Robert Cikki comments

Posted in: N Korea fires suspected long-range missile designed to hit mainland U.S. See in context

Hamada, the Japanese defense minister, called the launch "a reckless act that threatens Japan as well as the region and the international community."

As always. Like every time for the last two decades. An expression of concern. Looking into things. More excel spreadsheets and meetings. And that is pretty much it.

You know what I wonder? Our government is all macho talk, but I'm not sure if it came down to actual situation, if it would even be capable of doing anything concrete.

The two highest officials of our neighbours are complete nutters. Well, the Chinese president probably does too, but at least he has some sort of rational view.

And all we do is just express strong dissatisfaction and condemn.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: N Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan; some trains suspended See in context

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters the latest firing "is a reckless act and I strongly condemn it." and that the government would continue to gather and analyse information

In other words - same as last time and before and before. They're always just gathering information and analyzing. You'd almost think they've gathered more than enough information over the decade and could at least pretend some activity. So far they have always just condemned it and got nothing out of it.

Currently, any clown would do the same job as up until now.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Kremlin says referendum result paves way to annex part of Ukraine See in context

Did anyone expect anything else?

Something like the lies that Russia wasn't going to invade Ukraine, days before they invaded.

Russian propaganda just copy+pastes the same narrative about how the people there have been waiting 8 years for this day. Same narrative, mostly the same russisms and the phrase "it's everywhere on the internet, just search".

Russia has not changed its rhetoric to this day. They've been using it since the Soviet Union invaded Hungary, since Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan. It's always the same. The response to this is then whataboutism "but zem Americans also do that". True - sometimes they change the narrative between "we were invited" and "we have to protect certain group".

10 ( +19 / -9 )

Posted in: Abe's militaristic funeral captures Japan's tense mood See in context

“Former Prime Minister Abe was such a great prominent figure. He brought Japan back to international importance after World War II,” said one of the mourners, Masae Kurokawa, 64.

What? What year is Masae Kurokawa living in? Many people here have gotten into the habit of praising Abe, but only because they don't have an outside view. And also because he was really just a shouting, populist-radical politician.

Abe has done nothing good for this country. His financial reforms have been one big failure. Perhaps the only things he is really known for in the world were his constant excesses, the scandals regarding his wife's strange financing, his connections to the mafia (sorry, "perfectly legitimate businesses"), and his comments/actions regarding the past.

And most importantly, he never took responsibility for anything. For any of his actions. Most of the failures ended up being some reform of the previous failure and so ended up in some fiasco again.

And the main thing not to forget is Nippon Kaigi.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe's controversial state funeral may backfire on Kishida See in context

"May backfire" and "may be forced to dissolve the lower house sometime after his support rate falls below the 30 percent level". That's just mere smokescreen. Everyone who lives here, indeed every citizen, knows that the LDP "wins" elections here. Because those who go to the polls simply vote for someone from the LDP because other members of their family do, or always have.

There is an opposition here. A de-facto "fairly strong" one. The only problem, though, is that they have virtually no access to power. Because people will continue to vote LDP.

However, despite my whining about the above, one thing is quite striking to me.

Huge sums of money are being spent on the protection of political officials. Including protecting Abe. There were police officers everywhere, but they did absolutely nothing at the time. At the first shot they just looked like school kids on a field trip instead of protecting the protected person. Our tax money to protect Abe went out the window. And now they're going to hold a state funeral for an absolutely astronomical sum.

A state funeral for a person who is no longer PM, or an Emperor. A person who was not the de-facto head of state at the time.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Posted in: Chinese-fired ballistic missiles fall into Japan's EEZ: gov't See in context

Oh, watch out, such strong words!!

We demand that China stop. Another group of officials will be assembled within a cabinet. And they'll be wondering how this could have happened. There will be a long debate. Then we will say something and yet actually nothing, "This is a grave issue that concerns our country's national security and the safety of the people". As always. Looking into things, press conference, bowing low level official, new childish mascots "do your best in order not to start war".

As always.

