md2009 comments

Posted in: Japanese firms resist hiring foreign workers under new immigration law: poll See in context

"We have failed in the past by employing foreign workers who could not blend in with a different culture," a manager of a metal-products maker wrote.”

Plain old racism dresses up as “cultural” differences.

In most cases whoever comes under this scheme will be treated as second class citizens at best. Unfortunately, Japan is not yet ready to treat foreigners as equals. Unless and until that “culture” (of intolerance) is fixed, this kind of program is destined to fail.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Virgin territory: Study shows heterosexual inexperience rising in Japan See in context

Trying to look at the positive, one reason for this may be that Japanese women are starting to assert themselves and say “no” when faced with traditionally aggressive Japanese male behaviour, particularly in the work place.

Women often have found it hard to say no in Japan. Their expected submissiveness is almost a part of the culture. The popular conception of women as reflected in Japanese popular manga, teen idol girl bands and of course Japanese porn has been of the submissive girl or woman in short skirts or under aged school girls who are play things for Japanese businessmen. Japanese porn movies are filled with girls submissive in the face of aggressive sexual behaviour. These patterns have been mimicked in approaches to sex of a lot of Japanese men who grow up with little time after jukku or work and a lot of internal frustration (as well as a steady diet of manga).

So perhaps the increasing trend to abstinence is pointing to the fact that women want more than that and they are holding out for better quality relationships. If so, that would be a positive.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Court turns down Ghosn's request to attend Nissan board meeting on Tuesday See in context

I have been firmly against his detention and believe this is more of a coup than anything else, but still I think this request by Ghosn was a bit cheeky. There is little need for him to be there other than to somehow try to intimidate the Board or re-state his position. He would likely have tried to ask questions or make statements deflecting to others - that may have helped vent his justifiable frustration, but I don’t see that helping his case.

He should lie low, try to stay calm and fight his case on the merits, then deal with the Board issues if and when he is acquitted.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe, Putin agree to set up new framework for territorial talks See in context

The timing of this - when Trump is threatening Japan on trade and Putin is being criticised for his actions in Ukraine - tells me that this is more about sending a signal to Trump than anything else. Abe is not so subtly warning that he will move closer to Russia if Trump tries to force Japan too hard on trade issues. A silly and likely ineffective ploy, but that is almost certainly the background.

Abe definitely can’t be seen to be weak on the issue of the Islands right now or he will lose the support of his Nationalist supporters. Nothing is going to happen - all theatrics.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Ghosn to be detained for another 10 days; Nissan board to vote on his dismissal See in context

Are you telling me that a huge under reporting like this over many years was not noticed by the company’s Board or Auditor? There must be more to this than meets the eye. With all the corruption and misreporting in Japan, it does look like Ghosn ultimately paid the price for being a foreigner who tried to put Japanese management in their place. Of course, if he did something wrong he should be penalised, as long as other executives in Japan are treated the same way.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Quake shock absorber maker says products may have been used nationwide See in context

And we are to believe that the Olympic facilities will be constructed according to relevant safety standards? Radiation from the Fukushima facility is not yet under control and these types of incidents are common in Japan. I don’t think Japan has shown that it is responsible and accountable enough to hold the Olympics but of course too much time and money is at stake to reverse that now. Let us all pray! And if that doesn’t work...it appears a good “bow” solves most problems!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Data cheating worries spread to Tokyo Skytree, Olympic buildings See in context

How many instances of negligence, corruption, fraud and misfeaaance will it take for Japanese people to take to the streets? In the light of Fukushima (on a greater scale) and now this and no doubt other cover ups that affect security and safety yet to be uncovered, should Japan really be holding the Olympic Games? Of course my question is rhetorical - it is going ahead full steam but can Japan guarantee that its Olympic facilities are all earthquake resistant to the highest standards? Few are ever held accountable, and yet the world’s athletes are about to trust their lives to Japanese governance standards. And by the way, are Japanese ambulances fitted with defibrillators yet? Or are they still glorified taxis? I hope that athletes can at least expect fully equipped ambulances when they arrive - that was certainly not the case a few years ago when I lived in Japan. You could be dying in an ambulance waiting for a hospital to receive you, with no-one able to provide life support in the meantime. So much is accepted in Japan. by its wonderful tolerant people who definitely deserve more.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Residents file suit to block burning of radiation-tainted waste in Miyagi See in context

