Piltdown Man comments

Posted in: What can be done immediately to defuse tensions between China and Japan? See in context

One of the worst things the Japanese government could do at this point in terms of turning this into a potential military conflict (an putting US soldier's lives on the line) would be to allow Japanese activists onto the islands. The government needs to avoid this from happening at all costs — at least until the situation has markedly calmed.

Doh... Too late. Apparently they just let two such extremists land. Once again the people at the top are making all the wrong moves. <www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/2-japanese-activists-land-on-disputed-island>

The politicians don't seem to be showing much concern for the thousands of Japanese citizens who could end up stranded in China.

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Posted in: What can be done immediately to defuse tensions between China and Japan? See in context

Impeach Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara — and indict him for overstepping his mandate by engaging in provocative acts intended to incite racial tension and international strife.

Such a move would resolutely show Japan's desire for peace and positive global relations.

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Posted in: Asian territory disputes could trigger war: Panetta See in context

Japanese are still eating in Chinese owned restaurants, and we are going about our business peacefully. I guess I can say Japanese are the adults here.

@hereforever Perhaps you are in denial. The Japan Today Article, Nationalists converge on Shin-Okubo's Koreatown published the same day as this article (link below) paints a much different picture than suggested by your take on the situation.


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Posted in: Female teacher arrested for photographing 11-year-old school girls naked See in context

Here is a link to an ANN news report on this (1 minute, 25 seconds)


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Posted in: Why does the existence of AKB48 bother so many readers of Japan Today (judging from the comments on the discussion board)? See in context

It's not AKB48 per se that bother me, it's their raft of 30/40-something otaku fans. Too creepy for my blood.

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Posted in: Recently in Japan, there has been a number of cases of people dying in isolation in their homes. What can be done to prevent this? See in context

One move toward a solution — encourage people in Japan to develop a stronger sense of empathy, concern for others, selflessness, a nurturing attitude and a willingness to act as caregivers to both children and the elderly.

To start developing in people a sense of concern for others, teens in Japan (boys and girls) should be encouraged to babysit from time to time, and to help elderly relatives.

As it stands, almost no Japanese teens have ever babysat, and they are actively encouraged not to do so. Many (most?) schools prohibit students from engaging in any type of work, or they need to go through the process of getting special permission from the entire full-time faculty of their school to do so. The logic behind this anti part-time job policy is that students should devote as much time as possible to their studies and school-based activities. Anything outside of that is deemed not worthy of their time and effort.

The unintended consequence of such a policy, though, is that people tend to develop a very narcissistic attitude whereby their own success becomes the center of focus. They thereby turn into adults who ignore the trials and tribulations of others. Lack of empathy and self-centeredness in this society is largely to blame for keeping the birthrate low and the number of uncared for elderly high.

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Posted in: Passengers restrain American Airlines flight attendant who ranted about crashing plane See in context

I just watched a FOX news segment on this. Apparently the flight attendant had bipolar disorder and had failed to take her meds. Surprised that the airlines would hire someone suffering from this sort of condition.

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Posted in: Police raid 2channel in drug case See in context

You may be arrested when they even suspect you being a terrorist ... by what you have posted.

@Elvensilvan Don't you think you are over-reaching a bit there? I expressed concerns about dubious grounds for search and seizure of a website that facilitates free speech. I hardly think that even comes close to terrorism. (BTW, I have absolutely no problems with the police pursuing illegal substances.)

I do somewhat agree with you on the Big Brother bit, though. Scary.

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Posted in: Police raid 2channel in drug case See in context

According to Fuji TV, the searches were conducted...because it was not clear who administers 2channel at present or how the message board is operated.

It sounds to me like the searches were carried out because the authorities "don't know how the message board is operated," and that they merely used the illegal drug-related user postings as guise to attain search warrants from the courts.

Between this sort of police-state activity and the press clubs, this country keeps a tight grip on "free" speech. I question the constitutionality of these polices. Worrisome indeed.

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Posted in: Limbaugh apologizes to student he called a 'slut' See in context

As I write this two separate articles about Limbaugh have made JAPAN Today's top 5 popularity list. This obviously reflects the disdain most people hold toward this shock jock who fills the airwaves at most hours of the day.

Glad to see this guy take a fall. I hope sponsors keep pulling ads and radio stations pull the plug.

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Posted in: China calls on Japan to be sensitive to history issues See in context

Japan would be much better off in many respects internationally and at home if its politicians and education bureaucracy were to show much more sensitivity/diplomacy/honesty in regard to the country's past.

However, this is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black given the way China refuses to address its brutal past. Sounds like Chinese government officials are once again trying to deflect criticism for the country's own blemished past and current misdeeds again.