China's reaction was however predictable. Although their mental gymnastics are absolutely sensational.

Taiwan is supposedly part of China, as Beijing claims. So the US representative will visit Taiwan, which China considers part of it, and therefore de-facto according to China, the US representative will visit China. And China then, in response, actually points out that the US representative visited part of China, but that it is not actually part of China.

And Beijing is actually showing that it has no control over Taiwan, which it considers part of itself. In other words, that Beijing-China has no control over its territory, over itself.

You can't make that up.

China may be in the 21st century, but mentally-politically they are still somewhere in the late 17th century. They are unable to keep up within this context and communicate other than by flashing their muscles. It is just that from a position of strength, they are instead showing that the (muscular) king is actually naked.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you consider the A-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be war crimes? See in context

The isolated killing or planned killing of civilians, or actions where the killing of civilians is a foregone conclusion, is simply a war crime. And I frankly don't care if it's called Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Nanking, Bucha, German concentration camps, carpet bombing of German cities, burning of villages by German troops in USSR, the rape of civilians and their subsequent murder by the advancing Red Army during the liberation of Europe, Srebrenica or any other. And it doesn't matter what side did it, for what purpose or under what beliefs. And it also doesn't matter whether one contradicts it within the individual or whether it is ignored at the level of the state or government by revisionism.

They are non-combatants. They, unlike soldiers, generally don't want war, nor do they have the ability to defend themselves to the extent that armed forces do.

Trying to justify it by saying it "shortened the war" is an after-the-fact justification for an act that has already taken place. But it cannot be justified in the future, by consciously or unconsciously planning acts NOW that will lead to civilian deaths later.

That someone tries to justify it with some pseudo-argument aka whataboutism is one thing.

Your personal opinion on this is completely irrelevant. Your personal opinion and trying to justify it with an argument is also irrelevant. Your attempt to justify this with a particular mindset or racism (or other -ism) is also irrelevant.

But it doesn't change the actual thing, the act and the end result. Killing or murdering civilians, during a war and by armed forces IS a war crime.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Posted in: Japan logs ¥2.38 tril goods trade deficit in May; 2nd largest ever See in context

And does that surprise anyone at all? Take a look at the calendar and what's been going on for the last two and a half years.

But there will be only one of two options here - either blame will be placed on we all know who or our government officials will wonder and scratch their heads wondering how this could have happened in the first place and they will endlessly look into it and have meetings, it until everyone forgets what it was all about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Protests resume as Russia seeks to quash invasion critics See in context

According to verbal and non-verbal speeches, Putin has long had no contact with reality. Above all, for the last two years he has been living in his own bubble, in his own quarantine. He is working on pseudo-studies about how the various countries of the former Soviet Union never actually existed and were only given sovereignty by someone and did not exist before. Into this he has implanted the "geroi" vision that in fact the Red Army liberated all of Europe and the Allies only a tiny bit. That everything is controlled by Nazis, fascists. Whether he really believes this or is just delusional is another matter. His neighborhood gets money and pays the old - Whose Bread I Eat, His Song I Sing

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: What do you think is Russian President Vladimir Putin's endgame following the Russian attack on Ukraine? See in context

Russia has not yet come to terms with the developments of the last few decades. All European and, by extension, world countries have come to terms and come to terms with historical developments. Either in their own way with a unique narrative (often revisionism) or they simply drew the line. Russia, however, has not. Their vodka, frustration and violence-fueled rhetoric hasn't changed since the Soviet Union. They blame the West for everything, there are fascists and Nazis everywhere, anyone who can't see that is a fascist or Nazi themselves. Today they use exactly the same arguments as they did when they invaded Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia in 1968. They only change the names or the political direction, but the content is the same. 'We must protect the people who are under pressure from the US'. The Russians are still living with violence, WW2 and being on the winning side.

Whataboutism and trying to blame others is always recurring.

Many people have forgotten the events of recent years. The events of what two "tourists" did in the UK with the poisoning of a former agent, twice. Then the failed attempt in Bulgaria. The successful attempt and explosion of a warehouse in the Czech Republic.

