Kazuaki Shimazaki comments

Posted in: Scholars decry Suga's academic panel rejections See in context

virusrexToday 08:48 am JST

He certainly set one there. I just point out there are valid reasons he does not want to set one where the government forced to justify a non-hire decision.

Not when they are defensibly NOT abusing their power. The only reason you have for suspecting such is that they happen to have anti-governmental positions, when it can just as easily be due to a lack of balanced consideration.

Yet the will of the legislator (discernable by comparing it versus the previous version) is that he is allowed to do so.

Why don't you discuss the concrete example already brought up, to explain why it is proper to shut down that application?

Well, they'll have to up their game by putting out better arguments then, would they?

Let's talk about an actual event. Right now, in HK there have been a number of firings against recommendations of teachers and professors. The political aim is quite apparent (in fact, they are confessing such on TV)...

On the other hand, there is this teacher who tried to teach his students that the Opium War was because the British wanted to help China to be free of drugs. Ha ha ha, new one on me. If they fire that one, regardless of any political motives, we will have to concede it is a valid shot.

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Posted in: Scholars decry Suga's academic panel rejections See in context

virusrex Today 02:20 pm JST

Which is why it would have been better to accept the nominations.

I think you need to think hard about why you chose this argument, recognizing clearly whether you are debating facts or the law. If you are objecting because you quietly feel they deserve to be appointed On the Merits, then you are arguing Facts. If you think maybe the Prime Minister could be right that they don't deserve to be appointed, but they should be anyway, you are arguing Law. Which is it, and why?

Of course he deserves the drop in popularity, this measure was obviously going to have that cost...

That's an argument that the drop was foreseeable, which is different from arguing he deserved the drop.

His decision of not offering any explanation causes third part observed to understand there is no such thing

Said 3rd party is being prejudicial. A fair third party, in my opinion, should in such a case be an inquisitor by looking at the immediately available evidence and considering whether the accused has a case to answer, before burdening them with the duty to reply.

Appoint or confirm is irrelevant for this, he did not do the selection, the people being selected are not the ones that have to justify the selection ether.

Yet they have decided to protest with a purported justification anyway, and in that justification along with their past works gives us information to assess their level. You might have the right to maintain silent, but if you speak, it might just go against you

And the possibility of a veto is not the problem, using it in an apparently irrational way to defeat the whole purpose of the council is what is costing the PM.

Wait, wait, wait. I think you've finally managed to come to the crux of your own objection. Why is it irrational or why would it defeat the "whole purpose of the council" if we accept (as seems superficially plausible based on the "victims" own statements) that maybe these candidates just aren't very good.

In the modern word having a strict control of dual-purpose technologies

They are not so much having a "strict control" of dual-purpose technologies as banning any kind of dual purpose technology. And we have to, in any case, have a regard to whether the argument is rational or ideological, or whether the council is actually itself crushing academic freedom.

To my mind, a political scientist (such as a jurist, as most of the "victims" this round seem to be) is free to take any position under the principle of academic freedom. Certainly, I agree to penalize them on the mere basis of them having an anti-governmental position, even to the extent of denying them an Establishing Act, is unjustified.

However, this is only true to the extent their views are made with a scientific, reasoned basis with due consideration of the strength of the opposing argument. Otherwise, the argument has no more value than that of the opinion of a housewife, except while we don't ignore the opinion of the housewife nor do we grace it with the weight we give to an "authority". An opinion by an authority made without said reasoned basis is an abuse of trust.

Compared with them making an anti-governmental position, the bigger problem, at least as far as I can see, is that the arguments are not reasoned or balanced to the extent we might expect from an expert. I claim no degree in the law, only a greater interest and knowledge than the regular layman, yet you can hopefully see I'm already taking into account of more legal factors than they are.