Of course the idea is to spread the risk all over Japan so everyone contributes a bit of “Ganbare!” to the cause. Does anyone trust TEPCO or the authorities on this disaster any more? Who knows what is being covered up, and how many “apologies” will be issued in future. Good to see some locals taking action but I fear it will be too little too late. Radioactive material has already been sent all over Japan. Does anyone really believe that the radioactive content is safe? I feel sorry for the Japanese people who deserve better. As usual, cultural norms deter most people from sticking their necks out to question or protest. And the rest of the World stands by idly.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: TEPCO apologizes for still-radioactive water at Fukushima plant See in context

Governments around the World stand by and watch as lie after lie is exposed. If TEPCO lies about this, what else is it hiding? And how much is the Japanese Government aware of and hiding out of fear of causing panic or losing the Olympics? I have no proof but suspect that things are likely worse than being reported. And meanwhile the Government is apparently sending radioactive waste around the Country for burn off or use as building materials. All said to be “safe”. It is high time that an independent international Body examine this whole mess. But there are too many vested interests who will not wish to rock the Olympic boat. So the cover ups continue.

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Posted in: Walmart prepares to pull out of Japan See in context

The truth is that Japanese don’t really like foreigners entering into the market and companies like this quickly find out that people at all levels from employees to suppliers to consumers prefer to shop at locally owned stores and often prefer locally made products. Of course exceptions exist but usually thy offer something special and adapt their management philosophy and marketing to meet local conditions. Call it pride in Japan or racism depending on your point of view. And by the way that is also the reason that all the chest thumping in the world by Trump will not be effective to counter these non tariff barriers that foreign companies face leading most to frustration and eventual exit.

Japanese consumers are probably the losers in the end but as long as that herd mentality remains, and as long as they are happy doing things their way, foreign companies will continue to face these obstacles.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Powerful quakes more likely to hit Hokkaido, Pacific coast See in context

The only relevant fact is that earthquakes could happen in Japan any time, anything else is speculation, perhaps semi-informed but speculation nonetheless and highlighting 30 years gives people a false sense of comfort.

No Govermment agency would be permitted to give a warning of a more imminent likelihood with the Olympics so near.

If the inevitable big one comes during the Olympics then an already historic and likely horrible tragedy would be made that much worse. With much security and resources devoted to the Olympics, I am forced to wonder how Japan would cope, although no doubt the international community would try to help.

And by the way, are Japanese ambulances to be fitted with life saving equipment any time soon? A friend of mine nearly died of an asthma attack while the ambulance had no medical equipment and waited for a foreigner friendly hospital to accept her. I had a similar experience with a heart issue finding that the ambulance had no defibrillators. I am not sure whether that situation has improved but I hope so - I can’t imagine how many Japanese (and other) people have died in ambulances in circumstances where they would have been saved in other first world countries.

I sincerely hope that the whole issue of emergency ambulance and hospital support for non Japanese speakers is addressed before the Olympics and more generally for the benefit of the local population in normal times and times of emergency.

A bit off point but all connected to the issue of preparedness.

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Posted in: Ministers question fairness of bureaucrat's sexual harassment probe See in context

I don’t know about the world of politics and journalism, but having worked in the corporate world in Japan, I can attest to the fact that rules of respect often go out the window when there is a work dinner or drinks session. Male executives think nothing of making sexist remarks and groping is common.

In particular, the office female admin staff (OL) is regarded as fair game in many cases and of course women are still regarded as second class citizens in many aspects of Japanese corporate, legal and family life.