The Russians are aware that the West does not want to be in conflict with them so they are trying more and more. It's like the bigger one in school taking the hand of the smaller one and slapping him with it and laughing "why are you slapping yourself?".

The scenario is the same - with heavy military losses of their own, get "democratically elected" and install a puppet of Moscow. We have seen this many times over the last three decades. It was most visible in Chechnya (take a look at who the father of the current dictator was), since then they are trying to cover it up more.

Of course, the argument to anyone who points this out is classically Kosovo or Yugoslavia. However, they don't mention who was behind it all. Or the pseudo-argument on virtually everything about US bases being placed near Russia and that Russia is just defending itself. That may actually be what uneducated or propaganda and vodka-addled citizens believe.

It is important to remember that Russia is not a partner. A partner does not behave like that. Russia is not a partner, Russia is not behaving like a friend. And we need to start behaving accordingly. Threats that Russia will turn off the gas or oil taps and everyone will be cold - that is simply not what a partner or a friend does.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Posted in: Kishida to join virtual G7 summit over Ukraine crisis See in context

And what will this clown change? Nothing at all. He issues a statement, expresses outrage, maybe our typical "you know, it's complicated and..." and that'll be it. Because for us, Ukraine is far away. And so is Russia, even though we have it a few kilometers from Hokkaido.

We're not going to do anything. Our government will do nothing. No more than some token, embarrassing gesture.

And the way it is being reported here in the media, I don't believe in a symbolic gesture either.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: How the media failed Japan’s most vulnerable immigrants See in context

“The media approaches the immigration debate as an ideological matter, rather than a test of the integrity of Japan’s institutions,” 

Not just the media. Virtually the entire government, except for a few rational-minded individuals.

To this day, Wishma Rathnayake is still referred to as someone who broke the law and was therefore punished. And this is the consensus. Few are even bothering to point out that she may have broken the law, but she was no murderer, thief, etc. She merely stayed longer, without a visa. Which I don't dispute. However, what followed was completely out of line, misguided. Instead of, for example, immediate deportation, she was held for an absurdly long time before she died. So taxpayer money was wasted in addition, instead of our government simply getting rid of the "criminal" by deporting him.

The media here rarely reports on these cases openly, usually it is only according to one narrative - foreigner-broken the law-BROKE THE LAW!!!-Yakuza also breaks the law-for example drugs and murder are breaking the law.... and the conversation turns to a completely different plane, from the original topic.

Practically, there is an equivalence in the media between someone who, for example, overstays a visa and someone who murders someone. Because the result is the same - breaking the law.

It gets mentioned a few times on TV and then the interest wanes.

The public in those "few months" has forgotten what happened in the Wishma Rathnayake case. They forget that someone who was guilty of overstaying his visa died due to negligence.

Our government then issues some statement, or accuses some low-ranking official, issues some directive, floods the public with paperwork, and that's it.

 “That’s not helpful to people in government who are trying to fix the system, because it doesn’t change anybody’s mind. It only inflames existing disagreements.”

I've learned over the decades here that a statement like that just means "it is uncomfortable, don't talk about it. If you talk about it, it's your fault if people start arguing. You want people to argue?".

6 ( +16 / -10 )

Posted in: War fears grow as Putin orders troops to eastern Ukraine See in context

It fascinates me how a few individuals here just copy+paste articles from RT or Sputnik. They don't even bother to change the verbiage a bit, just dull copying.

And popular whatabaoutisms are "Kosovo", "fascism", "It's the West's fault", "genocide in eastern Ukraine", etc.

It just goes to show that Russia is not a partner but an enemy. Frustration prevails in Russia to this day over developments that were of their own making. And instead of self-reflection, they always blame others. They need to hear from the batushka how good they actually have it, that the world is normal for them and the West is trying to hurt them.

The only thing they live on is winning WW2, alcohol, violence and obsession with war.

