lyrical01 comments

Posted in: Jefferson Airplane co-founder Marty Balin dies at 76 See in context

Balin's best material, IMHO, was on the later JA albums, "Crown of Creation," "Volunteers," and the live album "Bless Its Pointed Little Head." Too bad that, thanks to ignorant journalists, even with his death he gets upstaged by songs where Grace Slick sang lead.

@juminRhee: "Nothing's gonna stop us now" was by an entirely different band, Starship, which included zero of the original Jefferson Airplane members. An unlike most material by Jefferson Airplane and even Jefferson Starship material, the song wasn't even written by the band. It might be a good song, but not relevant to Marty Balin or any band he was ever in.

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Posted in: Tokyo to shoulder all costs for temporary Olympic facilities See in context

Very confusing article. All the costs, or one-fourth of the costs? And has anything been agreed yet, or "just heading in [some] direction"? Impossible to tell from reading this whether anything is definitive.

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Posted in: Abe's stay at Trump resort a 'personal gift': U.S. official See in context

This illustrates an important difference between the US and Japanese constitutions. Under the US Constitution, if Abe were President then receiving this personal gift would be an "emolument" from a foreign government, and could lead to his being impeached. The purpose of the provision is to prevent exactly what mr_jgb points out -- that the President would be inappropriately influenced by the foreign government. The Kempou doesn't have any such provision for removal of a PM, or that says this behavior is wrong in any way. So he's free to sell us down the river for the personal gratification of believing that Trump is his friend.

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Posted in: Foreign lawyers fight for reform in Japan See in context

I'm a solo gaiben; I handle certain smaller or niche deals that result in my not competing with big firms for business. There are three levels of approval that are necessary -- the Justice Ministry, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (Nichibenren), and a local bar association (begoshikai). As far as I recall, the rules about years of practice are set by the Ministry. However, the Nichibenren and separate bengoshikai also have rules, and people do often get dinged by either of them despite passing muster with the Ministry.

From conversations I had with the Ministry way back when, they were certainly aware of unregistered young associates at big foreign firms, but not taking strong action, as they were trying to negotiate with the firms instead -- actually that in itself seems quite nice on their part. Moreover at least one of the big English firms and one of the big US firms did go to the trouble to register all their locally-based associates and partners, so this wasn't impossible. All the bellyaching is purely economics for the other big firms, and frankly it always struck me as quite arrogant.

The paradox about emailing to London, etc. isn't a paradox at all. When I was at firms in the US we'd often need local counsel in Delaware, say. Just because we phoned or emailed them from L.A. or San Francisco didn't mean they were practicing in California. But if they had opened up an office in one of those cities, they would be practicing in California, and would have needed to get qualified locally. Same thing here.

Another situation is when someone from the Wall Street office comes to the Silicon Valley office to help on a deal. The fiction is that everything he or she does is "supervised" by a California attorney. But that is very often an absolute fiction, especially when the NY partner is on the firm's executive committee and the CA attorney running the deal is a 1st-year partner, or even a senior associate. In the US, it's customary to tolerate this sort of fiction, and usually it is here too -- lawyers visit Japan from overseas jurisdictions all the time.

Thing is, what the bigger foreign firms are asking for is NOT same sort of thing, but for tolerating it for some relatively inexperienced attorney who is actually living in Japan. Moreover, speaking as a consumer of gaiben services when I was on the business side in California, I did interface with young inexperienced (unregistered) foreign lawyers -- and in my experience they gave inexperienced-lawyer advice, i.e. worthless. So the Ministry's experience requirement doesn't strike me as unreasonable. As I mentioned, I don't compete with big firms in Japan, so I don't care if they grow bigger. But I do care about their professionalism, because their reputation affects mine and those of other foreign lawyers, too. A few years ago we formed a gaiben association, but its obsession with benefiting the profit margins of a few firms who want to import inexperienced lawyers is a disservice both to smaller gaiben offices and to Japanese clients, IMHO.

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