kansaichris comments

Posted in: What is the most effective way to deal with the groping problem on trains? See in context

Have cleverly orchestrated undercover operations on both major and seemingly minor train lines. Set up cameras so there is proof beyond the shadow of doubt. Publicize the names of the perpetrators who've been prosecuted. Send them to rehab to rid themselves of their problem. Do silhouetted follow-up interviews about all they've lost in exchange for removing their names from sex crime databases (if that even exists in Japan). And do this up and down the country making sure that news outlets are on board with it and frequently put these stories on television. There are enough shows about eating food in Japan. A little TV time dedicated to stamping out train perverts seems like a more socially responsible thing to do. If these perverts live in constant fear of getting caught, it should reduce the problem significantly.

Also, making it illegal to produce train groping videos, manga, or anime would be a sensible thing to do. I'm not in favor of a lot of censorship, but it's hard to argue that such things don't give these creeps at least some encouragement. It certainly makes it seem like this is expected or acceptable behavior to the depraved.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Documentary looks at why Japanese parents let young kids walk to school by themselves See in context


You must be very handsome or something.

Well, that... and these are ex-girlfriends, so there's some degree of trust there. They have certainly told their friends as well, so it's not a secret they keep hidden from everyone. It's just a reluctance to tell their parents anything. I don't think that's unusual, even outside of Japan. I think they just didn't want their parents to see them differently or cause them any worry.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Documentary looks at why Japanese parents let young kids walk to school by themselves See in context

I think it's pretty accurate to say that the practice of letting children walk to school on their own isn't universal, nor is it based on a widespread effort to make kids more independent. Like a lot of things here, it is based on what other people do or what has always been done. Local elementary schools have brigades of teachers and parents patrolling the streets and manning crosswalks as others have pointed out. There are senpais usually at the head of the group to lead the younger ones, and this is the most normal method of getting to school where I'm from.

For those who travel long distances to private schools, the situation is as described in the story. However, I think it is naive to imagine Japan as a place free of the worry of crime. In some conversations I've had with young women in this country, a lot of them have experienced some sort of traumatic incident on a train when they were in elementary, junior high, or high school. For fear of public shame and so as not to worry their parents, many of them never told anyone what happened. But knowing this, I don't think I'd ever let young children take the train alone. The possibility of harassment or molestation is high enough that in their 9-12 years of traveling to school everyday, there is something significant to worry about.

And I call BS on the whole argument about "independence," at least in terms of that being some guiding factor for raising children in this country. Commuting is about the only thing I can think of in terms of Japanese society being comfortable with early independence. The rest of children's lives are carefully managed so they really never have to make an independent choice until they reach... College? Full adulthood? It's really hard to tell since I can't consider even many young adults here "independent."

As I said above, and this is just my opinion, the practice of sending your kid to a faraway school alone is because that's the way one is supposed to do it in that situation. Do mothers really consider a child's independence, or are they considering what others will think if they escort their kid to school everyday? Is it a financial decision? Buying another teiki can be expensive, and so can driving your child to school if it is so far away. I think either of these reasons are probably more likely than some perceived effort to raise kids to be more self-sufficient for the sake of building character.

I dunno... I think Western media sees what it wants to see about Japan to point out some flaw in our own societies. Maybe some would disagree, but that's basically how I feel every time I see an "in-depth" look at Japan produced by outsiders.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Posted in: Voters to Abe: Why call an election now? See in context

Regardless of the strategic timing and catching the opposition off-guard, this election is important because he is about to double-down on his plans, putting Japan's future at even further risk. The attitudes of the 66% who don't know why this election is taking place show that democracy in this country doesn't really function as it's supposed to. Basically, the electorate are mostly saying "just take care of it" and don't want any of the responsibility for what follows. It's understandable, but tragic at the same time. The people have the power to decide their own fate here, but don't even seem to realize it. Equally shocking is that at this moment, the opposition has not created a clear alternative to the LDP's vision and plans. This election is a joke, but only because the voters and challenging parties make it so.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: China telecom giants threaten U.S.: Congress panel See in context

China's research and development capability has rolled out her second type of Stealth fighter

You mean the one that looks exactly like an F-22? lol... I think the US has plenty of reason to distrust China and its telecoms.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Trump endorsement of Romney a huge diversion in Republican race See in context

NetNinja is not the one who is confused. All the haters out there need to do their own research. America is much better off than it was when he took office. I don't know how anyone could argue otherwise. From total economic disaster back to growing the economy and producing jobs... no more war in Iraq... trimming the bloated defense budget... saving the auto industry (and about a million jobs with it)... restoring America's political clout in global politics... changing the direction of our foreign policy from the Middle East to Asia where it should be...

