Nihon Tora comments

Posted in: Japan reports 43,594 new coronavirus cases See in context

It’s not just a sniffle or a cold as some people here on this “forum” have suggested.

My wife and I had it a few weeks back. For her it was nothing more than a bad cold or mild flu. For me it was similar to flu but not exactly - I also had a couple of days of fatigue that I wouldn’t normally get with a cold or flu. So I guess everyone is affected differently.

Cases dropping but I expect that we will enter another wave a month or so from now.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Kishida says Japan will ease COVID border controls from Oct 11 See in context

Young people in Shibuya and Roppongi literally don't care.

Agreed - although I'm probably a bit old for going clubbing in Shibuya now! Aside from the border restrictions and the mask-wearing which has gone on for too long now, I think Japan wasn't generally a bad place to be over the pandemic - I've had some great times and domestic trips over the last couple of years!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Kishida says Japan will ease COVID border controls from Oct 11 See in context

Be assured, the vaccination requirement will remain. Non-vaccinated people are more likely to need expensive hospital care. Nobody checked for travel insurance when I visited in August which surprised me.

For me, they've got it the wrong way around - they should ask travelers to show proof of travel insurance, not vaccination.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Posted in: Kishida says Japan will ease COVID border controls from Oct 11 See in context

The main thing is that they are getting rid of the visa and tour requirements. The triple-vaccinated requirement is obviously not ideal, but my guess is that will also be removed a few months to a year from now. We won't quite get back to pre-pandemic levels of travel here - mainly due to the absence of Chinese tourists, partly because of vaccination requirements, partly because quite a few will have been put off of Japan over the last few years and also a small number who won't want to come and have to wear a mask everywhere.

Speaking of masks - well, it will be nice to see the back of them, but they are not going anywhere soon here in Japan. It has gone from being a sensible precaution early in the pandemic to become a kind of cult-like nationalistic obsession at this point. I think it will be at least a year before people start removing them to any great extent and it could even go on for many more years.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan weighs plan for ban on hotel guests without masks: report See in context

I'm not really that negative about this because for me, the reason they are doing it is because they want to get the borders open with few restrictions - they know that the border restrictions are not at this stage contributing to controlling the pandemic, they are under pressure to remove them and that they are doing damage to Japan economically and reputationally. The problem is that most of the voters are old people, many of whom are misinformed and/or hold xenophobic views, the border restrictions do not really affect them and so they often strongly support them. This rule is basically to try to re-assure those voters when the remaining border restrictions are (hopefully) soon removed. We had a similar thing the other day when they said that they would introduce fines for people coming into Japan knowingly infected without informing the authorities - basically, nobody - it was just another thing to re-assure those voters and make it easier to remove the remaining border restrictions.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan weighs plan for ban on hotel guests without masks: report See in context

@Ricky Kaminski13 9.12 am comment

Japan is indeed unnecessarily and frustratingly dragging its feet with it's ongoing COVID measures and I'm glad to hear that Australia has got back to some sort of normalcy. But Australia has hardly showered itself in glory with its handling of the pandemic - it was only a few months back that the country looked more like a fascist dictatorship than a liberal democracy with people in some places effectively held under house arrest for long periods, borders closed and citizens not even allowed to return to their own country separated from their families. Even now many people are having to pay back thousands of dollars in fines for not complying with the draconian measures and after all that, Australia still came out of it worse than Japan where the majority of measures where entirely voluntary. Overall, I think I'd much rather have spent the pandemic in Japan than Australia.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan weighs plan for ban on hotel guests without masks: report See in context

If the masks were really doing much, then we'd expect to see some sort of difference between countries where mask-wearing is common and those where it isn't. We'd also expect to see an increase in cases when places went from wearing masks to not wearing them. At the beginning of the pandemic, those places where mask-wearing was common did indeed seem to do better - the masks probably did just about hold back the worst of it. But the later variants, omicron onwards, are much more transmissible. Omicron ripped through Korea infecting something like a third of the population in the space of two months. The BA5 variant has now done something similar in Japan - these countries have not done any better with these latest variants than other countries where masks were dropped months back. The simple explanation is that for the earlier, less transmissible variants, the masks could just about hold it back, but with the later variants (maybe 8 or 10 times more transmissible) they are just not effective enough. Maybe at most they give a very slight slowing of the spread, but in any case with a virus that is endemic, that most people will eventually catch, what exactly is the point of it?

If everyone wore tightly-fitting N95 respirator masks, you might see a more significant effect, but those things are horrible to wear for long periods - good luck getting the millions of people who have already had COVID and experienced nothing more than mild flu-like symptoms (myself included) to wear those things all day!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan weighs plan for ban on hotel guests without masks: report See in context

Just more thinly-disguised appeasement of the xenophobic voters. Oh well, if it helps make it politically easier for them to get the borders open with no restrictions then so be it.