With due notice that any decisions to deny a natural right should be subject to stricter control, as should any revocation of even a granted right due to the reliance factor, granting of a non-natural right is free discretion and subject to a lower standard of scrutiny - one of manifest irrationality (the common law might call this Wednesbury unreasonableness). Looking at the answers of those scholars, I can hardly say the PM's decision falls under this category, nor is it clear that the decision is against the interests of the civil service or the population. At this point, he has No Case to Answer.

Moderator: Please keep your comments shorter.

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Posted in: Scholars decry Suga's academic panel rejections See in context

@virusrexToday 06:13 am JST

First, precedents are extremely long-term things, so to leap into setting one to avoid short-term political pressure is doing everyone a disservice.

Second, it is not clear that the prime minister "deserves" to lose this popularity, at least in this set of cases. As far as can be seen, he has not committed any procedural violations. His decision is also not manifestly unreasonable - if anything, the lack of analysis and balance on the part of the "victims" cause a reasonable, third party observer to have manifest doubts as to their suitability. The screaming seems more political and/or ideological than on grounds of legality and rationality.

Ignoring the long term costs of precedent setting, it is extremely far from clear that ANY explanation will reduce the backlash appreciably. The objection is a mix of political posturing and ideological, and thus is not rational.

He is not just any employer, he is administrating public resources and rejected to confirm members of a council meant to keep an ethical control of its government.

The wording of the law allows him to "appoint", not only "confirm" the members of the council.

第七条 日本学術会議は、二百十人の日本学術会議会員(以下「会員」という。)をもつて、これを組織する。

2 会員は、第十七条の規定による推薦に基づいて、内閣総理大臣が任命する。

If you consider the legislative history of the relevant law, before the 80s, the members of the council were elected, with zero involvement by the government. An objective view of the legislative history would argue the legislators have decided to allow at least the possibility of a veto by the government, and he has just used it.

They are not meant to be harmless, their role is to criticize anything that is judged contrary to what has been agreed to be done about research.

And it is their role to be rational and scientific about such objections, rather than making objections without considering realities. For example, the law explicitly says in its Preamble:


Note the part about 人類社会の福祉に貢献 (contribute to the welfare of human society). Objectively speaking, technology to cut fuel consumption by ships does that, won't you say? They objected anyway and caused the program to be terminated, did they?

They cannot complain about the other parts of government playing their legislatively-allocated cards to counter such abuses of power.

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Posted in: Scholars decry Suga's academic panel rejections See in context

@virusrexToday 09:50 pm JST

The candidate is not the one that should justify his selection, is the council, and for that is necessary first for Suga to explain what reasons he have for the rejection.

A question that needs to be asked here is how much legal obligation is there for Suga to justify his decision, at least at this point in the game.

As an example, how much would you like, as an employer, to be forced to explain the individual factual reasons for rejecting each applicant. Not for firing them, hiring them.

If Suga is not obliged to justify his decision, or it is unclear that he's required to, then it makes sense for Suga to not prematurely set a precedent by providing an un-necessary justification or making a more extensive justification than he is required to.

As a general principle, "victims" of an administrative act (or refusal to make one) can ask for administrative review of the decision, and in the process they can obtain an Explanation as required by Article 29 of the relevant law. Of course, they can also file to have the decision judicially reviewed, and in the process the defendant will have to provide at least some sort of explanation.

Now, candidates do NOT decide what is what the government do, they advice and check, and their work is to oppose measures they judge to be against what the government itself says should be done.

This account seems to greatly underestimate the real power of the council:

From: https://japan-forward.com/speaking-out-the-science-council-of-japan-should-protect-academic-freedom/

There is a case symbolizing the rejection. Hokkaido University applied in fiscal 2016 for the ministry’s security technology research promotion program, and the ministry adopted a study proposed by the university’s professor, Dr. M (academic field: fluid mechanics) for covering a ship’s bottom with fine bubbles to reduce navigation resistance. The epoch-making study would cut fuel consumption by 10%, not only for Japan’s Self-Defense Forces, but also for private sector tankers and ships. 

In its statement on March 24, 2017, however, the SCJ criticized the study as a military research. The virtual pressure from the SCJ led the university to withdraw the study from the Ministry of Defense program in 2018.

