jpn_guy comments

Posted in: Why don't societies leave justice in the hands of crime victims (or their relatives and friends)? See in context

Because powerful people with scores to settle, businesses to grab, women to woo, land to appropriate etc. would make up crimes out of thin air, decide the other party were guilty, and seek to "punish" them as they saw fit, hence the English idiom "acting as judge, jury, and executioner" - This is exactly what happened in the past before modern democracy and governance, and exactly what continues to happen in countries where this is no rule of law. Why are we even discussing this, exactly, is the moral progress of humanity now up for debate in some way??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: In the aftermath of the mosque killings in New Zealand, there have been suggestions that the Canterbury Crusaders rugby union team change its name, in view of its historical religious connotations. What do you think? See in context

They could change it. It wouldn't be ridiculous. It would be respectful of other people feelings.

At the same time, if they don't its not really a horrendous insult, nor particularly high on the priority list of things to do. It's not the same as the Washington Redskins where the name of the time is an actual racial epithet and the people it targets are actual asking them to stop.

The whole thing is difficult. There is undoubted a slippery slope (pyramid) from one culture saying "we will prioritize our feeling over yours" to "we don't care about your feelings at all" through "we will set you apart" through "we will discriminate against you" through "we hate you" right up to "we will kill you all". We cannot deny the slope exist for maniacs sliding down this slope has been viewed throughout history.

But at the same time, this does not necessarily mean that vigorously policing the (very) lower reaches of the slope is always the best thing to do in the circumstances, as by no means every example of petty offensive culminates in, or even contributes meaningfully to, a climate of violence, and people who cannot even see the slope will react negatively to what they think is a meaningless attempt to legislate a non-issue, with the result that, in this instance for example, any extended and persistent campaign for a name change will have negative rather than positive consequences for social cohesion. (see above "the name stays", people are already getting defensive and angry).

The left wing desire to "word police" is generally based on hyper-awareness of this genocidal slippery slope philosophy, while managing to ignore the slippery slope in the opposite direction towards thought control, mandatory demonstrations of virtue and the ultimate "re-education", which is the extreme left wing equivalent (and which can of course result in genocide too, which is why we get genocide at both extremes, bringing them both neatly into a circle, where the same sad results appear for rather different reasons, as everyone knows).

We can see now though why people get so heated about minor issues like this. It is a microcosm, or a litmus test maybe, of where society's balance should be, and how we should attempt to avoid tragedy. So to some people, matters like this gain a disproportionate sense of importance, as if a giant boulder were teetering on the edge of a sharp pointed rock and a tiny little push could sent it one way or the other.

And so it is a nuanced position to recognize that while every decision we make represents and attempt to reach conclusions on how society should be organized, which is one of the more important and noble goals of human thought, particular individual decisions can also, and simultaneously, be a matter of little or no importance if everyone just seeks to get on with their day.

And isn't that what we should do whether the name changes or not? No biggie either way, surely?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: EU rebuffs May; says no-plan Brexiteers deserve 'place in hell' See in context


"The folks who are promoting Brexit are, from my point of view, basing their decisions on emotions and not the reality of how it will affect the rest of Europe and the world."

This is absolutely true. Farage and his supporters have the fantasy that, despite all the social, technological and cultural changes taking place in the world, Britain can return to an era of "Britannia Rules the Waves" and do it all by themselves.

The stupidity of this position is easily identified by seeing what the Brexiteers have to say about the EU-Japan Free Trade Agreement, which the UK will get to benefit from for all of 59 days before getting booted from the deal and having to sit down and sort out a bilateral agreement.

They say that the UK will be able to negotiate a "better deal" (where else have we heard misplaced confidence like that...?)

But really, given all we know about general human behavior, the balance of power, negotiating tactics and Japanese diplomatic tactics specifically, why on earth would we think that the UK, on its own as a single nation, can get a better deal for itself that one fought for over a decade by a trading bloc representing 27 nations.

Japan would be mad to give away more concessions, when negotiating with a single party that could be bypassed altogether, than when negotiating with a huge group it has no choice but to deal with..

As a position, "we will get a better deal with Japan than the EU did" clearly and obviously makes no sense, unless you think that British people have a special entitlement to get what they want and everyone will bow down to the "great British" and treat them differently (read better) than everyone else.

This position, and all the other rose-tinted predictions for what will happen when the UK is shot of Europe, are clearly based on idiotic premises. You can only believe them if you think British people have some sort of innate superiority that will see them come out on top whatever choices they decide to make.

Of course, you may want to argue that a lack of domestic protectionism, a globalized economy and free trade is in itself a bad idea, but that is not what the Brexiteers are arguing (and its a bit too late to put that genie back in the bottle anyway).