This particular offer to other claimants to ambush potential claimants by encouraging them to directly contact the accused’s legal counsel is completely offensive. Why are they not being encouraged to contact their own counsel or the Police?

I’m other words, they are saying... “Come on into the Lion’s den so we can formally apologize, and at the same time warn you of the embarrassment you will face if you take proceedings (and maybe if you are lucky offer you a small sum of money so you go away without going public). Of course, if you decline, we will have to call the boss of your news outlet to advise him of the matter and try to reach a consensus as to who was at fault.”

Based on what I have seen in Japan, the actions here are at the milder end of what goes on under the pretence of alcohol induced “fun”. The situation is far worse in the corporate world where the jobs of women are often implicitly linked to expectations of putting up with sexist comments and actions day in and day out.

Of course America and other Western countries have their issues as the #metoo movement has shown, but there is little chance a similar movement could gain traction in Japan’s sexist and male dominated society.

I should add that there are many decent men in Japan who would condemn this, but unfortunately this type of sexist behaviour is fairly widespread and institutionalised.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump demands prosecution of ex-FBI chief Comey See in context

I am not a Trump fan - he will no doubt bear the consequences of his actions one day. I do respect Comey’s achievements and past career but I do think he handled the release of information about Clinton badly. I also think he showed lack of backbone at the time Trump privately demanded his loyalty - as I understand it he basically remained silent or replied with an indirect rebuttal that he would be “ honest” when an unequivocally clear statement was called for - giving him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he was trying to show the President the respect that office normally deserves - on the other hand maybe he was trying to protect his job by remaining silent - of course that failed. And now here we have his revenge served up publicly with a hastily released book right at the time Mueller is looking into Trump’s affairs. And apparently written to exact revenge and maximise publicity and proceeds. To me this is a self serving end to a distinguished career, beneath the level of respect he would otherwise deserve for everything he has done for his country. And references to Trump’s similarity to a Mafia boss revealed little we did not suspect about Trump but did reveal an unpleasant side to Comey. I doubt that Trump will bring charges against Comey or that they will succeed, but Comey should not be releasing information about his discussions with the President in this way. If he truly believed that he ought to have resigned on the spot.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: World bracing for risk of Trump's trade war See in context

He should have stuck to reciprocity imposing the same or equivalent measures on those who impose tariffs or non tariff barriers on the US for the same products or other products with equivalent impact. Instead he starts a war based on “fake” security grounds without logic and just designed to aggravate friendly nations and trade abusers alike. And by the way, you can be sure that Japanese consumers will boycott American products like the plague if America starts to mess with it like this. And nothing Trump will be able to do about that kind of emotional reaction based on National pride. Trump has no idea of the extent to which these factors will play out in the form of consumer reaction in these countries.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Ex-Abe cabinet member makes discriminatory remark about Africans See in context

@jpn_guy - very informative, I think your answer is the only one anyone needs to read. Unfortunately there is too much racism in Japan and it is easy for foreigors to under-play it because of the "aimai" way Japanese language is used. Japanese lusteners would clearly know what meaning was intended for the reasons you stated.

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Posted in: Foreigners' perspective on election barely discussed despite growing presence See in context

Every country should have the right to determine who it wants as residents and citizens, and live with the consequences.

The vast majority of Japanese do not want their lives and cultures to change, in many cases reflecting racism, in many cases fear of the unknown or of losing their unique cultural identity which they cling onto as a means of preserving their illusions of superiority.

Maybe there is a little jealousy from among some of those commenting here. Japan manages to maintain a safe and orderly society, while at the same time uncontrolled immigration is causing problems for many Western nations. Once Japan opens that door there is no going back.

Of course, as I said, they will have to live with the consequences of their anti-foreignor bias and aging population. For many Japanese that is better than losing their social cohesion but only time will tell whether practicality will win out.

