minister who's managed to stay in office longer than a couple years within the last decade or so.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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