Japan Today

Patrick McPike comments

Posted in: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty See in context

Do not blindly believe in activists.

Odd, that seems to be what you are. You seem to be trying to justify human rights violations that go against a treaty that Japan ratified in 1994. Which shows that you are neither interested in Japan following the law, nor in Japan protecting children:

As stated before, Japan is violating treaties. In fact, Japan ignores it's own constitution - see Article 98 (Japan's "Supremacy Clause")

Article 766 is in full effect.

The law was updated in 2011 and is being ignored by the courts. Children's interests are NOT being given priority. This is currently a issue being challenged within Japan. The Diet is being petitioned to reprimand the Judiciary for disregarding the changes in the law.

In majority of countries in the world, birthplace is irrelevant to nationality. The jurisdiction is determined by the place where the child exists. That is the general rule. Hague convention is an exception to the general rule. If Japanese court determines jurisdiction by the general rule, you cannot call it a theft.

You are lumping several legal issues together.

1) The birthplace and non-Japanese parent's nationality IS VERY relevant to the child's identity and nationality. Japan erasing those IS stealing the child's identity and nationality. It is also a human rights violation.

2) Jurisdiction is not quite that cut and dry. In many cases divorce and custody proceedings were already started or determined in a foreign court. In some cases the abducting parent was even found to be "unfit" - i.e. had substance abuse problems, had a history of abusing or neglecting the child, had a history of mental issues, etc.

3) Japan is so bad, that even foreign parents have abducted children there in order to not have to "share the child" with other, including Japanese, parents. I know of several cases where both Japanese and non-Japanese fathers abducted children away from Japanese mothers TO japan. Japan does NOT protect children - the Japanese courts protect the abductor. The system condones child abuse.

And you continue to ignore the following facts:

1) Japan is ignoring existing treaties - which already cover international child abduction

2) Child abduction is a form of child abuse

3) The system is broken. It ignores all the science on the issue of abduction, child abuse, and the damage done to children.

4) If other countries were harboring people who broke Japanese law and then fled Japan to "avoid jurisdiction", Japan would be up in arms. Japan is being very hypocritical on this issue.

Essentially, you are condoning behavior harmful to the child in order to defend a broken and outdated Japanese family court system.

I guess you don't care much about protecting children.

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Posted in: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty See in context


Meanwhile... We have dozens of document cases of jurisdictional theft by Japanese courts. We also have cases of nationality theft - the parent abducting to Japan, with the aid of the Japanese system, falsely claims that rather than the child being born in their actual native country that they were born in Japan and listing the non-abducting parent as "unknown".

In some cases the abducting parent then even attempts to get child support from the non-abducting spouse. That comes very close to (and arguably meets) the legal definition of Human Trafficking.

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Posted in: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty See in context


According the US Government:

"The [US State Department] has no record of cases that have been resolved successfully through favorable Japanese court orders."


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Posted in: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty See in context


Do you have a link to the proposed legislation? I would be interested to see it firsthand.

Beyond that, your post is a big logical fallacy... http://www.logicalfallacies.info/

Even assuming that your presented translation is accurate (which it may or may not be), that does not necessarily refute what the Judge said.

He could have been referring to how DV law is actually applied in Japan. Does Japan legally recognize DV by women towards men?

If not, then despite how the "hague related" legislation is worded, it would effectively not be recognized in the Japanese courts. *** Also, it is my understanding that in the Japanese legal system, what is written in the statute is NOT the totality of the law. When the statute is written, there is additional commentary that, while not in the written statute explains how the statute is to be interpreted. This is currently part of an ongoing issue with Article 766 of the Japan Civil Code. It was changed last year, but the MoJ is ignoring the commentary and refusing to apply the law.

If so, does Japan actually enforce it? A law unenforced (which seems a common problem in Japanese family law - lack of enforcement of the non-status quo ) doesn't really mean much.

Also, just because one statement may or may not be accurate does not inherently mean that all statements by the same person are inaccurate. Each statement or argument must be addressed individually. To do otherwise is just intellectual dishonesty. I assume that you have been mistaken about something before - should we therefore automatically discount everything else that you say?

And... considering that Japan has an long and well documented track record if playing word games with, or just outright ignoring, international treaties (i.e. UNCRC, UNCAT, UNCERD, Whaling, etc), I don't see how this one will miraculously be different.

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Posted in: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty See in context

New analysis of Japan's proposed hague implementation by former Japanese Judge == more games

No evidence required for DV claims, and children "should not be returned" merely on the basis of allegations.

Designed to force foreign parents into prolonged Japaned court system, allowing abductors time to drag out decisions until after children have "accustomed to living in Japan", another reason for rejection.

"law orders Judges and Officers to reject the returning offers when a Japanese mother cannot maintain contact with the child (ren) after returning them to their state of habitual residence." In other words, if the abductor abducted the child from a country in which such an act was a crime; eg. most industrialized nations.

