jpn_guy comments

Posted in: The manual cautions members about public speeches, saying words may be taken out of context by the media. It warns lawmakers to be careful when commenting on matters of historical understanding and political ideology. See in context

I read some of this summarized online.

It contains advice such as

"Don't forget even in private meetings with supporters, journalists might get in" and

"Always remember someone near you might have a recording device".

It is revealing that the majority of the advice is about making sure no-one hears the LDP members' offensive views rather than educating themselves so that they do not hold offensive views in the first place.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Would former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's arrest be a factor in whether or not you decide to buy a Nissan car in the future? See in context

I don't think he's as innocent as he claims and Ghosn wasn't designing the cars, so why would his situation have any effect on my decision to buy a Nissan?

It is not about "Ghosn's situation". It is about Nissan's (and the prosecutors') actions.

Ghosn is receiving harsher treatment that he would do if he were not Japanese. This is clear because the heads of certain companies responsible for fraud with much larger sums of money, or even in some cases fatalities, have not been humiliated in this way (I am not saying Ghosn is not guilty, I have no information so I don't know. But I can see how he is being treated based on public information and perform a compare and contrast with what usually happens when Japanese executives are rather naughty). The timing with the proposed Renault merger is too coincidental. Clearly, Nissan does not like the idea of being subservient to a foreign company.

Some people will any of the actions here are motivated by nationality. But, ladies and gentlemen, you just have to start drawing the dots to complete the picture.

If you speak Japanese on a daily basis, it is quite clear that philosophical, culturally and ethically, ideas which are commonly shared in other democratic nations are rejected in Japan.

It is clear that the Japanese world view is very much "Japanese+rest of humanity=human race". This is of course true, logically speaking, but that is not really the point wish to make.

The point is that this division, this searching for division between Japan and everyone else and then commenting on it, is driven home again and again in education, in the media, in casual conversation. It would be absolutely remarkable if this way of framing the world, which the Japanese speaker in Japan encounters all the time just as part of the basic preface to most interactions, had absolutely no bearing on Nissan's decision-making.

Anyone who has ever had any dealing with the police will know the first thing they do is ask your nationality, even if you are the victim of the crime. You may be referred to in the crime report as "the foreigner". We can even see this framework at play in the reporting, currently published on JT, about the Australian fool spraying Japan with graffiti who is often, in headlines, not 'named individual' or even 'Australian individual' but simply 'foreigner', a way of labeling that negatively affects every foreign resident of Japan by associating them with criminality they have nothing to do with.

And coming back to the Nissan case, is it not preposterous that the only other person arrested for wrongdoing in this whole mess is also not Japanese? Is stretches credulity to believe that there are not issues of national pride, bias and identity at stake here.

I want not part of that, so they will never have my money. Quite simple really, whether Ghosn is innocent or not.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Petition launched to stop forcible hair dyeing from natural color to black in schools See in context

In a country that was closed for 250ish years and is nearly monoethnic? How is that backwards. In the past it would be a natural line of thought to bring everyone in line for their own sake, so they can be one of the group. Now that it’s the 21st century, people are realizing the problem and talking about it.

I'm sorry, but I cannot stand this line of argument. Japan opened up to the world in 1868. Nearly 30 million people visit from overseas every year. A huge percentage of Japanese have been abroad, millions have family members overseas.

Since 1868, Japan has gained and lost an empire, become one of the world's foremost economic powers, seen drastic social change, and extended its cultural influence around the globe.

It is utterly silly to suggest that we should not call out nonsense when we see it because of spurious historical reasons or perhaps some sort of perceived reluctance to engage in "cultural imperialism".

Some ideas are worse that others. Something ideas are unambiguously stupid. Certain bad practices can and should be stopped overnight.

This, 'oh, Japan is an island nation', 'oo Japan has no contact with the outside world', 'ah, we have our own way of doing things and can only adapt slowly' sounds might have flown in 1899, or even 1969.

But honestly, look at the millions of Japanese people traveling backwards and forward between their own and other countries who know full well that some of the practices here are indefensible in the modern age and have already been indefensible for quite some time.

No kid gloves! No pass! No racism!

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Posted in: Report reveals alleged labor issues at 2020 Tokyo Olympic building sites See in context

No one could have predicted that the country of forced unpaid overtime, toothless labor regulators, complicit politicians, frequent work place suicide, and personnel dispatch companies permanently creaming off more than their half workers' salaries for doing exactly nothing would also be the country of terrible conditions for Olympic construction workers.

