Japan Today

Kay Bow comments

Posted in: Japanese celebrities urge young people to vote in general election See in context


Encouraging young people to vote is OK, but voting means little if we just get the status quo when everything is falling apart. How about encouraging them to learn about how the structures of power and finance control the conditions of their lives and their life chances? Encourage them to talk with their friends and debate various issues. Make these discussions "Kako-ii" rather than "Dasai".

Yeah… that’s not mutually exclusive. You can do all those things AND still vote.

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Posted in: Japanese celebrities urge young people to vote in general election See in context

I’ll add an addendum - saying things like “do they even know what they want?”

You can ask that of ANY person regardless of age, considering the current political stagnation was brought about with low voter participation.

Everyone thinks they know better than everyone else… oy vey.

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Posted in: Japanese celebrities urge young people to vote in general election See in context

Wow. So much disdain and stereotypes about young people in this thread.

Regardless of how much time someone spends playing Animal Crossing (for exp), the right to vote is the right to vote. And it makes me cringe seeing people think that some people are less worthy of that right simply because they’re not like you.

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Posted in: High schools to begin mental health education amid rise in suicides See in context


This line of thinking - while sounding benign and enlightened at first look - is really a way to place blame upon people who may still be working on their mental illness. It basically blames them for not being strong or good enough.

It’s like that old invalidating hollow platitude for people facing major depression to “just get over it” or “just be positive.” It fails to acknowledge 1. that some mental health conditions have a large organic or genetic factor (eg schizophrenia) that may require more than just a feisty spirit to overcome, and 2. It fails to recognize that severe adverse life experiences, like abuse, in your early childhood years are some of the most robust predictors of future mental health diagnoses. Knowing how to “just love yourself” is something we usually develop from the support of our families early on in life.

If you’re formative years - when both brain and a general sense of self - are spent in a home where caretakers actively degrade your sense of self through abuse or neglect, then yes, it might take more time for others to achieve and it might require help from professionals. So, please stop pathologizing what might be valid emotional expressions of real suffering.

As Frankl said: sometimes, an abnormal reaction is normal, when it is in response to an abnormal situation.

I would argue that achieving the goals mentioned in your email can happen through social support, health education, and professional help.

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Posted in: In synch See in context


it’s a play on words — the sport captured in the photo is synchronized diving.

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Posted in: Suga to hold phone talks with Pfizer executive See in context


It seems it's not the amount of vaccine that's the bottleneck here."

Simple, there are not 3 minion doses in Japan. The last shipment was on March 22nd, It had 654,615 doses,


It seems it is the lack of thinking that is the problem here.

So you claim 3 million doses have not been shipped? But that 656.616 doses you mention in March 22 was the SIXTH batch of shipments. So how much in the first FIVE?

By @Zoroto’s calculations, 3 million sounds about right. The third batch contained over 500,000 alone so just those 2 shipments out of 6 already put Japan at a over a million doses.

so yeah, I think “the lack of thinking like isn’t the problem here... at least on Zoroto’s part....

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Posted in: New Zealand begins COVID-19 vaccinations program; Australia starts Monday See in context


In terms of a harm reduction approach to vaccination rollouts, NZ and Australia wouldn’t be as high a priority since they took swift and early mitigation measures and don’t have the widespread community transmissions and hospitalization strain as most other countries......

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 266 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 961 See in context


We are nowhere near herd immunity ...

Approximately only 1% or less have acquired antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in Japan, including in Tokyo where the largest numbers tend to be reported from (though, when adjusting for population size or test positivity rates, has not necessarily always been the worst performing area in Japan for managing COVID)


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Posted in: Mori to resign over sexist comments; Kawabuchi, 84, tipped to replace him See in context


One thing is for sure - the last year or so has shown just how many people have no understanding of what “Freedom of Speech” actually is.

It refers to protection from the government prohibiting its citizens from free speech (and has noted limitations). Now, if Mori were arrested and thrown in prison by the Japanese government for his comments, then you can post here about freedoms being violated.

Mori was free to said what he said without government censorship or imprisonment, but private and corporate entities are welcome to respond with consequences.

Here’s a partial list of boundaries to freedom of speech for which the government in the US can limit free, uncensored speech:

libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, food labeling......

In Japan, there are limitations as well and the Japanese constitution expressly states that people “shall refrain from any abuse of these freedoms and rights and shall always be responsible for utilizing them for the public welfare.”

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Posted in: Fewer people to get Pfizer vaccine in Japan due to syringe shortage See in context


Or perhaps it is because most here are from Europe and the USA and don't like the facts their countries are again acting selfish as they have throwout history.

