Japan Today

Peter Nozawa Thurwachter comments

Posted in: Queen guitarist Brian May protests Taiji dolphin hunts See in context

In "the cove" the fisherman clearly said they do the hunt to cull the Dolphins since they are competing for fish. The institute of cetacean research makes a similar point about whales consuming so much fish. This doesn't go over well in the west, but Japanese whale "research" is to calculate how much fish they eat, and to help derive what is a safe number that can be culled? Again, it's pest control.

This is no different than farmers in North America who are currently killing endangered wolves that kill their livestock. Weed vs Crop. If Japan wants to make a point about this, they should make movies about other animals that get killed for these reasons. No one's made a movie about the Arctic wolves that get shot from helicopters in Alaska that compete with hunters seeking trophy caribou. (I think Sarah Palin did this too as a political stunt) No one makes movies about save the thousands of deer / kangaroos / wild pigs that get culled each year or the hundreds of koalas that get euthanized each year.

Did you know sea shepherd has the most support from countries that export beef to Japan? Now why might this be?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan prepares for release of tritium from Fukushima plant See in context

So.... 800x more tritium makes its way into the English Channel everyday thanks to La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant in Normandy France, but no one is making a stink about it.


Sorry it's only in Japanese.

But this reminds me of the BP oil spill that was reported as the end of the world in order to take down Obama, but no one talks about the on going oil leaks in Nigeria or tries to do anything about it.

Much like how terror attacks that happen in a western country are reported on for days, but it's hard to find reporting when they happen elsewhere.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Abe says Japan cannot do without nuclear power See in context

According to Shigeharu Aoyama, Japan has gotten by these last 5 years by using thermal plants that were supposed to be out of service. And it's deceiving that some energy companies have been turning a profit, but the reason is because they have had to forgo shutting down plants for expensive maintenance since they have been having to use these plants non stop. So the truth is, this is a stop gap measure, only meant to tide us over until we have a real solution, whether that be nuclear, conservation, what ever. If we keep this up, there will be an accident eventually. And although it may not be as scary as an explosion at a nuclear plant. The deaths will still be very real, and Japan will really be screwed when this donut spare tire blows out because there will be no other spare in hand. Right now Japan is trying to get by on the donut spare tire another day followed by another day, putting off the politically expensive decision of going to get a new tire from the nuclear village.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Abe offers 'eternal condolences' for Americans killed in WWII See in context

Probably like most people here, I'm already entrenched in my opinion so I'm probably not likely to change my opinion, but I often find myself stuck somewhere in the middle trying to explain to the fringes, and I just came up with a new talking point regarding comfort women to help explain the issue to my friends on both sides.

To my friends who get upset over the phrase "comfort women" getting translated as sex slave. I understand their frustrations with what that implies, but I would like to tell them that there are Americans who consider Chinese railroad workers to be slave labor too, so there might be a disconnect with the definition of slave labor. Americans didn't actively come to china and abduct Chinese. But many Chinese got tricked by other Chinese claiming that the US was full of gold and opportunity, only to realize that was far from the truth once they arrived. Once stateside, they would basically be trapped by circumstance.

So that being said, I think those same Americans who believe comfort women were gang pressed into working as sex slaves are deserving of a national apology,they should also be clamoring for the United States to offer China a national apology, no?

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Posted in: LDP urges government to push for nuclear return See in context

Everyone regardless of position on nuclear power should watch "pandora's promise". It is enlightening and should be a mandatory watch for anyone weighing in on this issue.

Regarding opinions that nuclear is not needed because Japan has been nuclear free for 4 years...

Some Japanese electric companies are posting profits, but the reason behind this is because they have had to rely on using once retired thermal power plants 24/7 now to cover the gap. The constant use frees up the portion of the budget naturally reserved for periodic shut down / inspection / Maintainance. So in otherwords Japan is still only getting by, they are pushing the limits of safety of old thermal plants. Sooner or later there will be an accident. Sure it's not as bad as Fukushima, but there will be people going "told you so!!" And "it was so obvious!!" Coming out of the woodwork, but are surprisingly quiet right now. Whether turning back nuclear that has passed new safety standards, or building more intergrated combined cycle thermal plants, or simply rationing electricity use again,we need to stop using these 50+ year old thermal plants because they are ticking time bombs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Whaling ships return home from Antarctic with no catch See in context

Well said Ossan America. The IWC's mission is to replenish stocks so that whaling can be resumed some day. Those of you who are pro-science (not just science that supports your position) should look into the research that shows larger whales such as blue whales are still endangered and populations haven't rebounded as much as other whale species because they are being out competed for their breeding grounds by minke whales. Minke whales of the southern ocean by the way have never been listed on the endangered species list. Why not then cull their numbers to help our blue whales?