They (particularly people like Trade Secretary Liam Fox) seem to be arguing that free trade is great and the UK will do it better. I just don't see it.

Britain is about to become the first country in history to vote to downgrade itself.

Given his desire to "save" Britain from all the brown-skinned immigrants "ruining" the place, it is quite ironic that Farrage will be remembered by history as a man who helped to destroy the UK.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Posted in: UK sports minister calls in soccer bodies over racism See in context

This is all well and good, screaming abuse at people in their place of work is not a good look.

But by far the more serious issue the FA should be dealing with is why, among the managers and coaches who get make a living from the game after they retire, the proportion of non-white people is far, far smaller than the proportion of those who actually play the game.

It is interesting, as an example, to compare the managerial careers of Sol Campbell and Joey Barton.

Campbell, now manger of League Two club Macclesfield Town, is one of the league's very few black managers (head coaches). He is one of England's greatest players and represented the national team more than seventy times across six major tournaments. Despite being one of the best players of his generation, he still had to wait nearly eight years for his first chance at a head coaching post, which he took up last year after retiring in around 2010-11 I think.

Then there is Joey Barton. Barton is best known for stubbing a cigar out in a teammates eye. He once assaulted at least three members of the opposition, causing his team to go a man down and lose on the final day of the season.

Barton retired last year and walked straight into a League One head coach's post.

Not very scientific to compare only two individuals, but the lack of black managers tells its own tale.

Generally, I dislike the phrase "white privilege". It implies all white people live blessed lives and don't have issues to deal with. As such, it is a phrase I tend to avoid. That said, can you imagine a black footballer with the cigar-stubbing incident on his resume walking into a coaching post? Well indeed.

Not sure about the FA's priorities here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Dump truck driver arrested over fatal hit-and-run See in context

I'm very sorry for the loss of this man.

It seems mildly inappropriate to talk about traffic issues in general when a man has died, but this situation is the predictable result of current road traffic laws, so I would like to leave a comment.

If you read about a truck colliding with a bicycle, it is highly likely that it is a left turn situation where the truck has the green light to turn left at an intersection but there is a crosswalk (pedestrian crossing) immediately next to the intersection and pedestrians also have a green light to walk across at the same time as the vehicles are turning.

Why not abandon this system? It is asking for trouble.

In the UK, for example, you never ever have a green light to walk across a crossing unless the traffic is stopped. No-one is green-lighted to cross a crosswalk with flowing traffic, and therefore no-one dies in these kind of accidents.

Of course, even here in Japan cycling across the crosswalk is illegal at all times, but the green light for pedestrians, coupled with a tendency to ride on the sidewalk, means this happens all the time. Penalties for riding across do not seem to be not enforced.

Given with the tendency of some cyclists (not necessarily this poor gentlemen of course) to hurry across the crosswalk as the green light is flashing, these accidents will keep happening.

Bikes can go down the sidewalk pretty fast.

If you are turning left at an intersection a bike moving at speed can reach the crosswalk from out of nowhere.

If you are driving (or cycling ) in Japan, take care out there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Chinese trainee arrested over abandoning baby for fear of deportation See in context


"why not?"

Well I would guess that the implication here is that work at a food processing factory is usually simple and boring (like removing defectively shaped onions from a conveyor belt for hour after hour or something else soul-destroying like that).

But the full name of the internship program is the Technical Intern Training Program for Foreigners. In other words, the people who sign up are supposed to be learning technical skills they can take back to help improve the economic situation of their home countries. The stated ratinonale is why they are not immigrants, it is not a "migration" program, and there are limits on how long they can stay.

As you might know, the UN, the US Government, Amnesty International and other organizations have criticized Japan for luring people on this program with the promise of some sort of useful and transferable skill before simply putting them to work in dull jobs where they can't learn anything.

This is mainly to make up for labor shortages in jobs that Japanese people don't want to do.

So the entire program might well be built on a lie.

At the same time, as they are not officially classified as 'workers' the company can pay them less than minimum wage and get away with it.

As far as I know, the program is the only government run program singled out by the US Government in its annual human rights reports, which generally focus on bad behavior by criminal group and other non-state actors, not official programs runs by governments of allied nations. Leaving aside whether the US government is qualified to throw stones, the technical training program is a disgrace really.

So, as the original poster said, a "technical intern" at a food processing factor is not remotely 'legit'.

It is good circumstantial evidence that the criticisms of this program are quite possibly accurate.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Ghosn tells Nikkei arrest due to plot, treason within Nissan See in context

semperfiToday  04:08 pm JST


*HJSLLS, what is wrong to have a full confidence in laws ? Is it right to have full confidence in *anarchy ?


You're so smart !