Basically, a husband and wife have argued at any time it will be called "Psychological Domestic Violence" which Japan cites as grounds to refuse a return. This again can be based solely on allegations.

The paper goes on...

It notes that basically, the law is structured in terms of "shall not return". It is structured to return as few children as possible and leaves few options but to NOT return children - Judges have no discretion.

it goes on documenting the other games that Japan has written into the proposed law.


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Posted in: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty See in context


To be clear. The pushing for "the Hague" is mainly a government to government thing. Japan signs, US State Department claims progress.

Parents have always said that the issue is really with the Japanese domestic system. "The Hague" is meaningless without fixing the domestic system.

Also - it is not just foreign parents. Japanese parents are calling for change. Japan needs to start protecting children... not promoting abduction.

I suggest you read any of the dozens of legal essays on how messed up the Japanese family court system is.

If you are vague on the issue check out this: http://www.policymic.com/articles/15499/from-the-shadows-documentary-reflects-sad-reality-of-government-sponsored-child-abduction-in-japan

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Posted in: Cabinet approves child abduction treaty See in context

All the talk about Japan signing the Hague...

We all know that this won't really fix the problem. Japan is refusing to address any of the existing cases, and seems to be unwilling to address their broken family court system - which as we know, is the root of the problem. The Family courts condone abduction and use it to determine sole-custody (the only kind which exists in Japan).

Japan already violates several treaties, included the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (which Japan ratified in 1994).

Until Japan starts to protect the rights of children - the right to have a relationship with both parents, the right to not be abducted, etc - this issue will not go away.

The Government of Japan either doesn't actually care about children OR still cannot comprehend that severing a child from a loving parent is harmful.

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Posted in: Abe tells Obama Japan will join child abduction treaty See in context

Unfortunately... even if Japan follows through this time, it will not address the 1000s of existing cases.

Nothing will really change until they address the problems with the domestic Japanese custody system.

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Posted in: Japan says it will join child abduction treaty See in context

Japan is already backtracking on this: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20130119b5.html

Also, as some posters have mentioned, it is largely meaningless as it doesn't address existing cases of abducted children AND Japan has not signaled any intention to update their family law system to actually protect children by providing for shared parenting and enforceable visitation.

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Posted in: Scottish author's book details efforts to locate sons taken by Japanese wife See in context

If you want to understand more about this issue, and learn about the Japanese Government apathy and participation, I recommend this:


Japanese court effectively treat children as property. The possessor (usually the mother, or non-Japanese parent), has absolute control of the child. As a Washington State Appellate court recently ruled, “Japan did not meet our fundamental principles concerning due process and parental rights.”

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Posted in: Romney hits back at Obama attacks on Bain See in context


My position is they should both release everything. I'm not playing favorites, nor being selective about who releases what. It should all come out. I am for total transparency from all candidates. Especially in Presidential campaigns.

I merely made that list the way I did as that is what people are currently most vocal about: Dem's want Romney's taxes -- GOP's want Obama's College records; Obama claims fraud at Bain -- Romney claims cronyism by Obama.

Just an FYI - Romney may not have released his transcripts... but there is information about his college performance out there:

"at Brigham Young University... graduating first in his class in 1971 with a degree in English and a 3.97 GPA" "He was also accepted into a joint M.B.A. program at Harvard Business School. ...and in 1975 he graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and in the top 5 percent of his class at HBS." http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2007/02/01/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-mitt-romney

But again, I'm for complete transparency. Both of them - release it all. When one steps into the ring and vies for that role, the voters have the right to know.

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Posted in: Romney hits back at Obama attacks on Bain See in context


Give it up... you are just looking to start a spat where there isn't one.

He may have one, but the details critical to allowing his numbers....

I did not pass judgement one way or the other on his plan, nor the president's - and I won't. You need to read the other posts. Partisans were going back and forth each claiming that the other side's candidate had no plan. I merely showed them that each campaign had a website with a policy section where they discuss their policy plans (to varying degrees). I did comment the Romney's plan seemed to more detailed (160pg doc) than the President's (bullet points); but also stated there may be a more detailed President plan somewhere else - and if someone found it they should link it.

You comments are blindingly partisan and contradictory... But again, they have nothing to do with me. I was just providing information that was requested by others.

So you are just tossing up straw-men and tilting at windmills.

You seem boiling for a fight, so I'd suggest that you go respond to one of the opposing partisans; not me.

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Posted in: Romney hits back at Obama attacks on Bain See in context


Presidents do not write budgets...

A) You are confused. I made NO comment about "budget". People had asked about candidate "policies". I was responding to their questions about where to find those "policies" for both candidates.