(with apologies to@itsJeffTiedrich)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Regional bank in Japan battles ultra-low rates with wine bar, sea urchins See in context

What is wrong with the take a number and wait system?

I think there are many problems with banks (not least the mass panic that occurs at a regional bank when a foreign customer requests help anything out of the ordinary), but the number system is not a problem is it?

It seems like a good way of dealing with a queue, rather than leaving people, including elderly people, standing in a line as happens in my home country. Quite the opposite from your comment, I have wanted to suggest introducing the Japanese system over there when seeing people left standing in a line waiting for ages for an open window. The same applies to the post office.

In Japan, you get to sit down, if you have a while before you number comes up you can use the ATM or whatever you need to do while you wait.

If it is absolutely rammed with people, and your number is way down the list, you can even leave the bank altogether and pop to the shop next door!

What's not to like?

In all seriousness though, what is stupid about the number system? Perhaps I am missing something! Please enlighten me!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Broadcaster apologizes over program insensitive to gender privacy See in context

The above video was just the controversial segment.

Here is the guest calling out the broadcaster's morals live on their show.

The comments below this video almost unanimous in lauding Wakaichi's actions.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Delays and long waits as Japan residents rush to buy Tokyo Olympic tickets See in context

Buyers overseas will pay more for ticket because resellers - appointed by national Olympic committees - can tack on a 20% handling charge.


Scalping tickets is always a problem at the Olympics. Japan recently passed a law that bans selling tickets at above the original prices. Violators face fines of up to 1 million yen ($9,100), or a one-year jail term - or both.

Sometimes the comments write themselves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Half of foreigners in Tokyo have experienced discrimination: survey See in context

@the long termer.

I hope you keep posting on this site and fighting the "Japan is not racist" narrative. As well as the "Japan is racist, but everywhere is racist so stop complaining" narrative.

I have been in Japan on and off for 20 years. I speak Japanese well enough to enjoy Japanese movies, read Japanese novels without giving myself a headache, and run a business with Japanese clients. But I have few Japanese friends who have not lived overseas or have non-Japanese family.

The reality of being viewed through a stereotypical lens and being expected to behave in a certain way every time you meet new people can be harsh. As can being denied credit cards and housing, which are two examples of discrimination you cannot just forget about and get on with your day.

As you say, you need to recognize it is not on you and that those people saying "speak Japanese, learn the culture, you will fit in" are just basically gaslighting and refusing to recognize the source of the problem. Interestingly, it is often the people who have made the most effort to learn Japanese and fit in who end up feeling most alienated (and then have to put up with people who have made less effort to integrate denying that there are any issues, mainly because they cannot understand what is going on around them and are happy to be feted as a perrenial guest).

A large section Japanese society (I will add the obligatory "not everyone" here..., don't want to be accused of hypocrisy... ) has massive issues with pigeon-holing, generalizations, people believing rumors at face value and widespread acceptance of unscientific nonsense when it comes to sociology, anthropology and culture.

I agree with your posts. It is not us. We must not be gaslighted. We must not internalize blame. We must stand up for our right to observe the obvious.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: NHK reporter laughed at for asking black hole team for more on Japan’s contributions See in context

Fair point - trying to describe a confusing and contradictory place produces much confusion and contradiction!

Thanks for reading.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: NHK reporter laughed at for asking black hole team for more on Japan’s contributions See in context

Re: comments along the lines of "every country does this, lay off" - well if you really think that you either don't speak Japanese, or you do but are not paying attention.

Let me tell you as story. One of my family members is from a minor country that is never, ever in the news. Imagine how wonderful it was (for an instant) when my in-laws rang specifically to tell me this nation was now being featured on a TV show. In a hurry I switched on the TV. A TV crew was following around another TV crew from our little country. They were of course touring Japan. After a brief introduction to the country they came from, the rest of the show was not just "what do they think of Japan?" but celebrities guessing what the foreign TV crew thought of Japan, even taking time to explain their speculation on what the foreign guests thought of Japan, ideas which often turned out to be wrong once we had the big reveal on how Japan really looked to these visitors.

Anyway, s this level of navel-gazing normal in your country? Is it really? I have lived in a number of places and never come across anything like it anywhere. The thing is, it was not always this bad. The "what do they think of us?" "aren't we great?", "look what we can do?" aspect of Japanese culture, is, as anyone who has lived here for a while can tell you, getting worse and worse. It is driven by the government and their desire to instill "national pride" whatever that might mean. It is not a permanent or desirable feature of Japanese culture that everyone here accepts as sensible.