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Posted in: Olympus, 3 former senior execs charged See in context

I am pleasantly surprised to see the SESC take firm and resolute action toward the Olympus execs. This is definitely good for investor sentiment and Japanese business going forward.

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Posted in: 12-year-old girl killed after lying down on railway tracks See in context

Every human should have the right to die if he or she chooses to do so.


To say "every human" is taking it a bit too far. Adults arguably, but that is certainly a right (decision) inappropriate for a 12-year old.

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Posted in: Noda's website adds Chinese version See in context

PM Noda is the best PM Japan has had in years and has proven to be a very sensible man unlike the scoundrel mayors of Tokyo and Osaka Ishihara and Kawamura. It is important that Japan maintain constructive dialog with China keep lines of communication open with the Chinese government and its people. This is a good move on the part of PM Noda. It lets the people of China know that they are important to Japan.

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Posted in: 12-year-old girl killed after lying down on railway tracks See in context

So very sad. I would guess that there is a fairly high likelihood that this poor little girl's sense of despair had something to do with junior high school entrance exams--given that February is entrance exam season in Japan.

Many 11-12 year-old children here go through intense pressure from parents and 'elite' cram schools, and these kids have only one shot at passing the test to get into the school of their (first) choice. Success in the exam process becomes everything to these poor kids, by proxy of cram school/intense parents. Numerous times I have been at an 'elite' junior high school on the day names of 6th graders who passed the test are listed for all to see. Lots of excitement among those who got in, and lots of devastated children and furious parents among those who don't make the cut. RIP poor little girl.

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Posted in: Foreign staff at Tokyo brokerages find flattery gets them everywhere See in context

This is just more "us" & "them" nonsense.


I agree fully. I have seen this "Japanese people vs. everyone else" mentality played out countless times over the years. It's why I wouldn't work in a Japanese company environment -- managers praising the foreign employee when he/she does something well, and then admonishing/shaming the Japanese staff for not measuring up to the foreigner; a motivational technique I've seen wielded many times in Japan. It breeds resentment (evident in this article) and results in a damned if you do, damned if you don't climate for the non-Japanese person.

Related to this, a recent article in a Japanese-language student newspaper that my children sometimes read encouraged Japanese youth to learn English, not so that they could better understand the world, broaden their base of friends and work together with the English-speaking community, but rather so that they could better compete with foreigners. That was the whole premise of this article targeting elementary school students. Pitiful to say the least. I resent this sort of us vs. them, sekai ichiban (#1 in the world), competitive mindset in this country.

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Posted in: Gov't feared nuclear crisis would engulf Tokyo, report shows See in context

@Nicky Spot on again. Thumbs up.

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Posted in: One dead, 4 wounded in Ohio school shooting See in context

If someone murders with a baseball bat, are we then going to call for stricter laws or total bans on baseball bats?


Another facile gun lobby argument.

This shooter would probably have done much less damage if he had been wielding a baseball bat instead of a gun. Guns often give the shooter a feeling of invincibility, probably not the case with baseball bats.

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Posted in: One dead, 4 wounded in Ohio school shooting See in context

Every time this happens in the US I think of that harebrained NRA bumper-sticker slogan, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Sad that there are people out there who actually believe that.

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Posted in: Ishihara agrees with Nagoya mayor's Nanjing massacre denial See in context

Whatever the precise numbers — which we will never know — there is one thing that almost everybody agrees on, Japanese and non-Japanese people alike: the Japanese people through their military and government caused unimaginable suffering in China and beyond, and the people of Japan in turn endured unimaginable and unnecessary suffering.

Nobody in Japan wants to endure such pain again, and the overwhelmingly vast majority in Japan do not want to inflict such pain again. That said, I sincerely hope the people of this country will work harder to speak out against Ishihara and Kawamura, and vote them out of office, to show the people of the world that the Japanese people truly aspire for Japan to be a peace-loving nation. The world needs to see Japan take action.

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Posted in: Ishihara agrees with Nagoya mayor's Nanjing massacre denial See in context

I have heard a fair number of Japanese people express their disapproval of Prime Minister Noda, former PM Kan and their predecessors (and in my opinion they are exponentially better than Ishihara). Never once have I heard a Japanese person denounce Tokyo Mayor Ishihara, who arguably yields more power than any of those PMs. I'm flabbergasted, and just can't understand why.

If there really are any Japanese people out there who would like to see an end to Ishihara's reign, please help break Japan's chronic apathy and let your voice be heard.

