Richard Burgan comments

Posted in: Digital minister aims to drag Japan out of analog doldrums See in context

If Japan wants people to get and use the MyNumber Card, they must be serious benefits. For example, you can already use the card as your medical ID, allowing the office to connect all your medical records. The problem is they charge extra if you use the card. How about offering the user 100 Yen cash for using the card? To get the cards into people's hands, they should streamline the application process down to 1 day. And issue the cards to every student when they become legal (able to sign contracts). And, make the renewal process a one-stop 10-minute process with ID verification at your city hall.

Japan should also keep the elderly population in mind. Not every elderly person can make the "digital transition," so a system to accommodate them is needed.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Defense minister, Okinawa governor at odds over U.S. base relocation plan See in context

Shocking, just shocking! Governor Tamaki gets re-elected, and nothing changed. Oh well, it's time to move on to improve the economy and educational opportunities, reduce child poverty, promote tourism, and all the other things the governor should be spending his time on. [In polls before the election improving the economy was the #1 concern, and the base issues were #5]

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't to pursue U.S. base relocation in Okinawa despite Tamaki's win See in context

Sadly only a little more than 20% of Okinawa voters voted. The rest get what they deserve by default. In opinion polls (probably representing a balance of the Okinawan population), the base issue(s) were fifth in importance, far behind economic issues. For 50 years, Okinawa's government has used base compensation funds for infrastructure projects (pouring lots of concrete) rather than benefitting its citizens. Okinawa is the poorest prefecture with the highest child poverty level. Recently Japan has been cutting the money it sends to Okinawa each year. Newly reelected governor Tamaki puts more effort into fighting the Henoko base construction than the economy. It looks like four more years of the same.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't holds annual disaster drill, scaled back due to COVID See in context

Most of the pictures that made the news were of men sitting around big tables, listening to briefings, or standing around. That's just like a normal day. It would be better to prepare for a disaster. Japan has had massive flooding for two years now. It might be a good idea to improve drainage and flood control systems now. Instead of depending on government workers for disaster recovery, how about promoting volunteerism and training? Example: The Daito islands were just hit by a Super Typhoon with gusts up to 75 MPS (270 KPH). They survived and had most of the damage and debris cleaned up within two days. Why is that? Hint: it wasn't the government doing the work. Now Miyako and Ishigaki islands are about to be hit by the same storm, and NHK was trying to tell them to be prepared. LOL

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese monkey-hunting team shoots woman with tranquilizer dart See in context

If a city worker shot me, I would definitely hold my taxes for a year. Maybe the city worker should pay them for me. Seriously though, I question the competence of anyone who points a rifle (or any weapon) at another person, loaded or unloaded, ever. (unless, of course, he/she intends to shoot them.)

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Okinawa gubernatorial race begins with U.S. base relocation in focus See in context

For the last 50+ years, governors have been focused on the US base issue. For 30 of those years, the Futenma to Henoko issue has been the focus. Governors have repeatedly filed lawsuits and other administrative actions trying to revive the dead horse. It's not working. Even with continuous large cash subsidies intended to help align Okinawa's economy and infrastructure with Japan. Okinawa still has the highest child poverty, weakest economy, and lowest average income of all prefectures. This will only continue if no one makes a change. This time instead of taking the money and converting it to concrete, I hope the new governor will pursue an Okinawan people-first policy. First priority should be to end child poverty and make Okinawa's schools equal to the best in Japan. Promote jobs and companies that keep profits local. Bring in more research and development, high-tech companies. How about a leading-edge semiconductor fabrication facility? (And, don't tell me Okinawa is not a good location until you check out OIST, NICT, JAXA, etc. They are thriving in Okinawa.) The horse is dead.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan Weather Association creates new words to describe merciless summer heat See in context

I should say come on down to Okinawa, it's cooler here. The air temperature here never gets above 36 C. But, I would be fooling you because the heat index often goes to 46-48 C because of the humidity. Okinawans have their own set of terms for hot weather: あちこーこー, 熱こーこー, 熱ちこーこー Here, they drink hot tea to cool off. (It makes you sweat)

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Taiwan says China military drills appear to simulate attack See in context

War games are simulations designed to teach people how to deal with real problems they may face in a real fight. China is conducting training for a blockade and invasion of Taiwan. I wonder how they are training for the part when Taiwan shoots them down?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. House Speaker Pelosi begins Asia tour; no mention of Taiwan See in context

Speaker Pelosi should go to Taiwan. She should just send her plane and escort while she stays in Tokyo. That will drive China nuts.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Posted in: KDDI mobile service failure ends after 86 hours; minister criticizes company's handling of disruption See in context

The government should require KDDI to provide detailed information on why, how, what, when, and where this outage occurred. The government should issue a "serious incident" declaration and instruct KDDI to make improvements to prevent this from happening again. And, KDDI should describe its plans, give dates, and frequent progress reports to the government.

