Robroy comments

Posted in: NASA celebrates Webb telescope anniversary with close-up of stellar birth See in context

... Its twenty-year mission: to explore strange new worlds... to boldly show what no one has seen before!

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Posted in: Roles of U.S. 'Japan hands' in flux See in context

And, it's not as if Edwin Oldfather Reischauer was a "native of Japan"

Even though he was born in Tokyo in 1910 he was an American.

As for the rest of the above article - Roles of 'U.S. Japan Hands' in flux - it seems just as hazy as the claim about E.O. Reischauer's origins.

For a clearer and more complete view of the current geopolitical state of the world one can think in terms of the following -

The US and it's European & Asian allies would like to keep in place the world order that has existed since the end of WWII & the subsequent Korean War.

That means US first with Russia(USSR) and now China(PRC) vying for second/third as world powers. (No other countries come close to vying for the gold, silver & bronze positions.)

Contemporary Russia, under Putin, and China, under Shi, have decided to challenge the existing 'unipolar' world order. Wishing to have a tripolar one with the US pushed back out of Europe and E. Asia into the Americas (with influence over only the halves of the Atlantic & Pacific Oceans closest to US shores).

The last time such a challenge existed was when Germany, in Europe, and Japan, in Asia asserted themselves in the period 1930-1945.

Russia is the new Germany and China the new Japan as far as the US and it's preferred world order goes.

Of course, the contemporary great powers have to be more circumspect than those of the 1930s & early 1940s due to the great advances in weapons and other technologies since WWII.

However, basically, the Great Game still goes on - between those three great contemporary powers - bigger, better and more all-encompassing than ever before.

Other countries only play supporting bit parts or sit on the sidelines.

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Posted in: Japan's 'anti-Russian course' makes treaty talks impossible: TASS See in context

... look what happened in Afghanistan after negotiations between the Taliban and the US. Nobody negotiates honestly. Actions are what matter.

Your points JoshK are all debating ones fit only for a legal argument that attempts to exonerate moderm Russia

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Posted in: Japan's 'anti-Russian course' makes treaty talks impossible: TASS See in context


I'm not really seeing your point. Countries and empires lose territory all the time. The Roman Empire, Mongol Empire, European colonization, Germany post-WW1, California and Texas, etc. Why should Japan's loss be viewed differently? If you're advocating for a return of all Kuril islands, then should Germany reclaim Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia and parts of eastern France?


No, no, no, none of the above.

My point is nothing any good is going to happen by negotiation

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Posted in: Japan's 'anti-Russian course' makes treaty talks impossible: TASS See in context

By the way, in case you think what I posted above is also "completely irrelevant to this situation" -- it is not. The reason why Japan will not be getting the islands in question back from Russia is because we live in a world in which might is right.

And, gone are the days when you could buy territory as the United States did when it acquired Louisiana from Napoleon I or Alaska from Alexander II. These days such tracts of land are priceless and strategic islands are not for sale to any potential adversary.

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Posted in: Japan's 'anti-Russian course' makes treaty talks impossible: TASS See in context


You miss the point - empires sign away their rights to territory in unequal peace treaties dictated by their victorious enemies.

As I explained, above, the way to reverse the terms of the treaty is to go, or threaten to go, another round of military conflict when confident of winning it or actually winning it.

Do not be surprised if one day in the future China redraws it's border with Russia after it becomes strong enough to dictate terms.

The question is - can China succeed in redrawing first its maritime borders with the USA and it's allies? Starting with the successful implementation of the "Nine-Dash-Line", in the S. China Sea, followed by the re-acquisition of Taiwan and the demilitarisation of the Korean peninsula??

This may all take centuries to achieve but China has the longest unbroken civilisation in history and more than 5-year plans.

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Posted in: Japan's 'anti-Russian course' makes treaty talks impossible: TASS See in context

No use negotiating territorial disputes with Russia, America or China - since the Russians began to expand our of Eastern Europe across the Ural mountains into Asia in about 1500 they have hardly looked back unless opposed militarily.

By the year 1651 they established a fort on the Amur river -

Albazino is a village in Skovorodinsky District of Amur Oblast, Russia, noted as the site of Albazin, the first Russian settlement on the Amur River. Before the arrival of Russians, Albazino belonged to the Daur people, the Mongolic peoples indigenous to this area. (Wikipedia)

After a siege - by Chinese forces of the Qing dynasty - Albazino was abandoned by the Russians under the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689...

By threatening war with the Qing dynasty during the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64) Russia managed to reverse the above setback...

Following the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 the Russians re-established Albazino and established much of the modern border between Russia and China.

Much as the United States conquered the South and West of N. America so, at about the same time and pace, Russia conquered Central and N. Asia.

As George Orwell predicted in 1948 we now have three contending world powers - USA (Oceania), Russia (Eurasia) and China (East Asia).

"War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength."