They are not exactly harmless advisors.

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Posted in: Scholars decry Suga's academic panel rejections See in context

@Crashpilot Today 12:41 pm JST

I said that it should be the people who decide whether University research (at least partially sponsored by taxpayer money, BTW) should allow for dual-use or military technology, not a bunch of ivory-tower academics. Especially since they clearly are not NEARLY as concerned about the possibility of dual-use technology in China.

As far as appointments are concerned, I don't object to the idea of nominations by the academics. I do object to the notion that the Prime Minister's power to appoint is necessarily limited to one of formality (as in, it doesn't exist). I also object to people necessarily thinking that there is an abuse of power here when the Disqualified are showing their lack of qualification even in their whines to the media.

If Okada or Matsumiya were for example physics specialists, I might accept that level of argumentation on an area they claim no expertise in. But they claim to be legal experts, and their argumentation plain doesn't give me the vibe they are on that level. Thus ironically their answers give credence to Suga's decision.

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Posted in: Scholars decry Suga's academic panel rejections See in context

“Political interference over the council membership destroys the principle of academic freedom,” Masanori Okada, a law professor at Waseda University in Tokyo and one of the six scholars, said at a news conference in Tokyo.

Rejected Candidate Okada, I find it most concerning that you were unable or unwilling to say anything about why On the Merits you should have been selected, but instead wish to claim that you must be selected no matter what.

Further, I can already tell Rejected Candidate Okada that his claim will likely fail in court should he choose to file suit. While 1975 (Gyo-Tsu) 120 decided 1978.10.04 is mostly remembered for its effect on foreigners, it has also expressed an opinion about the use of Discretionary Powers in an Establishing Act - Constitutional protections do not go as far as denying the statutorily-established power of the responsible officer to take the totality of the circumstances and make a free discretion decision as to whether or not to make the Establishing Act. Legal actions that nevertheless are not to the benefit of Japan can compose part of the reason to deny the benefits of the Establishing Act.

This lack of comprehensive analysis is by itself sufficient to cause doubt as to your qualifications as a law professor fit to take the Science Council of Japan, the nominally highest academy in the land...

Takaaki Matsumiya, a Ritsumeikan University law professor and one of those rejected, told the news conference that Suga reinterpreted Article 15 of the constitution regarding appointments of public servants “in a way he can appoint or dismiss any public servants just as he wishes."

“I find this extremely dangerous,” he said.

Rejected Candidate Matsumiya has not explained why it is necessary to bring the constitution into this. The Prime Minister just executed his statutory powers. The objection is more emotional than logical and is in itself a reason to cause doubt as to the qualifications.

The council, set up in 1949, has repeatedly opposed military technology research at universities, most recently in 2017. Its objections to government funding for such research is contrary to efforts by Suga's predecessor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to build up Japan’s military capability.

Should it not be the people, rather than a bunch of academics that decide whether university research should include military technology, and also technology which can also (or even primarily) benefit civilian use?

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Posted in: Use of smartphones wasting more kids' time, wrecking their brains, says doctor See in context

Research of addicted gamers indicates that functioning in the brain's frontal lobe -- the section responsible for controlling reason and logic -- will decline. Such young people have been found to have a lower than average volume of gray matter in their frontal lobes than other children of the same age.

The first sentence is the conclusion, the second sentence is the purported basis for the conclusion. Let me suggest that correlation is not causation and the possibility that the youngsters who started out having lower than average volume of grey matter were more vulnerable to addiction, not that the addiction somehow causes grey matter to decrease.

At least based on the information in the article.

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Posted in: Suga, opposition to face off in Diet over science panel controversy See in context

From the viewpoint of academic freedom, it is indeed not a great precedent to set.

Having said that, the wording of the law does not refute the possibility of the Appointer taking a different view. Indeed, one may question what's the point of an appointer if he has no choice but to approve whatever is nominated.