-8 ( +10 / -18 )

Posted in: It’s time to talk about no-mask anxiety See in context

As most people in Japan, I’ve been wearing a mask most of the time too. This past two or three years I’ve had more bouts of cold and flu than any time I can remember. I also had COVID a few weeks back, so it didn’t stop that either. Total waste of time at this point. One reason everyone continues to wear them is that many places still require them - workplaces, public transport, most shops and department stores, restaurants and public buildings are all still asking people to wear a mask. Wouldn’t be surprised if it’s at least another year before people slowly stop wearing them, and it could be a lot longer.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: 'Unprecedented' super typhoon approaches southern Japan See in context

Looks on target to make a direct hit on Kagoshima with sustained 115 mph winds (latest from JTWC) - that's well into category 3 strength - quite unusual for mainland Japan and shouldn't be taken lightly!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: 60% of people with foreign roots questioned by Japanese police: survey See in context

If life is so bad for them in Japan, they could always move to China or Russia instead.

Is that the bar you set for yourself? The two worst examples out there and if you are better than that it’s good enough?

19 ( +23 / -4 )

Posted in: Gov't shares nationwide info on abusive baby sitters See in context

Anybody who has been subjected to administrative action for sexual assault or other abuse should never be allowed anywhere near children again in their lives. Full stop.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to roll out Omicron booster shots free of charge from Tuesday See in context

I imagine that this will become a roughly annual thing for the foreseeable future, the vaccine being tweaked fairly regularly and recommended to those at high risk and anyone else that wants it much like the influenza shot. No big deal. No need for paranoia or conspiracy theories. On the other hand, taking the vaccine should be entirely an individual choice - no need for any kind of coercive policies, no need for shaming those who choose to or not to take it for whatever reason.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan aims to remove daily arrival cap in October to spur tourism See in context

Raising entry permissions to draw tourists at this point is analogous to a movie theater owner who can't get customers to fill the theater putting extra in seating capacity hoping that will help.

Spot on analogy. Yesterday the report said that they would lift the visa and travel agency requirements at the same time as the cap. I hope they are not now backtracking on that. If they don't do those things, then lifting the cap will be meaningless because nowhere near enough people will be coming to get near the cap anyway.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Posted in: New monarch gives fresh impetus to Scotland's independence debate See in context

The Scots are among the most well represented people in the whole of the UK - not only do they have MPs in Westminster (more MPs per head of population than other parts of the UK) but they also have their own parliament that can make their own laws covering a whole range of issues. I'm not sure that Scotland would vote for independence and I'm not convinced Brexit would have changed many minds having seen how problematic it has been - basically, it would be like Brexit on steroids. What are they going to do, join the EU? Then what? What currency are they going to use? The Euro? Then what of all the trade with England? There would have to be a hard border, no? Defence? Just a huge mess, way worse than we saw with Brexit because Scotland have been part of the UK, a much closer union than the EU ever was, for much longer than the EU even existed.

I feel for the Scots, who are generally more left/progressive leaning and thanks to English voters usually end up with a Tory government that they don't support. But that is the same for vast swathes of people in English inner cities too - especially in the North, and those people don't have their own independent parliament like the Scots do.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to remove entry cap in 'not-so-distant future,' official says See in context

I agree with those saying the important restrictions to lift are the visa and package tour requirements, but if you read the article in the second paragraph it says that those will be relaxed simultaneously when the entry cap is lifted. Hope so!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to remove entry cap in 'not-so-distant future,' official says See in context

Excellent news - long overdue! I'd rather they didn't have any vaccination requirements, but I'm not especially bothered as everyone I know who wants to visit is up to date with their vaccinations anyway. I think a more sensible requirement would be to ask people to come with travel insurance that covers hospitalization.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: North Korea passes law allowing for nuclear first strike See in context

North Korea would be mad to give up their nuclear deterrent. They would be equally mad to attack another nation with nuclear weapons. I don’t expect they’ll do either.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan eases COVID-19 border controls but tourist surge doubtful See in context

Just get rid of all the travel restrictions and allow tourists unrestricted visa free travel - perhaps the only thing that makes any sense at this point would be a requirement for tourists to take out travel insurance that covers them in case of COVID.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan to penalize hospitals not accepting infectious disease patients See in context

...and who are all these people that are entering Japan with suspected infections who failed to report their health conditions when in isolation? How many of them are there and how much did they contribute to the pandemic in this country? Probably next to zero I'd imagine and just more xenophobic nonsense from government trying to blame it all on foreigners to satisfy their elderly voters.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Posted in: Kishida wants to increase number of foreigners studying in Japan See in context

I'd agree that a lot of students will be put off from coming here while there continues to be border restrictions - I know they are lifted for most international students, but the continuing restrictions on tourists and other rules are still causing many other problems indirectly - what if a student wants to invite their friends to visit for example? - not happening as of now. Flight prices are through the roof.

