Muratafan comments

Posted in: China's tough rhetoric leaves trade talks with U.S. in limbo See in context

As an American, I mostly disagree with Trump. On this issue, I agree with Trump. If Trump's tariffs are such a bad idea, then why are so many Democratic, European countries backing him in this effort?

To all who claim Trump is an idiot, what would YOU do about China?

The status quo clearly did not and isn't working. China has no respect for international laws and there are only two things that China responds to: economic or military force. Diplomacy does not work with China and I think we can all agree on that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Questions loom for Nissan in post-Ghosn era See in context

My wife is in contact with a fairly 'higher up' Nissan employee. I know that the Ghosn debacle is wonderful drama, but according to my wife's source, many rank and file Nissan employees were (a) unhappy that France called a disproportionate amount of the decisions (considering that the majority of the profits were generated by Nissan) (b) afraid of what might happen to their jobs should the 'merger' (what they deemed a 'takeover' by Renault) with Renault occur and (c) what type of manufacturing agreement would Renault be negotiating with China.

A merger is rarely an easy thing to accomplish and many, many a 'turf war' is fought behind the scenes. This particular turf war was detailed in the tabloids.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: S Korea's latest big export: Jobless college graduates See in context

SK bought into the 'Education Industrial Complex' whereby more education means more jobs....no matter which point of the education curve that they are on. There comes a point where the costs of having such a highly educated work force outweigh the benefits. Government subsidies for college tuition represent resources that could have been spent elsewhere and SK is at a point where is a saturation point with respect for the demand for college graduates. I am a Professor here in the States and in the last 5 years, I've witnessed a stunning increase in the number of South Korean students who are onto their 'second bachelor's degree' after being unable to find a job in South Korea.

Japan is benefiting from the ever shrinking population of high school and college graduates, but one thing I think Japan does quite well is the trades and how relatively well off Japanese without a college degree can live.

Taiwan has a similar problem whereby there are simply too many college graduates and not enough jobs.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Who pays Trump's tariffs: China and other exporters or U.S. customers? See in context

It's not about the tariffs as much as it is reigning in China's abuses. China wants all the benefits of being in the WTO without playing by the same set of rules that others follow with respect to the WTO.

Let's be honest: trying to make China follow international rules is like trying to teach a cat how to write in cursive. There are only two ways to compel China to do ANYTHING: either by military force or by monetary force. Diplomacy DOES NOT WORK with China.

Tariffs are extreme, but the last 20 years has taught us that the other approaches to China don't work.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: While the Japanese government relentlessly promotes the image of 'Cool Japan' and mega-tourism, the current reality is a country run by sociopathic Hitler-loving plutocrats, with plummeting press freedom, endemic poverty, rising censorship, deliberate destruction of public records, continual death by overwork, a corrupt bureaucracy, and a medieval justice system. Despite the triple meltdown of Fukushima, the government is rushing to start nuclear power plants again with reckless abandon. See in context

Actually, I feel for Jake. Married to a Japanese wife, permanent resident in Japan.

Wife lives in Missouri, Jake still lives in Japan.

And, I actually feel for many of the foreigners/ex-pats in Japan. I am extremely fortunate in that my wife moved here (the States) rather than vice versa. I have no doubt that being a Japanese in America is FAR better than being a Gaijin in Japan.

For men, who are probably 95% of the commenters on this thread: no matter what you do in Japan, you'll never (a) make a ton of money and (b) get a huge promotion within a Japanese-based company because of your gaijin status. Throw in the fact that there are some mind-numbingly stupid business practices in Japan and you're stuck: cannot divorce your wife since you'll never see your kids again, but since you're a gaijin, you cannot make enough money to make your wife (and her family) happy.

And, perhaps the worst thing about all of it is this: no matter how bad things get in Japan, the need for 'wa' overrules everything and the frustration can only grow since you're a gaijin, you cannot possibly understand the intricacies of Japan's society - or at least you're told.

Jake's penchant for hyperbole is his undoing here.

Probably a better way would be to say this:

Japan is the largest country in the world to experience a shrinking population. The number of sexless Japanese (a necessary antecedent to population increases) is astonishingly high and yet...nothing. Seriously, nothing. Why? Because the need for honest, potentially controversial dialogue is so distasteful for Japanese people that they would probably rather see their country die a slow death than to disrupt the current 'wa'.