I would like to ask some specific questions. For example, how much diversity and redundancy is built into KDDI's network. Let's say for example a prefecture was cut off from KDDI's fiber network. Would people in the prefecture still be able to use their phones to call each other, 110, and 119? Or (as I suspect) are we all dependent on the big switch in central Japan. Does the Senior VP of Engineering sit on the board? Does he have the autonomy to insure reliability over sales? How much does KDDI spend on network growth and reliability each month? (They should be spending at least $1,000,000,000 on network growth and reliability each month bases on other companies of similar size (Verizon, ATT, Vodaphone, etc.) Japan Today reporters should be asking these questions and reporting it here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: KDDI says mobile network almost recovered across Japan See in context

We need to require communications companies to meet reliability, redundancy, and security standards that prevent widespread outages. Where KDDI has divided Japan into two autonomous areas companies in the US have divided the country into hundreds of small autonomous areas. With proper management, outages will not spread from area to area. The government should set and enforce standards requiring companies build and prove the reliability of their networks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: KDDI says 70% of services restored after wide network troubles See in context

As of July 4, 2022 - 54 hours after the start of the incident it's still not completely fixed! Many customers can not make cellular calls. This is bordering on incompetence. It is now obvious that KDDI did not build a robust and reliable network. KDDI should pay customers back for their inconvenience. That's going to cost them more than 233,000,000 JPY per day. What an incentive to get the job done. KDDI, let's see some cash.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: KDDI says 70% of services restored after wide network troubles See in context

KDDI it's not fixed until it's fixed. Yes, you got the call set up working. We can dial and ring the distant phone. But, when will the voice connections be made? The public deserves a clear and detailed account of what happened and why. Don't say you will study it and get back to us later. If you fixed it, what did you fix? (you don't need to study it!) Next, you need to take action to prevent this from ever happening again. When will that be done and by when? Oh and no more bowing and apologizing or resigning - get to work and earn a new and better reputation. Then you can resign if you want. Oh, and NTT are you watching? You could fix your problems too...

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Posted in: KDDI mobile customers across Japan hit by prolonged network troubles See in context

@Mocheake You imply that there is a first-rate outfit. Who would that be? Both NTT and KDDI have had widespread mass outages lasting more than 24 hours over the last 8 months.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Posted in: KDDI mobile customers across Japan hit by prolonged network troubles See in context

In many countries, there are technical requirements for reliability, redundancy, and security. Does Japan have such standards? Now that NTT and KDDI have had major widespread outages, I doubt it. It's time for the government to take responsibility for communications away from MITI and create a separate agency to manage communications.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Posted in: Tokyo ward rejects couple's marriage registry under separate surnames See in context

Some cities in Japan allow separate surnames. Japan has a long way to go with this. Japanese banks still don't allow joint accounts, they still have heads of households, some people with names using three kanji can't fill out forms properly, etc. By the way, what is the purpose of half-width katakana, and half-width alphanumeric characters? Do they think full-size characters won't fit in the computer storage? The DX revolution can't come soon enough.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: U.S. naval officer in Japan faces prison over deadly crash See in context

Don't Japanese courts require evidence and proof of claims made in court? What's all this stuff about "the judge seemed skeptical" and "the Judge said maybe"? In a real court, you need experts to clarify these possibilities, not the judge's skepticism. And then there's the part about 28 days of solitary confinement... Aren't people presumed innocent until proven guilty? (I know, I know, the police get away with this all the time.) Oh, and one more thing, where was the US Embassy while all this was going on? In the end precious lives were lost and damage was done. Let's see if the justice system can work in a proper way.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: Gov't to fight damages suit filed by family of dead Sri Lankan See in context

First of all, I hope she wins. Secondly, when an individual sues a government it's not fair because governments have unlimited funds. So, to make things fair, the government should pay her legal costs, win or lose. Or if they don't want to pay her costs, the government should be obligated to pay 100 times the asked damages if she wins. By the way, is anyone in jail yet?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

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.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

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 )

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