Coconut E3 you are mixing up dolphins with whale meat. Baleen whale meat from the Southern Hemisphere is low in mercury because they feed so low on the food chain , and because of the lower amount of industrial pollution compared to the northern hemisphere.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: China's war games don't faze Japan but disrupt civilian air traffic See in context

@tinawatanabe. Yes, there is an increased US submarine presence in the South / East China Sea now. According to Katsuya Masahiko, you can verify this by seeing a spike in nightlife activities of US servicemen in southeast Asian cities.

I wouldn't be surprised if the US "showed" the Chinese submarines in the area how outclassed they were, which would explain why Chinese activity in the senkakus have died down and there has been more problems with the Wygher region more recently. With china spinning out of control, the communist party badly needs an outside enemy more than ever, but it needs to be one that hey can beat, thus create a "war on terror" against a minority population.

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Posted in: Restart of two reactors at Oi nuclear plant to be delayed See in context

Johndpugh, I would think your opinion is very common. I had your opinion until I watched the documentary "Pandora's Promise". It was eye opening. Even after every nuclear disaster in the world, nuclear energy statistically is the 2nd safest energy on the planet 2nd only to wind energy. Yes, you read that right, which means solar power has killed and injured more people than nuclear. Unbelievable isn't it? Anyway, I highly recommend everyone watch this movie so that we can debate using the most accurate data instead of old rhetoric from both sides that has spun out of control.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: Chinese ships return to disputed waters after Obama Tokyo visit See in context

I think Obama just found his post presidential career as China repellent.

Also@ crimson clover, the water gets really deep around the senkakus, thus if china could make a submarine base there, they could slip boomers into the ocean and achieve nuclear strike capability against the US from unknown areas in the ocean. They can't currently do this because their ports are so shallow, the US can keep tabs on all submarine traffic through satellites.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe takes Kennedy for a ride on maglev train See in context

What JeffLee says is true. It's too easy to often say, "a country is backward because of this or that", but the truth is there have always been clever people, making good decisions that made sense for that era. When I was in grade school, I too complained, why can't the US public transit be more like Japan's!! And even though I still think that today, at least now I know how each country's public transit systems came into being so I try to be a little less biased.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese companies push to build hi-tech power plants abroad See in context

SF2k, and actually everyone. Do watch "pandora's promise". It's a documentary that tries to be unbiased after the Fukushima incident and makes a case as to why some generation 3 and 4 design nuclear plants will be inevitable in mankind's future.

1 thing interesting about that documentary was that they say a big reason natural gas had become so popular recently is because solar and wind have taken off. Because there is a possibility of no wind or sun (I think they said roughly 30% of the time). These plants end up being built with a backup natural gas burning thermal plant. So these so called energy types potentially still could emit just as much carbon as the 90% clean coal plant this article talks about. If you watch the documentary, I think the conclusion is the answer still has to be "all of the above" including nuclear. (Another fascinating fact was there are more deaths related to solar power than even nuclear, even considering Cherynobyl, because of the hazardous materials used in the manufacturing process of solar cells).

Anyway give it a watch. It's eye opening.

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Posted in: Disappointed Abe says Japan will abide by ruling on whaling See in context

I follow this issue closely and I find my curiosity keeps coming back to 1 point really...

Are whales a real competitor for fish catch? Because I've seen and heard research from both sides. I would like a Research Off to bring closure to the issue. My friends' uncle said a whale came up and swallowed his entire catch between two trawlers and he made eye contact with the whale while doing so and couldn't do anything about it. It's all about context. I could totally see a whale watcher say they saw the majesty of God's creation when looking into this intelligent being's eye, while the robbed fisherman would claim the whale would have flipped him off while stealing his catch it if had only evolved middle fingers atop the end of it's flippers.

If human life is valued higher than animal life, if you teas this argument out, if whales are serious competition for fish catch, then a solid argument CAN be made for pest control of species of whales that aren't endangered like the Antarctic Minke Whale.