Further, the view given during the Nakasone era not only is over 30 years old, but in itself phrased correctly such that it does not contradict this view. All that view said is that the government (at the time) does not foresee the possibility of a government veto, NOT that they can't veto or that a veto will never be appropriate.

Thus, prima facie Suga did not exceed his authority. The only question left is whether he abused the authority the law gave him. If he believes in good faith that these scholars are unfit for their post, there is no abuse.

Japanese scholar are criticized like evil organization despite no illegality at all.

Nobody has accused them of breaking a law. However, the combination of their attitudes has created a sense that they are biased towards foreign powers rather than the Japan. Nevertheless, they will not suffer any consequences worse than the Prime Minister choosing to use his powers to not award a few posts.

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Posted in: Cyberattacks on coronavirus vaccine projects confirmed in Japan See in context

BTW, though it has apparently been deleted, I believe someone has claimed China will release the vaccine "for free". Just in case, I'll just point out here that is not true:


China promises to sell Covid-19 vaccines at ‘fair and reasonable’ price around the world

Fair and reasonable is not free.

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Posted in: Man gets 14 years for killing student in 2018 See in context

Why only 14 years? I dont understand the Japanese sentence guidelines.

First, get used to the fact that punishments in civil law countries tend to be lighter than the ones in common law countries, where murder can be mandatory life sentence.

In this case, the minima for homicide is 5 years, the maximum is the death penalty. This range has to cover a LARGE number of diverse scenarios. Defendant did not kill multiple people, did not kill as an official, well Victim is a minor but only in Japanese law and we all know if the defendant was 18-years old JapanToday commentators would refuse to grant him protections due a minor, she's not pregnant, strangulation within the methods of killing is not extremely cruel or dangerous, the perpetrator acted singularly, not for money, motives are about average for a murder case and not for concealing another crime, political, religious, racial or other such special classes of motivation; and not for organs.

Because of the above, the top portions of the punishment scale cannot be justified. Cutting out the bottom, it is a crime of purpose instead of conditional intent and there are no mitigating factors, so we can probably get rid of 5-10 years. Victim's a woman, still young ... 14 years is probably about right and if they go much higher, the sentence may be reduced on appeal (has happened before).

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Posted in: Appeal filed for former top bureaucrat accused of killing reclusive son See in context

People, people, people. Try closing your eyes to the word "bureaucrat" for awhile so you can concentrate on other factors.

You are a 77-year-old. A 44-year-old has been committing violence against you for some time. And this time, he openly says he'll kill you. You seriously think he'll act on his threat, and anybody who thinks different wasn't there to assess the tonalities and other circumstantial information.

How closely do you want your decision to stab him to be scrutinized? Do you want nobody to give you the benefit of the doubt? Are you willing to auto-lose the case? Do you want the fact you were a retired "top bureaucrat" to work against you?

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Posted in: Tokyo government considers fining people who knowingly go out when infected with COVID-19 See in context

OK, complainers, I remember back early when the Japanese tried for voluntary measures, the JapanToday denizen base was screaming, and at least one of them even suggested the abuse of anti-drug ordinance just to isolate people. So I expect to see only support from this site :-)

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Posted in: Cyberattacks on coronavirus vaccine projects confirmed in Japan See in context

Maybe they are going to give the virus vaccine away for free, but if you steal something to put into your gifts, it's still theft.

And yes, I said theft though I think IP, excessive copyright in particular is overblown. There is a clear distinction between this and for example a "free" manga bank. The free manga bank does not appropriate the IP right. Once the research data is integrated into the Sino-Russian product, it will be.

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Posted in: Man arrested for sexually molesting teenage girl See in context

@P. SmithToday  08:31 am JST

Well, regardless of the presence of gropers, I think many girls (and boys) would welcome the right to choose their clothing to be restored to them as soon as the bell rings, so this is killing two birds with one stone.

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Posted in: Ex-head of Japan science group urges Suga to appoint rejected scholars See in context

AscissorToday 02:09 pm JST

You could argue that. But the government hasn't. It's just given a cop-out explanation (the decision was made based on a "comprehensive perspective").