Their society, their rules. No-one forcing anyone to go there.

Certainly I would encourage those thinking of living in Japan long term to go somewhere else, as they will never really be accepted. Even leaving aside issues such as equality of voting rights, foreignors will always be viewed as second class.

Their country, their rules.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Nissan suspected of forging inspection documents See in context

Recall only in its "home market"? If this is the practice for its loyal Japanese customers, you can be assured of the same or worse for those delivered overseas. Nothing less than a global recall will suffice.

Another example of the lack of proper governance endemic in this country - starting with Tepco, how many famous Japanese brands have been affected by some major scandal? If they have escaped under the radar, you can be assured it is only a matter of time. Japan Inc. is rotten to the core. Then again, Korea Inc. and China Inc. are no better.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan says no barriers to auto imports after U.S. fires trade salvo See in context

The main hurdle foreign car manufacturers face is that Japanese are proud of their cars - they may buy European brands and specialty items like Jeep, but Japanese consumers believe in the quality of their vehicles when it comes to your average family car (as they should). Trump needs to be careful, if he starts to get too pushy, all he will do is further encourage Japanese to buy more Japanese products. No way will they buy American if they feel they are being threatened. If and when American cars achieve eqivalent quality of say German made cars they may have a better chance. Japanese consumers like to buy Japanese products, all things being equal - no amount of threats or chest thumping is going to change that. It's a matter of culture and national pride (with just a tinge of "sabetsu" thrown into the mix.)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: TEPCO spots possible nuclear fuel debris beneath Fukushima reactor See in context

With every announcement like this you have to ask what is not being told and what spin is being put on it. I am not a scientist, but you can bet this is just a cover so that in future the Government will be able to say that the public was informed. In this case the only story that matters here is that we have melted nuclear cores exposed to the environment that Tepco has no idea how to control. Great. Thanks Tepco, we feel better now!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Toyota to invest $10 bil in U.S. See in context

Toyota running scared, but all they have achieved is to show that Trump has them by the you know whats. Toyota is a great company, but this kind of tatemae (i.e. BS) approach will not work in the U.S. Releasing investment plans that must have been determined years ago in areas of "improvement" Including head office and .....robotics - that is, research into how to employ less people! I hope Trump keeps tightening the noose until (1) Toyota actually closes a plant in Mexico (2) American companies ( not only in the automotive industry but in others such as pharmaceuticals etc.) have equal and easy access to Japanese markets. I don't like Trump but I do like the fact that he has all these companies running scared. For too long the average worker has been treated as dispensable as jobs have been transferred to China, Mexico etc. without any regard for societal impacts. I would argue that Toyota and other Japanese companies care a lot less for their workers overseas than they do for their workers in Japan.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Posted in: Osaka train driver apologizes to Japanese passengers for ‘having many foreigners’ on board See in context

Would be interesting to see what the reaction would be if a Tokyo train driver apologized for all the people from Kansai on a Tokyo train. Probably start a civil war. The train driver was conpletely out of order. Foreignors should make more effort to understand Japanese norms when it comes to good manners. But Japanese really do look down on some foreignors, especially mainland Chinese. You rarely hear any Japanese person say something good about someone from mainland China. But the long and short of it is.... If they want the Olympics and tourism and all the money that comes with it, put up or shut up.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Nuclear experts from France, U.S. to help with Fukushima clean-up See in context

This is just spin by all concerned. Isn't it obvious that the US and presumably France know just how critical the situation is and demanded to be involved. The spin that the Japanese Governemt asked for help is just that. This is a crisis and I suspect the Americans said to Abe that unless we come in and fix this, we will be forced to raise questions about the viability and safety of the Olympics and maybe even have to start to think about removing military and other personnel from Japan in case Kin Jong Nutcase decides to fire a missile at the reactor or some other man made or natural catastrophe occurs there. There is a lot not being said here. IMHO. All just guesswork, but makes sense to me. And yes, TEPCO is going to make life difficult for them, and cover their well worn tracks so they can later blame the gaijin. It is a disgrace that it has taken this long. Oh, and don't ask about the hot particles.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Abenomics on the ropes as yen soars, markets plunge See in context

