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Posted in: Selena Gomez: Big Tech 'cashing in from evil’ See in context

The Guardian even has an article denouncing the deplatforming of Trump, it seems some people have realised the sinister implications:

No one has been unaware of the implications for the past few years, that's why people, politicians and tech companies have been trying to find some kind of middle ground.

The problem is that hateful groups continue to exploit any ground that they are given.

Even the head of Twitter has said that deplatforming Trump was correct, but scary. They don't want to do it, because a lot of big tech heads are very libertarian, but when people behave so badly they are often left with no other option.

Trump was given a ridiculous number of second chances and warnings and all it would have taken for him to remain on Twitter was for him to behave in a mildy civilised way... so he can hardly cry about it now.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Selena Gomez: Big Tech 'cashing in from evil’ See in context

Yeah, let's "bring people together" and "build communities" by banning people and silencing opinions.

It's interesting that you thing that lies, misinfomation and hate groups contribute to bringing people together and building communities, and that getting rid of them would somehow set back those efforts.

Not surprising, but interesting.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Selena Gomez: Big Tech 'cashing in from evil’ See in context

There needs to be a global body that regulates them.

It could be voluntary at first, but then if that doesn't work it could get some teeth.

The other problem is the business model where they are reliant on advertising. If social networks were banned from getting revenue through ads then they'd have to charge a nominal fee, like $10 a year. Most of their users would pay that, but now they'd have an incentive to provide platforms that enrich users lives, rather than ones that can sell ads.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Posted in: Caught off-guard by scant testing, Japan battered by COVID winter See in context

The government cannot mandate private hospitals to take in virus patients and many say they are unable to, according to a health ministry survey.

Can't mandate hospitals to take patients.

Can't get data from private clinics.

Can't implement a real lockdown.

Can't fine people for breaking rules (except now they're saying maybe they can, if they change the law).

Considering how authoritarian and undemocratic the Japanese government system can seem at times, it's kinda unbelievable that apparently the government can't do anything. It doesn't seem to stop them in other situations.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: U.S. state capitals on edge for armed protests as Trump presidency nears end See in context

There is no doubt that these insurgents hate the US and everything she stands for.

I don't think that is true for many of them, it's just that they have been fed so many lies and conspiracy theories that their viewpoint and emotions have become so twisted and corrupted that they honestly believe they are doing something good.

Back after 9/11 the right would accuse anyone who was against the invasion of Iraq of hating the US and everything she stands for, but it was an bad argument then and it's a bad argument now imho.

Of course, there are a bunch of just basic racist and nazi groups in there as well, who probably just can't believe their luck to be joined by the President and by all these deluded 'patriots'.

That said, it seems kinda ironic that the very people who were bashing anyone who opposed the war in iraq seem to now be the people who are supporting Trump's pull out from such trouble spots and bashing the democrats for the exact opposite.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's suicides jump 16% in COVID-19 2nd wave: study See in context

We probably won’t see too many comments here from all those people who were calling for a complete lockdown.

The problem isn't the lockdowns (not that Japan has really had anything approaching a lockdown).

The problem is the almost complete lack of government support. A county as developed and wealthy as Japan should be able to provide much better support both for businesses and for people. But instead of that they've opted for dumb GoTo campaigns that don't help most businesses, and for giving one payment of a measly 100,000 yen 9 months ago.

Other countries like the UK or Canada are providing monthly payments to support either people or companies that employ them. Even the US with all the political deadlock over the past 6 months has managed 2-3 payments to people.

The study, based on health ministry data from November 2016 to October 2020, found the child suicide rate spiked 49% in the second wave, corresponding to the period after a nationwide school closure.

This is terrible. It's worth highlighting that this spike wasn't during the closure, but well after kids went back to school. AFAIK most schools in Japan restarted around September. A lot of them have been studying 6 days a week in an effort to catch up on missed time in the spring. (Plus I guess the school entrance exams were all looming in January).

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan may consider further stimulus package for COVID-19-hit economy: Kono See in context

This is what everyone forgets somehow

Throwing money around isn't cheap, who would've guessed...