2 ( +17 / -15 )

Posted in: Japan aims to block sex offenders from jobs in schools, child care See in context

of a new government agency

A lot of people have called for us to have something like a sex offender list here. And that it's not that difficult to arrange with the level of different data collection here. For a long time, there were claims from the government about how impossible or difficult it was and that it would disqualify said person, that it was discriminatory and all that kind of poop.

And so someone came up with this half-assed solution, but in our style - make a simple thing as difficult as possible, absurdly complex. A new gov. agency. Awesome....

Hisashi Sonoda, a professor emeritus of criminal law at Konan University, raised issues such as the risk of information leak on someone's sex crime history and the ambiguity of the definition of sex crimes to be covered under the system.

The system "could lead to the offender becoming a social outcast," he said.

Two sides of the coin. On the one hand, there is a lack of data protection and no one is doing much to prevent it. Unencrypted communication at the authorities, local offices exchanging data via emails with personal data in them,... So I understand this statement. Do you want to know what data an authority has collected about you? Impossible, they won't give you your data. They don't have a procedure, etc. Do you want them to shred your data? Impossible.

However, the "social outcast" is simply what will prevent a sex offender from working with the group in question. Or eliminates a lot of it. Definitely better than the status quo.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Women overtake men in exam pass rate at Japan's medical schools See in context

"Government probe" and "results. The results of a survey are always at the hand of the person who requests them. Almost always the rough edges are sanded down to make the result look less unattractive. Particularly if the phrase "government", "results" and "reported" are in the same sentence, one can be sure that it is quite different. Does anyone here really believe such results, especially in a situation where women are still considered cooks and caregivers and the management of practically anything is dominated by old men 60+? When there is nothing about what qualifications or education someone has, but it's about how old someone is and how long they have been in a position (ignoring effectiveness and actual contribution)?

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Posted in: Japan ramps up diplomacy to help ease Ukraine-Russia tensions See in context

Our so-called diplomacy is only strong when it comes to words. Strong words, strong disagreements. That's all. When it comes time for action, suddenly everything has to be thought through, "it's complicated", and other excuses. As far as Russia is concerned, our so-called diplomacy will do nothing. Because for the last few decades everything goes to the hand of trying to regain the "northern territories" and thus kissing the Russian bums. If anyone trusts our diplomacy, they are either a traditional LDP voter or fresh off the boat.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: China marks 84th anniversary of Nanking Massacre See in context

This will not appear on our television, in news. A large part of our fellow citizens here don't even know about this massacre. For decades, they have tried to suppress it here by calling it an "incident" and various softer names. One of our previous ministers of justice even called it a fabrication. The clown who calls himself the mayor of Nagoya says this never happened. And today's generation doesn't know about it, that is, unless they are more interested in history.

But yeah, I know, revisionism and whataboutism like Uyghurs and stuff. However, coming from China, this sounds hypocritical.

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

Posted in: How well do you understand the pension system in Japan? For example, do you know how to calculate how much you will receive if/when you leave Japan? See in context

> David BrentDec. 7  11:04 am JST

Even after three decades here and acquiring citizenship two decades ago, no one is ever able to explain exactly how the pension system works

You get a login ID and password issued from here:

Yes, but you're talking about a situation where you're already receiving a pension.

I'm talking about the fact that nobody can answer you exactly how it is calculated, the effect on paying taxes, tax deductions, the possibility of transferring it to another country. No one simply knows how it works and attempts to explain it are always "you know, it's complicated". So everyone is happy to get something in the end. But are they getting the right kind of benefit? Nobody knows. What is the formula used to calculate this? No one can tell you exactly and for sure. The effect of inflation? Atp, etc. What I've given are just examples.

Any questions about the pension can also be answered here from the Q&A or by contacting them directly.

No, only the questions that everyone knows the answer to. Those are in the Q&A.

If you ask them, everyone will give you a different answer. And then if you ask in person somewhere in the office, then the staff will tell you it's because of "a different interpretation of the situation by the previous staff".

However, if you are happy to receive a pension and you don't care if you get the right amount, then that's fine, to each his own.