B) You are also mistaken. Although congress controls the purse-strings, the President still creates, and submits a budget. He has to tell them what how much he would like them to give them... and what for. In fact, the President is required by law to submit his budget request http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_budget_process#The_President.27s_budget_request You can find the President's 2013 budget proposal here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget

A bunch of your other statements are also wrong, but also have nothing to do with me, just you bloating about a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with anything I posted -- and I'm not interested in getting into a partisan spat.

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Posted in: Romney hits back at Obama attacks on Bain See in context

To the back-and-forthers:

Did anyone bother to look at the campaign websites?

Obama Campaign Job/Economy page: http://www.barackobama.com/record/economy?source=primary-nav

Mainly is covering the campaign's view of what was done in the first term. Other than a few built points buried amid those, I don't see any future plan for the next term laid out. If someone finds one, please link it.

Romney Campaign Job/Economy page: http://www.mittromney.com/jobs

In addition, to the plans overviewed on that page, I found a 160ish page plan here: http://www.mittromney.com/blogs/mitts-view/2011/09/believe-america-mitt-romneys-plan-jobs-and-economic-growth

Whether one agrees with Romney's plan or not, it cannot be said that he doesn't have one.

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Posted in: Romney hits back at Obama attacks on Bain See in context

Forgot to add that according the NYT, GE is paying NO corporate taxes - here are some of the article highlights:

The company reported worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, and said $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States.

Its American tax bill? None. In fact, G.E. claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.

The company has been cutting the percentage of its American profits paid to the Internal Revenue Service for years, resulting in a far lower rate than at most multinational companies.

Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.

The company spent $4.1 million on outside lobbyists last year

a G.E. tax official said the department's "mission statement" consisted of 19 rules and urged employees to divide their time evenly between ensuring compliance with the law and "looking to exploit opportunities to reduce tax."

Since 2002, the company has eliminated a fifth of its work force in the United States while increasing overseas employment.

The article is well worth the read: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html?pagewanted=all


So, again:

1) Romney needs to clearly explain to people about 1999/2002 Bain situation


2) Obama needs to explain how if "outsourcing" is an issue, why he appointed Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE - which was run so badly it needed $Billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts AND has outsourced over half of it's 300K+ employees - as Chairman of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Romney hits back at Obama attacks on Bain See in context

A) Romney should release his tax records.

B) Obama should release his college records.

C) Romney needs to clearly explain to people about 1999/2002 Bain situation

D) Obama needs to explain how if "outsourcing" is an issue, why he appointed Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE - which was run so badly it needed $Billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts AND has outsourced over half of it's 300K+ employees - as Chairman of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander... and transparency and answers from both sides is good for the voters.

I would suggest that anyone who wants - A & C, but not B & D OR who want's B & D, but not A & C - is just being hypocritical and partisan.

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Posted in: Tokyo Sky Tree elevators halted due to strong winds on opening day See in context

Yeah... we're one of the most geologically active regions in the world. We just got nailed by a tsunami and a massive earthquake. We have massive typhoons every year. I know... Let's build the world's tallest tower! That's the move! :P

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Posted in: Rie Miyazawa to divorce former pro surfer See in context


Sorry, but this is a copout. While external factors in our lives can affect the way we think and feel, anyone who allows external locus of control to dictate their decisions is a fool....

I didn't mention the bit about her father as a "copout" for her, and I agree that ideally people need to take responsibility for overcoming their own personal demons.

However, in Japan especially, there is likely more to the her story than what it said - and this was really my point. In modern Japanese society, a breakup that envolves children also generally amounts to what is in effect "legalized abduction". Hand and hand with this is generally a systematic form of parental alienation enacted by the abducting side of the family.

This has a strong negative, and lasting, impact on the children involved.

I think that Japanese society is in a self-perpetuating downward spiral of fatherless homes. While most modern countries, if only superficially, try to promote paternal involvement in the life of children, Japanese society and legal system effectively promotes the dis-involvement and/or complete removal of the father

This seems to have created a repeating cycle of each generation lacking the tools to

This is reflected in the ever decreasing marriage and birth rates, and the ever increasing divorce rate and number of fatherless households.

Japan needs to rethink their views on family values, the importance that both parents play in the life of a child, and reform the Japanese legal system from the archaic and corrupt thing that it is into something that actually works and protects children. The system needs to reformed to ensuring that one "controlling" parent is not given a "rubber stamp" to cut the other parent from the life of the child. The system should be protecting children, not emotionally inept and selfish parents. Maybe then, this destructive family cycle of modern Japan could finally have a chance to start reversing itself.

It will be interesting to see what, if any, role that the "surfer father" will be allowed to play in the life of his child... Or if this will be yet another typical Japanese-split where the father is unceremoniously cut from the life of the child.

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Posted in: Rie Miyazawa to divorce former pro surfer See in context


Actually in Japan it is better to get married, even briefly, before the child is born, otherwise the kid's family register will list him/her as illegitimate for perpetuity.

