Richard Burgan comments

Posted in: Kishida says foreign tourists should follow Japan face mask rules See in context

When in Japan, do as the Japanese do. Why does the question of foreign tourists wearing masks rise to the level of the Prime Minister? Stop distracting Mr. Kishida from the important task of studying the economy.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Posted in: Japan urges China to 'play responsible role' on Ukraine crisis See in context

I'm glad to see that Japan is urging China to be a responsible nation by condemning Putin's war. There are 35 other nations that need that same encouragement. Not that any of them will change policy at Japan's urging but it's the right thing to do. And, maybe people will remember who these Putin supporting nations are and continue to give them a hard time.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Posted in: Man who mistakenly received entire town’s COVID-19 relief money vanishes See in context

What sort of bank or city government uses floppy disks these days? They have been obsolete for decades. And, why does it take several days to figure out and fix this kind of error? This story just reinforces my belief that banks in Japan operate with one foot stuck in the Edo Period. At both of my commercial banks, the teller machines are more helpful than the hooman tellers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Okinawa urges PM to scrap U.S. base move plan before key anniversary See in context

Gov Tamaki needs to try a new strategy. Repeatedly running as fast as he can into a concrete wall isn't working. Maybe he should concentrate on making life better for the Okinawan people. How about improving the schools, bringing in businesses that will provide good-paying jobs for Okinawans, reducing child poverty, etc. You know, all those things he's been avoiding for the past three years. Reducing the number of bases isn't going to make life better it will just provide land for some big companies to build on.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: 50 years after return, Okinawa's strategic importance grows for U.S. See in context

Stories in the Japanese press, textbooks, and other sources constantly get the death toll from The Battle of Okinawa wrong. Almost always low (way low in the case of this story, 200,500). There is one definitive source: The actual names of all people who died in The Battle of Okinawa are listed at a memorial site, "The Cornerstone of Peace" in Okinawa. Names are in the person's language and grouped by country. Each name is backed by careful research. Names are added each year as more remains or other evidence is obtained. The current total is 249,000 human beings. Okinawa prefecture observes its own holiday, "Irei no Hi" (The way to console the dead) each year. The national government has refused to establish this as a holiday.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Okinawa seeks Tokyo's help lowering tensions with China See in context

@Yubaru - You are so correct!

Tamaki should know a lot about how to negotiate with China as a former kyosanto (communist part) member. Tokyo should take advantage of this opportunity and appoint Tamaki to the negotiating team. Maybe he could convince China that the Senkaku Islands are really part of Okinawa for starters.

Tamaki is just the latest line in the chain of Okinawa politicians that choose to please their supporters and not all Okinawans. Over the last 50-years, Okinawa has received subsidies and various forms of assistance from Tokyo to bring Okinawa up to standards with other prefectures. It is also intended to partially compensate for the burden of the US and JSDF bases located on the islands.

Yet, after 50-years of subsidies, Okinawa has the lowest education rate, the highest child poverty rate, and the lowest average income of all 47 prefectures. Where did all those subsidies go? Hint: right in the pockets of all the mainland contractors who built all the infrastructure (aka concrete structures) in Okinawa. If Okinawa prefecture had used the money to improve educational opportunities, bring in employers who can provide high-paying jobs, promoted trade, a tax-free zone, and international outreach, Okinawa would be much better off. Simple things like free high school tuition, tutoring, skilled guest teachers, college scholarships, high-quality English language education, and economic actions such as requiring Okinawan ownership and management content for government contracts. Over 50 years these kinds of actions would make a huge difference.

Governor Tamaki, stop whining and start making Okinawa a better place.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Hotel guest who boiled crabs in room’s kettle angry at having to pay for damages See in context

Just remember you are probably an average or above-average person and that 50% or more of other people are stupider than you!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Investigators raid Hokkaido tour boat company's office after sinking See in context

Marine passenger safety rules try to ensure passenger and crew safety just as in the airline industry. First, you try to prevent accidents, then you try to mitigate them, and finally, you learn to improve. When you compare Japanese maritime safety rules with economically similar countries you will find that Japan is lax. In other countries the passenger (tour boat) vessel, KAZU I would have been required to have a licensed Captain and crew, cold-water survival suits, life jackets, actual life boats, VHF marine radios, flares, smoke, horn, Class A AIS, master vessel EPIRB, an automatic EPIRB on each raft. The crew is required to operate the vessel to ensure passenger safety. However, in the event of an accident, the rest of the equipment is designed to help the passengers and crew survive and guide rescuers to the scene. Apparently KAZU I had none of these. Why doesn't Japanese maritime law require all of this? When will that change?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Sunken boat exposes flaw in communications system by tour operator See in context

