Japan Today

Robert Cikki comments

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 )

Posted in: Tokyo Olympic Games uniforms for 28,000 volunteers remain unused See in context

More than 1.7 billion yen was spent in procuring the uniforms, with Japan preparing for at least 48,000 volunteers

I guess I'm not good at math somehow, because a simple division gives me an astronomical amount for one uniform. I can't believe it....

....No, not really. The total cost of the uniforms was much lower, but the rest was split by various politicians, organizers, surplus staff, etc. I've seen so many situations like this in three decades that I'm not really surprised anymore. If the citizens pay for it and don't even mind, then why not actually rip them off. No one here is going to dispute that, questioning and asking how that is possible. When politicians throw helicopter money around again in some form, people will forget the previous excesses. And the most that will happen is that someone will say "but we couldn't have known" or "exceptional situation". しょうがない and stuff

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Posted in: Ex-PM Abe to visit Malaysia as special envoy See in context

As many people predicted and foretold - he will resign for health reasons, withdraw from public life for a while and be almost unheard of. Someone "weaker" will take his place. Then he'll reappear and people will say "yes, he was better than that weakling". And since he is now "out" of politics, it is much easier to deal with the corruption that thrived so much under his rule. He's just not a politician anymore so it's "different corruption".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Domino’s Japan’s new sextuple topping pizzas come with special chopsticks to eat them See in context

Pizza in general is horribly overpriced here. Consider what it's made of and how it's made. The fact that pizza is so expensive here is simply because it is a "foreign exclusive". Just add the label 'made from Italian wheat' somewhere, even though there is maybe a tenth of a percent of Italian wheat, and it can be sold for an outrageous sum. And people here want to pay for it.

Or pizza margherita - virtually zero production costs, no special ingredients. A perfectly trivial and basic pizza. And yet here it is only slightly cheaper than, say, a tuna and corn pizza. Which doesn't make financial or logical sense.

But considering how much a slice of pizza cost here in the late 80s and today, I believe that in another 30 years pizza will cost about the same here as anywhere else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kei Komuro pays ¥4 mil settlement over family financial dispute See in context

OK, it's money from our pockets, our taxes, if it took 4 years, he certainly didn't magically make it. Okay, it pisses me off, my money. However, at least now our tabloid media can give them a break. I don't like him one bit, the whole thing stinks, but it's none of the media's or the public's business. Let them live their own lives. Just stop it already. It's a disgusting hunt for two people.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: What do you think are some of the major differences between J-pop and K-pop music? See in context

As David Brent, J-Pop is utter rubbish, K-pop is slightly less rubbish. K-pop is at least "trying" (i want to insert triple doublequotes) something new, some new faces, etc. But J-pop churns out "artists" like a copy machine. Same faces, same tunes, plodding along without any deeper interest or talent. It kind of feels like K-Pop comes up with something and J-Pop just copies it a year later.

Like AKB48, SKE48, NMB48... I don't think they're even trying to hide that they're just raking in the money and can't do anything else than that.

But either way, K-Pop and J-Pop strikes me as sound, not music. They're both rubbish.

It's like with everything here - you come up with something new and instead of evolution and further development, you just stand still and live off the fact that it used to be cool and new and unorthodox... yeas prior.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Shinkansen conductor caught playing GPS smartphone game on train…for 10 years See in context

What strikes me more about this whole thing is that it took 10 years. And judging by the playing time during the ride, it's even more astonishing. That it didn't come up during some random inspection, or any inspection at all... I reckon he's the only one who's going to have a problem from all this, but no one thinks to look at his employer anymore and how it could have gone unnoticed for so long.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. drug overdoses top 100,000 in pandemic year See in context

At the same time, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has warned Americans about prescription pills available online that are made to look...

Buying prescription-only drugs over the internet at a suspicious price is not a privilege, it is a choice.

And if someone argues that addiction is to blame, then maybe it's worth using your brain a bit and thinking about what caused the addiction. Or, who caused it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Docomo develops blade-free drone fitted with high-res camera and LEDs See in context

Haaa NemuiNov. 17  07:51 am JST

Sounds like a helium filled balloon to me.

Lately, everything where there is an algorithm, however primitive, "AI" and other buzzwords. Anything that needs to be sold somehow just needs to be wrapped in some buzzword and that's enough here. So in this case it is a "drone", what does it matter that it is just a helium filled balloon with a couple of LEDs and an ultrasonic drive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Man arrested for abusing 2-year-old girl See in context

I had warned the child because she was messing around, but she wouldn’t listen to me.

That's a new, another fine excuse. I will keep that in my drawer with other excuses like "I didn't know it was illegal", "I don't remember because i was drunk", "I had a fight with my wife and I was frustrated".

And still there's this consensus that we don't need a list of sex offenders and child abusers in here and that we are fine without it.. Right?

In many other countries, these monsters get punishment that we wouldn't dream of here. Here? They get out of jail "pretty quickly". Because "hey, the baby was crying and it was loud and he just couldn't take it anymore". In more than three decades here, I can't recall a case where the perpetrator of any offense against children received any substantially long sentence coupled with post-sentence treatment..

Such crimes really make my blood boil.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Apple to start letting people fix their own iPhones See in context

What's the catch? Or what's the catch? A ton of glue, special screws and thousands of dollars worth of equipment or otherwise make it more complicated? But then they'll claim "but we give you the right to fix it, not like we used to...". I smell Malicious Compliance with apple flavour

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Do you think children of past generations had better manners than kids today when it comes to gestures like saying "please," "thank you" and showing respect for their elders? See in context

They always say things like that. That there used to be better music, that there used to be better movies, that there used to be better women, that the food tasted better, that the grass was greener,... In the '80s, I was told that my generation was worse than the '70s. And my father was told the same thing by his father. Then it was said that the 80s generation behaved better than the current generation. And on and on. It's nonsense.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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