Just demonstrates that the Japanese system needs reform.

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Posted in: Rie Miyazawa to divorce former pro surfer See in context

In the Japanese media, Rie discusses how the fact that due to her having grown up without knowing her own father, that this has had a negative impact on her emotionally and impaired her own ability to have relationships. http://exci.to/J1d0R1

I think that this is also part of the usual pattern of the breakdown of modern Japan.

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Posted in: Relatives of abductees urge gov't to make greater efforts See in context

This line makes it sound like abductions continue???

They do... but now it is Japan abducting for the rest of the world. Japan abducts more and more children every year.

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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context


Okay...okay... I wasn't going to continue on this thread, but I have to respond to this.

Japan has lower crime rate.

Does it? Maybe. Or perhaps it is just less reported (Japan child abuse cases hit record - UPI.com http://bit.ly/Js3ROP)?!. Either way, this is a side argument, and therefore a deflection. The point is that Japan lacks many basic protections of individual / human rights - and this has an impact on productivity; and Japanese society in general.

Japanese employers are relutantant to fire workers.

You seem to be stating this as a positive. A) this trend is fading. B) How does a company holding onto non-productive workers really benefit Japanese society???

Therefore it is keeping more social order.

A zoo has order, does that mean that it is productive??? Boy, those カバ sure are fast typist! :P

Which system is perfect?

No system is perfect. That is why you have to select the the system of "lesser evils".

More skilled workers needs more job opportunities. The rate of decline in Japan was a structure and investment problem. Not about skilled shortage. Japanese Architecture and engineering is one of the finest in the world.

I would suggest that you are looking at this very backwards... Entrepreneurship creates more "job opportunity". Having more skilled (and creative) workers available could: A) provide a larger pool of potential entrepreneurs B) provide a larger talent pool to assit entrepreneurs with creating job opportunities.

Japanese Architecture and engineering is one of the finest in the world.

This is a very limited view of a complex topic. The Japanese market tends to create folks fairly skilled at things which are tangible. I've sat in many meetings at prominent Japanese companies which the "technical intelligentsia" debating irrelevant topics (where both groups were wrong) about more abstract aspects of applied technology. As another example... Japan is the only remotely tech country where it is a struggle to find a hot-spot. When I was in Japan, I was amazed at how "low-tech" Japan was with regard to day-to-day practical technology.

I've got tons of real-world examples.... here is another:

Touring a promenant "high tech" company trying to impress me with their testing facility - basically showing me how well they could test cables - but they had no idea that they needed to turn on SNMP to actually manage network devices over a a network (so they had been trying to RMAing perfectly functioning products as dysfunctional, when the only disfunction was their technical knowledge.

It is very irresponsible and inhumane too. Starvation, Great Depression and Natural Disasters needs more intervention. If there is no Government, there will be more dead bodies, chaotic food shortage and social disorder. If there is no Government intervention, there will be no need to pay the salaries of Bureaucrats and Public servants.

This is just flawed Keynesian thinking. You obviously didn't read any of the research papers that I referred to. Do you really believe that a handful of bureaucrats sitting in an office somewhere have a superior understanding of what people need... than the people themselves do??? This is called the the "Fatal Conceit" Did imperial Japan benefit Japan? I seem to recall Japan being pretty messy at the end of WW2... Governments are nothing without people -- people are the power!

I suggest that you read a introduction to economics book. There is a basic tentant in economics called "unintended consequences". Basically, Governments push an agenda on the people... and that agenda tends to backfire -- it has unintended consequences : here is a video to help you out: Unintended Consequences | LearnLiberty http://bit.ly/Js5VpY

People are smarter than governments. People survived for hundreds of thousands of years without governments. A government should protect people - not control people.

"The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." F.Hayek

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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context


the declining population issue.

The issue is that Japan needs to either: A) increase the population B) Reform the Social-Welfare Programs.

While, I don't agree with many of your other assertions regarding the limitations of Japan, I also don't really see their relevance in addressing one of these two key issues relevant to topic in the article - As such, I won't bother debating them.

You seem to merely be stating that you believe that a declining population is good for Japan, without addressing the looming economic issue that is will cause; which is the point of the article.

I got sympathy for expats who choose the J spouse

You are still ignoring the fact that this isn't an "expat" issue, it is a problem with the Japanese social/legal system; which impacts Japanese far more than foreigners. The Japanese system not only doesn't protect the family unit (which I would suggest was one of Japan's great strengths in the past), the system is structured in a way which actively encourages the ripping apart of families in order to avoid even minor conflicts. The system rewards negative behavior!

And again, this is just one example of the lack of freedom in Japan due to the system benefiting the State vs. the People.

Spending too much time of social issue will lose the focus of more priority of economic development

I'm surprised that you do not see that this topic has a direct connection to economic issues. The current system has a negative impact on Japanese society (and therefore the economy) as a whole.