Ok, (i) if this were a hypothetical scenario, and (ii) if the cause of the vaccine rollout problems here in Japan could be boiled down to a single cause (of course, this is the real world and there are many factors at play simultaneously including bureaucracy and protectionism policies here that slowed rollout), and (iii) if that single cause was, let’s say, the US obstructing exports or a US-based pharmaceutical company not following through with the scheduling stipulations in the contract, it sounds ethically problematic, certainly.

In spite of how ethically dubious it sounds in a hypothetical situation however, I don’t see why anyone is surprised by the tension between countries wanting the vaccine and the suppliers. The reality is the demand for vaccine distribution far outstrips supply in all countries and that will likely remain as such for some months more and we all have to be patient (and continue the behavioral measures we have had a year to practice and get familiar with).

Of course, every country with contracts wants as many doses as soon as possible! But recognize that the US / EU and the pharma companies located therein have invested lots of time, money, and talent pool and facilitated a scientific culture of innovation. That climate helped these companies develop the mRNA tech and the vaccine itself at this brisk pace. The US also issued an EUA two months earlier than Japan so obviously Pfizer has had more vaccines distributed to the US (but even there, there was some outcry going around about the companies possibly not distributing as many vaccines as planned a month or so ago).

Arguing that these companies or countries of selfishly holding onto technologies that they invested into developing seems naive (pragmatically rather than ethically).

Moving forward and keeping in mind that this could be a dress rehearsal for a worse epidemic, why not think about how to support similar vaccine development or how to prepare the rollout logistics on the ground here rather than blame the US/EU companies for having developed proprietary knowledge and done the work to get the vaccines made...

I can only imagine if the situation were reversed, and Japan had been hit as hard by COVID as is the US, and the US were doing relatively better than Japan, and Japan had developed the vaccines, there might be contracts filled in Japan at a faster rate than they were filled in the US.... Sure, we can make ethical arguments about that, but pragmatically, is anyone surprised??

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 1,337 daily COVID cases; nationwide tally 4,519 See in context


I’m sorry but that’s incorrect - Phase I and II have already started in Japan “locally” months ago. The study in Japan is a combined phase I and II.


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Posted in: Tokyo reports 1,337 daily COVID cases; nationwide tally 4,519 See in context


Astra Zeneca also has been running their studies here in Japan


And it seems Takeda has been doing similar data collection in a partnership with Novavax and Moderna.


So... some good news! :)

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Posted in: Tokyo reports 1,337 daily COVID cases; nationwide tally 4,519 See in context


It starts in February.

Extremely unlikely. They said the other day that they need to do Phase I and II trials still. A Phase II trial takes a coupe of months.

Just to clarify- the article a few days ago which said all vaccines approved for use here will need Phase I and II trials was not specifically talking about Pfizer.

Pfizer has already conducted and submitted their Phase I and II data so that won’t hold up approval. Unfortunately, it still seems the current rollout schedule estimates health workers to receive shots by Feb to April, with elderly receiving shots after that. So the general population still has a wait ahead of itself. But it’s not because Phase I and II is lacking.

Pfizer Phase I and II press release


Estimates for vaccine rollout


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Posted in: Tokyo reports 389 more cases of coronavirus See in context


are so many people still masking up in Tokyo?

In Kyoto, the percentage just keeps dropping both indoors and outdoors. I’d guess it’s down to 50% these days... that’s been a big bummer.

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Posted in: Osaka, other urban areas see record daily new coronavirus cases See in context


Please stop staying young and healthy will be fine - plenty of evidence to the contrary. 20% to 30% is not that great... and it’s certainly not 1% or .01% as some people claim.

It amazes me how hard people will work to rationalize / justify / defend “the world is safe, predictable, and fair” view to themselves, including by minimizing suffering and loss of others.

How many stories have I had to read of people who didn’t believe this was serious and then got severely ill and / or died, saying “I regret this - please take it seriously.”

A sample but many more out there like this: https://www.google.co.jp/amp/s/www.businessinsider.com/woman-almost-died-from-coronavirus-regrets-not-wearing-a-mask-2020-7%3famp




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Posted in: Tokyo governor calls for restraint in travel during Obon holidays See in context


Corona virus is here to stay

Nah, eventually all the people who are gonna get it will have gotten it.

Not all viruses work like that.

Some viruses - if you catch and survive it - then confer lifelong immunity more or less. But the existing coronavirus strains capable of infecting humans that are responsible for giving us the common cold do NOT confer lifelong immunity. Our immune systems forget that coronavirus and then people get reinfected again and again over the years. So we can’t assume that “everyone will eventually get it and it’ll be over.”