I am really surprised that passenger vessel (tour boat) safety rules are so weak in Japan. Vessels such as these should be subject to strict safety rules guaranteed by the Coast Guard. Captains should be licensed and vessels inspected on a regular basis. And all vessels, especially those who go to sea should carry 1st class life vests, life (survival) rafts/boats, AIS, EPIRBS, VHF, and if more than 25 miles from port SSB or satellite radios. Is there any excuse for not doing this? How is it that Japan doesn't already do this?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Posted in: Operator of missing Hokkaido boat apologizes for causing fatal accident See in context

I don't really believe in this sort of apology, or people claiming to take full responsibility. He was a major contributor to the disaster, but these incidents are always a chain of events. What counts now is preventing the next such incident. Japan seems to be lax about safety for these tour boats. That should be changed right away. If they don't know what to do they should look at the US, UK, Canada, and other friends and see what they do. They can make Japan's safety even better! At least require AIS, EPIRBS, Life Jackets, actual Life Boats, and even cold water survival suits if they are going to do these tours in 5-degree C waters!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Object ruled out as sunken Hokkaido boat after diver checks See in context

If Japan's Coast Guard required passenger vessels (e.g. tour boats) to carry class A AIS Radios and EPIRBs on the main vessel and each life boat they would have already found this wreck. They may have been able to save lives too. Oh wait, they weren't equipped with lifeboats, cold weather survival suits either. Japan Coast Guard: Get with the times!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: 10 confirmed dead after tour boat with 26 goes missing off Hokkaido See in context

There is no excuse for the Japanese government not requiring class A AIS radios on ALL passenger ships. And emergency locator beacons on ALL passenger ships and lifeboats. !!!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 4 found from missing tourist boat off Hokkaido See in context

Why was the KAZU I not equipped with an AIS radio? This system is required on all vessels 250 tons or greater by international "law". Most advanced countries also require it on passenger vessels. The AIS system reports location, speed, direction, and other data every few seconds on VHF radio. The signals can be picked up by other ships, shore stations, and satellites. Several global tracking networks (link marinetraffic dot com) make this data available to the public for free. The apparent sinking and loss of sous on KAZU I is tragic. It might have been mitigated if Japan required AIS on all vessels at sea.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Posted in: Truck driver gets 14 years in fatal drunk driving case See in context

Co-workers had repeatedly warned him against drinking on the job. Why didn't they report it to the boss or if that didn't work, the police? It could have saved lives. Sometimes you have to do what is right.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan to spend ¥1.45 tril on 4th vaccine shots, other anti-virus measures See in context

OMG, they are starting early! (not so much)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Recovery work continues in northeast Japan after quake cuts water supply See in context

Actually, water bags are much better than rigid jugs. They are easy to carry and store when empty. You can keep an extra supply of water bags stored for a long time without using much space.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Robot photos appear to show melted fuel at Fukushima reactor See in context


Fish don't swim in reactors, so you are safe. If you are referring to fish from the ocean near the reactor, you're safe there too. All of the radioactive materials in the reactor originated in the environment. Humans did not create any of it. What humans did is concentrate the radioactive materials and build the reactor. Eventually, the material will have to be put back into the environment. That can be done by diluting it to levels that are safe. So, you shouldn't have to worry. We should all continue to monitor that they remove and dispose of this material in a safe way.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Kishida says gov't working on accelerating COVID-19 booster shots See in context

Why can't Japan be first in the world at something?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Posted in: Tokyo reports 871 new coronavirus cases; 779 in Okinawa See in context

Monday is always low. Wait until Tuesday to get the real results.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Posted in: Japan's 7-Eleven in China fined for describing Taiwan as country See in context

Good job Seven Eleven (Holdings)! Time to pull out of China. They are going to take your stores away anyway.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Record 235 COVID-19 cases reported among U.S. forces in Okinawa See in context

