Nicolás Palacios comments

Posted in: Gov't starts building new seawall for Okinawa base transfer See in context

Argument all here results in the problem of our "peace constitution." It is an ideal good constitution but at the same time it was written so that Japan has to depend on U.S. for its defense.

I don’t know how “ideal” it is considering that not only was it foisted upon the Japanese practically at gunpoint, but the nation which drafted it curiously never sought to apply its idealism to its own constitution. But, indeed, it is a problem.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump, Pelosi agree on Feb 5 for State of the Union address See in context

I think you underestimate the lack of intelligence within Trump's base.

My comment was referring to his ideological antipodes who seem to believe that their chosen candidates/media personalities/politicians are blameless, and that Trump is the sole begetter of the political lie.

Obama, these people have quickly forgotten, was hounded by these same mandarins of the press for his inaccessibility, as well as for what they claimed were his ambiguous or outright duplicitous statements.

This is not to say that Obama is “worse”. My point is that all presidents spin outrageous lies. Quite a few conjured ones that proved lethal to many of the people they purport to represent and defend. That Trump should make his lying so overt is a wonderful gift for those who, like adults remaining steadfast in their belief in Santy Clause, are in dire need of having their tattered, fraying illusions eviscerated before their very eyes.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Gov't starts building new seawall for Okinawa base transfer See in context

[I]t also should remind everyone here that continues to "blame" the US for whatever, the responsibility for the bases lies in Tokyo, and anyone and everyone who opposes them should be complaining there, but they dont.

Tokyo certainly shares the blame here, but again, it cannot be ignored that the Japanese government is under the thumb of its treaty partner. Consider the widespread espionage from the US that was uncovered during the Obama administration.

Moreover, it should be incumbent upon the US to show itself the door as this dynamic of military dependency not only is an economic burden, it also leaves it exposed to military clashes that the larger public has no interest in fighting. Of course, they will never do so as too many are feeding at the open trough of the Pentagon budget.

It is also a situation that, frankly, is useless for the Japanese as well. Does anybody really believe, ambiguous pronouncements notwithstanding, that the US will commit itself to military combat against, say, the PRC if it decides to annex the Senkaku Islands outright? I honestly doubt that the US would or could muster anything more than saber-rattling even in the event of an invasion of Taiwan. All the more reason for Japan to look to itself for its defense needs.

No chance of that, however.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: UK grocers, fast food warn of major disruption from no-deal Brexit See in context

This whole situation is much like the Millenium Bug. In reality, very little will happen.

People forget that the media and the political class were predicting economic collapse had the 2016 referendum favored Brexit—which it did. Curiously, nothing happened the next morning aside from a brief drop in the value of the pound sterling against the US dollar, which it made up for that same day, if I recall correctly.

The same will occur here in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.

But even if that were not to be the case, that was a decision made by the British electorate and ought to be respected. Otherwise, let us dispense once and for all these pretenses to democracy and simply dictate to the people for what and whom they should vote for.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Trump, Pelosi agree on Feb 5 for State of the Union address See in context

The Democratic legislators should bring funny noisemakers and toot them stridently every time Trump tells another one of his outrageous lies.

Because no holder of the office of Chief Executive, irrespective of party affiliation or ideological bent, has ever lied outrageously to the American public. Remember “read my lips”, “I did not have sex with that woman”, WMDs in Iraq, “mission accomplished”, or “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”? Which is not to excuse Trump’s lying. But at least he makes it obvious for people who need such things to be highlighted and underlined for them.

And, yes, please bring the noisemakers. Let the US demonstrate to the entire world that it is a colossal and exhausted joke.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Give 1st round to Pelosi in shutdown skirmish See in context

The alternative would have been giving into an ultimatum, going against generations of American policy to not negotiate with hostage takers. Giving into Trump's ultimatum to end Trump's shutdown would have been damaging to democracy in the country as a hole (sic).

