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Posted in: Court rules Japan's dual nationality ban constitutional See in context

It's striking that a country which bases citizenship on bloodlines rather than place of birth could pass a law removing said citizenship based on where the Japanese citizen lives and works. (Note that children born in Japan to foreign parents cannot receive Japanese citizenship.)

As stated above, Article 11 is not an article to the Constitution of Japan but to a regular law. It seems very twisted to me that a law out of alignment with the Constitution's guarantee of rights of liberty and pursuit of happiness can stand up in court. At the very limit, tbe law should say that while residing overseas with permanent residence in another country, the Japanese passport should not be used -- but then should be reissued at such time the native-born Japanese citizen returns to Japan (to take care of an elderly parent, to retire, etc.). But even that should not pass challenge in court because again, Japan's nationality is granted based on bloodline (and correct registration of birth through Japan's consulates overseas) at birth.

My conclusion is that the Japanese court system is very weak. Rather than pursuing a constitutional amendment, I think a push to remove political corruption, I mean the judges' deference to political party in power over Constitution, is needed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: As Japan aligns with U.S. chip curbs on China, some in Tokyo feel uneasy See in context

Chinese businesses have spent years building relations in Japan, and now official Japanese policy threatens those business relationships. The moaning and quivering has only just begun! Unless Japan passes a stiff law with clear, strict penalties to those businesses who continue to sell the sensitive equipment, this necessary alignment of Japan with the US is bound to fail ...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's versatile veteran Koji Yakusho wins best actor at Cannes See in context

So cool! I will definitely go to see this movie!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida leaves for New York to deliver speech at U.N. General Assembly See in context

Elephant200 your comparison of the Russian war in Ukraine to The US assault on Iraq doesn't hold up. Japan is right to call on a rules-based international order in this sensitive moment. It's a deft, unifying call that promotes peace.

Iraq didn't have any nuclear reactors for the US to attack -- nor would the US have done so. Attacking Iraq wouldn't precipitate a nuclear war. On the use of torture, unfortunately the US did so in Iraq, and it is unforgivable, just as Russian use of torture against Ukrainians is unforgivable now. We can go further down in the weeds, but this Russian War in Ukraine is substantially different from the US invasion of Iraq.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: 2.5 seconds: The security lapses that sealed Shinzo Abe's fate See in context

First problem is a failure of imagination by Nara Prefectural police. They didn't imagine anykind of assassination attempt. Too late now.

Second problem is regular police are trained to monitor traffic, not serve as bodyguards. And in Japan regular police wait for a phone call or someone to run into a koban to report a problem before taking any action. With the traffic barriers on all sides of Abe and so many people standing around ... they relaxed.

Third problem is that Abe's speaking schedule changed at the last minute. Many lengthy meetings are needed for any kind of preparation in this country. Abe was supposed to be in Nagano, but the LDP candidate is involved in an abortion scandal. The LDP decided to distance Abe from him -- and inadvertently sent him straight into the arms of his assassin.

Fourth, Abe neither was wearing a bullet-proof vest, nor did he drop to the ground upon hearing the first terrible explosion out of the homemade gun. The vest wouldn't have stopped a bullet from hitting him in the side of the neck, from which wound he seems to have bled out. So it feels like fate, but Abe himself was part of the problem due to his apparent lack of preparation or appropriate reaction!

Finally, a friend correctly pointed out that the assassin would have been raised under the influence of the Moonies. The Unification Church seeks to detach members from contact with non-members as part of their induction process. Of course his mother would have been encouraged to bring all three children to Unification Church events. Whe waste an opportunity to recruit 4 new members instead of just 1? The assassin seems to have immediately shown anger against the Unification Church under quuestioning at Nara Prefectural police HQ, but given that he assassinated no one in the Unification Church office before killing Abe, the police had better make sure that Yamagami was not brainwashed (possibly like Lee Harvey Oswald may have been) into shooting Abe. I'm sure they're doing their best to get the facts straight, now, after the event.

