COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.

robert maes comments

Posted in: Japan car lobby group chief says coronavirus having big impact on sales, output See in context

The car industry was already in a slump, not only because of the recession in Japan and globally.

The car manufacturers keep ignoring that what they produce now is crap. Compare any car build today with a car build before 1980-1985 and tell me, which one you want. 

I can not see the difference between any car models. Few, keep their identity, like Aston Martin, Ferrari but who can tell the difference ( without the logo's ) between a Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, Renault, Fiat and even, I am sorry to say, a Mercedes, Audi or BMW. 

I was a car freak,  I still own some pretty exceptional cars, but for now, only Aston Martin and Ferrari can move me. While I used to also like Alfa Romeo, Mercedes, BMW but the last 2 made their last nice cars over 20 years ago. Alfa made a great 8C and 4C but they don't know how to sell.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan's aid organization recalls all 1,900 volunteers due to virus See in context

I agree with all 3 comments above.

They are safer where they are and bringing them back is an unnecessary risk for Japan.

But I would see it is completely in line with the complete chaotic reaction by government here so far.

I say the people in line to watch the Olympic flame yesterday, pure madness.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: IOC says no need for any drastic decisions on Tokyo Olympics See in context

Pure madness and the shift of the european football championships means that the national leagues will resume sometime in May/ June and that means that the clubs will not release their -23 players for the Olympics. Nor the 3 allowed + 23 players per team.

besides that i get daily calls from worried managers, coaches, athletes.

2021 or no Games, the IOC is acting completely irresponsibly

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe says G7 supports 'complete' Games, but polls back postponement See in context

May I offer some insight as I work on the 2020 Olympics and other major events.

the IOC is the rightsholder of the Games and allows a Local organising committee to organize the Games under the IOC’s control. It is correct that the IOC can cancel or postpone the games but it is impossible for the IOC to organize them without the LOC, or the Japanese governments support. Which means that Japan’s LOC decides in practical terms if they are held or not. For now, LOC is in the driving seat and they should push for postponement. As, the IOC for legal and contract reasons might prefer cancellation.

2021 is indeed the rational and also positive solution. But 2022 is more difficult with Winter Olympics in Beijing and Worldcup football.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Experts foresee Tokyo Games without spectators if virus lingers See in context

Prof Munehiko Harada, I am sorry to say that you are a self proclaimed shoebox expert and what you suggest is ridiculous. The games without spectators ?  What about the athletes health ?  the volunteers ? Staff ? Officials ? tv crews and journalists ?

What about the commercial benefits if no one comes to stay in hotels, goes to restaurants, do not buy merchandise ? Airlines ? 

Sir, I am a real expert. I worked on the Olympics starting with Nagano. I represent gold medalists, world recordholders, I organized F1 races and track and field events, and i work with global Olympic sponsors as well as with local sponsors. Your suggestion is that of a man disconnected from reality. 

The only, and very realistic and viable solution, which even brings a lot of advantages, is to postpone the games to 2021. That will be done also with the European football championships planned for June this year. 

I pity your students if they have to listen to you proclaiming so much nonsense.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: World Athletics chief Coe says: 'We'll be in Tokyo' See in context

Sebastion Coe is in the pockets of Nike and one of the most hypocritical people i know and have ever worked with.

sebastion coe, all is life has defended vividly one cause : Sebastian Coe.

He was a great athlete, he is a small man.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan aims to double agriculture, fishery and forestry exports to ¥2 tril by 2025 See in context

How about giving us the same prices for Japanese fruits and vegetables in Japan than they charge oversees which would mean dropping prices by 50 to 75 % ?

This must be the only country in the world where locals pay double or more for Domestic product compared to the prices paid for Japanese product anywhere else.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Rugby World Cup 2019 profit estimated at ¥6 billion See in context


Well, first of all 67 Billion yen is not 6,7 billion USD but only 650 Million USD roughly. Bit of a difference.

And you seriously want us to believe they made a 10 % net profit on that ?  Of course if half of the expenses are not counted as operational expenses but taken on by local governments it is possible. 

All tickets sold ? I saw more than half of the Kameiichi stadion filled with high school kids. 

