Japan Today

kazungu comments

Posted in: Court rejects case opposing restart of Miyagi Prefecture nuclear plant See in context

@Phillip bear ... Yup. I used to live in Sendai years ago. And I do a lot of risk analysis for my work. So, yeah, just because something is unlikely doesn't mean it's not super dangerous. Unlikely occurance combined with catastrophic consequence typically means a really high risk factor. If the court/judge had actually used a standard risk assessment or analysis tool, he would have realized just how dangerous it is to run a nuclear reactor on the coast. But then again, we do need affordable electricity. So ...

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Posted in: Dubai's next big thing? Perhaps a $5 billion man-made 'moon' as the city's real estate market booms See in context

@Aly Rustom ... Same here. I've a friend who had worked and lived there for many years, until recently. Went to visit a couple of times. That was enough for me.

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Posted in: Biden's Papua New Guinea no-show deals blow to U.S. credibility in Pacific See in context

@Mocheake ... Totally agree with you. It was a mistake to cancel the trip. US should have postponed it, instead, and rescheduled as soon as possible. A very bad mistake that will come back to bite them.

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Posted in: Japan has invited Australia and South Korea to the G7 summit in Hiroshima. Should it also invite a member of the Global South? See in context

The main requirements for being a G7 member are (1) being a democracy and (2) having an advanced economy that contributes significant to the global GDP. By these metrics, I think India should be invited to attend the summit at the very least.

As for inviting S. Korea and Australia - S. Korea makes sense, economically. I don't know why Australia got invited, unless this summit is more about security issues. But then that should be a different forum.

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Posted in: Kishida heads to Seoul as ties warm over North Korea threat See in context

An example of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"? Or not ...

President Yoon Suk Yeol has been criticized by both the right and the left in Korea with regards to his apparent pro-Japan policy, which I see as his pragmatic way of countering the threat from North Korea. In other words, he's looking at the bigger picture and the best interest of his country.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio is a centrist and a moderate, and I think that's why it was possible for him and his Korean counterpart to come to terms. Having a PM who is head of the relatively dovish Kochikai faction of the LDP makes it more palatable, I think.

Will this detente last? I hope so. But I've no doubt it will be challenging. Continuing animosity between Japan and South Korea will only benefit North Korea and China.

In any case, 열심히!, 頑張って!

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Posted in: Massive price increase announced for Japan Rail Pass; cost to jump by up to 77% See in context

Baffling. I had a friend come visit recently. He bought the rail pass and I happily went around with him - better than driving for many places we went to. This increase will definitely bite into the wallet in the future. I guess JR knows they have a captive customer base. The people buying these passes probably aren't ridiculously rich, so they use them to cut down on costs. Sad.

The old price made it cheaper for tourists to get around, but now I think it's not. I used to take the shinkansen between Sendai and Tokyo every weekend to see my girlfriend. That cost me about 20,000+ yen each time x 4 times a month so about 80,000+ yen a month. So if someone had the pass they would have saved something like 20,000 yen a month. But now using the pass they would pay 20,000 yen more per month.

Just an example.

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Posted in: China's nuclear-armed submarine patrols add complexity for U.S., allies See in context

Things are getting scary. I've read about something called "Thucydides Trap", and it seems at some point conflict is likely to happen. Nuts.

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Posted in: Do you think G7 summits, the next one to be hosted by Japan in Hiroshima in May, ever achieve anything tangible? See in context

Online meetings are convenient, but after having done many over the past couple of years, my take is that they are not as effective as being in the same room. Much less expensive and time-consuming, yes; but for critical decisions I find they just can't beat having a discussion in-person.

That said, I think these G7 summits can achieve tangible results. This from the Global Governance Project: "Using data from 4,369 unique commitment assessments produced between 1975 and 2017, the G7 Research Group has identified two key predictors associated with G7 commitment success, even when economic factors are adjusted for. Specifically, holding meetings with relevant ministers before G7 summits and producing a greater number of commitments at the summits are associated with higher compliance on commitments made."

Kind of makes sense.

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Posted in: Cabinet approves proposals for Japan immigration law changes See in context

I'm wondering who is giving negative votes to the comments here. I agree with Yotomaya and Awa no Gaijin - the way the Japanese government treats refugees and those seeking asylum is disgraceful. Similar with guest-workers. At this rate in a few decades Japan will just be middling economy - maybe good for tourists but that's about it. By 2050 it will be 1/6 the size of China and 1/3 the size of India. So sad.

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Posted in: Should Japan have its own nuclear weapons as a deterrent against security threats? See in context

Yes and no. No first. The 1960 security treaty between Japan and U.S. in which U.S. commits to guaranteeing the defense of Japan means it does not need its own nuclear weapons. Also, if Japan makes nuclear weapons, South Korea would likely follow. But yes, if this guarantee is ever removed or reduced. But I don't think U.S. would ever do that, because that would start a nuclear arms race in East Asia.

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Posted in: Japan to watch WHO probe of director's alleged racism, abuse See in context

Having had worked for a U.N. agency, I can say that this kind of behavior is not uncommon. Rarely does anyone in top management position get disciplined or fired for their bad behavior - unless there is enough media coverage and public outcry.