I suspect that is the only realistic answer he can give. The length of the answer he can give in reply to either a reporter or a Diet member is limited, and to actually go over the "comprehensive perspective" in sufficient detail it has any hope of persuading a critic will be too long for the time he has.

Hideomi KuzeToday 02:28 pm JST

evade criticism about illegality of Suga government.

OK, we have to get one thing out of the way. People might not like it but it is not an illegality. The black letter law is as follows:

第七条 日本学術会議は、二百十人の日本学術会議会員(以下「会員」という。)をもつて、これを組織する。

2 会員は、第十七条の規定による推薦に基づいて、内閣総理大臣が任命する。

So, the Prime Minister appoints based on the recommendation made in accordance with Article 17. This phrasing leaves open the question as to whether the appointment is a substantive right, a procedural right or mere symbolism. It certainly does imply that the failure to appoint the nominee is unexpected, but it hardly forbids the move.

As for the 1983 answer it says: 


The government is not thinking that the Prime Minister's appointment will affect the appointment of members in practice.

It does not say it "can't" think it. It just says it is not thinking of it, perhaps hopefully it will never be necessary.

In short, neither the black letter law nor the interpretation insist the prime minister must eat the nomination no matter what. Nor is it necessarily an abuse of authority because as explained above the statements may exceed more political speech but reveals a lack of the qualities that would be expected of a council member - in other words, the nominators F-ed up.

By the way, this formulation is similar to certain formulations in the HK Basic Law. I suppose it is not shocking for you to learn that Beijing has taken the substantive right interpretation. My distaste aside I have to concede it is at least arguable, and thus similarly will have to say the same for this.

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Posted in: Ex-head of Japan science group urges Suga to appoint rejected scholars See in context

This article has some information concerning the 6 rejectees:

University of Tokyo professor A (academic field: majoring in political thought history) opposed the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets enacted in 2013 and called for forming an “Association of Scholars Opposed to National Security Laws.” 

Waseda University professor B (academic field: administrative law) set up an “Association of Waseda University Volunteers Seeking to Repeal National Security Laws” and issued a statement of protest against the government’s handling of a U.S. military base construction off Camp Schwab in Okinawa. 

Jikei University professor C (academic field: constitutional law) called for scrapping national security legislation that, he said, would lead to Japan’s unlimited exercise of the right of collective self-defense. 

University of Tokyo professor D (academic field: modern Japanese history) proposed to establish a group named “Save Constitutional Democracy Japan 2014,” and raised opposition to any constitutional amendment and the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets. 

Ritsumeikan University professor E (academic field: criminal law) criticized a bill in 2017 for revising the Act on Punishment of Organized Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds as the worst postwar public order legislation. 

Kyoto University professor F (academic field: the study of Christianity) has supported the “Association of Scholars Opposed to National Security Laws” and an “Association of Kyoto University Volunteers for Freedom and Peace,” which opposed national security legislation.


While you can say that the "anti-government" positions cost them, one may also legitimately argue that these statements themselves constitute evidence that they are not as expert or well-rounded or as even-handed as one would expect academics on a top level council to be.

For example, how does Professor A deal with the reality that both spies and sensitive information are not merely hypothetical existences, and that Japanese bureaucrats had not always been the most careful with information?

How does Professor B deal with the concept that National Defense is a national responsibility, not a prefectural one and that prefectural obstructionism is hindering things? I'll also point out the Japanese government took a very restrained course with such obstructionism - they even lined up in court next to the peasants. Imagine say the PRC government dealing with supposed obstructionism in enacting Article 23 of the HK Basic Law by going through the courts to demand a remedy rather than just imposing a National Security Law.

How does Professor C deal with the reality that Japan has not exactly been making "unlimited" exercise of the right to collective self-defence? The law does not allow for it and Japan has not been pushing the limits.

While I indeed don't like some of the constitutional revision proposals myself, when he opposes any amendment how does Professor D deal with the tension between the SDF, the unrealism of disbanding it, and the Constitution?