I do not mind some over optimistic reporting in these times, but do keep it credible.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Bach tries to boost Olympic morale in Japan See in context

Before it became apparent that Japan would have an outbreak I suggested to the Chinese Olympic Committee and to IOC to have the Chinese athletes and teams send here early and pre quarantine them. Makes no sense now as the Japan situation is not safer than the one in Chine outside of the Wuhan and surrounding regions.

not considering a postponement with one year by IOC is frankly speaking irresponsible. But the reason is that , for IOC only a cancellation is better than postponement even if for all other parties involved postponement with one year is completely viable and not a major problem. It is a lot of work. IOC knows a decision must be made much earlier, latest mid April so broadcasters can replace content and sponsors postpone their hospitality programs.

even if the coronavirus would disappear in the coming 2 weeks, foreign attendance will be seriously impacted. As would the legacy of Tokyo2020.

But in 2021 the games could get their full potential fulfilled and , as a sportsmarketing expert with + 25 years in Japan I can make the case for 2021 with all rational for all parties involved.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Q&A: Things to know about Tokyo Olympics and spreading virus See in context

There is no major hurdle to move the Games to july, even sept 2021.

if not, many top athletes and teams will be no shows, and forget about hotels and airlines fully booked, that is not even the case if no virus problem.

broadcasters can reschedule if they know latest end of March, athletes can adjust, extra costs are minimal IF good management is brought in.

but postponing a few months that is impossible just as moving the games to another city.

I was the first to say it and sat it here again, the games must and will be postponed

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Virologist: Olympics could not be held now; hopeful for July See in context

Games must and will be postponed to 2021. July, better September.

everyone involved needs time to readjust. A few months postponement is impossible. A year can be managed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Too early to say whether virus threatens Olympics, WHO says See in context

The only right decision is postponement.  Not with a few months, with a year and 2 months to September 2021.

Anybody has a question why that is not only, no problem but actually beneficial for nearly all parties, feel free to ask me

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Nissan shareholders blast management over Ghosn scandal, dismal results See in context

Ceo said he would “accept” being fired if he fails.

what an arrogance, would not even resign to take responsibility but take the compensation money.

and he won’t need to be fired because if he fails, seems he did already, Nissan will be bankrupt

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Kumamoto strives to attract visitors 4 years after earthquakes See in context

kumamoto is really great for a relaxing holiday of 2 to 4 days.

completely agree with the other posters here. Every city and prefecture have great food and drinks, not a reason to visit just an expected plus in Japan.

It’s a pity all these places dont know how to promote themselves, keep trowing money at JTB , Dentsu with no result but don’t hire foreign expertise.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Kumamoto strives to attract visitors 4 years after earthquakes See in context

I brought the Belgian national football team to Kumamoto in 2002 for the worldcup football. With much help and sponsorship from Tokyo Elektron. It took me 3 years of negotiations. Kumamoto pref paid my company, and I dropped the last instalment as a gift to them. They dropped me in return. I still think the facilities were the best in Japan, TEL was fantastic. But as soon as my work was done, Kumamoto wanted to take the credit and instead of a promised statue ( of course just matter of speaking ) I got dropped.

i am glad and proud I could do this job for Kumamoto as people there are genuine and a great place but very sad I got treated like this.

I can do a lot more for them but it will require apologies first.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Asahi says Korean beer boycott cost it ¥3 billion last year See in context

The company expects a profit rise of 1 % ?

wait a minute

1) we will see about 500.000 less Chinese visitors per month in japan

2) the Japan population will decline by 600.000 people just in 2020.