So smart? I can't work out if this is or is not sarcasm .

The implication that there are only two alternatives - 1) complete confidence in each and every one of a country's laws and procedures and 2) a desire to do away with all laws and have total anarchy - is possibly one of the silliest things I have ever seen on JT.

Akie: why would you imply that questioning some aspects of criminal procedure in Japan is the same thing as wishing there were no laws at all?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan to survey 200 mil gadgets for cyber security See in context

"How about the actual owners of that gadget? They just skip that?"

Apparently, there was a law passed last year permitting the government to do this. It received very little press coverage, and most people are only now finding out about it as they are about to start the survey.

As journalist on TV Asahi the other morning said "we have some responsibility here, we need to start thinking more carefully about what we decide to cover in our broadcasts". I can't remember his exact words, but it was something along the lines of


This is quite a remarkable admission for someone live on air and props for the self-reflection.

Still, let's hope this is a storm in a teacup and nothing nefarious happens.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Why do Japanese characters in anime, manga and video games "look" Caucasian? See in context


"Heck, when they say Asia, they don't even include their own country".

This is completely true. But then when we in the UK say "Europe" we mean continental Europe.

It's exactly the same thing. So while there are plenty of incidences and evidence of Japanese people looking down on other Asians as inferior, this figure of speech might not be one of them. It could be equally to do with simply island geography as preconceived notions of superiority.

Of course, Brits do feel they are a little bit superior to their cousins on the continent, so there is that too...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to survey 200 mil gadgets for cyber security See in context

So a government with a history of data mismanagement is going to create, curate and store a list of vulnerable devices?

What could possibly go wrong???

Also, while Bugle Boy might be joking about giving hackers an excuse, isn't this actually true to a degree?

I don't known anything about computer security but couldn't this huge stream of hacking traffic make it easier for malicious hackers to hide their attempts? Maybe someone with some knowledge can jump in here.

There are already security experts online pointing out that if the time of the testing leaks, it could provide cover.

There is also potential for "we are the government, your password is compromised, let us help you change it" style phone call fraud.

As soon as news of the survey is all over the TV, many of the elderly people watching will not understand the details, but maybe they will absorb enough 'something is going on with computers' to be softened up for fraud attempts.

Of course, this is just speculation on my part, but when the pensions scandal went down, it led to a raft of fake e-mails and phone calls from people pretending to help the elderly 'fix their broken pensions records'. Almost every government campaign brings out opportunists in this same manner.

Well, maybe I have my tinfoil hat on and these fears are overblown.

But as gogogo points out, it does seem that much the same result could be achieved with a campaign to raise awareness, rather than actual trying to hack people. Unless they have other reasons??

Anyway, let's hope we can have a successful Olympics without cyber-chaos!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: 3 areas in Japan to bid to host casinos; many others reluctant: survey See in context

This Kyodo News article says "But the idea has been controversial, with critics saying it will lead to an increase in gambling addiction".

A lot of people may not see anything wrong with the sentence, but it illustrates a growing problem in the reporting of controversial issues. A certain group of people can point to a certain fact with is demonstrably true and the demands of "balanced reporting" demand that this fact be relayed as the opinion of the group, rather than a reflection of what is actually happening in the world.

Casinos will obviously lead to an increase in gambling addiction. That is not up for debate surely. It is just that those who favor casinos believe that there will be other benefits that outweigh this problem. They might believe that that even if the problem is severe, resulting in people losing their homes, livelihoods and even resorting to suicide, then that is a matter of personal responsibility and not the fault of those who legalized the cause of their demise. Some may agree with that position. It is their right to hold that position. But that is the position they should be forced to defend if we are going to have an honest argument (defining an honest argument as one where everyone sets out their position and is then forced to asses the positive and negative consequences that would flow from the course of action that they with to take).

But Kyodo here does us no favors as readers. They are not helping us asses the debate.

Writing weasel little sentences such as "critics saying it will lead to an increase in gambling addiction" suggests this fact is simply the subjective opinion of the anti-brigade. This let's the casino proponents of the hook in that they are not forced by journalistic enquiry to better explain their position.

Show me a single instance of building a casino that has not resulted in more gambling addiction!

You cannot argue for a casino by saying it will not increase gambling addiction. You can only, to repeat a little, argue that while it will increase addiction, it is either 1) still the better course of action (for example, it is worse to miss out on the tax revenue by not building the casino, and this means building is the greater good) or 2) irrelevant because the gambling addictions, lost jobs, foreclosed homes, broken marriages, domestic violence, loss of self esteem, addiction and general decrease in quality of life that will seize certain individuals should not be factored into the equation since the government is not responsible for the choices of individuals.