The sign at the Camp Hansen Gate has nothing to do with COVID. Signs with the same wording are at all the gates and similar ones are posted frequently along all the fence lines. Signs like these have been up sing 1945. Yes, they are paid for by the Japanese government (aka Taxpayers) just as all other base costs are. What they really need is a sign facing in explaining the rules for behavior off base and the punishment for disobeying. Something like if you don't like the fence around you, you surely won't like the bars at the jail.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Record 235 COVID-19 cases reported among U.S. forces in Okinawa See in context

This is actually worse than most people realize. The US Military population in Okinawa is about 40,000 while the local population is 1,400,000 (ratio 35). The daily infection rate of 235/40000 would be 8225/1400000. And at last check, they still don't wear masks on-base.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: All U.S. forces' personnel to take virus test after arrival in Japan See in context

@FYI Since the US military population is 35 times smaller (1,400,000/40,000) than the Okinawan civilian population, 235 military infections are equivalent to 8,225 local infections! That reflects a situation that is totally out of control. Commanders who cannot control their troops are normally removed from command. (The situation in Okinawa is mostly on the USMC bases.)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: All U.S. forces' personnel to take virus test after arrival in Japan See in context

The decision to test all arriving personnel (which I hope includes civilians and families) should have been made long ago. Maybe I shouldn't be (but I am) surprised that military commanders are so slow to make decisions. It doesn't give me much confidence in their ability to defend Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Tokyo police admit to losing 38 citizens’ personal data…that was stored on floppy disks See in context

What is a floppy disk? I guess it's better to lose ancient media that only stores 38 files than an SSD stick with the capacity to store millions. As far as I know, only the Tokyo Police and NORAD still use floppy disks...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: All U.S. forces in Japan exempted from virus tests since Sept: Hayashi See in context

@Frank Ellis: Japan has limited COVID deaths to less than 18,000 whereas the US has had over 830,000 deaths. Americans must be stupid.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan tells U.S. military to enforce virus rules after Okinawa base cluster See in context

@Gaijinjland US bases are not US territory. The US simply has an agreement (SOFA) to use them. The Japanese people pay for the land (renting it from landowners), buildings, housing, maintenance, and other costs. The US pays for the troops, military equipment, operations, etc. Japanese law does apply on base with exceptions listed in the SOFA agreement.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan tells U.S. military to enforce virus rules after Okinawa base cluster See in context

US Forces in Japan are part of a community here in Okinawa. Japan has done an excellent job in mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the US has done a fairly pathetic job. The US has had over 52 million cases with over 833 thousand deaths. Japan on the other hand has had only 1.7 million cases with 18 thousand deaths. The US population is about 3 times larger than Japan.) US Forces have an obligation to cooperate with Japan to prevent COVID-19 infections from spreading to the local population. For those who have followed the daily infection statistics in Okinawa, you will know that the US Forces infection rate has mostly been far higher than the local population. Military personnel reused to get vaccinated, constantly violated mask mandates, and ignored rules of behavior when off-bases. This is not how US Military forces should behave. Commanders must get this under control. I would suggest that PM Kishida make a call to President Biden and request that US Forces (SOFA personnel) be restricted to base until commanders can guarantee compliance. Japanese base workers (which the US depends on) should be guaranteed COVID safe working conditions equal to those off base. And, US personnel who live off base must comply with Japanese regulations (this is already required).

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Musashino city in Tokyo rejects proposal for foreigners to vote in referendums See in context

Good for them. Foreigners should not be voting in Japanese elections. That should be reserved for citizens. I pay plenty of taxes in Japan. I feel I do have a voice just by calling the city office or talking to local representatives. They have listened and provided clear answers or actions on several occasions. I know in the US I didn't want foreigners voting in our elections either.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

Posted in: Police search house of man linked to deadly Osaka fire See in context

In my opinion, fire regulations and firefighting methods in Japan are lacking compared to many other modern countries. Based on the statement that the arsonist kicked over a container of flammable liquid near a heater indicates that a catalytic kerosene heater was in use. There is also no report of anyone discharging a fire extinguisher. There are a number of obvious shortcomings here. 1) lack of fire escapes, 2) use of an open flame heater, 3) lack of fire extinguishing equipment (extinguishers, water hoses, blankets, etc.), 4) poor fire codes, 5) lack of staff training. Any one of those things could have saved many lives.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

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