I don't think anyone forgets this, but when you have an emergency situation you need the government to provide support now and then they can reclaim it through taxation or whatever later.

If lots of companies go bankrupt and workers lose their job now, that's also going to have a negative impact on the economy and taxes, and it's quite likely to be a longer one.

On the assumption that these vaccines will be effective, and that the situation will improve from summer, it would be dumb to allow all these companies and families to fail 3-4 months before the end.

TBH, it's one of the roles of government and taxes. They should be there to help when we have these kind of situations, and then we pay back through taxes in the good times. The problem is that a lot of governments cut taxes and spend when the times are good, and then have little room to maneuver when times are bad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: ¥742 bil in reserve funds added to subsidies for restaurants See in context

I'd be really sad seeing them closing the shutters forewer and we have to rememer they also have to sustain their own families and dreams as well.

So does everyone. If the government is telling everyone to stay home and not go out (which is probably correct from a public health viewpoint) then they are also impacting any kind of business that relies on having customers around. But only the restaurants and bars are getting financial support to offset this.

A lot of the little mom-and-pop restaurants seem more like hobbies anyway, and I guess that they aren't paying any rent as they have owned the building for years.

A lot of the bigger restaurant chains are no different from any of the other industries, who also have lots of workers who are just trying to sustain their own families.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Staying at home during pandemic: Damned if you do, damned if you don’t See in context

Why did Yasuyoshi Okita not use the perfectly good word 'frailty'? Then they'd be able to discuss it at international medical conferences without everyone being confused.

Sometimes I think Japan goes out of its way to use English incorrectly, just for fun.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't eyes punishment for refusal to comply with COVID-19 measures See in context

I thought we were told multiple times that the Japanese government had no powers to enforce this kind of thing. Did you just mean 'have no powers without changing the law, which they can't be bothered to do'?

Getting sick is not a crime.

No, but deliberately spreading a dangerous disease to others is. A number of people have been convicted of it in the past, such as people who intentionally had unprotected sex with people while knowing they were HIV positive.

that would enable the government to fine businesses that fail to comply with its requests to shorten their operating hours or temporarily close.

How about some financial support for businesses that aren't restaurants? Then maybe some of them could comply. And how about some financial support for the people? Then maybe they could comply too.

Since my main income is waay down, I'm trying to work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet... which means I need to go out more than I did before. Stupid.


Side note: Aside from the Coronavirus, the government has fruitlessly spent decades trying to persuade people to take more time off, trying to pressure companies to allow it, adding more public holidays when that didn't work, etc... when the obvious solution to the issue would be to give separate 'sick days' that aren't part of the 'paid leave' system. If they'd done that, it'd come in handy right now...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's 2nd state of emergency met with public indifference See in context

I'm not against the idea of a lockdown, but I have to keep going to work because I need to pay for my family's rent and food etc.. My company also needs clients to keep coming because they need to pay rent and wages and not go bankrupt etc..

A (kinda) lockdown without any financial support isn't going to work for those companies and workers who can't work from home.

The government has announced three emergency budgets so far... butonly the first one seemed to provide any actual financial support for anyone (other than restaurants) , and I'm rather unclear on where all the money for the other two is supposed to be going.

Basically, no financial support for people since about June 2020.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Minister, expert suggest coronavirus emergency extension See in context

I'm not against the idea of a lockdown, but I have to keep going to work because I need to pay for my family's rent and food etc.. My company also needs clients to keep coming because they need to pay rent and wages and not go bankrupt etc..

A (kinda) lockdown without any financial support isn't going to work for those companies and workers who can't work from home.

The government has announced three emergency budgets so far... butonly the first one seemed to provide any actual financial support for anyone (other than restaurants) , and I'm rather unclear on where all the money for the other two is supposed to be going.

Basically, no financial support for people since about June 2020.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Suga announces new measures to stem virus surge, including penalties, review of medical system See in context

Give me ¥300,000 per month and i will gladly comply and stay home.

Yeah, where are the announcements of financial support? Even 100,000 a month would relieve a lot of the stress about how to pay for rents, food, etc..