You need to present some sort of philosophical argument to defend what you want to do - you can't just ignore facts. (of course, there will be other possible philosophical arguments I am not smart enough to think of).

In summary, yes, we can debate overall whether casinos are good or bad, but the debate should be held on the basis of a proper analysis of the various merits, not on the basis of this horrible journalistic style that obscures reality and pretends that there are no objective truths, only competing points of view floating unanchored in space.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Composure on big stage fuels Osaka's rise to top See in context

Kenji FujimoriToday 

"Its all the biased negative media trying to shape peoples opinion, no different to Googles biased results, in a sense mind control of the masses.

Divide and conquer as the old saying goes.."

Do you have any opinion on what to do when people are on the end of genuine discriminatory treatment.? Saying references to race in the media is all about mind control does not help mixed race gets getting ostracized at school, for example.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Composure on big stage fuels Osaka's rise to top See in context

"Unless we are a different species, reiterating or over emphasising race in the wordings of the media, is is inhumane and wrong. No peace goes forward in life. Just bickering and negativity and finger pointing".

This is true. But, the opposite can be true too. In the newspaper articles on the "hafu" kid whose hair was cut by her teacher in front of the class, there was no mention of her ethnicity. This completely removes from the story the context that the girl's hair was cut because, like Naomi Osaka's, it is not straight and black like "proper" Japanese hair. So in this instance, the problem is being covered up, and this kind of media reporting is what leads to people making untrue statements such as "there is no racism in Japan".

That is why I don't think it is as simple as just never mentioning race. Then the people who discriminate get to do so without criticism and without their actions coming to light.

But how can we tackle these issues (when certain people are discriminated against on account of who they are) and ensure everyone is respected without dividing people into groups and practicing "identity politics"?I'

The whole area is a minefield, but I'm not sure 'we should stop talking about race' is quite the right answer.

It is good for people in Japan to be forced to see the contradiction between how Naomi Osaka is lauded and how she might be treated if she lived in say, rural Yamanashi, and was not a famous tennis player. Not talking about this issue does no make it go away.

Much respect too for your above post.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Composure on big stage fuels Osaka's rise to top See in context

Kenji FujimoriToday  11:17 am JST

"Why is ones ethnicity, skin color or faith always in the limelight of articles these days. At the end of the day, work hard to achieve results, regardless of who you are. Believe in yourself."

This is a great question. From the tone of your question, I assume you think we talk about race too much.

You might well be correct. It is a shame when we are always talking about someone's ethnicity as if it is the most important thing about them. Like, Dr. King, we all look forward to "the day when someone's skin is of no more importance than the color of their eyes".

But we are not quite there yet are we?

Only a few weeks ago, a biracial Japanese girls' parents launched a court case (I think it was in Yamanashi) again a schoolteacher who cut their daughters hair (which was not straight and black, in the traditional Japanese fashion), humiliating her in front of her classmates, and traumatizing her into never coming back to the school. There are many, many examples of similar discrimination in Japan. Remember Arianna Miyamato's sad tale about her "hafu" friend who killed himself.

So not all mixed race Japanese children are tennis champions and not all mixed race Japanese children are welcomed with open arms. There are certain contradictions in society's attitudes over Osaka that are worth examining, I think.

There is still a fight to be fought. The question is how to go about it?

Does raising the issue of ethnicity in certain contexts help, by drawing attention to those of a similar ethnicity who are facing unfair obstacles in their lives?

Or does it hinder, by making people constantly aware of the divisions?

I really don't know.

The trouble is (to simplify somewhat) there are two camps of people who don't ever want to talk about race, ever.

In the first camp, there are those who genuinely believe never referring to race is the best way to move forward and ensure we are all skin color-blind, judging people only on the "content of their characters".

In the second camp, there are those who never want people to refer to race ever as they are quite happy with the status quo, they don't care if people who are different from them are disadvantaged, and they don't believe anything should be done to help those like the poor girl in the above example.

This is particularly the case in Japan where the default position on anything that makes Japan look bad internationally should be swept under the rug.

Sometimes, from simple online comments, it is hard to tell the difference between the "not speaking about race is the best way to achieve equality" position and the "there is nothing to see here, no problem, move along" position. Sometimes one can look a lot like the other.

"Why is ones ethnicity, skin color or faith always in the limelight of articles these days?"

Yes, this is a great question.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka downplays dispute over skin color in anime See in context

Kenji FujimoriToday  12:31 pm JST

Im correct, see overly sensitive people talking nonsense for nothing, 

And again....look at the comments in full.

Osaka: "But I definitely think that the next time they try to portray me or something, I feel like they should talk to me about it."

Just because it says "downplays" in the headline, it doesn't mean Osaka thinks portraying her as virtually white is completely fine.