Every few years, with some reform or minor reform, they promise to make the pension system simpler and leaner. So they hire more staff and, as a result, make it even more complicated and messy with loops and dead ends. The pension system here is a complete chaos and an unbelievable mess. But at least it keeps people busy and employed

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't panel OKs 2 draft proposals to preserve Japan's royal family See in context

I can remember several similar revisions in three decades here. Always a "revolutionary idea", however, it always ended up being swept off the table with some absurd excuse as to why it couldn't be done and that it would mean the end of our traditions or the end of something else.

I am a realist. Not an optimist or a pessimist.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Sending a delegation of Japanese officials to the Beijing Winter Olympics would send the wrong signal to the international community because that would be equivalent to condoning of human rights oppression by China. See in context

As always here it is about what someone else thinks, will think or maybe even just that we think what they may think. The rest is not so much a consideration anymore.

Instead of someone thinking and considering what our stake in this is, what good and bad it may bring us, it is simply about the "wrong signal".

The 80-year-old old man in the background who always runs everything always sees the most that if we do this, it may happen that the other side may do the same thing some day. A stuck situation.

Something like rational reasoning, human morality or ordinary code? No, don't bring that in.

Hello Kitty 321Today  10:04 am JST

The Olympics are supposed to be unpolitical.

They are supposed, but never were unpolitical in it's entire history. The original idea alone is political.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Which is better for the environment: an artificial Christmas tree or a natural one? See in context

And what are the input parameters for growing trees or making artificial ones? Only then can the question be answered.

And from what point of view? In terms of energy required for growth or production?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Man arrested for threats to organizer of contentious Tokyo art event See in context

Germany has somehow come to terms with its history. So did Russia, and the Soviet Union, although there is now revisionism and the covering up of everything "negative" by saying like "but there was work and it was safe. Why do you say EVERYTHING was bad! How about the USA and racism there!!!!!".

But here in Japan, it just isn't. Even several decades after the war there are similar people who feel the need to spew their hatred and make such threats. This country refuses to face and deal with its own history, instead it tries to push it forward, just keep pushing it forward.

And it doesn't matter what kind of statue it is, whether or not everything around it was true, etc. It's about the way the disagreement is expressed. Disagreement can be expressed in other ways, in a more sophisticated and, above all, more civilised way than this.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: How well do you understand the pension system in Japan? For example, do you know how to calculate how much you will receive if/when you leave Japan? See in context

exactly as borscht said - Even after three decades here and acquiring citizenship two decades ago, no one is ever able to explain exactly how the pension system works (not what is written on the pamphlet), exactly how much one gets for a certain number of years of pay, what it entails in terms of taxes, and other things.

You want numbers? No one knows exactly and it usually starts with someone saying "You know, it's pretty complicated...". Then they usually read what you can read yourself, or some learned phrases from training. You don't learn anything new, so you usually end up with a pile of other leaflets and possibly some contact to another person... ...who knows as much as the last person.

And it doesn't matter whether you ask the ward office (or any office) or some private consultant - you never really learn anything, except what you already know from the leaflets, which say nothing.

And even native Japanese don't know. I also know from my wife's side of the family that they just end up getting a pension, but whether it's calculated correctly or not, nobody knows.

Now imagine, for example, the basic question of what would happen if I moved to a country in the EU with which we have bilateral relations and a pension situation - absolutely nobody here knows. Some vaguely suspect that it is possible, but most believe that it cannot be done.

The pension system here is an opaque black hole for money. The pension system has been revised in some way so many times that I can't even count.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: IAEA delays Fukushima visit to assess water release due to Omicron See in context

The more and more the IAEA is mentioned in this context, the more it stinks of the following:

a) something unexpected happened, someone made a mistake and e.g. fish are dying in the ocean - "it's the IAEA's fault, they approved it!"

b) tanks with contaminated water rusted, burst, water spilled - "it's the IAEA's fault, we wanted them to approve it and they didn't come!!"

c) everything turned out better than everyone thought, the critics who predicted the death of marine life are now laughable - "you see, you can trust us, TEPCO. We thought it up so well and we told you so! We didn't even need anyone to tell us"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan will no longer allow foreign students to buy duty-free goods See in context

I believe they have not given any thought to all the implications that this move will bring. Just to ask the basic question - what Duty Free actually means for the economy and what the presence of Duty Free means for customers.