I think I'm being very objective here. If you have an issue with what I say, I hope you are both vegan and have no kids because otherwise I am looking down on you atop my moral high ground.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan passes record Y95.88 tril budget See in context

Also, trade surpluses or deficits mean nothing unless taken into consideration with factors of why there is such a surplu or deficit. Unfortunately, they only show us 1 number on the news and that is supposed to tell us everything. But you could have an economy that is forced to import because they can't keep up with demand for parts for something they make to sell domestically. In this example you could have both a trade deficit AND economic growth. Conversely, you could use technological gains to streamline efficiencies and get trade surpluses while unemploying people resulting in a shrinking economy. Now it's true Japan's current trade deficit is bad due to increased energy costs, but simple competition from US shale gas and methane hydrate development will drive down prices overtime.

There was a positive breakthrough for nuclear fusion last month, and both France and Japan are two of the largest investors in this field. Japan's shrinking population could all of a sudden be a blessing if a few key technologies came on line in time. Japan's future could be very rosy contarary to what many Debbie downers on this thread are saying. The key to such a future is actually surviving the political turmoil of the region in the next few years.

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Posted in: Japan passes record Y95.88 tril budget See in context

Economic debates are hard to tease out when only armed with some of the details, and I don't claim to have all of them, but... As an example, Trickle down economics would work if rich people could only invest within their nation. This isn't enforcible in Japan, but I am both moved and my confidence in Japan being a special case is reinforced when there are companies that will be coaxed into raising base pay on a leap of faith that, that is what needs to be done for the good of everyone. Money needs to circulate to be effective, so you can't just take an example where money was printed, and the first ones to get their hands on it sent it off to an offshore tax haven and point to that and say "you see! That's why printing money just increases debt." I don't know of many Japanese that want to retire abroad, and as long as that trend continues, the debt is actually an asset because 93% is owed to Japanese bond holders internally. Japan can always print more money. And as long as it doesn't cause so much inflation that nationals move abroad with their assets, then Japan can pay back their debt slowly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Toshiba sues S Korean rival for corporate spying See in context

The-true, but that's how all companies work in any country. I don't like it either, but anything the employee does is the company's. I guess that's their perk for hiring him and giving him stable employment.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Israel to give copies of Anne Frank book to Tokyo libraries See in context

Hopefully this isn't too cooky for you all, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was done by Chinese operatives timing this to coincide with Xi Jingping's visit to Germany (who requested to visit holocaust memorials during his visit but was denied) all while Chinese lawmakers at home declare national days for Nanjing Massacre, and Japan's defeat at home. Seems like if all 3 had been pulled off in unison, it would have been a fantastic synergistic propaganda move that would equate Japan to Nazi Germany in the eyes of the International community in order to prime the pump for China's next move.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Hacker group Anonymous takes down Wakayama website to protest dolphin killing See in context

Paul Richards, please tell me or point me toward the research numbers that show (if I understood your comment correctly) killing dolphins will not increase fisher men's catch for the fish they are in competing for. It would only make sense to me that fewer top predators would mean more fish in the foodchain below.

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Posted in: Sea Shepherd catches up with Japan fleet; 4 whales dead so far See in context

I believe the harpoons are rigged with explosives (I believe a Norwegian design) to minimize suffering by stopping the whales heart instantaneously, (although I think it's not 100% effective) and was designed as an answer to those who were saying letting the animal bleed to death or dragging it backwards to drown still took too long and inhumane.

Just food for thought, is it more humane for the animal that gets killed to be:

1) In it's natural habitat until moments before it's death? Or 2) to be genetically modified, crammed in a cage disease ridden quarters full of droppings and urine, pumped full of antibiotics and kept alive until it's the time of butchering?

I believe Japan is in the IWC because they are serious about sustainable whaling and want sustainable whaling to be accepted internationally while Whale protection activists believe the IWC exists to end whaling all together. If this was the case, whaling for research would not be tolerated either.

I think both sides can never agree because their goals are mutually exclusive, so no progress can be made until the court renders it's decision.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Posted in: Japan drops 'deflation' from report for first time in four years See in context

Why would anyone buy anything if it will be cheaper tomorrow? Inflation isn't great, but a bit of inflation is better than hyper inflation, stagflation, or a deflationary spiral. Inflation is basically an automatic stealth tax levied on everyone, but deflation leads to businesses going out of business, and lets those who are already established prosper, while squashing the little guy, so a little inflation is the best of all evils.

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Posted in: Sea Shepherd sets out to confront Japan whalers See in context

I have seen an episode of whale wars where they were giving the people of the Faroe Islands a hard time so I don't think it's a race thing , but I do agree playing the David vs Goliath angle is good for business.