Yes, I agree with you that in the grand scheme of things there are bigger things to worry about.

Yes, I agree with you she does not seem to be hugely offended and would prefer to concentrate on playing tennis.

But the issue is not "nothing".

She is not saying it is "nothing".

That is what you are saying, for reasons unknown.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Osaka downplays dispute over skin color in anime See in context

Osaka: "But I definitely think that the next time they try to portray me or something, I feel like they should talk to me about it,"

Bugle Boy of Company BToday  11:05 am JST

"Obviously she doesn't care about it".

Where are you getting this interpretation of her remarks? You seem to be replying to what you wish she had said than what you actually said.

Bugle Boy of Company BToday  11:05 am JST

"People should let her decide if it is offensive or not".

You could do worse than take your own advice.

Osaka thankfully seems to be able to brush this off and continue, as she should, but nowhere does she say it is not even an issue at all.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Osaka downplays dispute over skin color in anime See in context

@Euro Dude

Maybe I misjudged your comment.

I guess the "racist sham" is the advert itself.

I though you might have been referring to the furore over it.

I am still not sure which to be honest.

In any case, hopefully we can all agree that Nissin were not motivated by spite and did something silly without thinking about it. It is not the biggest issue in the world, but it is not not an issue either, as Osaka says when she agrees they should consult with her on future occasions.

It is a bit of a distraction really. Let's hope she wins!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Osaka downplays dispute over skin color in anime See in context

"She has too much common sense and good will to be part of this racisst sham."

What sham is this?

Osaka explicitly says that she understands why people are upset and that she hopes they will ask her next time before portraying her.

So while she accepts it was not done on purpose, she seems to be agreeing with the people who say it was weird to show her as white.

Of course, she is to be commended for saying this in the nicest possible way.

Again, where is the sham exactly?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Posted in: 'Roma,' 'The Favourite,' 'Black Panther' get most Oscar nominations See in context

So "Belrick" makes the very first comment by saying: "Bohemian Rhapsody is awesome! Black Panther was total, racial garbage!"

Shinjuku no Yaju responds by saying "I do think that far to many people automatically dislike anything that has anything positive to say or show about people of African decent. Black Panther was not overalls racial in anyway unless having people of color existing is “racial” ".

And then ulysses says: "@Shinjuku no Yazu, please do not bring racial context into movie likes and dislikes".


A revealing little exchange there.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan to recommend southwest islands for UNESCO listing again See in context

[insert joke about registering the entire country here]

To be honest, the strangest thing for me is the way visit numbers soar once a UNESCO listing is granted.

Do people in Japan not know what is worth seeing in their own country?

Does the listing change the experience in any meaningful way?

The huge boost in numbers suggests that some people don't think a place is worth visiting and then suddenly when it has a UNESCO listing they do, despite the fact the place has not changed.

Maybe a lot of this is due to the media coverage of the registration serving as a form of proxy advertising but it is still a rather peculiar phenomena, given that if a place is worth of an international listing local people surely known about its attractions already?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese teacher punches high school boy in face; social media on his side See in context

I'm sure a lot of foreign residents had the same reaction I did when seeing this on the news. The announcer said that a teacher had punched a student in the face and I could not believe it was not a police matter. This happens all the time in Japan, horrible bullying teachers creating a toxic atmosphere (particularly during club activities) acting in a way that would get you arrested if you did it in the street, and then hanging on to their jobs. It is incredible how much teachers can do without getting sacked or facing charges.

But is this really one of those cases? Watching the footage changed my mind to be honest . Once a kid is up in the teacher's face saying その小さい脳みそで考えろよ (which in Japanese, given the way you are supposed to talk to teachers using teineigo, is probably even ruder that "have a think about that you dumbass"), what is the teacher supposed to do?

Let's go the other way and imagine the teacher does not hit him. What happens then? Then he is on the Internet being abused by a student and just taking it. He becomes a soft mark. Other kids will join in, the teachers classes will deteriorate into a mess, and he will have lost all control and authority. Sure violence is not the only solution, but isn't the student getting a quick slap better than the alternative outcome - a teacher continually disrespected and abused by his student? You could argue persuasively that a better teacher might never have let it get to this point, but once the student is this far over the line...well, it's a not a simple matter.

Imagine one of your kids is in the class with the teacher who is now unable to teach because he is being constantly bullied by his own students.

There are probably structural issues with the teacher-student relationship at the school. The teacher may have insufficient support. From the language of the kid, we can guess the school is in an area with intake from poor struggling families with terrible parenting models.

So there is a lot going on here. Violence is wrong. But there is no follow up punch and the teacher does not get the red mist and lose it completely. Abusive students ruining education for everyone else is not a better option.