If you think Romney or Gingrich would be better for America than Obama, you're the one who is sadly confused. Stop listening to all that conservative babble, and look at the facts. Obama is a centrist president (not some reckless liberal or "communist") who has done a good job given the conditions in Washington and the economy. It hasn't been perfect, but better than I expected in four years. I'll do what I can with my vote to prevent a Republican Congress and executive branch combination again. Worst period in modern American history...

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea See in context

What Oginome is saying is right. You could check the facts by yourself if you look at the import data of Korea. South Korean technologies are heavily dependent on Japan high tech and their import/export data proves that.

Most of us are not disagreeing that Japan has control over vital parts of the supply chain. I'm saying those areas are not huge windfall industries that will sustain Japanese manufacturing as a whole. And, since Japan has a monopoly on something like silicon wafers for electronics, or lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, Korea and China will not just sit by and let Japan control these vital points in the supply chain. Their growth and security depends on being able to produce these things themselves, making it just a matter of time before Japan has some competition. I concede that 'how long it will take' is debatable, but who would have thought 10 years ago that Korea would come to steal the semiconductor industry from Japan? In 1999, who would have guessed that Apple would be worth more than all the Japanese electronics companies combined? Are we to believe that Japan will remain the leader in these component industries forever while they get crushed at both ends of the supply chain? His argument is that they are and always will be in control of these industries, and that these industries can support the Japanese manufacturing sector as a whole. Being wrong about the overall picture, he keeps the focus of the conversation on Japan's success in just a small part of the supply chain. Again, these component markets are dwarfed by the major products markets that Japan is getting owned in. Japan will feel the pain of Sony, Panasonic, Toyota, Honda, Toshiba, Hitachi, and Nissan moving their factories abroad - no doubt about it. No one has said that Japan's components are not vital. They are saying it does not matter for the manufacturing industry as a whole, and electronics or auto companies who can't afford to keep their operations in Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea See in context

South Korea is light years away from achieving the same dominance Japan enjoys in advanced manufacturing, never mind China, mired as it is in poverty and technological obscelence.

Right, because the Japanese are culturally and intellectually superior than the lesser East Asians of Korea and China. Just like British manufacturing could never possibly be upended by those inferior Americans. Just like American manufacturing could never be unseated by the backwards Japanese. I see your point, and agree that we should disregard history completely and assume that the Japanese are just naturally suited for this type of industry and everyone else suffers from a mental and monetary deficiency that will never be able to produce silicon wafers and lithium-ion batteries even close to same price point and quality. You should seriously petition the Japanese government to make you head of their 21st century propaganda machine. They need someone to tell the people how special they are compared to the Koreans and Chinese, and that there is nothing to worry about. By the way, Japan mines its own silicon and rare earths metals, right? I mean, its not like they are at the mercy of anyone else in the supply chain.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea See in context

And every device Apple makes relies on intricate components made by the Japanese, along with every other device by every other company in the world, Japanese or Western. Without Japan's know how, none of these devices would even be able to exist.

Ogi, No one is denying that Japan makes high-quality components for other companies, or that they are a vital part of the supply chain. You can post all day about this, but what percentage of Japanese manufacturing is fine chemicals/high-grade components? It's the major products and parts suppliers that are leaving (or going out of business) in droves. Are you trying to argue that the size of the major products manufacturing industry in Japan is dwarfed by the fine chemicals/high-grade components manufacturing industry? The companies you speak of are small to medium sized, and their markets are tiny compared to major products. A complete monopoly in silicon-wafers (which Japan does not have - they sit at about 80%) has a global market size of about $10 billion. Apple, a single company, made that in profits in a quarter. Other quality component markets are even smaller. These industries will not save Japan on their own, because they are simply not big enough to carry the country. The major products markets are enormous - more than 100-1000 times the size - so saying that Japan can afford to lose its major manufacturing on the backs of its high-grade components businesses is just wrong. The vast majority of Japan's business wealth (and potential growth) has always been in major products and their manufacturing, because those markets are huge. I highly doubt anyone in Japan is comforted by the fact that they still make the best batteries or silicon, including both the President of Toyota and the Prime Minister of Japan who have both said publicly that manufacturing in Japan is under enormous threat and has lost its edge to other countries. Neither of them reassured the country that "we will be alright because growth in our high-grade components manufacturing will make up for the losses." If they have monopolies or near monopolies in these areas, there is nowhere left to grow. These companies alone cannot make up for the losses in other areas, and it's not even close. In fact, China and Korea will gain on them because it's a security imperative at this point that they can produce their own quality components and fine chemicals lest they want to remain dependent on the Japanese for all eternity. America is not concerned that Japan will someday refuse shipment of these goods, but the other Asian countries are not so trusting. Within the next decade, I'm almost certain that Korea or China or both will catch up to Japan in these areas, if not sooner. Then what?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea See in context

'Real money at the end of the rainbow'? Like the real money that comes when you've got your components in every electrical device in the world, no matter what company or country they're being made in?