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Posted in: Ishihara agrees with Nagoya mayor's Nanjing massacre denial See in context

Sadly, Ishihara's whole slew of revisionist and racist assertions deliver him wide winning margins at the polls.

From what I have seen, this idea that, far from being a perpetrator, Japan was an innocent victim in the war, and benevolent toward those it ruled, has been gaining in popularity here since the mid 1990s. Until that time, (late 80s/early 90s) it seemed like Japan was starting to address the past, come to grips with what had happened, grow up and move forward -- lots of backsliding since then, though.

I see more and more of this denial mindset and move to a fascist mentality in politics as Japan's demographic bubble deflates, the economy sags and job prospects for Japan's younger generation diminish. Let's hope voices of reason eventually win out.

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Posted in: Japan planning to give IMF $50 bil to ease Europe's debt crisis See in context

How about using that money for welfare in Japan.


It is commendable that Japan is making a move to help the EU dig out of its debt crisis, but of course it is a mistake to think that Japan's motives are purely altruistic. In today's world all of our economies are linked. We need to help one another out in time of (fiscal) crisis.

Japan has a major vested interest in a healthy EU economy. A major portion of Japan's trade deficit last year stemmed from decreased exports to Europe. By helping the EU out of its debt woes Japan is helping itself potentially turn that deficit into a surplus. This is a positive and prudent move on Japan's part.

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Posted in: New Ranger See in context

I was talking to a Japanese university student the other day, apparently a huge baseball fan. I mentioned how excited people are that Darvish is going to the Rangers, to which the student responded that he wasn't since Darvish is not a 'true' Japanese person. He went on to essentially say that he would rather see a Japanese person in the spotlight (paraphrasing).

The guy shamelessly/obliviously said this, even though he knows that I have children who, like Darvish, have one Japanese parent, speak Japanese fluently, and are in the Japanese school system, and consider themselves Japanese.

Anyway, Darvish seems to be getting a very warm welcome from the Texas fans. He'll probably have much less racial baggage to deal with there than he has his whole life in Japan. Looks like a step in the right direction.

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Posted in: Things that foreigners find annoying about life in Japan See in context

Blatant and shameless double standards.

As a foreigner, you do something positive/commendable like show kindness toward an elderly person, pick up a piece of trash. Often, the automatic reaction of Japanese people is to exclaim, "you just like a Japanese!" They act as if it were the greatest of compliments to bestow on a non-Japanese person.

Look what happens if you put the shoe on the other foot, though. Tell a Japanese person who has done something praiseworthy that they are just like a {insert your nationality here}, and suddenly it becomes an insult.

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Posted in: What do you think are the main reasons why U.S. car sales are so low in Japan? See in context

The answer to this question mainly lies in the reason there are almost no Hyundais in Japan — and likewise almost no Toyotas in South Korea.

Countries that practice relatively free international trade have plenty of both Hyundais and Toyotas on their streets, while countries that don't practice free trade simply don't.

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Posted in: U.S. cars do not fit Japan's market or Japanese consumers' requirements because of size, high fuel consumption and higher prices. They need to have a line-up that suits Japanese consumers' preferences See in context

I have only skied on Salomon and Atomic here over 18 years.


The ski trade spat happened pre-1995, and was very well known at the time. Proof — NY Times article (The World: Good Deficit, Bad Deficit; The Fear Is Gone, Not the Danger) from Mar 1, 1998, "American skis were barred from Japan as unsafe because the customs inspectors insisted Japanese snow was different"

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Posted in: Dutch workers down tools at Mitsubishi plant See in context

Thank you cleo. I learned something new.

I had actually never heard the verb 'down' used this way. I was thinking of it in terms of damaging something as in "down a helicopter; down a tree; down one's opponents; etc."

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Posted in: U.S. cars do not fit Japan's market or Japanese consumers' requirements because of size, high fuel consumption and higher prices. They need to have a line-up that suits Japanese consumers' preferences See in context

An old and well-known argument of Japan's Bubble Economy Era !


Agreed. I've been hearing this line since the 1980s.

Some other oldies-but-goodies that I remember: refusal to import foreign-made skis because they are not made for the unique Japanese snow; refusal to import beef because it is hard for Japanese people to digest due to their presumably shorter intestines; refusal to allow large-scale overseas retailers to set up shop because Japanese people prefer shopping at small stores (of course that was before the resounding success of Costco/Ikea and others). All laughable, all lame excuses.

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Posted in: Dutch workers down tools at Mitsubishi plant See in context

Come on JT. Let's use language that we all understand.


This is an AFP article, so can't really blame JT here.

But I do agree. Does anyone on this thread understand "down tools"? I am assuming it means that the workers destroyed machines and equipment — but I'm not sure

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