Some posters are saying that all the teacher has done is teach the child that violence solves problems.

That is one way of looking at it. Another way is that he has taught him that you cannot cross the line and say whatever you like to whoever you like however you like and expect to get away with it.

In an alternative timeline may be the student who escaped a smacking here goes on to cross the line later in his life with someone more dangerous than a teacher and things then work out badly for him. Maybe he should be grateful?

Still, the teacher needs some sort of discipline. I would suspend him for two or three months maybe. In the UK, he would be sacked of course. That I would disagree with.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Posted in: Bangladeshi asylum seeker's handcuffed hospital visit sparks debate See in context

He is detained because he stayed illegally, which means he already broke the law,

The way people like you think is so sad. Sometimes people are in desperate situations. Sometimes people need help. The Japanese government refuses to help refugees, despite signing international treaties pledging to uphold refugees rights (in much the same way as Japan signed the  Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination but has not put in place any laws to back it up).

In any case, when you criticize the detainee saying "he already broke the law", you are not really making any sense.

If a country decides to criminalize or otherwise mistreat almost all those who make applications for asylum, then maybe those people are technically "illegal", but the question is whether they have been treated just and fairly in accordance with international law in the first place.

This is the problem with right wing political philsophy. Any government or authority can put in place any set of rules, no matter how unjust, and as soon as an individual is found to be in violation of those rules, rightists do not look to the people who put the rules in place and demand they stop behaving unjustly. Instead, like little sheep they repeat "he broke a rule, bad man - he broke a rule, bad man". over and over, refusing to see any form of nuance, refusing to recognize that not all rules, laws and procedures are just, and refusing to see the humanity in the individuals punished under the scope of the unjust treatment.

This is how you can identify a Republican in the US and an LDP supporter in Japan.

A picture of a handcuffed man on a rope is a good litmus test.

Thoughful people will see a man in handcuffs and ask - does he deserve it? What has he done? Why did he act the way he acted? What would I have done were I in his position? Is his treatment just?

However, many are not troubled by such difficult thoughts - they simply repeat 'he was detained, must be evil; he was detained must be evil; he was detained must be evil - with no regard to the context behind the detention.

If you are sworn by legal arguments, be reminded that seeking asylum is not illegal.

Perhaps you could all try repeating a new mantra - human beings have an inalienable right to seek refuge from violence, human beings have an inalienable right to seek refuge from violence, human beings have an inalienable right to seek refuge from violence.

Do you rely believe all of the 99.8% of asylum applications refused by Japan are fraudulent? What horrendous cynicism.

A further irony is that these asylum seekers are displaying exactly the kind of drive, energy, and desire to struggle, improve their situation and succeed that many right wing voters see, when it suits their agenda, as core elements of desirable human behavior.

Why not raise a glass to these brave men and women and their endeavor?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Posted in: Bangladeshi asylum seeker's handcuffed hospital visit sparks debate See in context

Interested in the reasons for the downvotes above.

What is it that you disagree with?

Do you think that genuine asylum seekers, who Japan is sworn under international law to protect, should be treated as criminals simply because Japan fraudulently fails to accept genuine application? A 99.8% rejection rate is extremely strong evidence that is what they are doing.

Do you think that leading human around on ropes is not demeaning and unnecessary? (particularly the individual is not a criminal suspect and they are already handcuffed and in slippers and surrounded by multiple officers)

Do you disagree that the Japanese justice system is arbitrary (meaning that judgements are based on who in trouble rather than what they did with the same treatment for everyone, regardless of status?)

I wonder who disagrees with these statements. Japanese government employees monitoring these boards for "anti" comments? New arrivals who don't yet really understand how Japan works as a nation? Bilingual nationalists determined to defend Japan against all and any criticism (there are quite a few of those lurking on these boards).

In any case, regardless of your objections, this roping asylum seekers terrible in the international news. I thought Japan looking bad internationally was something that the nationalists were always so very keen to avoid?

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Posted in: Bangladeshi asylum seeker's handcuffed hospital visit sparks debate See in context

@Furan If he's detained by authorities, then he must have overstayed his visa or broke some form of immigration procedure, something this article cleverly left out. Ergo, 自業自得.

You aren't detained for seeking asylum

Well, once again we have people dismissing the plight of those who have much more difficult lives than themselves while confidently putting out opinions that don't tell the whole story.

Legally speaking, you cannot be detained for seeking asylum. However, Japan rejects 99.8% of applicants far more than any other prosperous democratic (democratic?) nation.

Once the appeals are rejected, the rejected applicants are treated as overstayers.

But it seems extremely unlikely that 99.8% of applications are false, considering the rates of genuine cases found by authorities investigating in other nations, even those like Australia where the climate for refugees can be quite hostile.