During the economic boom, Japan need a lot of skilled foreigners. Right now it has doomed. Importing more skilled foreigners without employment opportunities and reasonable living cost is very cruel.

This is a deflection from my point. You are stating that since Japan in decline, it is better that fewer expats want to come to Japan, rather than addressing the point I raised of how social policy in Japan it turning off the desire of skilled workers to want to go there.

In addition, I think that your logic may be flawed... have you considered that if Japan had more skilled workers, the rate of decline in Japan could be either slowed or reversed?

Look at the current issue with Olypmus.... A) how do you think that it makes Japan look to the world's economic community? B) It is a very public example of how attempting to improve Japan (by for example, making a Japanese company run more effectively) is punished. In this case, by the foreign CEO trying to fix the situation being fired. Again, it is a very public demonstration of the tendency in Japan to want to ignore, or coverup issues.

Singapore is located in strategic location unlike isolated Japan

This is an empty argument. Singapore has basically no natural resources, is the smallest country in the region, yet has been the most financially successful of the ASEAN countries. If it is merely a quirk of Geographic location, why have they been financially more successful than their larger and more resource enriched neighbors? Simple. It isn't due to Geography - It is due to their policies of economic freedom!

If Japan would become more free, I'm willing to bet the economic condition would greatly improve.

Back in 1997, Asian banks got bursting problem like 2008. Before the crisis, Governments did not interfere much for banking and market.

This is not simply not true. For example, "Japan's policies that kept otherwise insolvent banks operating, and that impeded the flow of capital to efficient firms, significantly prolonged the effect of Japan's crisis, resulting in a decade-long stagnation of the Japanese economy." source: http://1.usa.gov/I7Vnxw

Back in 1930, US faced the great depression. A wise president stimulate the economy with railway, bridge construction. It is win win for unemployment and nation. People got employment for food. Nation got infrastructure and social stability.

This is historic economic revisionism. The "New Deal" was largely a Governmental Power-Grab (initially, FDR's policies where shot down by the courts for their unconstitutionality; then FDR threatened to "pack" the court: Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/I83mKT ), which was generally a failure economically. It prolonged the financial recovery by several years.

"Roosevelt's cartel-high wage policies prolonged the Depression by several years. In the absence of these policies, we estimate that the economy would have recovered back to trend quickly, with hours worked and investment rising well above their normal levels, rather than being significantly depressed."

"There are two principal messages from the New Deal and these other economic crises for our current crisis. One is that crisis management policies designed to reduce the cost of a financial crisis can actually prolong the depressing effects of these crises by impeding the normal forces of supply, demand, and competition."

source: http://1.usa.gov/I7Vnxw

Top Three Myths about the Great Depression and the New Deal - YouTube http://bit.ly/ICzqnd

While often well-intentioned, government intervention generally makes problems worse, not better.

Anyhow, I've enjoyed the discussion, but it is now becoming circular. I hope that the people of Japan will stand up for reform, and that Japan will save itself from its current state of decline.

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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context

I did not see anything related to individual rights and freedom related in this article

I did relate this to the declining population issue.

Japanese constitution was not written by Japanese. Therefore Japanese diet lost the credibility for enforcing freedom and rights.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy this at all. Japanese courts have NO problem enforcing things which benefit the system. The courts have proactively ruled in ways which violate Japan's constitution, but support the GoJ's status quo.

I understand that there are some family settlement unfavorable to expats. It was individual choice for choosing their spouses and raising child. It is not a national and economic issue of Japan.

You are mistaken... this is a Japan issue. The expat's just get the most press.http://t.co/Hc5LNV2E http://bit.ly/K4rd9c

And it is a national issue : it impacts Japanese parents the same way : which impacts both the Japanese economy, the society, and potentially impacts people decisions to start families; which could impact the birth rate.

And it is an growing economic issue : A) it is impacting Japanese parents at an ever increasing rate. B) The Japanese legal system is getting bad reputation internationally; therefore having foreign companies and investors thinking twice before investing in Japan. The Economist http://econ.st/w1nDAe

And why would skilled foreigners want come to Japan, as they have no protections?

I suggest you reevaluate the potential impact that the inability for Japanese parents to protect their parents rights would have on the society of Japan as a whole. And, again, this is just one of many examples.

It was a great success story of Reganomic which made a free downfall of banking and financial system. Canada did not deregulate the market like U.

The economy boomed under Reagan. Most of the debates about him and his policies are due to politics, not economic realities. If you are referring to the currently banking mess, it was caused by Governmental intervention and policies (as I described in my previous post)

Supply-Side Tax Cuts and the Truth about the Reagan Economic Record | William A. Niskanen and Stephen Moore | Cato Institute: Policy Analysis http://bit.ly/K4rskP

In Singapore, there is public housing and central provident fund regulated by Government.