I believe of all the whaling nations, only Japan is choosing to be a member of the IWC. My guess is because it wants to ultimately make it's case for sustainable whaling and make it internationally acceptable. Thus, you could say they are researching to see if sustainable whaling is possible by killing the quota they were allowed. My question to anyone who can explain to me, why would the IWC allow Japan to harvest 50 fin and humpback whales if they were endangered? Is that label outdated? Or even endangered, does the IWC think that quota is sustainable? Or are the quotas decided by another organization and how are these numbers derived? I'm pro sustainable whaling so whaling endangered species does concern me.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Watson accuses Japan of coercing other countries to demand his arrest See in context

It's not really the whale meat that is the primary objective. It's the fish the whales eat that is desired in the big picture. Making sure the whale meat doesn't go to waste is I think what separates these whalers from Australians who kill kangaroos for pest control (I understand this meat is sometimes used in dog food and soccer shoes). So this might not be a good example. But i don't understand why the news doesn't make a fuss first about North Americans who kill Big game but only keep the horns, or kill wolves from helicopters so they have a better hunting season before they get angry at people who are using the whole animal. I would be mad if these were endangered whales, but there is a lot more than 500,000 of them in the southern ocean. But don't take my word for it, let's wait to see what the IWC reports this year on minke whale population, a whale that has NEVER been put on the endangered list. A whale that competes with the still endangered Blue whale for breeding grounds. A whale dubbed the cockroaches of the sea.

Please realize the countries that confront Japan the most on this issue also happen to be the countries that export beef to Japan. There are market forces driving things here. Many people who are anti-whaling in these countries aren't even concerned for the whales, just their bottom line. But I suppose even that is forgivable compared to those members of the Makah tribe that make a fuss over their cultural right to restart hunting grey whales, but don't bother to learn how to dress the whale after the hunt. You break it you buy it. You kill it, you use / eat it... All of it!!

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

Posted in: Aso worried U.S. gov't shutdown damage will spread See in context

No, if youA're life was saved with tax payer money, just be the best Japanese you can be. That surgery is worth it if your "I'm so glad to be born Japanese, and so proud of our family like health system" spreads to other japanese. If confidence spreads, we can get the economy going again. Then that would be money very well spent :)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Chinese media praises naval power after first circuit around Japan See in context

Someone please tell China it's safe to splice in footage from the Hollywood dud "Battleship" to sexify their propaganda a bit. I'm sure no one saw or will care to contest the fact that you also saved earth from aliens while you were circumnavigating Japan.

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Posted in: Aso retracts Nazi remarks amid criticism See in context

I'm assuming no one's reading this thread anymore thanks the this rage post. But here's my comment.

Everyone who is appalled by what they think Aso said should try to find his ENTIRE quote translated. The media seems to always want to splice together what he said and imply the OPPOSITE and then highlight the word NAZI to generate more buzz.

You owe it to yourself to do this and realize he is actually calling for something that probably most people reading this thread want.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: S Korea's travel industry smarting from sharp drop-off of Japanese visitors See in context

Well the article is about how the S Korean travel industry is hurting for Japanese tourists, and I don't think I was being too off topic by saying, it's hard to lure Japanese away from Japan. As for my travel experience in Seoul and it's suburbs... I don't mean to offend anyone, and I'm fully aware there are many parts in Korea that are modern and futuristic, but the areas I saw reminded me of 1980s Japan. I don't see why I would go other than to see friends.

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Posted in: S Korea's travel industry smarting from sharp drop-off of Japanese visitors See in context

Wow, so much heated debate and raw hate in this thread. It's too bad we can't take this heat to generate clean energy.

As for my 2 cents, fully aware that I am a slightly home sick Japanese American living in the US and fully aware that could make me bias. Having lived and traveled all over China, Japan, the US, (I've only visited Seoul once). If I was given money to travel anywhere in the world right now to go Anywhere!! Including places I want to go but never have been such as Rome or a Scandinavian ice Hotel. I would Still say Onsen Ryokan somewhere in Japan, preferably an Onsen Mura with steam escaping here and there. There is just something about the Complete travel experience of Japan. Friendly service, delicious food, beauty of the seasons. I Just I feel like I'm absorbing my vacation through all 5 senses and then something more than that. Like a spiritual recharging too. I can't place my finger on it but it's like eating fruit. In America, the fruit looks tasty, and it's fairly priced, but you sink your teeth into it and there's always disappointment. In Japan fruit costs an arm and a leg, but an apple, a peach, a melon tastes like how it is described in myth... Like ambrosia.

