Newsman comments

Posted in: Japan losing diplomatic banquet battle to China See in context

Unfortunately, a lot of diplomats do care about silly stuff like this. What's the difference between diplomatic events and Olympic junkets in search of the next venue? Diplomatic events don't have cute mascots greeting you in the foyer ...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Problem found in Japan Airlines 787 jet: NHK See in context

No, Jeff Lee has it right: The Boeing maintenance crew unbelievably forgot to remove the tape covering the sensor, which made the sensor indicate there was a problem when there really wasn't one. It was a case of the sensor giving a false alarm; it was NOT a case where the sensor was taped up to prevent any sort of warning whatsoever.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 2 men stabbed on Kitakyushu street See in context

@ Genkigonzo: Yes, it's a translation error; same kanji, but different readings. The story should read "Kokura Station," not "Ogura Station."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Rules are made to be broken See in context

Why do the authorities have a problem with bicycles? Simple:

1) They're not made in Japan.

2) One more bike rider means one less bus or train passenger.

3) One satisfied cyclist means one less possible Toyota, Nissan, or Mitsubishi owner.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Fuel-rod cooling halted by rats at Fukushima plant See in context

What else would you expect from a Mickey Mouse operation?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: American to serve 5-10 years for murder of Irish student See in context

What ...? The judge himself labeled the attack "vicious". It was a murder. And he can get out again when he is just 24 years old? Something is seriously wrong with the penal code here.

19 ( +21 / -3 )

Posted in: 'Abenomics' boosts returns at Japan's huge public pension fund See in context

I wish I could read the economic news without being subjected to another sentence about "Abenomics". I had not realized the man had acquired superhuman powers during his time away from office. "Lifts economies with only one hand -- it's Super Abe!"

Give me a break.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: S Korean small businesses urged to boycott Japanese goods See in context

So who was "the highest-ranking Japanese official"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: High pollen count expected this year, ministry warns See in context

For one thing, they can look at the rainfall from the previous year to see how well watered the trees were at the time they were primed to do whatever it is they do to produce pollen the following year, as well as high or low the temperature was at that time.

Hay fever was one of the chief culprits that drove me from Japan after years of living there. Mixed in with the air pollution that's now a regular issue from China, simply breathing is now an issue in February and March, which is a crying shame. I required a round of oral steroids, a steroid nasal spray, and eye drops with antihistamines each winter. You might also do yourself a favor if you could get away to either Hokkaido or Okinawa even for a few days, or perhaps one of the far-flung islands that a) did not have such trees planted on such a wide scale and b) are scrubbed clean with sea breezes. If you teach, it's a good time to leave Japan until April if you can manage it.

Hard to believe that one-fifth of the population has to endure this misery every year, and harder still that the government would allow doctors to profit from ameliorating allergies instead of doing the right thing and cutting the trees down.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: TEPCO accused of blocking probe into nuclear crisis See in context

At which point Capt. Renault from Casblanca walked in and said, "I'm shocked, shocked."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: China must stop making threats in maritime disputes: Panetta See in context

@globallc: It's been so long since I've read such an entertaining post with such a remarkable sense of humor. The USA unilaterally handed "China territory" to the defeated Japan? I must have overlooked that, what with Japan having to return all of Manchuria, Nanjing, Shanghai, the Yangzi river basin and the entire rest of the country to China. The U.S. is using Asian nations? From what I can tell, Asian nations are asking the U.S. to get more involved in East Asia, not less -- that's why Myanmar wants a closer relationship with the U.S., not to mention Vietnam and the Philippines. China has a "conciliatory approach"? My, how conciliatory a radar lock can be (I had no idea!)