3) the Korean boycott continues

4) exports to China will not increase

5) domestic consumption was on a continuous decline anyway

so, more profit can only come from cost cutting, doubt Asahi is any better at that than marketing

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Posted in: Asahi says Korean beer boycott cost it ¥3 billion last year See in context

Another proof of the total ignorance on marketing in Japan.

as one person remarks here with just a tiny bit of creative thinking this beer could have been used for events, university party, donations. It was a unique opportunity for Asahi but they could come up with nothing better but to destroy it. Yes, it would have meant even a bit less sales as free beers means not sold beers but the marketing, branding, CR or PR gains would have made it worthwhile.

if the destroyed beer was in Korea, even a better opportunity but it would have required some more marketing skills. Of course if you count on Dentsu for your creative thinking...

even this senior executive doesn’t have the sense to keep this out of the public eye. Promote him to chief marketing exec. He has all the qualities

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Posted in: Renault reports first loss in a decade See in context

All these car manufacturers live in denial. The reason why they all sell less is because the cars of today are pure crap compared to the cars of yesteryear.

it is impossible to distinguish a Renault from a BMW or a Hyundai. A Honda from a fiat or a Peugeot.

no character, no design, no beauty, just tin cans on wheels.

design and marketing are a joke.

make a nice car, and I ll buy it

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: No Plan B for Olympics; questions remain over Chinese presence See in context

There is a totally valid option and that is to organize in 2021. There is no reason not to do that. Extra real cost is n’t a problem. Using hotel and flight booking as an excuse is ridiculous as cancellations are poring in. Sponsors can’t get confirmations from their hospitality guests.

no problem for the broadcasters if they are informed by mid April. Postponing with a few months, that is not an option.

my company has prepared a study and it is a totally viable and sensible option to move to 2021

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Is it too early to make a decision on whether or not to cancel or defer the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games due to the outbreak of the coronavirus? See in context

Not cancelled, postponed and there are only positives for all parties involved in doing so as quickly as possible.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Kyoto tourist crowds disappearing due to coronavirus outbreak See in context


Maybe they will stop asking me if I can speak Mandarin when I go to LVMH or Burberry now.  My wife and I as long time customers of luxury brands where treated like 2nd rate clients, as we are not Chinese.

The same in all those tourist destinations, 5 star hotels. As soon as they saw someone from mainland China they dropped everything.

Now, they are so kind to us again. 

Service does not exist anymore, only sales and any problem after that, is your problem.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: World Athletics approves controversial Nike shoes for Tokyo Olympics See in context

of course they do. Mr Coe’s close contacts with Nike are a public secret

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Sunwolves open final Super Rugby season with win over Rebels See in context

This article is another example of why rugby can not sustain itself commercially. Rugby is very very physical as a sport and has increasingly become a power game instead of a speed game. It is also a very injury sensitive sport. Those are facts. As a result, it is not suitable for many people. When you are 60 kg and fast and you get rammed in the side by a 170 kg guy, that hurts. A second problem is that management of rugby, at any level, confuses loving a sport with managing a sport. You do not go to a potential sponsor asking him to sponsor because he loves rugby.  Next problem.  Rugby is macho, even women rugby.  But it is not sexy, it is not elegant. It is rough, basic and that is why a number of people love it.  Great. The problem is, that is a limited number of people but rugby can not give up the illusion, not only a dream, that it will ever get as big as football, baseball, basketball, golf or tennis to name a few sports. As long as realism does not set in, professional rugby is doomed. They have been living for years above their means. In Japan, rugby can not grow. It is a simple fact. Professionals, managers like me. We accept facts, and leave the dreaming to players and fans. They should dream. They should love.  But commercials and operational managers should manage and that does not happen in rugby. Chest beating is what happens.

The Topleague can not survive on a profit/loss basis. It only survives because a number of big companies are willing to pick up the bills. First they support budgets and than they pick up the tap at the end of the season. 

That has nothing to do with professional management. 

May I crush another hyped up story here ? sold 2,3 million tickets at the rugby world cup. That is nothing less but a miracle because the total capacity was about 1, 9 million over all stadiums and games. 

And about the 400,000 to 500,000 extra visitors during the world cup ? In October 2019, there were 144,000 less people visiting Japan than in Oct 2018.  And 9000 less in November 2019 than in Nov 2018. 

Rugby is in for a hard landing. I am not happy about that. I am a professional in sports management and facing facts. Declining population, less active youth, competition from football and baseball to name just the top 2, by far.  Rugby has a place in Japan, but it has to know its place to survive or I fear the worst

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Foreign travelers now spend more money in Japan than ever before; surprise country at top of list See in context

Is this a deliberate effort or ignorance?

the Vietnamese “ tourists” mainly come to work in Japan and I for one Welcome them very much as they are hard workers.

the spending are living expenses or what they buy to take home after their visa’s nearly expire.