6 ( +15 / -9 )

Posted in: Trump announces higher tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods See in context

For those bashing Trump:

Who do you mistrust more: China or Trump?

China has been a lying, cheating, bullying country since 2000. China wants all the benefits of being in the WTO, without playing by the rules.

While Trump is clearly off-balance, at least he acknowledges the fact that China steals IP, manipulates currency, subsidizes industries and bullies its neighbors. Obama, Bush and Bill Clinton (both Democrats and Republicans) all just 'looked the other way' at China's indiscretions and look what has happened in the meantime. Give Trump credit, at least he understands that there is a problem with China and he has shone a spotlight on it.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Posted in: S Korean visit left as unfinished business for new emperor See in context

smithinjapan: Has Japan demanded an apology from the U.S.? No. Has Japan apologized to Korea? Yes. Perhaps Japanese is your second language? Maybe YOUR 'just say 'sorry'' was actually done just not as direct as YOU would like.

If Korea was truly in need of an apology, why does the South Korean 'apology demand curve' spike whenever a politician is in trouble or the South Korean economy is in trouble? In other words, it seems that the apology demand spikes for South Korean convenience. Whereas, South Korean travel to Japan increases every year and doesn't seem to fluctuate very much. Pretty good indication that Japan doesn't need to apologize yet again.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan eyes law to tighten control on gene editing of human eggs See in context

I am truly frightened of what genetic engineering a country like China or North Korea might do to its citizens...or what hyper-competitive parents might do to create the 'ultimate' child. Very, very scary.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan deploys missile units on southwest islands amid China's rise See in context

I'll give China credit, at least they are brazen (or stupid) enough to flat out admit their ambition: domination over Asia, by any means necessary.

I think the overwhelming majority of Japanese realize what China is all about and probably less than 10% (of which Akie is a member) would disagree with this.

1 Chinese can beat 1 Japanese.

10 Japanese can beat 100 Chinese. Although, I still don't like those odds as China currently outnumbers Japan by about 11 to 1!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Sony revitalizes smartphone franchise with movie-style screens See in context

As always, there are detractors about large Japanese companies. However, it appears that Japanese manufacturing is still doing big business in tech...just not the end product. For Iphones, Japan is the second largest (to America) in terms of components for the Iphone 7.

https://theconversation.com/we-estimate-china-only-makes-8-46-from-an-iphone-and-thats-why-trumps-trade-war-is-futile-99258

Commentators love to squawk about Japanese protectionism. Have you seen China's protectionism? Please, there is no comparison.

Mobile phones are a very low margin business, with the exception of Apple. Very much a Japanese approach: perhaps lagging on innovation, but very much leading with respect to the manufacturing process.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Amid trade talks, China urges U.S. to respect its right to develop, prosper See in context

You know something is true if both Democrats and Republicans in America agree on something. Both sets of American politicians refer to China as a 'trade cheat'. There really isn't much more to say. China wants all the benefits of being a WTO member without playing by its rules.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Osaka talks about split with coach See in context

The only issue I think about is this: what if Osaka struggles again? I think she pretty much burned that bridge. If she still succeeds, no one will be upset. She is still incredibly young and still learning about herself and her tennis abilities. I will say, she didn't look entirely thrilled at the Australian Open, rather she looked relieved as if to say 'thank goodness this is over.'

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: U.N. rights committee urges Japan to let children be children See in context

If the UN said this same thing about Korea and China, I might be more willing to give it a pass. That said, the literacy rate in Japan is fantastically high, the crime rate astonishingly low. Japan's approach to teaching math is actually extremely well-regarded worldwide as being innovative (regardless of the stereotypes about Asian math teaching).

Yes, America has much more 'great' thinkers and scientists. However, I have to think that America's education system is one of extremes: incredibly great outputs and incredibly bad outputs as well (illiteracy rate ridiculously high for a country of such wealth, poor overall math scores as a nation, school violence, etc.).