Some readers maybe surprised that not all Japanese people are on board with this by any means. You can check this yourself. Try Googling, say, "Japan" "praise" "TV show" "makes me embarrassed" in Japanese (日本、褒める、テレビ番組、恥ずかしい) and other similar terms about loving yourself (including a few which are unrepeatable here), you can find reams and reams of Japanese people complaining about this approach to national self-promotion. This is only natural. One aspect of Japanese cultural identity is that Japanese people are modest. You cannot do both these things at that same time.

However, as Japanese culture can seem relatively uniform, especially if you rely on the TV, major newspapers and official pronouncements, there are always going to be newcomers to Japan and Japan 'fans' who cannot see the current wave of self-promotion in a timeline context and have no idea how government policy changes down the decades. These people will fall into the trap of believing that what Japan is like now is what it has always been like and will forever remain and therefore this nonsense is an essential part of Japanese culture that is above criticism.

Then, when more perceptive resident foreigners point out the obvious opinion, (shared by numerous Japanese people themselves), that the navel-gazing is currently getting out of hand, they are dismissed for "not understanding Japanese culture" or "Japan-bashing" or even "cultural imperialism".

These criticisms are way-off-the-mark, and pretty ironic to be honest.

20 ( +25 / -5 )

Posted in: Nobel winner Honjo, pharmaceutical company in dispute over license fee See in context

It is disappointing that this article fails to clarify what is at the heart of the matter.

Kyoto University is public funded. In other words, the original research that led to this breakthrough was funded by Japanese tax payers.

As the university does not have the ability to bring a drug to market unaided, there is no doubt that Ono played a key role in the development.

But now the company is making billions and billions of dollars from this breakthrough.

Of course the company will be paying tax on its profits, and the workforce paying tax on their salaries, but most of that money is coming from taxpayers again in the first place, since the bulk of pharmaceutical company revenue, at least where sales in Japan is concerned, comes from government coffers via the national health service which funds the majority of the drug price.

So once again we see how capitalism is allowed to run riot.

The state funds the original breakthrough but the private sector takes the lion's share of the money.

This is surely what Honjo wants to redress. He must be endlessly frustrated as dealing with funding limitations on national universities and their research while the executives of pharmaceutical companies pay themselves millions to spend on goodness knows what, all on the back of a government-funded scientific discovery.

It is kind of the opposite of what happens when private sector banks get into trouble and the government is forced to bail them out.

How did we the people come to accept a situation where industry profits follow to the private sector, financial losses are underwritten by the government, and the government is short of money and forced to issue massive debt?

The only reason no-one blinks at this situation is that the public, particular the American public (which objects to socialism, except for some reason in the case of taxpayer money flowing to massive companies such as in the case above) have been brainwashed by a media acting in the interests of the share-holding class.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Ghosn not getting much help from France, analysts say See in context

It amazes me that commentators here seem more interested in how Ms. Ghosn juggles her various passports that whether or not Japan is a functioning democracy with a fair judicial system.

I recommend we all gain some perspective on which issues are important and which are not.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

Posted in: Ghosn not getting much help from France, analysts say See in context

@Tokyo-Engr above

Agreed. The idea that anyone objecting to the Japanese justice system "hates Japan" is so puerile as to be barely worth debating. If you live in Japan long enough you will come across the phrases "shin-nichi" and "han-nichi" as if Japan is like some kind of dessert of chocolate flavor that one must either love or hate in its entireity, not a complex nation with various laws, customs and practices, some good, some terrible and some with all shades of gray in between.

As Tokyo-Engr rights, many of the permanent residents posting hear have lived in Japan for decades. They have Japanese spouses, children, in-laws and friends. How can you decide they "hate the Japanese people". It is a ridiculous assertion.

One of the reason long-term residents are more likely to be critical is precisely because they are more invested in Japan, not less. It is where they have built their lives and so, understandably, like anyone who lives anywhere, they would like the place they live in to keep on improving and striving to be better.

Another reason is that long-term residents are more likely to speak Japanese and understand the intricacies and complexities of their home. Many Japanese people also object to and want to change various aspects of Japanese society.