Of course we do not know about this particular individual, but the 99.8% rejection rate makes it extraordinarily likely that hundreds of genuine applicants are in immigration detention.

This issue has recently been picked up by the mainstream Japanese press, again, not known for their love of refugees and immigrants. This was following a number of suicides of people in detention. Of course a suicide cannot prove a genuine application, but it is further evidence that this is not just about people gaming the system to get into Japan, but people with a genuine fear of going back home.

So your conclusion that he "must have broke some form of procedure" is correct in a manner of speaking.

However since virtually all refugee applicants, including large number of genuine refugees, are rejected by Japan, they become overstayers as a result of Japan's failure to honor its international obligations towards then, rather than as a result of their own wrongdoing.

Your target of your scorn is misplaced.

And separately, a handcuffed human being in slippers surrounded by three officers does not need to be on the end of a rope like a dog.

If you live in Japan, you live in a country with an arbitrary justice system.

Which means, even if you do nothing wrong, that might be you on the end of that leash one day, so you could try exercising a little compassion.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

Posted in: 'We don’t need an age of women,' Japanese commercial says; then hits actress in face with cream See in context

I would like to offer an alternative interpretation here. Although the ad is odd, I believe the theme here is quite consistent.

The actress is lamenting the way women are put down and ignored in society but saying the way to solve this is for each individual to push forward and be judged on their own merits, not by creating a culture where women are put on a pedestal simply for being women.

Now it is debatable whether anyone, in real life, is actually saying that "women are put on a pedestal simply for being women" but that at least is the internal logic of the ad.

The ad does not really contain the three logically inconsistent stages claimed in this article.

Part of the culprit here is a possible mistranslation.

もてはやされるだけの「女の時代」なら、永遠にこなくていい。(Motehayasareru dake no onna no jidai nara, eien ni konakute ii)

I don't think this can be translated as "If you’re going to keep crowing about the ‘Age of Women,’ then we think it’s fine if it never comes.”

This does not really make much sense as an English sentence, which is a good clue something has gone wrong.

The problem here is that the original Japanese provides neither object nor subject for the verb 'motehayasu', and this is left to the reader to infer.

もてはやすmeans to make a fuss of, make the center of attention. The translator mistakenly thinks "Era of Women" is the object of the verb 'motehayasu'.

But you cannot make an era the center of attention, at least not in the usual sense of 'motehayasu' which implies someone being praised, fawned over and talked about in a social context. The true object of this sentence is simply "women" themselves.

(In other wordsもてはやされるだけの「女の時代」 is short for 女がもてはやされるだけの「女の時代」)

With this interpretation, we can see the full original sentence means something along the lines of "If your 'Age of Women' simply means making a fuss over women just because they are women, I hope that age never comes!"

Now we have the correct meaning sorted, we can see a defiant woman saying, 'if your idea of an era for women is that we simply go on about women as if we are inherently special based on our gender, well, you can stick it'.

Looking at the rest of the piece suggests this interpretation is correct. It ties consistently in backwards to the complaints about how women are treated. It also consistently ties in forwards to the subsequent statement about how a key idea for the future is your confidence in yourself as an individual, not simply as a representative of your gender.

Now we are free to interpret the pie throwing as "the adversity and difficulty that life throws at people, particularly women" and the actress reaction as her ability to "battle her way through life as an individual", and we don't need a dodgy sexual metaphor (although given that this is the advertising industry we are talking about so it is probably that as well!)

I have to admit that it is difficult to pick up this interpretation from simply the written text. And it seems that some Japanese viewers are also confused about the message, which of course would not relate to the mistranslation in English. So, yes, it is an inherently peculiar video to begin with, leaving aside additional translation issues.

But if you actually watch the video and catch the pitch changes and emotional nuance in the actress' voice, then the ad makers intention becomes very clear.

It also confirms that the headline for this piece is rather misleading.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Shop selling sharkskin products hoping to revive tsunami-hit city See in context

This is a general problem with Japanese news, the inability to put more than one view point in a story.

If the story involves someone trying hard or doing their best, this is doubly so. It's as if having an industrious person in the story automatically cancels out other considerations. There is also a huge "pro-commerce" bias.

How many other long term residents of Japan can confirm that the news will move from reporting on Japan's efforts to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets before immediately, and without irony or missing a beat, going on to talk in glowing, excited tones about the new deliveries of tons and tons of Beaujolais Nouveau being transported by air from France?

Part of this is down to the Japanese culture of conflict avoidance. This approach has advantages too. For example, in Japan we do not see rightists demanding that they stop teaching evolution in schools, since not everything has to be black and white and everyone is more comfortable with contradiction.