Go into any Bank and see the public face of inefficiency. Companies in Japan will not be able to increase wages until they deal with all the dead wood. The only saving grace is that Japanese population ages and the dead wood is ageing with it. Japan is a disaster all round from the education system, to the immigration system, to the entrenched interests, to the inherent anti-foreigner bias that many still hold. And don't forget we still have the real possibility of the big earthquake and further nuclear contamination. Japan has so many creative, talented people who could change Japan for the better with a more flexible and global thinking Government. But not likely in the short term. I feel sorry for the Japanese people who are victims at so many levels. Most do not trust their Government any more but are powerless to drive change.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 7-Eleven under pressure in Australia over wage fraud claims See in context

There are 2 sides to this, The first is the unconscionable exploitation of students. This must be stopped. But the other side no-one is asking is why students are allowed into Australia with no means of support so they are forced into part time slave labor like this. Australia has unemployment of more than 5 percent so why do these students go to Australia and expect to be able to find work? Maybe students should be forced to show they have the money to survive before letting them in there?? Why are they working at 7-11? I guess jobs are very scarce so they should not go if they are placing themseves at mercy of employers like this. Sonething seems wrong all around. And as for Japan I hesitate to imsgine the amount of exploitation going on. Why are there so many more Chinese staff at convenience stores these days. Lower wages? Why?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe says he is 'deeply pained' over 'comfort women' See in context

There are 2 underlying and criticsl issues here. (1) japanese people have never been educated about the bad things they have done. It is not taught in schools or discussed in official channels. For example: When I tried to discuss the Nanjing Massacre and also comfort women issues with my 40 year old Japanese friend, she really did not believe it, and was fairly dismissive saying that all countries do bad things in war and that Japan had been victim of propaganda to justify America's use of the atom bomb (I am just repeating her view). No amount of discussion was sufficient to dissuade her view that there was no proof Japanese did anything wrong (presumably because she had not been taught the truth). (2) Just my view based on anecdotal evidence, but I think a majority of Japanese still are incredibly prejudiced towards nationals of most Asian nations and really look down on Chinese in particular, and also Koreans ( with the limited exception of some Korean celebrities at the youth level). Japan sees itself as a higher nation. I am not wanting to offend by saying this, but many Japanese believe mainland Chinese are dirty, rude, uncultured and money focused (translation: jealous of their economic success). It is difficult for politicians to apologize against the background of pervasive prejudicial thinking of this type. I hope and pray there will be strong leaders in Japan who will educate their young and help eradicate these prejudices, but until then, even were an apology to be made ( which is unlikely) it will not really be representative of broader Japanese opinion and so could not really be taken seriously. I really hope the next generation of Japanese will prove me wrong.

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Posted in: Magazine speculates McDonald's may pull out of Japan if things don't improve See in context

I think it all comes down to service and atmosphere. McDonalds is supposed to be fast food but in Japan every time I walk in I get a number and have to wait. Often I get the burger and have finished it before the fries arrive. Second, McDonalds has become an embarassing place to be seen. It feels like the stores have not refreshed and so inevitably I hesitate before being seen there. Usually lots of students sitting around using wifi, It looks and feels like a place for those on a budget rather than a place to take the family or work colleagues. Finally the service is often unfriendly. I was not aware of the franchisee system, but that explains a lot. Staff are clearly not motivated. All in all, going to Maccas has become a depressing experience and they will continue to fail unless they make their stores somewhere people want to be and be proud to be!

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Posted in: Toyota case shows it's hard to prosecute execs See in context

But prosecutors say they had little choice, in part because of constraints with evidence and the challenge of gathering testimony and information from witnesses outside the United States

What a load of rubbish. Since when has the US been unwilling or unable to prosecute beyond its borders? I smell a rat somewhere.