American policy against hostage takers has nothing to do with the obligation for politicians to work together with the elected head-of-state in order to find a reasonable compromise for the sake of the people they claim to represent. How giving $5 billion for a wall would have damaged democracy is beyond me, especially given that about half the country voted for this wall in 2016 (an idea which I personally disagree with, but these are the facts).

Much more damaging to democracy, I would say, has been the unchecked military spending of the US post-9/11, which already has tallied a whopping running tab of $6 trillion, and shows no signs of abating anytime soon. As long as Congress is draining the national coffers for military goals of dubious merit, then what is another $5 billion?

This shutdown was a shameful fit of pique on all sides, a pointless exercise in political brinksmanship. Despite what this article or what much of the media claims there were no “victors”, only losers—namely the American public.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: 'Fear' and 'favor' chill newsroom at Japan Times after 'forced WWII laborer,' 'comfort women' changes See in context

Unpopular though my opinion may be, I believe The Japan Times made the correct decision here. Many of those laborers, including prostitutes worked of their own volition. Which is not to deny that there were significant numbers of those who were coerced into labor. But even then, that often came through the machinations of their ethnic confrères.

Consider the issue of Korean wartime laborers. Koreans forget that they were once enthusiastic supporters and facilitators of Japanese imperial ambitions. Far from being a minority of chinilpa conspiring against their own people, who kept the faith in the Empire of Japan. In my own research I have read reports from the former Takumushō which praised Korean enthusiasm for the war, saying that it often outstripped that of ethnic Japanese. Pro-Japanese sentiment was especially strong in the north, in rural communities, and among the working class. Independence activists were often regarded as elites who were less concerned about national sovereignty as they were about the disruption of their place in the pecking order post-occupation.

Naturally, the situation in daily life was more volatile and eludes the grasp of any document to be able to accurately reflect. But it allows one to understand that the relationship between Koreans and the Japanese government during the colonial period was far more complex than most seem to think it was.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't starts building new seawall for Okinawa base transfer See in context

If Japan wanted to terminate the U.S. military presence in Okinawa / in Japan, it could do so. Witness the Philippines kicking the U.S. military out in the early 1990s.

Only for them to return in the last few years.

Now, with that said, times are changing and I believe that the U.S. fiscal state and its budget deficits will eventually force the U.S. to make some tough choices. Or have tough choices made for it.

Agreed. The long-term stationing of tens of thousands of soldiers in Japan and South Korea, for starters, is increasingly untenable.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't starts building new seawall for Okinawa base transfer See in context

Do China or the United States have constitutions limiting the size, scope and capabilities of their military forces? 

Considering that both the PRC and the US (especially the latter) have long and continuing histories with unchecked military aggression against their neighbors and even against supposed “foes” in far-flung locales, perhaps they should consider such an amendment to their respective constitutions. I am certain that people in India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc. would be greatly pleased.

Are you ok with Japan revising its constitution to allow a standing military and subsequently building it's military to a substantial size to handle the country's defense on its own? 

Yes, absolutely. There is no reasonable argument against such a thing.

If you want to compare the Self Defense Force to the militaries of the United States and China, I hope your answer to those last two is 'yes'.

Japan already has one of the largest military budgets in the world. Rather than rely as a subordinate upon the US, it ought to cooperate with it (or any other nations it chooses) as a full equal, and determine for itself its military needs and diplomacy, free from interference or moralizing from abroad.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't starts building new seawall for Okinawa base transfer See in context

The bases started due to the occupation of Japan, following the war, and continued as Japan then could focus on it's economic and social development following the war, and became a buffer against communist expansion.

I am very familiar as to why this all was put into place, however flawed and unfair these treaties were to the Japanese. But let us be honest: none of this came about via some manner of altruistic impulse on the part of the US. These defense treaties, while ostensibly about defending Japan and safeguarding against the spread of communism, were also punitive and vindictive in nature towards a once-bitter rival.

My point is why is it that this situation persists in 2019, nearly 75 years after the Pacific War? There is no reasonable need for Japan to “host” an occupying force on its sovereign territory, much less at the environmental and social costs they incur.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't starts building new seawall for Okinawa base transfer See in context

That's how it works when you need the help of another nation to keep your country secure.