Among those who have shout from the rooftops that Japan is a perfect society, there are nationalist politicians (and their followers), who have a vested interest in preserving the status quo and convincing people life could not be better than it is now with them in charge. Then there are newbie foreign residents or fans of Japanese culture living overseas who know nothing about the realities of life in Japan. They generally underestimate the various issues the country faces in their desire to claim that Japan is always doing everything right and should not be subject to any criticism.

This kind of thinking is lazy and counterproductive.

From that perspective, it is sad to see many people willfully blind to the reality that justice in Japan is not dealt out with any sort of fairness. For example, the lawyer in the article, who states that Ghosn is receiving favorable treatment because certain Japanese politicians have been locked up for longer, is either being naive or willfully misleading. Do not accept his comment at face value.

Every single politician/official who has been locked up for the long term has been an enemy of or irritant to the ruling party at the time. Every single one. One only has to look at the recent case where taxpayers were defrauded of millions of dollars by government ministries selling off land to their friends at below market value.

Not a single official involved in this fraud has spent a day in custody. Away from the realm or politics, the same is true of the Takata airbag scandal that has results in dozens of people dying. Then their is TEPCO and the Fukushima disaster. And the Olympus fraud. And so it goes on.

The support for Ghosn here on JT is nothing to do with whether he is innocent or guilty. He may be either, we don't know. We can't know. However, his guilt has not yet been proven in a court of law and it is utterly silly and wrong to pretend that his treatment so far mirrors the treatment that a well-connected - and currently in favor -member of the ruling party would receive if under suspicion for wrongdoing.

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

Posted in: Sexual harassment toward job-hunting students by alumni widespread See in context

 But "getting her drunk" is what she initially did to herself.

Well not exactly. If the guy is buying her drinks despite her protests that she does not want one, placing them in front of her and telling her to drink while at the same time also hinting that he has influence over the recruiting process and whether or not she will be hired, then surely the alcohol is very much part of the harassment.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump's Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen resigns See in context

every effort to protect the border and to put a stop to the suffering and exploitation of migrants 

It is a pleasure to read about a Trump supporting Republican who is concerned for the vulnerable in society.

Can I ask please, do you also agree with large fines for companies and individuals caught employing illegal workers? One could argue that the reason the US immigration regime has remained so lax down the years is that many privileged people and business owners, who tend to vote Republican, benefit from it through a cheap and easily dismissible workforce.

I am also curious to know if you concern for suffering and exploited workers extends to those working under harsh contracts at minimum wage. Given your concern for exploited migrants, I assume that you support broader workers and union rights more generally, and are upset with the general drift towards a more unequal society? Perhaps you support higher inheritance tax as a means to address this. Perhaps you also support a higher minimum wage and a reduction in the gap in pay between workers and executives, for example, as a means to stop suffering and exploitation? A cap on CEO pay maybe? And since refugees are not illegal immigrants, but are rather those fleeing suffering and exploitation that you are fighting against, can we assume that you support stronger refugee rights too?

It would be helpful to know where you stand on these issues so we know how to interpret your belief that a border wall is needed to protect migrant rights and stop vulnerable people from suffering.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Chief of staff says Democrats will never see Trump tax returns See in context

Just because the IRS says taxpayers under audits are free to release doesn't mean that they have to or are required to. They have the option and Trump has taken the option not to release, which is his privilege.

You are absolutely right here. "Can" does not mean "must". At the same time, Trump is not saying he has "chosen not to release" his tax returns, he says he would love to but "simply cannot" release them.

People who dislike Trump are often accused of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Can I try and explain why we keep going back to the same issues? It is because it is completely unbelievable that Trump lies to your face and you don't even care. You write as though choosing a proven liar to be the most powerful man in the world is a good idea.

Why does Trump continue to say that he "can't release his returns because he is under audit"? It completely untrue. We know it is untrue. It makes no sense that you are happy for a man who lies like this to lead you.

If he said, using your words, "I am exercising my privilege not to release my returns" it would be a problem in terms of transparency and accountability, but it would not be as strange as saying over and over again "I can't do it, I'm under audit" when the IRS has repeatedly said anyone under audit can go right ahead.

Not everyone has equal access to information. Not everyone's statements have the same weight. When the person who makes the rules confirms the rules, their statement has truth value. How does it make sense for Trump to continually deny what the rule-makers say the rules are and expect us to believe him? It is a very strange state of affairs. And then people like you go along with it, which is even weirder.

What makes it stranger still is that this is a man who rang up journalists, impersonating someone else, to plant positive stories about himself. No-one denies that as "John Barron" he used to do this. You can hear the recording and know its his voice.