I am willing to bet the great majority of commentators here are living in Tokyo or thereabouts. My wife and I own a summer home in Mie. Beautiful area, humble but nice housing and the children there seem very happy, ARE very safe and very personable. We live in the Midwest and our children and very happy, very safe and very personable. However, I work in San Francisco for two months out of the year and guess what: the children there are anxious about how they can possibly ever afford a house, competitive beyond belief and quite honestly, don't seem very happy. My feeling is that living in a very cramped, expensive area, with a very well educated populace makes for a much more intense, competitive childhood - be it Tokyo or San Francisco.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump says he will meet with China's Xi to try to seal trade deal See in context

I hope Trump stays disciplined, which is his biggest weakness. I know it's de rigeur to criticize Trump - and there's much to criticize - but on China, he's right. China IS a trade cheat of unprecedented proportion and simultaneously flouts any international rule or protocol. If Trump pulls this off, it's about time someone called out China.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Huawei executive Meng attends bail hearing as Canada mulls U.S. extradition See in context

As an American, I must say to China 'game on'. Being the totalitarian bully that they are, when someone stands up to China, they cry like a baby. Say what you will about America being a bully, I guarantee you that there will always be a sizable portion of Americans who will disagree with American bullying AND VOICE that disagreement with the U.S. government about it. In China, the majority of folks either (a) don't care as long as they see economic growth (b) don't know any better since they cannot know any better due to the government censorship of pretty much anything (c) don't care since China is #1 at everything and has never done anything wrong ever and if they did it's 'because the West/Japan did it to us first' or (d) disagree but are too afraid to voice their opinions.

What the breakdown of (a), (b), (c) or (d) is, I have no idea since it might be 90% (d) but I wouldn't/couldn't hear it anyway!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: French gov't presses Japan to accept Renault-Nissan merger See in context

A simple divorce is what is needed here. From a morale standpoint, I don't think any Japanese (in Japan) at Nissan wants to be merged in Renault and the last thing the French government (or Renault) wants to deal with is a renegade subsidiary. Methinks that there is some political theater involved here whereby Japan Inc. is sending a message to all potential future French-Renault-Nissan CEOs 'you could be next...so just let us divorce you.'

Nissan still has enough clout in Japan to get the government's cooperation.

The biggest question I have is this: we all know how frightening the Japanese legal system is (especially for foreigners). My question is this: is the punishment/treatment of Ghosn extraordinarily harsh OR is the treatment par for the course and it's just that he is famous that it's getting so much press attention? My feeling is that it is the latter, not the former.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: S Korean court OKs seizing Japan firm's assets over forced labor See in context

Samsung - which accounts for 17% of the Korean economy (wow!) - has announced major revenue shortfalls, Hyundai is not doing well and as of 2017, the youth unemployment rate in SK was around 10%.

Methinks we have a divergence here. I also think that this is not as big a deal as one thinks. It's not front page news at Korea Times or Yonhap, for that matter.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Taiwan reunification with China 'inevitable,' says Xi See in context

China will annex Taiwan in the next 10-15 years and do so economically, not military. All it takes is China to announce and enforce a boycott of Taiwanese goods and boycott Taiwan in terms of tourism. Xi can unilaterally enforce a boycott with devastating potential since he's a military dictator. A military takeover is not in the cards, it would most likely trigger a military response from various actors.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: No Uber or Airbnb in S Korea: Red tape, risk-aversion hobble start-ups See in context

BTW, if Uber had to pay payroll taxes like all the other companies, they would be in big trouble. In truth, Uber has a great app, one of the very best I've ever used. However, they treat their 'partners' (i.e. their drivers) like dirt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to fall to 3rd-largest contributor to U.N. as China rises See in context

Americans think the U.N. is a pathetic, kabuki theater like circus and the fact that China is now bribing/paying off/influencing it further confirms this opinion. So, the second biggest 'benefactor' of the U.N. is a military dictatorship? Gee, that sounds like a really great organization whose primary goal is 'world peace'. No wonder Trump wants to lower America's contribution.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan criticizes China over cyberattacks by hacking group See in context

Before everyone blames Japan first, please note that it is not only Japan that is criticizing China, so is the United States. Clearly, where there is smoke there is fire.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Huawei arrest stokes fears of China reprisals among American executives See in context

China has been playing this game for the last 5 years or so. No matter what you think about Trump, at least he (or his advisors) recognize what China is doing and what China's end goals are. He is actually putting his finger in the dike.