A few working hypotheses about this now:

There’s evidence showing those who got severely sick from COVID-19 have longer lasting antibodies (consistent with other pathogens, where our immune systems generally tend to remember things that caused severe illness) more so than those who were only mildly ill. Also, as we get older, our immune systems weaken - including the memory cells of the immune system - so it might keep hitting certain parts of the population.

You might think the above point could be bad news for vaccines (like, “if it turns out our body really doesn’t remember COVID19 long-term after all, wouldn’t a vaccine for it be forgotten too?”) but so far, it looks like a higher dose of the vaccine can lead to higher concentrations of antibodies in the blood than if you actually had COVID19. Combined with a course of shots instead of just a 1 time deal it might just work. (Measles, mumps, rubella, hepatits, etc — all vaccines that require booster shot courses.)

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Posted in: Tokyo governor calls for restraint in travel during Obon holidays See in context


the possibility of their never being a vaccine is very, very high. Purely my view of course. but the more you read in broadsheet media including comments from those who are involved in developing vaccines lead me to think that way. The only virus we have ever eradicated is Smallpox and that took a 15 year sustained effort by the whole planet, quite literally.

There’s a couple things here mixed together. First, plenty of other viruses have effective enough vaccines (not 100% but say 80-90%) that we are able to control the spread to the point that it becomes almost entirely snuffed out (except when we get pockets of people who aren’t vaccinated, like the religious commune in Mie in 2019 creating an outbreak). So we don’t need a vaccine to eradicate something to do the job. It’s not all or nothing like that.

Experts have suggested that even a partially effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 could go a long way to getting us to herd immunity and breaking the transmission chain.

Second, smallpox eradication took 15 years... well, I’d just humbly propose that science, technology, international transportation, etc. have come a loooong way since the 1960-1970s. For example, the SARS-CoV-2 genome was obtained in mere days and now we have over 100 candidate vaccines after just 7 months, some of which have proceeded to Phase III testing. So adjust your “15 years or impossible” time table to account for our improved ability to innovate....

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Posted in: Tokyo governor calls for restraint in travel during Obon holidays See in context


All viruses mutate to be less deadly to humans not more because they don't want to kill their hosts. If their hosts die they die with them, they'd rather stay hidden.

All viruses? Not really.

That’s a theoretical principle based on how evolution generally works but it’s not an absolute.

Ebola? Smallpox? Bubonic Plague? These didn’t become less deadly - we just developed measures to combat them ranging from strict quarantines to vaccines to antibiotics. Please don’t assume the virus will become gentler with time.

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Posted in: Japan's summer season transformed by coronavirus See in context


Sure, I understand sun is important for mental health (seasonal affective disorder is a good example) but getting sun doesn’t need to be synonymous with engaging in activities counterproductive to viral mitigation (like crowded matsuri or hanabi taikai) as some folks on here are proposing. Be well~

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Posted in: Japan's summer season transformed by coronavirus See in context

Not sure why the down votes for stating a scientific fact...

You can check for yourself if you doubt vitamin D can be obtained via dietary sources just fine...


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Posted in: Japan's summer season transformed by coronavirus See in context

All these posts saying something along the lines of “get some sunlight because we need vitamin D to have strong immune systems” must be fairly uninformed about vitamin D synthesis.

Sunlight isn’t the only means of getting Vitamin D. Dietary means of vitamin D can be perfectly efficient / potent. For example, a serving of salmon contains over 100% of vitamin D dosing for a day. Same with shiitake and some other mushrooms (particularly if they are placed in the sun gills up before cooking).

So no, please don’t use vitamin D as an reason to invalidate viral mitigation measures.

For what it’s worth, I have lupus, which entails allergies (organ damage) to UV light in the sun. Guess what? I have a perfectly healthy level of vitamin D even while avoiding the sun thanks to dietary sources (salmon, shiitake, etc.).

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Posted in: Japan's daily coronavirus cases top 1,000 for 1st time; Iwate reports first cases See in context


That claim that 90% of people in Japan are immune and that the majority of people was already infected is NOT supported by the scientific evidence, such as antibody tests conducted by the government. Even in the US where the pandemic has been hitting much harder, only about 1% of Americans have tested positive, with CDC estimating the actual number of exposed to be 10x greater. That means approx. 10% of the US has been exposed...

In mid-June in Japan, the antibody study found only about 0.1 to 0.3% of the population (depending on prefecture) was estimated to have been exposed to and recovered from COVID19 (even unknowingly) based on testing a representative sample of the population. Less than 1% of people in Japan has COVID19 antibodies...


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