Once all of that nonsense is finally gotten rid of, I think that the terrible way that foreigners have been treated will end up being forgotten about fairly quickly, however.

The main problem for opening up Japan to more foreign students continues to be the language problem. International students will want to study in English, but the vast majority of Japanese do not have the English ability to either teach courses in English or to take courses in English. So, they have to offer entirely separate lecture courses or even entire programs specifically for foreign students, often taught in English by foreign faculty on temporary contracts. Usually, these programs are run on a five-year basis and then end up being wound down or transformed into something else, the foreign faculty have to find new positions, the number of places on these programs is extremely limited and it is hard to find good quality students for the programs because of the low international ranking of Japanese universities - again mainly due to the low English standards. Having these separate courses and programs just ends up being a pain for the Japanese faculty and staff, so they don't have much enthusiasm to help make it work - especially when they see that the foreign students are often at a much lower level compared to the Japanese students. This isn't a problem that is going to be solved any time soon - Japan would need to take the study of English (as a spoken, working language, rather than as an academic subject) much more seriously starting at an early age. This does not appear to be happening - people seem to be less interested in studying English here in recent times than they did just a few years ago. Teaching English is now one of the lowest paid jobs out there.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan to increase entry cap on arrivals to 50,000 from Sept 7 See in context

Closing the borders to foreign tourists only makes about as much sense as raising half of your flood barriers and leaving the other half wide open - of course, the flood waters simply go through the open gates and the raised barriers make absolutely no difference whatsoever. It must rank right up there among the most pointless and stupid public health measures implemented anywhere in modern times.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Posted in: Japan may start inoculation against Omicron by end of September See in context

All these comments about how people should have to be triple vaxed just to come here and so on, really ought to read up on the latest research regarding such coercive vaccination policies published by some of the most preeminent epidemiologists out there - basically, they end up doing way more harm than good:

https://gh.bmj.com/content/7/5/e008684

You can read the article at the link above - it is full open access: obviously not written from an antivax perspective, it is pretty scathing of such policies.

"Our analysis strongly suggests that mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policies have had damaging effects on public trust, vaccine confidence, political polarization, human rights, inequities and social wellbeing. We question the effectiveness and consequences of coercive vaccination policy in pandemic response and urge the public health community and policymakers to return to non-discriminatory, trust-based public health approaches."

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan looks to simplify COVID survey, deal with it like seasonal flu See in context

The reason for the downgrading is not to play down the severity of the disease or to give up on it, it’s to help reduce the amount of time spent on paperwork and to allow more facilities to be able to treat COVID patients. It’s long overdue and some of us, myself included, have been saying this should have been done months ago.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Posted in: 72% of survey respondents say border controls reason for not visiting Japan See in context

I agree with some of the above comments - it is time that other countries around the world applied the principle of reciprocity to Japanese travelers. If people cannot freely visit Japan outside of these ridiculous tours, then it is only fair that Japanese tourists cannot freely travel to other countries. Enough with this xenophobic nonsense already - it is hugely disruptive and not just to people who want to visit Japan.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan eyes lifting of pre-departure COVID tests for inbound vaccinated travelers: media See in context

Japan allows tourists in as part of organized tours only - will likely have more appeal among elderly travelers - the exact demographic that are most at risk of hospitalization if they do get COVID.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan eyes lifting of pre-departure COVID tests for inbound vaccinated travelers: media See in context

Everyday people here are crying for the borders to be opened (which is impossible to do actually)

What is impossible about it?

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan’s top 10 best-value family restaurants, as chosen by diners See in context

Does Otoya count as a family restaurant? If so I’m surprised it doesn’t make the list - better than a few of those on that list imo. Ichi-ni-san is better than all of them but my wife says that is a proper restaurant.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese government worried young adults aren’t drinking enough alcohol See in context

@Viviane Bo

I wouldn't encourage your son to take up drinking alcohol - sounds like he has a healthy lifestyle. I was thinking more of a problem here called "hikikomori" - where people are so socially anxious and self-conscious that they end up withdrawing from society completely. Not just that, but also many young Japanese can be extremely shy, don't know how to make new friends - especially the opposite sex. Maybe encouraging those people to go out, have a couple of drinks occasionally would be shall we say, a less worse option than letting them drift into social withdrawal, alienation and depression.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese government worried young adults aren’t drinking enough alcohol See in context

Before we go saying "what a stupid idea - alcohol is so unhealthy" etc. Maybe we should ask, what are young people doing instead of going out and having drink with their friends? Are they going out participating in other social activities, playing sports, saving money to travel and so on? If so, then yes, it probably isn't a great idea to try to get them drinking alcohol instead.

But what if these young people are instead just staying at home, watching Netflix, playing video games and not socializing, meeting friends and making new ones? Perhaps they lack confidence to do those things? In that case, maybe encouraging them to get out a bit more and drink alcohol responsibly, which can help alleviate social anxieties, might not be such a bad idea.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

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