And is National Security laws incompatible with Christianity?

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Posted in: Japan, U.S. start talks on cost of hosting American troops See in context

Otacon512Today 09:36 am JST

Ah, but what if the Chinese do attack. Basically, the payouts and other concessions for the American troops are insurance money. The alternative (similar to those who choose not to pay insurance) is that should the war come they'll have to fight it using only what's in their hand.

Japan is in a weak position to negotiate because of strategic factors. Let's face it, Europe put together is stronger than Russia. The same is not true for Japan v China. They need the US to an extent Europe does not, and the whole pacifism thing prevents exploration of alternatives (albeit expensive ones).

Basically, the Japanese have three options:

1) Pay the Americans.

2) Spend something like 5x the present amount to build up indigenous capabilities.

3) Accept the Chinese as suzerain.

Of which 1 seems the least painful...

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Posted in: Berlin allows 'comfort woman' statue to remain for time being See in context

Peter14 Today 04:56 pm JST

It is not for the guilty country to complain or interfere.

And it is not for the victim country to constantly attempt to extort more concessions.

You are correct that usually the apologizer doesn't defend himself. However, that is only possible in a situation where 3rd parties are willing to play fair broker to ensure the victim doesn't get too full of himself. Korea already got its concession on the issue. The world refused to acknowledge that and continued to find excuses for South Korea. THAT is their failure.

Even from the viewpoint of eliciting further apologies, this is a darn stupid idea because no one with responsibility can make concessions where liability is infinite.

People like to bring up Germany, but I think the BIGGEST difference is that Europe plays by the rules. Further, the Cold War was on and they needed Germany's economy and 12 divisions against the Soviet Union. As a result, Germany's liability is finite and everyone knew that. That's why things went relatively well over there, and even then every so often their concession is rewarded by buttholes demanding more.

Japan needs to let it go and leave South Korea to erect whatever statues it thinks appropriate. 

From the viewpoint of Japan, those statues are NOTHING but disadvantage. All things can only have a positive or negative effect on impressions unless they incite absolutely no association at all, and this statue can only be a negative. Since everyone generally concedes modern Japanese bear no culpability for any real or perceived faults of ancestral events now ~80 years old, there is a clear problem and logical inconsistency in demanding that they bear the disadvantage.

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Posted in: Berlin allows 'comfort woman' statue to remain for time being See in context

KurukiToday 01:31 am JST

People say that Japan has apologized but what good is an apology if you're trying to silence the victims and stopping them from acknowledging the victims?

Since someone has taken the first two paragraphs, I'll do this one, and here it is. From a societal point of view, the point of an apology is to settle the dispute and resume normal relations between the wrongdoer and victim. A nastier way to put it is that it is indeed to "silence the victim".

Have you ever had this experience as a kid? You were wronged. The adults agree you were wronged, and demand the wrongdoer to apologize. He does, perhaps not too sincerely (to your ears), but he mouths the words. If you press the point, it's very likely the adults will tell you to hush. Sometimes, they might even approach you BEFOREHAND, to say "OK, Wrongdoer's going to apologize in a few minutes. I want you to forgive him (that is, to let this matter drop)."

Normally, it is society's role to defend the wrongdoer's interests, once he has apologized - that's why in most cases the wrongdoer does not have to and can focus on looking contrite. Unfortunately, the world when it comes to the comfort women has dropped the ball and this has only caused South Korea to grow a most anti-social stance to this issue. Only after the 2015 fiasco does the world finally begin to wake up an inch and realize who the intransigent one is, and even then they ask Japan to eat the judiciary decision even though it is crap - any country that doesn't think it is should prove the strength of their convictions by allowing other nations sole discretion in interpreting and adjudicating their treaties.

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Posted in: Japan tells S Korea it will skip trilateral summit over wartime labor dispute See in context

Peter14Today 05:28 pm JST

This came about by a domestic court in South Korea making a ruling on a case in its jurisdiction of a South Korean citizen suing a company that operates within South Korean borders.