The flip side of this is that, particularly where the negative elements of business activity are concerned, points of view that seem obviously relevant and pertinent to the Western reader get entirely left out of the story.

As Japan Today has news from variety of sources, we do not see this too much, but believe me, (as that chap likes to say) when I tell you that the local news in Japanese for domestic consumption is viewpoint blind like this most of the time in most areas.

Lack of exposure to mutually competing arguments is also relates to generally poor problem-solving skills, discomfort when having discussions and, indirectly (though not that indirectly) to terrible English ability.

In any case, if this article were in Japanese, I suspect the vast majority of local people who read it would see absolutely nothing wrong or missing.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Posted in: Actress Yoshiko Mita’s son gets suspended sentence after 4th arrest for using stimulant drugs See in context


I love that on this site you are one of the few long term residents who seems settled and happy here, but it seems that sometimes your love for Japan includes more than a little side dish of willful denial.

How can you possibly live in Japan for decades the wealthy and connected don't necessarily get special treatment.

I'm not saying this is a purely Japanese phenomenon, far from it, but any analysis of criminal cases in the public eye demonstrates this clearly.

And this is not just restricted to the justice system. If you know how society here, works you know connections are everything. As you said above in your own post, different societies work in different ways.

There is a definite feeling here that someone who has made other positive contributions to society has earned the right to avoid severe punishment for themselves and their family and meting it out to them is practically rude.

You will remember Tetsuya Komura and his huge fraud case. You will remember Inagaki "member" from SMAP who was not given the usual 'yogisha' (suspect) suffix after an arrest.

Of course you will say this is all anecdotal, but c'mon man, you can love Japan without issuing misleading denials. People thinking of moving to Japan need to be informed what the society is like so they can make an informed choice over whether to live there or not.

My current feeling is that public information on Japan in English is so polluted denialist rhetoric that it does not allow people from overseas to exercise informed consent on what in means to live in Japanese society and what you can expect as a resident.

The justice system is two-tier. If you live in Japan and speak and read the language, denying this is like denying the rising of the sun.

Remember the journalist accused of sexual assault on the point of arrest at the airport before he was let through after a phone call from on high? The list of cases like this is endless. Why is Ghosn in custody but no-one from Takeda, Olympus, Toshiba, TEPCO...

You can refuse to bow before anything but hard data if you like, but one can go on and on with this, the weight of anecdotal evidence indicating bias in the Japanese justice system is quite staggering.

And where is this hard data going to come from anyway? Do you think the government keeps statistics on how well people are treated vs. how well connected they are?

How does one measure well-connecteness as a scientific variable.

Sometimes mate you just have to observe the world about you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Ski jumper Kasai says he'll compete in Beijing Olympics, at 49 See in context

To provide some appropriate context for this article, the writer would do well to mention the Japan ski jump team victory on home soil (home snow?) in 1998 in Nagano.

The gold medal won by Harada, Funaki, Okabe and Saito is one of the most well-known moments in Japanese Olympic history, summer or winter.

The one name missing from that list of gold medallists explains a lot about Kasai's obsession.

Kasai is an amazing athlete and an incredible man.

It is a little worrying though to hear him talk with certainty about going for a medal at 49.

I hope he will be able to find peace in his eventual retirement.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman gives birth on train at station in Chiba See in context

Good to hear this story had a happy ending and fair play to everyone who helped out.

A big congratulations to the mother and baby!

A nurse and doctor who were passengers dashed to the car of the train, which was bound for Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, from Tokyo's Shinagawa Station, but they arrived only after the birth, the witness said.


The following may be an excessively negative comment to add to a happy story, but there's no where else to put it where it would be relevant so, with apologies, I will say the following:

The article in general and this sentence in particular lack any semblance of the rhythmical ebb and flow one expects to find in professional writing. The overall level of quality is poor. The decisions on ordering and structuring the information in the article are atrocious.

In summary, reading it makes my ears bleed. I hope other readers also notice and point this out to encourage a better standard of writing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to curb asylum seekers' right to work from Monday See in context

I agree that's possible, but 417,000 unique detainees still sounds like a huge number, which is why there has to be some repetition.

And the article specifically mentions the same individuals can be included in the total more than once.

This is exactly the type of note a translator adds to a translation when faced with the vague Japanese word 'nobe' (meaning cumulative total) accompanied by a ridiculous figure that bears no relation to reality.

If there were 417,000 people who had been detained in 2016, it would still mean that an average of more than 1,000 new individuals were being brought into detention (however defined) each day, which seems far in excess of the impression given by media coverage of the issue over the years.

Given that a lot of the discussion on this board is revolving around everyone's surprise over this total, maybe JT can confirm??

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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