As a general rule, how do you feel about people who make up a fictitious character to tell lies about themselves to influence press coverage. Are they trustworthy? Should they be leading us?

Separately, Trump is known to have put up fake Time magazine covers on the walls of his clubs. No-one disputes this. We all know he did it. Again, this is weird. Who does this? Who behaves like this? Would you respect a friend who did stuff like this?

Leaving aside the $25 million settlement for Trump University fraud, leaving aside the p$$$y grabbing and the porn stars, it makes no sense to those of us outside this cult how you could look at this man and think, yes lead me, yes represent me, yes be my guy.

It makes so little sense that we keep coming back to it. What is the matter with you all? Why can't you see that obvious conman is obvious?

I guess you can call that TDS if you like.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Posted in: Chicago will sue actor Jussie Smollett after he refuses to pay for police overtime See in context

Wasting police time is bad.

If you do it maliciously you deserve punishment.

But do wasters of police time always get sue to pay police overtime?

Does this happen a lot in the US? I just googled "sue" "police" "overtime pay" and other such terms.

Every story seems to relate to Smollet. Of course, there will be recency bias on the search, but it seems hard to find similar cases (although there is an argument over police overtime concerning a Bernie Sanders rally it seems, I can't find much involving the general public..

I might be wrong, but it seems like this is a new development specifically for this guy.

Has, for example, no white person in history ever wasted police time (if that is what Smollet did?)

As another poster has pointed out, it looks vindictive and targeted.

No doubt someone will soon jump to accuse he of playing the race card, but this is an unusual development, is it not?

Please don't downvote without providing any evidence to the contrary. If you disagree that Smollet is being singled out, show us what you have! I am quite interested to see if anything like this has happened before. Perhaps it happens regularly, I don't know?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: Odd translations found on English websites for tourists in Japan See in context

Having worked as an JE translator, and sometimes interpreter, for nearly 20 years in Japan, I can confirm there is a huge problem with (some) non-native English speakers thinking they know better than English speakers how to translate Japanese into English, as mentioned by others in this thread. I am posting this to offer these other translators my support, as some people are giving them criticism for writing what is an evident truth.

It is almost as if certain unnecessary editors feel that Japanese belongs to them and is theirs to mold even when it is being expressed through translation into another language. The reasons behind this are fascinating. I believe it relates to many issues, many of which are rooted in the common Japanese cultural belief that Japanese people and everyone else are virtually two different species.

This presumption explains why (some) Japanese people feel that non-Japanese can never truly understand (and therefore can never truly translate) their language.

In addition to the feeling that foreigners can never interpret Japanese properly, the desire to correct the English of native English speakers is also not unrelated to the low status of non-Japanese in any Japanese decision-making system, where, as far as is practical, people who are not Japanese are often not given responsibility for doing anything of lasting importance.

A third issue relates to the issue that was mentioned on JT the other day in the context of inefficient working practices. Many people feel that if a translation comes across there desk and they do not modify it, they are in danger of lowering their own value in the organization through failure to contribute.

As a final factor influencing the tendency of (some) Japanese people to (badly) police English language translation, we can throw in a sprinkling of frustration at difficulties speaking English despite years of study and confidence in one's ability in other areas, which results in a desire to "prove yourself". In Japan, in professional circles, the ability to speak good English, and show other people that you can, is a matter of status, so frequently people want to assert their credentials.

If you want a good translation of Japanese into English, you need a native English speaker. Of course, that native English speaker could be a Japanese person too. The native language requirement is however obvious and non-negotiable. It is sad that many non native English speakers in Japan have trouble accepting this and feel some odd threat when native English speakers tell them what their Japanese content should look like when translated into our language.

Note that this approach will not fly the other way around.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: High school teacher in hot water after forcibly giving male student a buzz cut See in context

Assault? pluuuuueaase, it's a hair cut

From the phrase "grabbed some hair clippers" and the information that the teacher was in the habit of screaming at his kids from the front of the class, it seems very likely that the teacher lost the plot and suddenly shaved him, in a very brusque way, right in front of his classmates. The story also says that the child then took time of school, suggesting he was traumatized by the experience. Is this really not a big deal for you? Forcibly shaving someone's hair in public has been used as a traditional punishment to disgrace wartime collaborators, for example. Most of humanity agrees that it is a serious public humiliation.