And said ruling involves the interpretation of a treaty, with consequences that involve the other treaty state.

Your statement of Korea being an "atrocious rulebreaker" shows you are biased so your comments must be taken in that light.

Since you claim not to have a view on who is right or wrong, why don't you defer provisionally to my solution - I clearly think that the Korean court knowingly ignored the plain meaning of the treaty in such a way that eviscerates its purpose? And the Korean executive is hiding behind separation of powers in an attempt to evade its international responsibility?

From my position, what SHOULD I call South Korea.

Japan would not budge.

You'll notice you don't hear about such problems from Japan, because despite the claims of the less than independent Japanese judge, the Japanese judiciary is actually CAREFUL about international treaties. Unless there is a solid ground it can use, it will either call it a political question or interpret things in a way such that liability is diffused. For example, in cases when American fighter planes are too loud, it will order the Japanese government to pay compensation, but recognize that it does not have the jurisdiction to command the Americans to stop flying.

This kind of response often earns ire from the plaintiffs and their supporters, but it DOES avoid causing an international crisis.

And I would suggest you don't read too much into the Phillippines case, because that basically rested on the UNCLOS (which both signed and ratified) provisions that allow arbitration. Despite China's reservation, they found a way to read it so that the reservation did not cover the more general provision to allow arbitration. In short, as far as the PCA was concerned, China consented. China was not happy :-)

Such a thing does not exist in the 1965 treaty. It does have a provision for disputes that can't be handled diplomatically:

Agreement Between Japan and the Republic of Korea Concerning the Settlement of Problems in Regard to Property and Claims and Economic Cooperation

Article III

2 Any dispute which cannot be settled under the provision of paragraph 1 above shall be submitted for decision to an arbitral commission of three arbitrators; one to be appointed by the Government of each High Contracting Party within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt by the Government of either High Contracting Party from that of the other High Contracting Party of a note requesting arbitration of the dispute; and the third to be agreed upon by the two arbitrators so chosen or to be nominated by the Government of a third power as agreed upon by the two arbitrators within a further period of thirty days. However, the third arbitrator must not be a national of either High Contracting Party.

And it seems that Japan tried to use this provision:


(dated May 20, 2019)

But so far they have had no luck getting the Koreans to bulge.

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Posted in: Japan tells S Korea it will skip trilateral summit over wartime labor dispute See in context

Peter14 Today 02:06 pm JST

I will point out that first considering how plainly written the relevant part of the treaty is, to even concede that there might be a possibility of an interpretation is much to the detriment of Japan. It is basically rewarding an atrocious rulebreaker.

It is world-practice for states that the most common method of dealing with torts by other nations is self-help, which is basically what is happening here.

It is interesting that you think KOREA has the right to impose its opinion using its domestic court but JAPAN has to pray for an international one. How do you figure this works?

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Posted in: Berlin allows 'comfort woman' statue to remain for time being See in context

Following the decision, a pro-South Korean civic group in Berlin lodged a protest with local authorities and filed a petition with a Berlin court to suspend the district order.

I would really be interested in what grounds do they have to complain about the recission of the approval. If they want to make a protest (temporary use of the streets for freedom of assembly), certainly any restriction of that would be an infringement of right. But a permit for a permanent statue?

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Posted in: Japan's top court backs lower pay for nonregular employees See in context

I'm one that thinks that people should, when the opportunity is present, read the actual verdicts for the reasoning instead of relying on news reports. These are the numbers:



To their credit, the justices were able to identify some differences between the jobs being performed, as well as differences in the risk burden (especially the risk to have jobtype and location transfers). Also, both defendant entities were smart enough to have promotion programs where their part time workers can undergo selection and upgrade to being full-time contract workers and then to the Japanese ideal of the tenured seishain worker. The statistics suggest that being promoted is a genuine rather than theoretical possibility, but neither of the plaintiffs at hand seemed to have tried to climb that ladder.