Singapore has a VERY high level of economic freedom (Singapore is #2, while Japan is #22) : List of countries by economic freedom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/K4sopj

This economic freedom leads to a strong economy. Singapore has only a 1.9% unemployment rate: Singapore Economy 2012, CIA World Factbook http://bit.ly/Ib9vWi

Economic Freedom == Strong economy.

One or two failure is acceptable. If many banks broke like 2008, it was unnatural.

It was caused by Government meddling. If the Government hadn't tried to manipulate the market, the situation would likely never have occurred. A Government-Mandated Housing Bubble - Forbes.com http://onforb.es/Iba2aN Of course, due to the crazy politics happening in America, people are still trying to argue against this.

How about Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and Germany? Their social-welfare spending are many times more than Greece.

I think I've made it clear that it isn't all about spending - but eventually spending will catch up to the over economic factors. Spending is currently the BIG issue for the US. That said, since I haven't lived in Europe in over 10 years (back when the EU was just getting started), I haven't payed much attention to the details of their economies. But the EU is very unstable and many countries are in trouble. The troubles there are far from over. European sovereign-debt crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/IbcU7v

And, if you read some of the articles I posted before about Germany, you'll see that Germany was "abusing" the EU relationship at the expense of other countries. As those countries suffer, Germany's ability to do that will continue to diminish...

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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context


I disagree about enforcealbe freedom.

This was admittedly somewhat tangental on my part, but I stand by the lack of enforceable rights in Japan. The legal system in Japan is setup to benefit the state and the state bureaucracies; at the expense of the individual rights. Just as one example, Japan has NO protections for parental rights - hence the issue of child abduction in Japan. Once one parent takes a child away, the other parent defacto loses all parental rights (this will eventually be confirmed byt the Japanese court system)

Once you realize that you could lose your child at any time, due merely to a marital disagreement - will you be more OR less willing to take the risk of starting a family? Might this be one potential factor impacting Japan's declining population rate?

It was a root cause of world wide doom and gloom of the twin bubbles

I disagree.

A) The main problem is that Government constantly continues to try to regulate, control, and over-burden the market. It selects incentive programs (which always have unintended consequences), and sometimes interferes with the pricing decisions of the markets.

This is what leads to all sorts of problems such as the current mortgage crisis in America. The Government interfered with the market and forced banks to provide unsafe loans. Left to their own devices, and completely depending on their own success and failure, banks would have never made such high risk loans.

The regulations created by government tend to benefit the large, established companies (making them bigger and potentially creating monopolies) and make it more difficult (if not impossible) for smaller competitors to enter the market and provide competition -- which benefits the consumers.

B) Sometimes companies make bad decisions; and fail. This is a necessary part of the market working - and the Government should not be providing bailouts, at the tax-payers' expense, rewarding companies for making bad decisions.

One factor of US dollar depreciation was US government printed a lot of money.

I agree completely. I am by no means claiming that the US is without issue. America has a Government spending problem that is leading us down a bad path as well.

For example, Greece has own currency, they can devalue their currency for export competitiveness.

Greece does not have their own currency. They are on the Euro system. And, actually, it was Germany which planted the seeds for the economic crisis in Europe - Although, Greece's excessive social-welfare spending would have causes problems eventually anyhow.

BBC News - Did Germany sow the seeds of the eurozone debt crisis? http://bbc.in/J8CbjW Germany’s low wages caused euro crisis, says report | GlobalPost http://bit.ly/JQyMkn German economic policy caused euro crisis: ILO - The Economic Times http://bit.ly/I2YTFL

Economy is a Cycle Patrick!.

I would suggest that politics are a cycle. The issues that are being faced globally are, in my humble opinion, due to Statist Government with uncontrollable spending on unsustainable social welfare programs - all of which history has seen before.

America was in a similar malaise under President Jimmy Carter. People said the same thing.. "the economy is stagnant", "America is in decline", etc.

Then we had changes in Government policy - which led to the economic growth and boom that falled in the 80s, 90s, etc. But during that time, Government shifted policies again and started interfering to much in the market.

If the Government gets out of the way, America will have another boom. Same in Japan.

Of course, Government still needs to reform its spending practices...

If there are too much protection for individual rights, no investor will want to do business.

I completely disagree.

For example, China was not much interested in environment, labour rights and intellectual property before.

Seeing your definition of "individual rights" though, I see that there is a disconnect. You seem to be talking about Government controlled regulations; which are supposedly to benefit individuals. I am talking about an individual having the freedom to make their own choices - without government interference.

We do not live in the perfect world for making profits and keeping everyone happy.

I agree. No system can ever make everyone happy. The system shouldn't be trying to make people happy. The system should protect people's freedom, and let free people make their own choices, live with their own decisions, and try to find their own freedom.