It is an incredible indictment of the morals of the principal that he thought it appropriate to let the situation slide. Of course, this is one of the downside's of the Japanese cultural tendency to view all unusual incidents as reflecting badly on all involved, with no case by case nuance. The principal knows he will be criticized for letting this happen in his school, so he does his utmost to hide it. This cover-up mechanism is not unique to Japan but the Japanese cultural structures and practices certainly amplify it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Australian senator censured for blaming Muslim victims See in context

There should be a discussion. Wanting to limit immigration especially from countries where people have the tendency to not follow the customs and traditions of their new host country does not mean you are a racist.

Sure, you are quite correct. Immigration is complex and wanting to discuss immigration does not automatically make the speaker a racist. Free-for-all immigration benefits no-one and there is a legitimate debate to be had over how far immigrants should be expected to conform to the traditions of their new home.

However, a reasoned debate about immigration is not the same as saying, immediately after the violent murder of innocent people, including children, "the main reason this happened is because these people are in our country in the first place".

People like antifa respond violently to racism and stereotyping of immigrants because they believe it is the first step on a slippery slope to the worst humanity has to offer, the separation and ultimate elimination of people's based on who they are. Demonizing a people is the first step towards genocide. This is what lies at the root of anti-fascist anger on anti-immigrant rhetoric. Of course, any movement can be hijacked and infiltrated by nutters who just like to smash things up. But the root cause of the righteous anger is not misplaced. Human society can go very wrong very quickly.

Of course, having large numbers of people in your community who don't speak your language or follow your traditions is seem as "society going very wrong" by certain people. But hopefully we can all agree that any "pain" suffered by people who don't like the immigrants they have to live with is incompatible to the pain of the immigrants themselves if they end up being treated like vermin and murdered. If you think otherwise, you might just be a fascist capable of such heinous attacks yourself.

Senator Anning's comments suggest he is indeed one of those who thinks otherwise. He comes across as suggesting that living with immigrants is just so terrible that if someone decides to kill them all, it simply can't be helped.

I would ordinarily agree that cracking eggs over people's heads is not a good way to conduct a debate, but It is this above line of thought that is so far "out there" that the egg becomes a minor, even praise-worthy, act of civil disobedience by comparison.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Australian senator censured for blaming Muslim victims See in context

It was wrong, it was cowardly, Sucker punching and coming up from behind is the absolute worst cowardly act there is.

The worst act there is? Really? Is it worse than saying "unarmed people who were shot dead while praying are to blame for there own deaths because they should not be there in the first place?"

Murdering someone is literal the worst act a human being can commit. So justifying murder is always going to over the line of what a civil society can tolerate. I think you know this.

So why are you saying hitting someone who says this with an egg is worse than the original statement?

What are the consequences of a fascist politician being hit with an egg? A dirty collar maybe. What are the consequences of politicians going on TV after a massacre to essentially say the dead deserved what they got?

It clearly raises the risk of further shooting. It could almost be seen as encouraging them. When someone is shot dead on account or their race/religion, and a politician's first reaction is "well, that lot should not be in our country anyway", it is so far over the line of any normal civilized discourse, so dangerous, so likely to incite further mob violence, that sometimes someone has to make a stand with a public statement that society just cannot tolerate the open expression of such views because the end result is that, through the cycle of violence, society collapses into flames.

Of course you will now be quick to point out that I am supporting retaliatory action against someone as a means of stoping them from encouraging further retaliatory action, but before you leap to call me a hypocrite, can I just point out that egging someone is not the same as refusing to condemn a shooting. I think you know this too.

If you find Anning’s comments racist, that’s your choice....

You do not seem to understand the seriousness of this at all. The problem is not just that is remarks are "racist". It is that they run the real risk of causing the further death of innocent people. The boy did not shoot the senator. He did not cause him grievous bodily harm. His actions drew the worlds attention to a poison in Australian society. By showing people where the line has been crossed, his actions made it less likely that other people will engage in similar inflammatory statements. His actions therefore decrease the risk of further hateful rhetoric and subsequent violence, and for that reason he is a hero.

It may surprise you that I don't actually condemn the senator for punching him back to be honest, it is a natural human reaction to having an egg cracked over your head. But the egg itself? A carefully considered and praiseworthy act of resistance to all that society can never tolerate.

So please don't abuse freedom of speech, which has its origins as a concept in the right to criticize the authorities without fear of arbitrary arrest, with the notion that anyone can say anything as inflammatory, noxious and despicable as they like without society letting them know their view are dangerous and not welcome.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

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 )

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