Nope. Real money like the $46 billion in revenue, $13.9 billion in profits Apple just posted for the quarter, plus the $97 billion already in the bank.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea See in context

This is not the high end manufacturing I am talking about. Toshiba is closing semiconductor plants? There are other companies too in the world which make semiconductors. The Japanese have monopolised the SEMICONDUCTOR GRADE SILICON that goes into making all of these semiconductors. Do you see what I'm talking about? They have monopolised producer chokeholds. You're getting that confused with the products these producers end up making.

So, they don't make the finished products, they are totally losing ground on parts supply manufacturing, and all they are left with is a monopoly on the basic materials that compromise high-tech products? You're using this example to prove that Japan is not in trouble? Japan cannot build its future on being two steps down on the supply chain while China dominates the assembly and parts manufacturing for Korean and US tech companies that sell better products at lower prices. I'm sure that other countries would gladly allow such Japanese monopolies to continue while they sit up on their perches and collect the real money at the end of the rainbow.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea See in context

All the stories about Toyota outsourcing its plants to China or Mazda making its new car in Ohio doesn't take away from the massive dominace and monopoly Japan has in higher forms of manufacturing and will continue to have. Japan's manufacturing industry, is not 'hollowing out', far from it.

Without the car and electronics manufacturers, the domestic industries that produce high-quality parts will suffer, and have a hollowing-out of their own. Sony and Panasonic are making big changes to their supply contracts, and outright ditching some domestic firms in favor of overseas ones. Panasonic has said they are going to import 57% of its parts from abroad by the end of this quarter. Toshiba is closing three semiconductor plants by September. Nippon Electric Glass just had contracts cancelled by Sony and Panasonic, who both said they will be buying their glass screens from overseas suppliers effective immediately. Doesn't sound to me like they have the market cornered anymore (or maybe no one wants to buy what they are selling). Quality or not, they can't compete on price and the "finished product" makers are looking for good-enough and cheap, while high-quality parts are just not worth the cost. At this point, there are huge costs to rebuild the plants destroyed in the tsunami/earthquake, increases in energy prices due to the stupid decision to close down all the nuclear power plants, and an impossibly strong yen. How is it possible for any of these manufacturing companies to produce their goods at a competitive price as overseas companies slowly gain on them in terms of quality?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea See in context

Except Japan's power in tech and manufacturing hasn't been destroyed. Not even slightly.

Ogi, you really need to read about what is going on with Japanese electronics and car companies right at this moment. They are all ditching their domestic manufacturing operations for outsourced options in other Asian countries, and even the United States. CNN reported that Japan will lose about 75% of its domestic auto manufacturing to plants overseas in just the next 3 years. The electronics giants are all shedding manufacturing jobs as well, and buying more and more parts from abroad to lower costs. While gadgets used to be assembled in China using Japanese-made parts, those days are largely coming to an end. They will not be able to compete on price otherwise.

I think your opinion about Japan's power in tech and manufacturing was recently true, but is rapidly becoming outdated. A lot changes in just a couple of years, and Japan is about to succumb to the same market forces that hollowed out the manufacturing sector in America and other developed countries. This is capitalism, and it's an adapt-or-die game. Japan needs to recognize this rather than denying what is happening.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Posted in: Fighters manager says $112 mil too low for Darvish See in context

This manager is being unreasonable. There are huge risks in signing pitchers from Japan, no matter how talented they are. Most do not dominate longer than 2 years in the MLB once other hitters figure them out. $10 million a season for 6 years is quite a good deal if you ask me. There are also some issues with the ball not being the same weight and size and, of course, how well the player adjusts to the new country. Darvish was at least smart enough to escape the home situation with his wife, so starting over might be easier for him than others. I hope he does well, but the deal he got was fair.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Moody's lowers rating on Sony, Panasonic See in context

The Japanese are educated and hard working!

Education and hard work will not return Japan to its glory days. The Japanese are among the most inefficient workers in the developed world in terms of productivity per hour. Time is wasted just looking diligent at work. As long as workers here accept a system that rewards seniority and people who simply act busy, instead of basing pay on performance and results, then these companies will not catch up. What has kept them afloat this long is a strong demand (bias) in the domestic market for Japanese-made (designed) products, but as the population declines, that is not going to be the case for much longer. Japanese companies need to retool almost everything, and the schools here need to start encouraging original thinkers who can innovate both in terms of new products and new ways of running a business. I believe Japan has it in them to do this if they choose, but sadly this may never be the case. All I see is a failure to adapt even when it is so obvious that some major change is necessary. Maybe it's pride or ignorance, but something is stonewalling progress here, and it is winning.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Bin Laden's sons say U.S. broke international law by killing their father See in context