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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context


BTW - the whole "black swan theory" thing that you keep praising, was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Wikipedia http://bit.ly/J68KZa Who is himself a self-proclaimed statistician and practitioner of Epistemology (part of the field of philosophy).

In fact the whole "black swan theory" is a theoretical, philosophical theory, was developed to explain:

The disproportionate role of high-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance and technology

The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities)

The psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the massive role of the rare event in historical affairs

I find it ironic that you are using a statistically developed philosophical theory (which is basically what you called "fake science") in an attempt to discredit the validity of statistical projection based on a pre-existing, and observable trend. That is definitely some creative "out of the box thinking". Maybe that is the issue, a mis-understanding of what out of the box thinking is.... allow me to assist in removing the misconception: Thinking outside the box - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://bit.ly/IaSgV9

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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context



I think you are not following

I follow perfectly well. Your original statement trying to relate the evolution of human society from hunter-gathers to the current socio-economic situation in Japan was for all intents and purposes a non-sequitur and had essentially no relevance to my point about Japan falling into the same trap that all statist political structures fall into.

Your new comment trying to say that human-sciences are "fake" and only "hard-sciences" have validity, merely demonstrates to me that you probably have a mediocre familiarity with human-sciences and an over confidence in the hard-sciences -- which frequently have to make corrections. Do you remember when Pluto was a "planet".

All "sciences" have strengths and weaknesses. All sciences are constantly evolving. Haven't you ever heard the saying: "Half of what we think we know is wrong, we just don't know which half"

Variations on the "but we don't know which half" line http://bit.ly/IkwwnQ

2) This is just nonsense. Science and Science Fiction play off of each other. Science inspires Science fiction, which in turn inspires science.

Prophets of Science Fiction : Science Channel http://bit.ly/IkwKvk 11 Astounding Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True http://on.mash.to/IjlcFc NASA - The Science of Star Trek http://1.usa.gov/Ikx3X0

3) Wanting something to happen, having a practical plan to do it, and actually implementing the plan are all different things -- Of course N/S Korea has little to do with the article... Anyhow, blaming the US is just an excuse. A) The US is currently extremely weak on foreign policy B) Why on earth do you think that the US wouldn't want a change to happen with regard to N Korea?!

4) This is just a nonsense answer. I will state it again since you seem to still not get it....

Japan has been a a trajectory. This isn't a magical prediction, this is what is happening. What the article is discussing is a report which shows where the current trajectory is leading. This isn't magic, it's not a wild prediction, it is an extrapolation based on the existing trend. Sciences of all sorts use these same techniques.

5) Your response to "5" was really addressing the previous point "6". You ignore the real point "5" altogether.


Nihon has a very unique and creative mix of ideas, found no where else in the world.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.... Japan is special. japan is unique. We've heard it all before. Every country thinks it is unique and special.

So you see, Japan is a very unique country to create black swans

No, I don't see how anything you said makes Japan uniquely positioned to be able to create a better out of the box thought environment.

Japan is the country where "the nail which sticks out, gets hammered", this mind-set is not very conducive to "out-of-the-box" thinking. Japan's own innovators get this: Japanese entrepreneurs aim for Silicon Valley ‹ Japan Today: http://bit.ly/JmwfPI

You say that Japan is "unique" in it's ability to "think out of the box". Yet Japan is anti-going against the grain. Out of the box thinking leads to disruptive techniques and technologies.

the so inside-the-box US thinking behind

You state that the west is incapable of "thinking outside the box" and seem to be denying the importance of west developed technologies like: TV, Radio, Computers, The Internet.

Your entire line of thinking is a great example of why Japan is sinking... this blind belief in Japanese uniqueness and superiority - in complete denial of reality. Your country is slowly disappearing, and you want stick your head in the sand.

6b) No, not even close. Why don't you actually read the link that I provided?

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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context


1) This is a series of non sequiturs completely unrelated to my comment. You seem to be confusing anthropology with political and economic trends (which is what I was discussing).

2) You seem to be dismissing the predictions because they were made by "science fiction" sources. What do you think Science Fiction is?

Wikipedia: Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible (or at least non-supernatural) content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities. Exploring the consequences of scientific innovations is one purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas".

3) Completely different situation to E/W Germany. Among other things... Reagan was actively pushing to bring down the Iron Curtain and following a strategy towards that end. No one is doing anything remotely similar with N/S Korea.

4) You are comparing apples and oranges. The article isn't talking about random predictions, it is demonstrating the current trends and showing where that trajectory will lead the country if not changed.

5) Yes, Japan has changed when forced to due to external pressures. When has Japan done so on it own?

6) More non sequiturs... then:

You need Shinto Naturalism and Zen to out of the box ideas and black swans

This is complete and utter nonsense. Western culture is based on neither Zen, nor Shintoism and has plenty of "out-of-the-box" ideas - I would argue, the MOST OotB Ideas. You seem to be suggesting that Japan has some "magic mix" that allows only it to have your beloved "black swans". Again, utter nonsense. Where was industrialized agriculture developed? How about radio? Television? Computers? The Internet?