R.I.P., former Prime Minister Abe.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: 740,000 Moderna doses scrapped due to expiration in 27 Japanese cities See in context

The small private clinic in Shinjuku where I got my first two doses of pfizer switched to Moderna for the booster to maximize effectiveness of the booster. I was glad to get Moderna!

What is a positive reaction to a vaccine in exchange for 4 months of the highest level protection in a pandemic! If course it's worth the temporary discomfort. People are so irrational!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Posted in: Kill Japan's elderly? Cannes film probes chilling idea See in context

The young resenting the old doesn't sound at all like it is in accordance with the teachings of Buddhism to me. I think the young resentful ones will all too soon find themselves in middle age. The resentfulness will tend to disappear.

What there is a lot of in this society, and all other societies, really is fear-motivated thinking. People can be quite irrational in the face of deeply seated fears. Everyone needs to focus on at least maintaining basic common courtesy and patience with those who move more slowly, or have disabilities. In my daily life in Tokyo I see plenty of gentle, kind people.

It's so important to keep isolated people regularly socially engaged in something positive. There are many social services and facilities available for just that, especially in urban environments.

Life is not easy, no matter what the age group. Let's be kind to one another, for starters. I hope the Japanese Constitution will be effective in preventing the government from engaging in far-fetched, science-fiction like projects to end life. The responsibility of any good government is to support life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Ex-Nissan exec Kelly gets suspended sentence; judge slams Ghosn See in context

What is this -- a fig leaf of guilt??

Whateva! The poor guy is a martyr. FINALLY he can leave Japan and reunite with family and friends, be in his own home again!!

He's like Job who spends (how long?) in the belly of the whale, surviving without light or freedom, but he came out to tell the tale!

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Posted in: Emperor calls on people to keep 'fire of hope' amid pandemic See in context

His message seems quite fitting and appropriate. Consider this expression in English:

Hopes springs eternal.

Isn't it the specialty of the Emperor to focus on the eternal, even as the government must focus on the contemporary?

Spring is around the corner.

His message is timeless. We should resolutely get through current difficulties while keeping our spirits up by focusing on the eternal.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Kishida, new U.S. envoy Emanuel affirm importance of alliance at 1st meeting See in context

I am hopeful that the former White House Chief of Staff (Jan 2020 to

Oct 2021) under President Obama has the right skillset to manage the huge Embassy of the US in Tokyo, and to coordinate US -- Japan relations expertly. I expect the professionals

at the US Embassy to support him well.

I trust that he will find more success in this role than in his former position as Mayor of Chicago, where I guess he did not find unified support to bolster his mayorship.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: No. of daily new coronavirus cases in Tokyo passes 20,000 for first time See in context

Please stay home and stay away from others to the best of your ability as we ride up and over this 6th peak -- don't help this virus propagate!

It keeps mutating to try and infect as many of us as possible. Don't catch it, and if you do, PLEASE isolate to keep it from spreading further.

No Free Rides! No Free Rides!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Posted in: Miss Universe 2021 Japan entry slammed for wearing 'dead person’s kimono' See in context

"dead person's kimono"?!? What a completely ridiculous criticism.

First of all, pink and gold are theme colors of this year's Paris Fashion Show. The announcer said when she walked onstage that her costume celebrates Harajuku fashion, so her costume is entirely appropriate, as is her pink hair and irreverent tattoo.

It's a sophisticated costume, actually very appropriate to reflect ultra-cool, fashion-forward Japan on the world stage in 2021!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Britney, Bennifer, Beatles and Broadway: Pop culture in 2021 See in context

But the shiniest, most ambitious star of all wasn't human -- and was a real party-crasher: Covid-19!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 81-year-old driver arrested after plowing into group of children See in context

It's pretty clear that another type of test is needed for obtaining or renewing a driver's license: a reaction speed test. Maybe there should be a driver simulation "game" car at the government licensing centers for such a reaction test.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan confirms 8 more cases of Omicron variant infection See in context

I think what we're looking for in the news at this point, is cases of community transmission in Japan. If those eight cases were caught entering Japan and isolated properly, it's not yet community transmission.

Once community transmission is discovered in any country, the country should estimate the most rapid spread to a peak about 45 days out for Omicron variant.