And even then it could take a long time to actually do something. In part because everything has to be investigated thoroughly - or at least appear so. And opportunity given to staff to revise their recollection in case they want to continue to have a career in the U.N.

I would not be surprised if Dr Kasai lands a cushy post elsewhere within the UN system or Japanese government.

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Posted in: Studio Ghibli theme park to open in Japan in November See in context


Yet another thing to add to my ever growing bucket list :D

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Posted in: The crisis of super-aging – how can Japanese society cope? See in context

The answer, I think, is quite obvious; but society and government do not want to face reality. Recently I read about Germany planning to attract more skilled foreign workers. They are realists and therefore will probably see economic benefits. Too bad Japan is not more like them :(

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Posted in: China's Xi rejects 'Cold War mentality,' pushes cooperation See in context

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” ― Maya Angelou

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Posted in: Hong Kong police switch to goose-stepping 'to show patriotism' See in context

Well that didn't take long. And people wonder why Taiwan doesn't want anything to do with the so-call "One country, two systems" BS. @Mat ... Same. :(

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Posted in: Hong Kong to create more national security crimes See in context


Good bye, HK. :(

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Posted in: Djokovic admits 'errors' in urgent fight to avoid deportation See in context

@ian ... I think only the U.S. does this. Many years ago I flew from U.K. to U.S., and had to go through U.S. immigration at Heathrow - if I remember correctly - and then again once at JFK. It was super weird.

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Posted in: Australian judge overturns Djokovic's visa cancelation See in context

@Stewie ... Exactly. Border Force screwed up by jumping the gun. I wonder why they did, though? They couldn't have waited a few more minutes?

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Posted in: Baldwin says he is complying with 'Rust' shooting investigation See in context

@ulysses ... What about criminal negligence? I think a strong case can be made for that, no?

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Posted in: Mask mandates imposed by governments and employers: Persecution or protection? See in context

@Addfwyn ... I think you're right. It's all about money. Just look at CDC in the U.S. They changed their isolation rules from 10 to 5 days to appease businesses (who are the real bosses of the country).

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Posted in: Sony to launch firm to explore making electric cars See in context

@OssanAmerica ... Just not with a French company. Look at how that turned out. :D

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Posted in: Do you think the world will be rid of COVID and all its variants this year? See in context

The best case scenario we can hope for is that C-19 becomes like the flu - seasonal, highly contagious, but not so deadly. And annual vaccinations should be enough for most of us. But I think we are still a long way off from that. Probably we should worry more about what the next virulent global pandemic will be and when. :(

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Posted in: How A.D. and C.E. took over counting years See in context

Yes, CE is basically AD with a yellow sticky note. But, come on, we need a common system and this one serves its purpose. Otherwise it would be too confusing if everyone just used their own calendar exclusively. Just imagine the world using dozens of different measurement systems because someone doesn't like the fact that the French came up with it first.

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Posted in: U.S. Senate confirms Emanuel as envoy to Japan See in context

The sad reality is that most countries use political appointees. People are selected not because of their particular diplomatic or cultural skills, but rather for their political connections. Just look at the recent past five appointees going back to 2000. None of them were trained diplomats prior to becoming ambassadors. But they all had political connections.

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Posted in: Australia will not send officials to Beijing Olympics: PM See in context

Kudos, Australia. Thank you.

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Posted in: Anime tie-up with Japanese onsen town causes public outcry See in context

The asinine twitter war aside, using these particular anime characters to promote onzens just gives off an unsettling vibe for me. Gross.

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Posted in: Would you support airlines refusing to admit passengers unless they have proof of COVID-19 vaccination or immunity, as a condition for international travel? See in context

Airlines will likely not have a choice - they will likely be required by international law to refuse passengers who are not vaccinated. This is already the case for many communicable diseases - e.g. TB, Yellow Fever, etc. - when coming or going from certain countries. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Certificate_of_Vaccination_or_Prophylaxis

Up until 2020, I used to do a lot of traveling for both work and leisure. If you're coming into Japan from certain African countries or are traveling to those places from Japan, you need to show a vaccination certificate to be allowed to board. That's not the airline's policy - that's international law.

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Posted in: What is the safest way to get some exercise without exposing yourself to the danger of being infected with the coronavirus or infecting others, in case you unknowingly have it? See in context

These are pretty good ...



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Posted in: 78% think 1-year delay of Olympics appropriate: poll See in context

@1glenn ... Also, it seems hosting the Olympic Games has no long-term positive economic impact, and can actually have a negative impact. Maybe just cancel it altogether.

Source: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/economics-hosting-olympic-games

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Posted in: Japanese airlines could see ¥1 tril revenue fall on virus pandemic See in context

@Tom ... It's normally discouraged in large businesses to hold on to cash, because it's seen as wasteful and a missed opportunity to not use that money to make more money or to reward shareholders. Thus senior management and board members are incentivized to not hold on to cash. For example, a large majority of JAL shareholders are individuals (43%) and foreign companies (24%). Like with other major airlines, JAL has been spending a lot of its annual profits to buy back shares.

Source: https://www.jal.com/en/csr/report/pdf/index_2014_20.pdf

Source: https://www.jal.com/en/investor/library/results_briefing/pdf/fy2019q2_1031en_detail.pdf

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