I would suggest that Toyota should be excluded from all US government tenders until all key executives submit to US jurisdiction and testify as to what really happened.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Fukushima plant springs another radioactive leak See in context

I am so angry when I see stuff like this. Japan's culture and politeness is touted the world over and it is true there are so many special things to admire. But the flip side of all the things we admire is a perverse inability to tell the truth, make decisions and take responsibility in a meaningful way. Japanese company executives, managers and bureaucrats see their sole mission in life as to pass through their working life without rocking the boat but that no longer works.

(1) The famed Japanese style of consensus - no doubt the reactor and other reactors in Japan passed and continue to pass all the necessary annual tests and the requisite number of employees sign off on whatever meaningless safety certificates they need to sign off. If everyone agrees it is safe, it must be safe, right? Pass the little tray from person to person to the guy at the back of the room as is done at banks all over Japan for exchange of $10 worth of currency. Nemawashi has no place in nuclear safety!!

(2) Japanese style crisis management - yes, Japanese are always prepared for disasters! From their time at elementary school they prepare for earthquakes and fires with the requisite standard drills but no-one actually is taught to use their heads - everyone is taught from a young age that they need to ganbare for everything from meaningless after school tests to standardized sporting events - "gambare Nippon" is a stale slogan that passes the buck from the politicians and bureaucrats to the population. Please start thinking about how to change your society, you deserve better!!

(3) Tell the truth!! Japanese society is generally peaceful because no-one really questions whether others are telling the truth and no-one aggressively challenges their neighbors and colleagues. Japanese do not ask the right questions so they do not get the right answers. Everything is kept very vague and aimai. All very nice to be peaceful, but it is time for Japanese to realize that they need to challenge each other and expect the truth of those in positions of power.

(4) Taking responsibility: The Japanese way to take responsibility by bowing and apologizing (maybe even resigning in extreme cases) is long past its use by date. It is time for people to be held accountable under the law. Look at the case of Olympus where the only guy who tried to get it right (who happened to be a courageous foreigner) is no longer there!! Obviously Tepco executives should be hung out to dry. It is time for Japanese to start holding their corporate and government officials accountable under the law.

Enough is enough Japan. You continue to negligently expose your people to risk of radiation, your education system and your economy is in a mess and no-one seems to want or have the courage to drive change.

Time for fundamental change Japan. Ganbare!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: China less attractive to Japanese firms - but not because of riots See in context

There are lots of reasons why Japanese are pulling out not least of all because of rising costs and because China often does not know how to make products that meet the quality standards that Japanese consumers demand. But underneath it all many Japanese do not like the Chinese very much and they are happy to stick it to the Chinese when they can. Based on discussions (admittedly an unscientific sample) I have held with Japanese, many Japanese hold the view that Chinese are inferior, unclean and unsophisticated. And not so far underneath it all many Japanese blame China for their country's economic woes. Japan has lagged behind China for so long and many Japanese find that hard to take.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Why Japanese girls are a better catch than Japanese men See in context

I am guessing this article is written by someone who has never been married to a Japanese woman. Japanese women are dainty, cute etc, and yes they do pour drinks for their husband and friends in company...but....and it is a big but.....Japanese women change a lot after marriage and in particular when the kids come around. Japanese women see it as their mission in life to take control of the house, daily finances and most importantly the KIDS. While of course they will usually ensure that their husband has a meal waiting when he comes back from work, the kids are number one priority up to the point of obsession. If you have ever seen a group of mums planning an event at a school PTA you will know that husbands are the furthest things from their minds!! I have heard many stories of Japanese wives falling asleep with their kids while husbands are left to complain or more often than not to find themselves someone else to keep them company on the side. So beware, life after marriage things may not always turn out as you may have imagined when dating over candlelight or swapping English and Japanese lessons....

7 ( +7 / -0 )

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