A peak of what kind of what symptoms, and how serious -- this remains to be determined.

Pfizer says its research shows a third vaccination of Pfizer BioNTech orovides quite good protection against Omicron, as good as 2 doses against the original Covid-19 strain. The new Prine Minister spoke about replicating that research in Japan -- I don't think that research has begun yet. Why the delay?

It seems to me that if the SDF forces were taking reservations at the mass vaccination sites for third doses right now, the number of people with three shots-full vaccination could be enough to slow down Omicron in February -- but no one has started providing booster shots in Japan yet, as far as I know.

So vaccinations look to be late in 2022 just as they were in 2021, from today's vantage point.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Gov't panel OKs 2 draft proposals to preserve Japan's royal family See in context

To admit the branches if the Imperial family back to their ancestral status comes with a large, really large, cost in terms of administration of their entitlements and possibly some drag on the public purse.

When the law was passed in 1947 to make members of the branches of the imperial family commoners, the costs associated with tracking them all fell dramatically -- as befitted those dire economic times. It was helpful to Japan's economic recovery for the entire post-War period.

Is Japan so rich now that restoring those branches by reversing the 1947 law is desirable? I think not. The politicians are trying to find a way forward to preserve this family without exploding public finances.

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Posted in: About 100 lawmakers visit Yasukuni Shrine See in context

Through this symbolic gate, Yasukuni Shrine, the politicians are symbolically reconnecting future and pre-War Japan.

Long live the post-War Constitution of Japan, because it is the only thing now, domestically, steering Japan towards a peaceful future.

Even the USA is urging the Japanese to rearm -- under the umbrella if US-Japan Security Pact, of course.

What I wouldn't give to listen to a 60-Minutes Program, say, interview of General Douglas MacArthur about current developments in Japan, and current US-Japan relations!

Emperor Showa ignored the right-wing politicians' visits to Yasukuni Shrine, as did Emperor Akihito. What meaning should we take from this, and will the current Emperor abstain as well?

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 5 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 77 See in context

I think all the mask-wearing in public created a higher hurdle for the virus to jump from victim to victim, inducing it to mutate itself into oblivion. Hahahahaha! induced virus suicide!

I'm loving the idea of a suicidal virus.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 7 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 79 See in context


1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Kishida reelected prime minister in Diet vote See in context

@kennyG: Yes, you are correct that this is a functioning democracy, but at the same time, many people are jaded about the political-gift-giving, the cynicism, the political dynasty phenomenon, and the richness of behind-closed-doors politicking.

A lot of the politicking behind closed doors are about the transfer of tax monies from economically active zones -- cities, especially Tokyo -- to the countryside. The needs of the countryside areas are disproportionately catered to, in exchange for very reliable pro-LDP voting patterns there, while residenys of big cities see less economic benefit considering their tax contributions. Haven't you heard about a certain blet train station in Niigata that is longer than the town limits? Or gorgeous city halls in economically inactive areas?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Ruling coalition agrees on ¥100,000 cash handouts, vouchers for those aged 18 and younger See in context

Given that the bureaucracy in Japan is extremely detail- and rule-orlented, we should assume that the cash benefit for each child should be disbursed electronically into an account in the child's name. This means a LOT of new accounts at the Japan Post Bank, or at commercial banks! It means a LOT of new activity in the city and ward office's online My Number system, too. I suppose city halls will have some residual benefit from uncollected, or late collection of benefits. Too bad there is no needs-based test. Not all families are in a bad financial situation, of course.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 30 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 204 See in context

The numbers are very low, hurray, but may have bottomed out last week. Let's hope they stay really low, thanks to 70% vaccination rates, as we go deeper into flu season.

Lots of people are walking around without masks. Outside is maybe still OK, but a tendency towards casual or no masking is going to help the infection rate climb, as will this new GoTo campaign.