China is the biggest market for Japan and growing -- that's true. So why would it want to do all of the saber-rattling when it could be a lot more welcome and persuasive without it? Seems to me the ideologues in the PLA are champing at the bit to prove their worth. Would that someone in the PRC had the authority to tell them to cool it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: China must stop making threats in maritime disputes: Panetta See in context

"China and Japan should find ways for a peaceful solution" and "Whatever happens, happens" don't really work together in a coherent policy. I would suggest instead "China and Japan should find ways for a peaceful solution, and the U.S., and other neighbors in East Asia, should actively encourage China and Japan to find that peaceful solution."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: China must stop making threats in maritime disputes: Panetta See in context

Why are we involved? Well, we have defense arrangements with Japan, and it is in both our interest and our friends' interest not to let disputes get out of hand. Should we instead just sit back and let things continue on their own course until Japan suddenly clamors for full-bore military intervention?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: China must stop making threats in maritime disputes: Panetta See in context

@BW: What is wrong with asking countries to peaceably resolve their conflicts? Would you prefer Panetta to say "We think it's OK for any country in East Asia to threaten its neighbors as much as it likes"?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Olympic judo coach to quit over beating claims See in context

Regardless of how he excused himself, or the circumstances regarding his resignation, he is out of a job because of what he did.

And that's good.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Combining drugs with certain food items can be risky See in context

All right -- suppose all of this is true. Exactly when was the last time I got the same sort of information from my local pharmacy, explaining all of the possible side effects of combining my medicine with certain foods? English OR Japanese? Last time I checked, all the packaging said was "1 day, three times." So how in the world is ordering medicine online any different from the information doctors and pharmacies in Japan provide every single day?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't eyes tighter rules for online drug vendors after losing Supreme Court case See in context

Semperfi's comments that Japanese medicine is made in Japan may be true, but that does NOT indicate high quality. I would refer you to Japan's experience in creating its own measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine in one shot. It used to be that all three shots were given separately, like everywhere else in the world. Then U.S. drug manufacturer Merck came up with MMR, which combined them all in one convenient shot. At that point Japan COULD have opened the doors to MMR -- but if it had, it would have meant that a foreign corporation would have reaped the massive profits instead of a Japanese one. Instead, in the late 1980s a Japanese medical corporation tried its hand at making its own version of MMR, with the results being that many children became ill and a few died. Such a result qualifies as too-extreme nationalism even in Japan, so they stopped making their own MMR -- but they never did get around to importing or licensing Merck's version. Which is why, even today, you still cannot get your children inoculated with one shot.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Boeing Dreamliner hit by two more mishaps in Japan See in context

I would simply suggest to keep things in perspective. There may be issues here, but it's not as if the Dreamliner's basic design has led to fatalities -- unlike the Airbus 330 with Air France Flight 447 ...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Fugitive Sea Shepherd founder hands over reins See in context

Although the Japanese are increasingly bypassing whale meat, I'm not certain that economic logic is going to drive whaling ships out of business. Japan's agricultural and food policy has always been driven by the notion of self-sufficiency. Why else would rice farmers be kept going with outrageous price supports? Why else would the government promote overpriced fruits and vegetables instead of bowing to basic economics and importing what the country needs? The same goes for whaling; in a country with very little grazing land available, it has been a cornerstone of Japanese economic policy for some time now to maintain a whaling fleet in order to guarantee a steady protein supply. (Many of the elderly powerbrokers in Japan can remember their childhoods when whale formed the bulk of their protein intake.) I fear that, with the return of Abe, the whaling industry in Japan will be receive more financial support if anything. Whaling is at the nexus of nationalism, sentimentality, and perceived critical needs; it is exactly the sort of industry that Abe and his cronies would be likely to prop up, economic reality and international relations be damned.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe sings national anthem as LDP prepares to 'take back Japan' See in context

Curious how Abe's quote almost precisely mimics that of the Republican party in the 2012 general election in the U.S. It was a very similar situation -- conservatives trying to reclaim power after losing the previous election to liberals. I have no doubt that politicians around the world study other countries' elections, particularly those of the U.S., and I find it very interesting that the paths of the U.S. Democrats and Japan DPJ diverged sharply after last year's voting.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Bored Japanese trucker gets kicks from Syria war tourism See in context!/toshifumi.fujimoto.52?fref=ts

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Death row inmates want prior warning instead of being told on day of execution See in context

Fair enough. Surely the wardens didn't wake up one particular morning and say, "You know, I feel like hanging someone today," and then went and did it. If the decision has been made to execute someone, why shouldn't everyone (the prisoner, the victims' families, and the public) be advised of that decision as soon as possible? Why should it be a big secret?