Also, are you aware that "Zen" is an export from China? Where is was practiced for centuries before eventually spreading to Japan (one of the last Asian countries to be exposed to it's teachings).

Nor is Shinto particularly unique. It is one of a multitude of Animism-type religions found throughout the world (including other countries also exposed to Ch'an/Zen) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animism

Japan is always so busy trying to be unique, that it misses opportunities to actually become unique.

And for the record: Edo Neo-Confucianism - Wikipedia: http://bit.ly/J3ECgY

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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context


Predicting the future is always is proofing to be difficult for Homo sapiens, because it is based on extrapolation of past events

I disagree, societies often make the same mistakes over and over. People seem to either not pay attention to the past, or think they are "smarter" than other people and that they can attempt the same actions but achieve different results. It is a counter-productive blend of egotism and ignorance.

Who could predict in the 1970's that there would be cellular phones and Internet

Apparently you never watched a episode of Star Trek.

even that West-Germany would merge with East-Germany?

Reagan did, even though the "experts" keep telling him it was not possible - even while he was eventually making it happen.

So predicting how Japan would prosper in 2050 is plain guessing!

Not at all. It is looking at the path that Japan is currently on and seeing where it is heading if Japan doesn't change paths in order to prevent it.

One always underestimates the impact of the highly improbable on the future (black swan theory)! But one can create a society where there can be many successful "black swans"!

Again - Not at all. This would suggest a change to the current path that Japan is on, thereby changing Japan's direction. That is the whole point of the discussion - to encourage Japan to change it's current path.

Japan is still a good society to create black swans, because it is not so much based on Roman Catholic or Confucianist orthodoxy.

Huh??? First, I don't see what a society not being based on Catholicism and Confucianism has to do with creating "Black Swans". Second, Japan is heavily influenced by Confucianist philosophy.


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Posted in: Japan 'no longer a rich country' by 2050: think tank See in context


Japan has protection to agriculture. Not in consumer, capital and trade. Comparing with Asian neighbors, Japan is more open and free

I disagree, but don't see the point in arguing about it. Besides, most asian countries suffer from a lack of freedom, so claiming that Japan is the best of a bad bunch isn't particularly reassuring - or productive. Japan should be looking for ways to improve, not merely saying, "well, at least we're better than country X, so we can just keep our heads in the sand for a while longer." I won't belabor the point, but Japan provides very few actual enforceable "freedoms", and virtually no protection of "rights" - This is my number-one issue with Japan. Once you glimpse behind the shoji, you realize that in Japan is much closer to tyranny than a free society.... but I digress.

Without America market, trade and technical know how, Japan will not get advanced.

Nice of you to acknowledge that. Many in Japan tend to forget how much America helped Japan to advance technologically, and how America even helped Japan to become dominant in certain technologies by providing Japan a "leg-up" in the American consumer electronic market.

I am not talking about just right now. The whole journey of Currency movement from 1970s to 2012. Let's go back to 1970s.

I would argue that this is normal forex market adjustments; but this is not my area of expertise. The Government of China seems to subsidizing their currency in order to keep their exchange rate artificially low. Japan has been known to do this (and other tactics) as well. This all seems like part of the protectionist scheme.

The reason of Yen buying right now is paying interest to bond holders

This is part of the reason. But it is also due to currency repatriation - for reconstruction efforts, and to keep struggling Japanese firms afloat.

China has huge population

Personally, I think that this sometimes backfires on China. When I was still dealing with China for work-related efforts, they commonly had the mistaken view that they could merely "throw more people" at a problem in order to fix something. In my experience, this generally hurt them. Most of the time, they wouldn't manage to really fix the problem - at best they would just "band-aid" the issue for a little while. This "kicking the can down the road" is what gets companies/countries into problems (part of the mess in America now).

China needs capital and technology. Japanese industries have already matured and established in 1980s. Development models was different.

I would suggest that the models are not so much different as they are "at different points" on the development time-line; which may also be what you meant.

However one poster has repeatedly posted declining tourism and business was because of the non English speaking people. There are many factors related to that issue.

Yeah, we agree on this one.

On the general "English in Japan" topic though, I think it would be useful to point out that it is indicative of another issue I observe about Japan - the "ganbatte" factor. There seems to be mindset which confuses motion for action. This, of course, happens everywhere to some degree (especially in bureaucracies), but seems to permeate modern Japanese society. I related this to the topic of "English", as many Japanese people study English in school, but don't actually learn the language; which seems due to poor teaching methods, and that mindset of confusing motion with action.

In any case, I want Japan to succeed. So I am hopeful that Japan will start making reforms to help improve its current situation, prevent its own slow demise and make it a freer country with actual protections for the rights of individuals.

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