Here, a few old heads have simply 'thought it through' and said that this move will stop those who buy large quantities of duty free items and then sell them at higher prices. But as always, the context is not looked at, the context is not thought about here. And that this was a big problem? Well, that's like having a blister on your foot and instead of treating the blister you cut off your whole foot and the other one too, just in case. Yes, the blister is gone...

They could have taken a page from other countries instead. But that would have been too big a problem.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan's military, among world's strongest, looks to build See in context

Probably like everything here, we always have a nice presentation, great facade. But it's always about the weakest link in the chain that is in the background. And that is here, the absence of elementary crisis management, decision-making in critical situations and the difficulty of cooperation outside a certain circle (whether people or technicians). If a new, unexpected situation arises, everything stops and there is debate about how to do what. Except for a few progressive companies, there is no one who would step in and go with the crisis scenario.

Yes, we can do various exercises and drills and we can demonstrate it nicely. It's just that when it comes to breaking bread....

And our, even a complete JSDF force would do nothing against some action by our neighbours. At least against the sheer number of personnel the neighbouring armies have.

But yeah, at least we can boast. Our citizens will not question this at all.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Posted in: If you do not live in Japan, which part of Japan would you like to visit first after the international border reopens without restrictions? See in context

1) Hokkaido

2) Tokyo

3) Shizuoka/Aichi

4) Islands around Okinawa

In 30 years and countless visits, I've never understood the hype about Osaka and its cuisine.

In my experience, it's one of the worst places in all of Japan. However, if one looks at it through a TV perspective or a tourist guidebook where Osaka is always IN, then Osaka is a cool place... although it's not.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: It’s frustrating because we were in the middle of preparing to deal with strict self-quarantine measures and coronavirus testing on foreign students. See in context

But this move was to be expected. Many people foresaw this. Think back to last year and the various stimulus measures to improve the economy - many people pointed out that it would come with even more force after the easing because people would lose their caution and many would say "and it's over". Add to that the erratic actions of our government, which, when the going gets tough, puts everything on the prefectures...

Or think of the promises about vaccinations, the bravado about how the virus will be "almost eradicated by the end of October" (ah come on, you get the point), etc. Suddenly no one remembers and everyone looks surprised.

But here it is just an old habit to be silent, not to ask questions, not to challenge illogical decisions, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan suspends new reservations on all incoming flights See in context

Japan banned all foreign visitors starting Tuesday. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the step is an emergency precaution against the new variant. The ban tentatively extends through the end of the year. The government is also requiring Japanese citizens arriving in the country to quarantine for up to 14 days.

And that's the stumbling block. Imagine a situation - a Japanese citizen and a citizen of a foreign country go on a trip together. To any place. They'll be together the whole time, one room in a hotel, not a step apart. Then they want to return to Japan (citizen of a foreign country on a trip here, not a visa holder, etc). The citizen is allowed in, the foreigner is not. Even though they both meet the same criteria. Few of the geniuses give it a second thought. That the virus will just keep on spreading and it won't care what citizenship someone has. And now it doesn't matter that a foreigner just won't look here. It's the principle - that ignores the fact that a citizen can bring the contamination here.

I see it more as a populist gesture and a symbolic washing of their hands over the whole situation.

And perhaps also as a distraction from the core of the situation to something secondary - "newcomers, especially tourists and foreigners. After all, we let our citizens in!"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: We don't have any politicization here. It is not being viewed through the lens of freedom or individual rights. See in context

I don't think it is, I think the opposite. Vaccines are politicized here too, although not as ostentatiously as in Europe, for example. However, even so, in a rather unique way here - remember "Vaccine Czar". The second difference is that when it comes to a difficult situation, the government often hands it off with the excuse that it is not possible under the constitution.... .... and then pass it on to the prefectural authorities.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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