I have no problem with the death penalty for certain crimes -- PROVIDED the public is informed about the execution beforehand. If people want to protest against the death penalty, that's fine; if people get so revolted by the idea of the state executing someone that they wind up abolishing the death penalty, that's fine, too. If we are all informed about the death penalty beforehand, then we all share a certain culpability -- and we thus have to decide whether we are happy with ourselves, and our society, if we choose to accept the death penalty.

But in Japan, almost nobody knows anything until the execution is over -- and that way, the Japanese public can feel like they had nothing to do with it. They can feel absolved of any responsibility. They can think, "That wasn't me opening the trapdoor, that was the government. Not my doing."

And that's just wrong.

8 ( +13 / -6 )

Posted in: Japanese diplomat agrees to plea deal over wife abuse in U.S. See in context

Contrary to your post, Yuri, "seduction" is not a crime in the U.S. and therefore cannot be prosecuted.

There are many reasons why there are differences between misdemeanors and felonies, and why diplomatic immunity should override any misdemeanor charges. If a diplomat is drunk in public or has a motor vehicle violation, I can see some latitude for overlooking the offense. Spying? Hey, everybody spies, so if a country ever wanted to arrest another country's spy, I'm sure the second country could quickly round up one in return.

But ignoring assault? My feeling is that this diplomat's arrest and prosecution are a nice bookend to Japan's desire to arrest and charge U.S. servicemen accused of rape, manslaughter, and murder. I feel certain that no one on this thread would defend any serviceman proven to have committed a felony in Japan, but by the same token no one should feel sympathy for any Japanese diplomat convicted of assault and battery.

The woman was a U.S. resident. If she could not turn to the U.S. government for protection, exactly what was she supposed to do? Suck it up until the day she was beaten to death?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese diplomat agrees to plea deal over wife abuse in U.S. See in context

Yuri, when you have an example of trumped-up charges to show us, please let us know. Would you prefer to read a news story that said "Japanese diplomat in U.S. repeatedly assaults wife, stabbing her with screwdriver and knocking tooth out; U.S. declines to take any action whatsoever"?

16 ( +17 / -1 )

Posted in: Ex-banker arrested in U.S. over Olympus fraud See in context

I wrote on 6 December last year, "This "little-known" financial adviser has been identified as such for some time now. I think it is high time AP, or some other news organization, get to work and start knowing more about this person. Or can $687 million buy anonymity?" Glad to know the wheels of justice have finally turned!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan tunnel disaster a wake-up call for other countries See in context

It's not exactly the lack of maintenance that is the issue here. The reason it was such a surprise that the tunnel collapsed is because the maintenance company filed a report that the tunnel was fine even though they later admitted the rooftop panels were too high for them to actually examine. Because everything was thought to be fine, no maintenance was done. If anyone had had an idea the panels were a danger, the government would have at least begun laying out a contract for some construction company to bid upon.

It's the same-old same-old that you see all of the time in Japan. Japanese society has got to start heavily penalizing those who feed false information into the system.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Operator of Great Wall trekking tour in which 3 died to close doors See in context

The tour operator has been in trouble before. In 2009, it operated a mountain tour in Hokkaido, during which eight people, including the tour guide, got stranded in icy weather and froze to death. After that incident, the government imposed a 51-day suspension on Amuse but the company organized a tour despite the ban.


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Norovirus outbreak in Osaka infects 48, claiming 2 lives See in context

I can count the number of public restrooms I have seen in Japan that have hot water, soap, and paper towels on the fingers of one unclean hand ...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: At least 5 dead in fire after Yamanashi expressway tunnel caves in See in context

For comparison's sake, the tunnel that collapsed in Hokkaido did so in February 1996; 20 people died in the Toyohama road tunnel collapse.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: U.S. scientists find lessons from Fukushima nuclear crisis See in context

Well, it's nice to see that somebody is trying to learn ...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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