Heck, if they really wanted to, the could give it in the form of vouchers that could be used at supermarkets, drug stores, hair salons, cram schools, etc.. and had an expiry date. That would help with their beloved 'stimulating the economy' priority and also avoid people who didn't need it just sticking it into savings.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Tech giants banished Trump. Now things get complicated See in context

It's obvious, any dissenting view must be immediately deleted lest an unapproved opinion spreads amongst the populace.

If by immediately you mean 'after 4 years of repeated warnings and massive amounts of slack'.

This is about making the world a safer and better place. It shouldn’t be that complicated.

Unfortunately it is. While I agree that we can't just have a free-for-all that allows all these lies, misinformation and conspiracy theories to drown actual facts and reality, it's much more tricky in reality to decide who should be the ones making those determinations.

IHMO there needs to be a global body, similar to something like the WHO, that all these tech companies sign up to and which creates a set of global guidelines that companies have to adhere to. That would give some consistency and accountability, while also ensuring the tech companies had some kind of shield against pressure from authoritarian governments.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Gov't to support suppliers of eateries hit by virus emergency See in context

Targeted payments in Japan is better that what happened in Canada where, hard to believe, the increase in government debt even outpaced Japan and plenty of people made fraudulent claims and now the Liberal government is hinting that they never have to pay it back.

Depends on your definition of 'better' I guess. Personally I think financial support in japan has been woefully inadequate, badly and unfairly targeted, and has basically abandoned anyone who isn't in the food industry.

In a situation like this, it's not the time to be too worried about government debt and fraudulent claims. Those are unfortunate but unavoidable, and shouldn't be used as an excuse for the government not to support those who need it.

If necessary, they can get it back through future taxes, and chase up fraudulent claims. The cost of those is likely to be minimal compared to the cost of providing no support.


2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Gov't to support suppliers of eateries hit by virus emergency See in context

I just don't understand the logic of these various 'targeted payments' that seem to be highly arbitrary based on particular industries, or seem to be random fixed amounts irrespective of the company's actual situation.

Why don't they just make one universal system that supports all companies and independent contractors that have lost income?

If your business supplies event companies, or train companies, or any other non-food related company that has been impacted by the pandemic then why are you not worthy of support?!

And why always the hard 50% cut off? If your sales or income fall by 48% you are probably in just as much need of support as if your sales fall by 51%.

It's particularly dumb, because if your income goes down by 40% then you have to decide between working like mad to try and get more income, or cutting back and trying to get your income to drop more so you can get some subsidy.

My income has dropped dramatically, so I'm working like mad to try and get enough income to pay for rent and food. If they ever introduce a subsidy that covers me, and then I end up not qualifying because of that extra effort then I'm going to be very angry. (more so than I am at the moment, which is pretty cheese off).

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: A year after first confirmed death in China, coronavirus source still a puzzle See in context

Heh. Diana Bell doesn't mince words huh. I'm surprised the AFP didn't edit her quote down a little. ;-)

It is a shame that domestic politics in the US over recent years has weakened the west and global institutions and emboldened China at just the wrong time. I suspect the Chinese reluctance is more about covering up embarrassing mistakes in handling the outbreak rather than hiding some kind of smoking gun that they created it intentionally.

But these days China doesn't seem to feel any need to comply with global bodies or opinion.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Coronavirus third wave puts many Japanese hospitals on overload See in context

None of them, however, have been doing the work of ICU nurses or are providing specialist care, or working as a registered nurse would do because they can’t.

No one said they were working as ICU nurses. They are working on wards and doing a lot of the work that regular nurses would be doing though.


-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: McDonald’s Japan updates children’s Happy Meals to be more inspiring and nutritionally sound See in context

Why can't we get the fruit bag that they do in a lot of other countries? (Apple slices, grapes, etc..). Or the bag of carrot sticks?

Or the veggie nuggets?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Coronavirus third wave puts many Japanese hospitals on overload See in context

The "nurses" at your local clinic and ICU nurses are completely different and in no way comparable.

If it's an emergency situation then you make do.