I'm not adding much to this thread but I hope people can realize that it sucks to be businesses that are competing for Japanese tourist money. From eating crabs and snowy rotenburo in Hokkaido to the resort beaches and ryukyuu culture and cuisine of Okinawa, Japan has so much variation and is so easy to travel with it's rail services, and has the best customer service in the world in my opinion. I'm surprised Japanese travelers don't turn their eyes inward and just travel domestically more where you are guaranteed such a great travel experience.

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Posted in: Japan says Australia trying to impose its culture in whaling row See in context

So people seem to keep talking about whale meat as a delicacy or how this is a culture battle, how this issue revolves around the desire to eat whale meat, but again I must say the driving force behind this issue is the desire to catch fish, it's just simple economics. Japanese fisherman are in competition with whales for fish. Whaling is a pest control issue in disguise. For each ton of whale that is removed from the sea, you free up 10x the biomass 1 level down in the food chain and 100x the next level below. Baleen whales feed off of the lower levels of the food chain so 2 levels down and we're probably talking about krill and zoo plankton, but earth is so overpopulated with people that we are competing wither whales for food at this level too. We use krill for furikake and shrimp flavoring for cup noodles among other things like feeding farmed fish.

Also, someone in this thread said whale meat has high concentrations of poison, but I think you are confusing that with information from "the cove". Top predators like dolphins, orca, and sperm whales have high concentrations of mercury, but baleen whales, especially ones that live in the Southern Hemisphere have some of the cleanest meat because most of the industrialized nations are in the Northern hemisphere and baleen whales feed near the base of the food chain..

Shaving down the population of minke whales and any other non endangered whales (are there any others?) is the only way to help other whale populations rebound ( especially the blue whales which are still endangered) and slow down the hollowing out of the mid-tier of the ocean food pyramid.

Humanity is consuming oceanic resources at an alarming rate, led by Japan. But last time I checked, Japanese are thinner than their brethren of other industrialized nations and do a better job of eating all sorts of things down the food chain, which keeps the food chain balanced. Protein derived from the sea only costs 2 units of carbon per kilo where as chicken is 6 and beef is 17. People who hate whaling are people whose's livelihood is less dependent on the ocean so they have little to no buy in and can be swayed simply on emotional issues because they don't or can't see the entire picture.

If you truly want to help the whales, never eat sushi, and pray for ww3 to happen. The only time fish stocks rebounded in the Atlantic during the 20th century was during WW2. We are all guilty of taxing nature, even the vegetarians among us. I just get upset when North Americans (1/3 of all the human biomass on the planet) lecture other people who are using fewer calories to sustain their own existence by using more diverse sources of protein (which is more sustainable).

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan says Australia trying to impose its culture in whaling row See in context

So japan always plays for the whole team and fisherman can vote, but whales can't. Just this weekend my friends uncle who's in the fish industry told me how baleen whales just come and swim in between the nets and swallow their catch of Saury and sardines. I say this again and again on these forums but whaling is actually a form of Pest control. But that can't be said in the open or white people will flip out. I'm fine with it as long as the killed whales are not endangered and the meat doesn't go to waste.

I also want to add that many anti whaling lobbyists in Australia and America couldn't care less about the well being of the whales. They want to make Japan less protein self sufficient so they can sell more cattle to Japan.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Kanji skills decline in digital age See in context

As a kid I hated kanji. Today I spend a healthy portion of my day watching high brow debate programs, writing down new vocabulary and proverbs that I come across on my second monitor at work. I have a feeling a lot of the yay vs neighs on this issue lie on the fault lines of how much bandwidth people have available in their day to day existence which causes them to be more practical.

Kanji will probably be like fencing, seamanship, and horsemanship. It will be kept alive by those who can afford to invest the time to learn it might ebentually be a sign of class. Watching medival dramas and rakugo is almost a foreign Language to me. Even WW2 era military speak is not easy to understand.

If the older generation wants the next generation to learn kanji, they have to pitch in and help end deflation, even if it means a lower income for those on "nenkin". Young people who are struggling to get by won't have the bandwidth to learn things that aren't immediately needed for money making.

Luckily, we might be nearing a cybernetic age where we just implant hardware in our heads and download kanji packs to our brain. Then we can use our freed up time to address the next thing gramps and grandma are cranky about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's whaling is not science, expert witness tells int'l court See in context

Maybe it's a social science experiment...

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