Spare us the anti-American speech. It's so easy to jump on that bandwagon. I can only assume that you come from a country that also sent troops to Afghanistan (and maybe even Iraq), so what room do you really have to talk? Besides, saying that international law doesn't mean anything, and that the US does what it wants is not up for debate. manfromamerica is closer to being right than you seem to be. If international law held any sway at all, Bush would probably be on trial as a war criminal, and Obama would not have been able to openly proclaim that we had conducted an assassination operation on Bin Laden without the consent of Pakistan or the international community. Like it or not, there's nothing the international community can or wants to do to stop the US from imposing its will, because the powerful countries benefit from these actions as well. I wish the world ran on peace and love, but it doesn't. Threats to the system of international trade cannot be tolerated. Not by the US, and not by any other government invested in its survival. You don't like America? Big surprise. America is openly hated on TV so that the other developed nations don't have to hate themselves. Some of the same countries that criticize us also continue to buy our government debt, which allows us to continue fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya. So, not only is the international community not stopping us, but it's actually paying for us to continue. At what point is "international law" intervening to stop it? It does not exist. At least not in the way you imagine it. If anything, the American military is the muscle enforcing the will of multinational corporations and G20 countries, and the only "law" is making money, bullying weaker nations out of position, and dividing up the remaining resources. If you're a country who is not at the table, then I understand why you would hate America. However, in that case, you should hate all the other countries as well, including your own. It's not like anyone's hands are clean, but it seems everyone's only looking at America's. Believe what you want, but America won't need to "crawl" to other nations to ask for help. Look at Libya. Europe wants to get in the game now too!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: English ability of little advantage for mid-career job seekers See in context

Smorkian - I've seen it in both dollar terms and in yen terms. The per capita GDP has gone nowhere over the past 10-15 years, and took an especially hard hit after the financial crisis just three years ago. You can't just say that per capita GDP is higher now than it was in 2001 and call it "growth". Besides, compared to other countries they have fallen way behind. In the last 15 years, Japan's GDPpc has fallen -5.4% (in dollar terms) while Britain rose 76%, the US 66%, and China 520%. Even if you take a look at the 10-year span, Japan has only grown about 23% in dollar terms, and decreased by -3.8% in yen terms! There's no way to spin this to say that Japan is on a path to improvement. They have been in a rut for almost two decades now, and show no signs of getting better. I really don't see where you are coming from.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: English ability of little advantage for mid-career job seekers See in context

It's not an improvement to go from $42,000 in per capita GDP in 1995 to $39,700 today. Since this measurement is in dollars, and not yen, most of the fluctuations can be attributed to exchange rates and not actual economic growth. The average Japanese person lives much worse now than they did in the 80's and early 90's and they haven't recovered much at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: English ability of little advantage for mid-career job seekers See in context

Sorry, Smorkian, but I think you're the one who is completely wrong. Japan's per capita GDP peaked in 1995 at around $42,000, bottomed out twice in 1998 and 2002 at $30,700, and currently sits at about $39,700 and change. Where do you get your facts from?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: English ability of little advantage for mid-career job seekers See in context

"Japan has a first-rate education system..."

In my opinion, it doesn't. It has schools to teach discipline/cultural expectations and jukus that teach to the test. Educational deficiencies and misguided strategies are the reason why Japan has trouble with any meaningful language application or deep understanding of the material being taught. The danger with the English craze that is going on right now is that some private universities will allow students in on the basis of English alone. They study grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, etc, and then have some sort of basic oral interview around a question like "Why did you chose this school?" Not very challenging stuff.

As a result, private high schools now offer English-focused courses that prepare kids for this type of examination, completely neglecting class hours in many other subjects like science, math, social studies, and even Japanese. These kids may score high on tests like TOEIC, but can't finish an algebra problem, or write a well-worded Japanese essay. It doesn't surprise me that the "good" English speakers are not getting hired in larger numbers. Even if they could speak English fluently, they would have very little to say. In fact, their lack of knowledge and skill in things like science, math, and Japanese probably prevent them from getting hired. The job world, it seems, does not value English like the universities pretend to.

As valuable as I think English is for anyone looking to expand their career opportunities, I have to admit that Japan is the exception to the rule. The vast majority of their companies simply don't want to create a system where English ability is more important than following orders or putting in obscene hours for the "team". They don't understand how to utilize a multi-lingual workforce, especially for businesses that cater to the domestic market only. In addition, they don't feel any pressure to change because their workers aren't exactly banging down the doors demanding opportunities to use a language that most of them were reluctantly pushed into learning as kids. Things may change, but in a society with so many old people at the top and very few young people at the bottom, change is not anywhere near likely.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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