We're about to find out just how many people are not vaccinated in Japan ... sigh. I give it two weeks until hospital admissions are up again -- these are a lagging indicator of viral spread. Again, I'm wishing for the extensive vaccinations to mean many slight cases of covid-19 as the weather cools. In this testing environment, these will not show up in the daily tracking data, but the virus will find its say from many such slight cases to the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan starts accepting requests for eased COVID quarantine rule See in context


If you have a valid spouse visa and you are currently registered as living in Japan, that is, you have a home address, AND you can show proof of having been fully vaccinated with one of Pfizer/Moderna/Astrazeneca vaccines, AND you board the plane carrying a negative-result of PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding your plane, AND you install the app that allows tne Ministry if Foreign Affairs to confirm your physical location in Japan, then if you have all those things you will be allowed to take a private form of transport directly to your home address in Japan and quarantine there for two weeks instead of spending time in a hotel near the airport -- but it is at the discretion of the admitting officer to let you do that. If they think you won't stay at home for the two weeks, they'll make you go to the designated hotel. The key point is having a registered home address in Japan to go to.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan starts accepting requests for eased COVID quarantine rule See in context

Just as with the hospitals which turned away Covid-19 patients in ambulances, the key to understanding this slower adoption of allowing foreign travelers to Japan is staffing and logistics. There is no particular thought how the slower approach is affecting families and small businesses

I believe the estimate of the number of people waiting to enter Japan for the first time (students whose academic programs have already started among them, the technical trainees for factories, etc) is some 370,000 visa holders! The government has set a maximum for entries into all airports, total entries per day including Japanese citizens at 3,350. That's all. Just admitting the backlog of visa holders at that rate will take 3 years!

This is a logjam of unprecedented proportions. The number of people to be admitted under the Covid-19 protocols simply exceeds the capacity of government staff to check all the documents on a daily basis.

It's not clear at all to me how even the foreign residents currently living in Japan now can go out and come back, say, for holiday family visits .... the new normal, whatever shape it takes, must be about 3 years over the horizon!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Foreign researchers facing stricter quarantine; 'jailed' in hotel See in context

Japan only recognizes the vaccines already approved for use in Japan. The US's Johnson & Johnson's Jansen vaccine hasn't received approval yet. Chinese and Russian vaccinations are also not recognized for admittance as "fully vaccinated" under the protocols. This is going to create more headaches for travelers.

The European Union is insisting that Japan give the same treatment to EU nationals that the EU is giving Japanese nationals entering the EU. The key word is reciprocal. Because the EU doesn't distinguish between EU nationals and Japanese nationals in travel restrictions, the EU is pushing Japan to reciprocate, but Japan is not doing so. This is creating resentment.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan to make COVID-19 booster shots available to all eligible See in context


Anaphylaxix, or fear of it is not a reason for avoiding any vaccination. Anaphylaxis is completely manageable with administration of medicine, on the spot.

The thing is explain your fear at the clinic where you receive your inoculation. Confirm they have the medicine to treat anaphylaxix, and stay near the clinic as directed to make sure no anaphylaxix reaction sets in before you go on your merry way.

It is dangerous to be ruled by fear.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 29 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 314 See in context

Tuesday numbers reflect Monday tests, so are always higher than Monday -- which in turn reflects weekend tests. Compare this Tuesday to last Tuesday -- the trend is still down, 7 down! Hurray!!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Former Princess Mako says marriage was a 'necessary choice' See in context

All the best. May their struggles so far be a strong foundation for their future successes. Congratulations, and carpe diem!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 36 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 372 See in context

I have just been through a flu severe enough to stay home for a week and ask for a PCR nasal swab test! Symptoms started Thursday Sept 30 and I'm still trying to get rid of the last of a deep cough. It turned out to be a "regular" flu virus that gave me a fever of 37.7C / 100 F for three evenings.

I don't know anyone who has this, though in the trains I have heard people coughing a similar/sounding cough.

A medical doctor friend of mine recommends that everyone be sure and get a (regular) flu shot this year, as soon as possibie. She cautions that no one getting the flu for 18+ months + kids back in school = many flu cases

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 149 coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 1,126 See in context


With numbers this low why are fully vaccinated folks still being made to self isolate on arrival?

Because elections are on the horizon!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

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