I assume they have some form of medical training. At the very least that kind of nurse could support the more minor cases in the hospital, freeing up resources for the more senior nurses to devote to more serious cases such as Covid.

If some hospitals and clinics are quiet, those staff could be lent to the hospitals that are overloaded.

But I was just using them as an example, every clinic or hospital I have visited in Tokyo has had far more nursing staff than I've seen in similar hospitals or clinics in the UK.

In my local area, at least, there are also just a lot more clinics than you'd find in a similar area in the UK.

Speaking of the UK, huge numbers of Dental Nurses have been working in hospitals battling Covid for the past year. I imagine there's a big difference between a Dental Nurse and an ICU Nurse too, but that doesn't seem to have stopped them.

So there are definitely resources available, it just takes some creative solutions to use them. Or some actual central government control, of which there seems to be none.

I assume the SDF has a fair number of doctors and nurses as well, who could be deployed if needed.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Coronavirus third wave puts many Japanese hospitals on overload See in context

All the doctors and nurses I have spoken to over the past few months have said that their hospitals are quiet. Other than the few of them that have specialist Covid wards, and even there it's only the Covid wards that are busy. Lots of regular patients are staying away.

There is something inherently broken in how the Japanese medical system works, if they are needing to cancel operations when hospitals are quiet, if they can't get enough staff or beds to deal with the relatively low number of cases so far.

Every hospital and clinic I have visited in Japan has had a massive number of nursing staff. As such, I can't believe there is an actual shortage of nurses. The little local clinic near me has one old guy doctor, with an apparent harem of 6-8 nurses. There's usually 2-3 patients when I visit, so there is usually the doctor giving the consultation, 2-3 nurses assisting, and another 2 or so nurses hanging around.

It's rather disturbing that most hospitals in Japan seem unwilling to accept Covid patients, and that the government seems to have very limited ability to require them to do so.

It is also rather sad that it seems the main response of many medical professionals in Japan has been to quit rather than risk treating Covid patients. Other countries have had people volunteering by the thousands. Ex doctors and ex nurses have been signing up to help. Celebrities and politicians who have medical training have been putting aside their careers to go back and help out at hospitals.

But in Japan if a hospital agrees to accept Covid patients half the medical staff quits. ????

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Izakaya stagger under blow of 2nd coronavirus state of emergency See in context

Another article on the plight of bars and restaurants, but nothing about all the other businesses who are impacted by the coronavirus and by people staying home after 8pm?

No shade on the restaurant owners, I hope they get the help they need to survive, but they already had Go To Eat and Go To Travel (which supported them indirectly) and I think they get subsidies if they close at 8pm.

Other businesses didn't get Go To Eat and are getting nothing now.

I'm not saying the government doesn't need to take some measures such as a lockdown, but they need to support everyone impacted when they do so, like other countries are doing, not only support restaurants.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan business leaders call for support under coronavirus emergency See in context

PS/ If my written Japanese was good enough, I'd be tweeting at Japanese politicians demanding wider financial support and asking why they are stopping the assistance subsidy at a time like this, rather than repeating it for 2021!

If your Japanese is good enough then feel free!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan business leaders call for support under coronavirus emergency See in context

Frankly, I could care less about financial support for restaurants. They've already received enough financial support over the past year. How about some financial support for other types of small business, or for self employed or for freelancers?!

What is it with the Japanese obsession with restaurants?

Heading home last night I passed a bunch of small mom and pop restaurants, and they all seemed just as busy as usual. They've had the darn Go To Eat campaign supporting them. So that's my taxes going to support restaurants whose business hasn't gone down, with no sign of any new support for my industry or any other industry (other than travel).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Lawmakers openly discuss ousting Trump, possible impeachment See in context

Since some people keep bringing up some kind of false equivalence between the BLM protests and the attack on the US government building, I thought I'd point out that of the 7,750 BLM protests in the US, 93% were entirely peaceful. Most of the ones overseas were entirely peaceful too.

It seems like some questionable news sources have convinced some people that they were all violent riots and that those violent riots were somehow all the work of some evil 'antifa' organization that has the power and members to create riots in every state.