China NEVER wants to play by anyone's rules. I think we all know that China is about take, take, take and never give anything. Why Clinton/Bush/Obama ever thought otherwise is a mystery to me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Ghosn planned to oust CEO before his arrest: report See in context

The general consensus among the cognoscenti is that Ghosn is instrumental in Nissan's rise from the ashes. I don't deny that. However, almost 20 years at the helm is a long, long time and perhaps Ghosn had lost his touch. It is apparent that Ghosn will not be back at Nissan. We shall see how Nissan does post-Ghosn. If what we read it wholly truthful, then Saikawa is not only inept but treasonous. It will be interesting to see the post-Ghosn performance of Nissan and just how much of it was attributable to Ghosn.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Ghosn's legal woes highlight governance failings in Japan See in context

As an accountant, I can see why the Nissan BOD was upset at Ghosn. Nissan carried the majority of the profit generated and, as much as people on here love to denigrate Japanese big companies, if Nissan was generating the majority of the profit for the combined company, why was Renault literally making most of the decisions? Ghosn's attempt to consolidate power was met with resistance. Guess what? Most people would fight that if they (a) had the jobs at stake and/or (b) were not getting a fair shake.

The issue here is a power struggle, plain and simple and there are many of them all around the world. The Citicorp and Traveler's merged, Sandy Weill won a turf war/power struggle with John Reed for pretty much the exact same reason.

The Japanese twist to this boardroom power struggle is that Ghosn was put into jail. Having someone rat him out is nothing new at all - happens all the time in power struggles. The fact that someone used underreported income as a means of imprisoning Ghosn and - not surprisingly his American ally - is pretty much uniquely Japanese. In most power struggles, rumors about illicit marital affairs get leaked or DWI's get leaked. Getting into trouble with the tax authorities usually is met with a cheer from Americans. In Japan, it is met with gasps.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: S Korea's top court orders 2nd Japanese company to compensate forced laborers See in context

Just as predicted, ANOTHER lawsuit. So, for those who say 'Japan needs to admit it war atrocities and pay them and move on', this is precisely the problem. If Japan DOES pay, guess what, it will open up the door for all sorts of lawsuits down the road. The floodgates will be open. I am pretty certain that Abe and company know this and are (correctly) refusing to pay.

17 ( +25 / -8 )

Posted in: Renault-Nissan typical of uneasy East-West auto partnerships See in context

It's not East-West joint ventures that are uneasy, virtually all joint ventures are riddled with problems. It's very difficult to iron out who's really in control.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe, Indian PM Modi meet amid trade, security worries See in context

Akie,

Your Sino-Centrism is showing. 'Japan will be integrated into China's market'. You cannot be serious. I have to say that your attitude perfectly sums up China's attitude towards the rest of the world: EVERYTHING revolves around China. I mean, it is the 'Central Kingdom', isn't it? If you cannot be China's 'friend', China will somehow 'absorb' that country into China.

That attitude is becoming increasingly obvious to the rest of the world and note to Akie: the rest of the FREE world (i.e. democracies not military dictatorships) is on notice.

Just remember, military aggression is often met with...military aggression.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe vows to bolster ties with China See in context

This is just talk. Nothing binding, nothing The second Abe cedes any territory to China, then we know something is truly up. Nothing else to see here.

The U.S. played nice with China and then China (being China) stole IP and pretty much that wasn't bolted down. I don't Abe will make the same mistake.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Over 40% of Chinese have positive impression of Japan: survey See in context

More than 70% of Chinese who visited Japan had a positive impression of Japan.

Uh....that's called self-selection. A Chinese person who had a bad impression of Japan probably wouldn't visit Japan in the first place. A better question would have been 'of those who had a unfavorable impression of Japan PRIOR to visiting Japan left with a favorable impression of Japan.'

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: China seeks Japan's economic cooperation amid trade war with U.S. See in context

Not a huge fan of Trump, but I like his attitude towards China. China's trade surplus with America has bankrolled their island-building and their military buildup....and let's just tell it like it is: China's theft of IP is finally being understood by the rest of the world.

Many want to say 'well China is just like Japan in the endaku era'. WRONG.

China is a dictatorship; Japan is a parliamentary democracy (and please stop with 'oh really, tell that to Abe and the Liberal Democrats);

China has rapidly increased in military spending, post-WWII Japan never accelerated military spending the way China has;

China builds islands and then claims the land/surrounding water as 'rightfully and historically China's'; Japan has never done that;

China deploys microscopic chips in motherboards to spy on BOTH Americans and the American government; Japan has never done that.

The 'trade war' is more than just about trade. It is about China mis-behaving in a very aggressive fashion.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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