Why would another nation need to defend Japan, the third richest country in the world with a population of circa 125 million? Does China rely on its neighbors, rather than itself for military defense? Does the United States?

The US will leave any time Japan would like, all they have to do is ask.

Considering that the US regularly meddles with Japan’s foreign and, occasionally, even their domestic policies to a degree that would be considered unacceptable in most other countries (e.g. scuttling the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, imposing the “Anpo” over the vociferous rejection of most Japanese citizens of the early 1960s, the Obama administration’s involvement in toppling the Hatoyama government, etc.) I find your statement to be highly dubious.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: Gov't starts building new seawall for Okinawa base transfer See in context

I am still confused as to why Japan, a sovereign nation, not only hosts a very sizable contingent of a foreign nation’s military forces, but pays them for the pleasure of doing so.

Okinawans are right to be angered by this situation, as well as by the tone-deafness of a central government which treats them like colonial subjects rather than citizens.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Posted in: Give 1st round to Pelosi in shutdown skirmish See in context

The sole focus of this writer is touting the pyrrhic victory Pelosi achieved as a result of the pointless squabbling between her and Trump. Whether she had “won” or he is ultimately irrelevant. However the result would have turned out, the American economy has taken a $3 billion hit, caused needless stress to federal workers, and put the national credit ratings at risk for a downgrade. Some “victory”.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: 'Black Panther' wins top honor at SAG Awards; 'Maisel' soars See in context

It is sad that a movie like Black Panther can be referred to in all earnestness as “trailblazing”. One cannot ignore that the mechanisms which allowed this film to exist are dominated utterly by whites: Funding, marketing, merchandising, distribution, screenings, etc. Even if one were to ignore that, how can people in all seriousness consider this shockingly patronizing and infantilizing fantasy as “trailblazing”?

If one really wants to treat themselves to genuinely trailblazing African-American or African cinema, then turn to the work Jamaa Fanaka, Charles Burnett, Ousmane Sembène, et al. Anything but this white-washed, pandering, superhero tripe.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Balance of intelligence factors makes Japan the world’s smartest country, according to this list See in context


Intelligence has nothing to do with political correctness or ethics: It is a human trait that functions separately from and often in spite of them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Balance of intelligence factors makes Japan the world’s smartest country, according to this list See in context

These surveys are not meant to be the ultimate word carved into stone on the various topics and phenomena they purport to observe. Rather, they are meant to stimulate discussion and, in all likelihood, entertain (or annoy) readers of popular journals of opinion.

That being said, the Japanese have a long and rich intellectual history to be proud of, one that these Westerners—would that humility were as natural to them as their habitual grumbling—could themselves profit from. That Japan exists as we recognize it today is virtue to the enormous intellectual (and physical) toil of their forefathers to reorganize their nation into one that was the equal of any Western one, doing so not once, but twice. It is enough to be acquainted with Japanese literature, cinema, or its music—traditional as well as their splendid, but still woefully underrepresented contribution to Western classical music—to understand the intellectual potency of this culture, one that justly rivals anything created in the West.

It is too bad that many Japanese, at least in my personal interactions, tend to be rather sheepish about their nation’s intellectual achievements, especially when among foreigners or a foreign setting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Amid tensions with Japan, S Korea to boost world awareness on wartime sex abuses See in context

A little rich for South Korea to be droning on yet again about the “comfort woman” issue, especially given that the modern republic is one of the major human trafficking hubs in the world.

18 ( +24 / -6 )

Posted in: Sony says Aibo robot dog will soon be able to remotely monitor family members See in context

Everytime I come across articles like these I can’t help but wonder: what happened to Japan? How did its society, which once functioned—for better and worse—as almost a superfamilial structure, become so atomized?

Of course, the atomization of society, not to mention the shattered human detritus laying discarded and forgotten across nations, is well in progress in the West too. Individual Japanese may be lonely, but their nation as a whole, sadly, are in thick company with various other nations composed of the lonely and marginalized.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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