Never mind the fact that some people don't seem to be able to see the difference between disparate groups of citizens protesting about a single human rights issue VS the president of the USA encouraging supporters to try to undo the entire democratic process.

In a democracy we are free to disagree on issues and even protest about those issues, but never before have people tried to actually block the entire democratic process itself.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Suga pledges to improve coronavirus situation in 1 month See in context

Why is all the government support focused on restaurants, bars and the travel industry?

If residents are asked to stay home after 8pm that's going to damage a wide range of businesses, but you only get a million a day if you are a restaurant?!

My income dropped by 35% last year, and the GoTo campaigns made things worse by encouraging potential customers to go out of Tokyo every weekend. Weekends and evenings are peak hours for my business, but sales are already down 30%.

If they shut bars and restaurants and tell everyone to be at home by 8pm that's going to make things even worse.

At least last year there was the 100,000 yen per person and the 1M/2M yen for lost income. But that was targeted at 2020 and there seems no indication that it will be repeated for 2021. (Infact, they are ending the application for the scheme and the rent support scheme next week!)

The entire GoTo thing was completely unfair, and should have been replaced by some more general funding that people could have used to get discounts on a wide range of businesses and services, or by direct support to businesses that were losing money.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Violators, beware: Police finally put some teeth in cycling laws See in context

PS/ If you do want to get an adult bike helmet you need to go to a specialist cycling store or go online (though you may have issues with the difference between regular fit and 'asian fit' helmets).

But you'll find as usual that such things are well overpriced in Japan. You can get an entry level Mips helmet for about $30, but it's going to cost you 8,000yen for one here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Violators, beware: Police finally put some teeth in cycling laws See in context

riding in car-only lanes

What does this mean? Does it mean highways or is there some kind of special 'car only lane' designation for some roads in Japan?

It all sounds depressingly similar to a few years back when the police announced a big crackdown in people riding on sidewalks, and then quietly dropped it a few months later when cycling deaths increased significantly.

One problem is that these things always seem to lump people together as 'cyclists' when there's actually a big difference between the old guy pottering along the pavement on his mamachari with an umbrella, and the guy riding in 5th gear on the road on a road bike.

The first group rarely follow the rules, but it rarely matters as they're not going all that fast. The second group usually follows the rules, and the main danger is to them from car/truck drivers who don't.

I fall into the second group, and try to follow the rules as much as possible, though drivers often don't make it easy. There are nominal 'cycle lanes' all along my route to work, but there appears to be no rule about not parking in them, so every 200m or so there's a car or truck in the way.. meaning you have to take your life into your hands to try and go around it, or hop up onto the pavement for that section of road to avoid it.

Side note, it's almost impossible to find adult bike helmets in regular stores in Japan. Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, Seiyu etc... all have bike sections, and kids bike helmets, but none have any adult helmets.

Which is probably why the only road cyclists I've seen wearing helmets have all been westerners.

Given the number of bike riders here (mainly casual) the number of accidents is remarkably low, but every so often there's a bunch of stories about all the terrible scary dangerous cyclists. Sigh.

PS/ I wish people would stop going on about that ridiculous case where the poor family of a kid was forced to pay 95yen. It was an insane judgement at the time and still is.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 82-year-old woman dies after being stabbed as she gets off bus See in context

On another sad note, because of her “mental illness” she will avoid the death penalty.

That's so sad. I was looking forward to a good execution too!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 206 new coronavirus cases See in context

A full lockdown can't be sustained indefinitely. But a smart partial lockdown on the locations and activities most likely to cause the highest transmissions could be sustained a lot longer than a full lockdown, and would allow the other areas of the economy to keep going and help to support those areas that are locked down.

It appears, so far at least, that indoor activities where masks can't be worn and close contact can't be avoided are more risky than other areas.

So keep the bars and nightclubs and hostess clubs closed for now, keep the numbers reasonably low, and that will allow most of the other businesses to keep operating.

It won't work 100%, but it'll be much more effective than doing nothing, and much less harmful than shutting everything down again.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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