I am happy for everyone of them if they made some money here and thank them for their hard work.

some honesty in statistics would also be a welcome novelty

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Anxiety about Wuhan's isolation mounting among Japanese firms See in context

Waiting for the first cruise ship case. With so many Chinese people taking cruises a matter of days before they have to lock down the entire ship, pax and crew

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 15-year-old Gauff upsets Osaka at Australian Open See in context

gentlemen, ladies,

it is not an upset victory. You are looking at the future nr 1 for many years.

miss Gauff is an athlete, already a personality and very composed.

Miss Osaka’s problems have nothing to do with tennis. Already she has lost focus. that is not a criticism. It is a fact. She must spent hours on how she looks, and how to please. Please the press, crowd, ...

Incredible but true she misses self confidence. She needs a mental coach or rather a confidante. This is not going good and i am not talking about tennis. There are other ghosts.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Posted in: Rakuten to expand free mobile phone trial before full-service launch See in context

Read my lips. This full service is not going to happen and if Mikitani San persists with it, it is going to bankrupt rakuten.

to gain marketshare he will be forced to sell at a loss, he will be matched by the other 3 , step for step.

but i hope the other shareholders call a halt in time to this megalomanic nonsense which also sees him spend billions on sports sponsorship without any strategy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan confirms 2nd new coronavirus infection See in context

I think the “ accommodation” where he stayed should be disclosed. Not good for business but necessary for public health.

Also, a very selfish man, travelling from, Wuhan, 5 days after having a possible infection.

screening at entry points is useful but not a guarantee no infected people enter. Still, anyone stopped might save many from getting sick.

those who have their doubts about the severity of this have never lived in China where everything is covered up until the lid explodes of the pot. There must be hundreds of death and thousands infected or Xi would never allow these draconian measures off locking 8 cities down. If panic strikes there, he needs to send in the army.

a very dangerous political situation for Xi.

Japan has a difficult choice to make but must make it now. Bar tourist group and individual tourist for a period of 2 months or more and face huge economical consequences or face a health risk. A risk only at this point but the time to make a decision either way is short. If not acted upon it will be decided by the virus. We have much more chance it will be minimum, the impact, it is just about how lucky the Japanese government feels. Bit of a casino test.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: Russia, heat cloud Tokyo Olympics with six months to go See in context

Are ‘t we conveniently forgetting a few things?

1) the stealing of the first logo design

2) the cancellation of an iconic Olympic stadion design

3) forgetting at the Olympics there is an Olympic caldron in the design of the 2nd stadium

4) the bacterial problems in Tokyo bay, unsolvable

5) detection of asbestos in a water event stadium

6)the problems between South Korea and Japan

7) the corona virus and onset of epidemics

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: 'Hostage justice?' Japan fights back with an internet FAQ See in context

Relevant to this, I had the “ pleasure” to be detained in Taiwan. I was kept for 27 days in a filthy 10m2 cell ( I was later declared completely innocent) 24hr light, no lawyer for 16 days, no notice even why I was detained. They tried to make me sign blanc documents, or in Chinese which I could not read. I was beaten and tortured for the first 12 days. They cracked my cheekbone and I lost 8 teeth. I was not allowed a doctor for 5 days , when I did I was told to pay and he never even came close enough to examine me. No bath or shower. Only 2 buckets of cold water a day for 3 drink, wash, and wash clothes. No bed, one bad blanket and a concrete floor. I later was informed I was held on a 14 year old complaint, easy to proof it had no substance and I got a full innocent verdict. But only after they stopped me from travel for 5 months, even with an innocence verdict 3 months earlier because of a later dropped appeal. Compared to that Japan is much better which does not mean it is right in any way.

worst thing about this misfortune happened in Japan as the Arkbark agency “helping” me keep my dogs , my 2 brothers refuses already for 3 years to return them. So torture after torture, completely inhuman to me and to my dogs

6 ( +9 / -3 )

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