Having said that, allow me to suggest the justices don't justify their stance that a reversal is necessary. Especially since the phrase "does not quite reach the point of un-reasonableness" is in their judgments, meaning that it is not perfectly reasonable either. The previous judgments had already taken into account the genuine differences between the different job categories as well as the principle of freedom of contract by only ordering **partial equalization of the differences.** In jurisprudence terms, it doesn't unduly restrict the employers' legitimate options.

Further, I notice virtually no analysis is done to interpret the relevant statute using literal-grammatical, systematic, historical or teleological interpretation, so the reading seems arbitrarily decided rather than reasoned. In fact, the ruling risks neutering the entire purpose in writing Article 20 of the relevant law in the first place. At the very least, the clear intent of Article 20 is to protect workers and it is not hard to suspect what two adverse rulings despite apparent gaps in treatment will do to the deterrent power of the statute, and how it would be exploited.

The Supreme Court clearly hadn't learnt from its experience with the Kimigayo debacle. Unlike many, I can understand the initial rulings because otherwise the very right of principals to give work related orders risk being neutered. Unfortunately, as it turned out the intitial, relatively proportionate, punishments (official admonitions) chosen by the principals was due to perceived legal uncertainty. Once the court ruled their way, instead of recognizing the admonitions as about the limit, schools continued to push the line and admonitions escalated into disciplinary firings over the Kimigayo and the courts ended up having to push in the opposite direction.

Overall the Supreme Court should just have sent its usual two line note of dismissal to settle both cases instead of accepting them.

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Posted in: Man loses 200 times at crane game, calls police to investigate; staff member loses 300 times too See in context

Well, everyone knows those things are fishy, but not letting the customer get anything after 200 tries is pushing "Plausible Deniability".

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Posted in: Facebook to ban content that denies or distorts the Holocaust See in context

I'm more on the Slippery Slope side of thought.

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Posted in: Berlin rescinds approval of 'comfort women' statue installation See in context

The correct decision. People do not have a natural right to install permanent fixtures on public roads and streets, and thus approval of such a thing cannot be called a merely neutral act, but an act of support by granting the applicants extra rights.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan may ease rules on 'morning-after pill' next year: report See in context

P. SmithToday 02:41 pm JST

Abstinence is not the only way to be responsible.

Let's face it, when an old fart says "responsible" in terms of sex, usually he is demanding abstinence before marriage.

My argument is more that if consequences are lessened or eliminated, you don't have to restrain yourself anymore (generally, when people ask for "responsible" behavior, they are asking for restraint).

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Posted in: Japan may ease rules on 'morning-after pill' next year: report See in context

@virusrexToday  08:27 am JST

My objection is different - as a matter of principle if there is a pill that would eliminate the consequences, is there still a need to be "responsible" (a nice way of saying abstinence)?

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Posted in: 89-year-old ex-top bureaucrat pleads not guilty over fatal Tokyo car crash See in context

sir_bentley28Today  10:54 am JST

This is the only reason he walked free after killing a woman and a little girl. If I had done this, I wouldn't be here typing this up. Japan needs to enforce one same law for all people. I feel even worse for the poor father! What a slap in his face to find out this old killer walks free.

We will never know the extent of influence his previous success has on the outcome. However, I don't think it is the decisive factor, simply because his old age is already a strong and arguably sufficient factor to favor sparing him arrest. He isn't going anywhere.

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Posted in: 89-year-old ex-top bureaucrat pleads not guilty over fatal Tokyo car crash See in context

CrickyToday  06:17 pm JST

so he was unable to run a sub ministry, but allowed to drive, really Japan? Might be time to let younger persons have a go.

Actually, it wasn't exactly defunct, but merged with about 15 other labs to form the new National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, an Independent Administrative Institution.

For why this was done:

Originally proposed by the Administrative Reform Council, the independent agencies are created based on the concept of separating the ministries and agencies of the government into planning functions and operation functions. Planning functions remain within government-based ministries and agencies while operating functions are transferred to the independent agencies.


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