George Orwell, 1984

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Posted in: We know nine Japanese people were among foreigners who entered Ukraine to fight against Russia as of Aug 5. See in context

@Lord Dartmouth: there's a need to untwist your words. At least you are talking straighter now. The long history of imperialism & colonialism continues today in a less widespread and prominent manner than in the previous five centuries.

Japan and Germany were defeated in 1945 after their late entry into the 19th century scramble for empire and colonies.

The USA, Russia & China were the victors in 1945 (contrary to popular belief the British and other European empires were not victors - they were losers on the winning side).

So, the big three continue the Great Game of world domination each in their own fashion - at present the Russian fashion is old-fashioned naked aggression.

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Posted in: We know nine Japanese people were among foreigners who entered Ukraine to fight against Russia as of Aug 5. See in context

@Lord Darmouth

For someone who "didn't 'forget' to mention it" you seem to be in need of constant reminders - "About 1.5 million Japanese in Manchuria, Korea and northern China became prisoners of the Soviets, many of whom spent years in prison camps." The defending Kwantung Army consisted of about half that number.

Have you any tears for those noncombatants who were imprisoned (you used the word 'internment') for years and subject to the same kind of brutal inhuman treatment meted out to prisoners in Soviet Siberian gulags?

The behaviour of Soviet troops towards civilians in Germany and in Manchuria in 1945 was criminal. The behaviour of Russian troops in the Ukraine in 2022 is the same.

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Posted in: We know nine Japanese people were among foreigners who entered Ukraine to fight against Russia as of Aug 5. See in context

Lord Dartmouth, above -

"... The media has whipped up the old hatred against Russia, which seems to be largely based on:

1) The seizure of the Southern Kuriles in 1945 in which about 1000 Japanese troops and about 2000 Soviet were killed/wounded.

2) The internment of many Japanese POWs in Siberia after the war...."

Lord D forgot to mention the following background -

"Stalin brought forward the invasion of Manchuria due to the dropping of the atomic bomb. On 8 August the Soviet Union entered the war against Japan at midnight. Soviet forces invaded the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (Manchuria) under the command of Marshal Aleksandr Vasilevsky with 1.6 million soldiers. They achieved complete surprise, outgunning and outflanking the defending Japanese Kwantung Army of 713,000 troops, commanded by General Otozo Yamada. The advancing Soviets claimed to have killed 84,000 Japanese soldiers and captured almost 600,000. About 1.5 million Japanese in Manchuria, Korea and northern China became prisoners of the Soviets, many of whom spent years in prison camps." (Imperial War Museums)

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Posted in: Japan accepted 74 refugees in 2021, highest on record See in context

NB - in the above post "There's completion among... " Should be There's competition...

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Posted in: Japan accepted 74 refugees in 2021, highest on record See in context

"According to the Immigration Services Agency of Japan, the largest number of refugees, at 32, came from Myanmar, followed by China, with 18 refugees coming, Afghanistan, with nine, Iran four, Yemen three, Uganda and Cameroon two each, and Iraq, Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan one each."

Of course this is tokenism.

There's completion among the world's rich countries to see who can gain the most politically correct credit from admitting refugees and "asylum seekers".

Merkel's actions in Germany on that subject were an example of the leader of a nation gaining popularity at home and abroad with those who agree with her actions (and never mind those who didn't).

The whole thing was quite remarkable - a country that had nothing much to do with Syria and Iraq, historically, took in people who owed their predicament more to the Americans, British and French than to the Germans.

There was the old German-Turkish link to consider - as has been pointed out above - the Turks were hosting many of the refugees who were to end up being invited into Germany.

Also, there was already a long established immigration policy in Germany of allowing in Turkish "guest workers" - a million, or more of them over time.

Where does that kind of example leave Japan and it's leaders? Unable to respond in exactly the same way, I'd say.

The factors which made Germany able to respond in that way do not exist in Japan to a great enough degree to make such a magnificent gesture possible.

And, I am sorry to add, all such things are only a gestures. The majority of ordinary people in countries that emit high numbers of refugees and "asylum seekers" do not have the wherewithal to become the kind of people seeking entry into the rich countries.

They mainly have to stay put and put up with all the hardships in their benighted countries that those with enough money and connections can seek to escape from.

The Ukraine situation is a special case - there's lots of competition in Europe to help the refugees and most Ukrainian refugees hope to return home, if possible, in the not too distant future.

There,'s probably not much point in a large number of such people relocating to such a different environment as exists in Japan.

On the other hand, Chinese and Southeast Asians - such as the Burmese, Vietnamese, Indonesians, Filipinos, etc. - may feel more able to live and work in Japan, as the Turks do in Germany.

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Posted in: Exhibit showcasing UK-Japan royal relationship opens in London See in context

Perhaps you could have phrased your post along the following lines -

A past in which the servants of Empire both civilian and military, took oaths to do their duty only to find they'd been put in impossible positions by those above them.

Perhaps we should all look to the future while not forgetting the past.

Who can fathom the mysteries of moderation?

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Posted in: Exhibit showcasing UK-Japan royal relationship opens in London See in context

Thank you for that timely reminder, socrateos.

As you may know the United Kingdom does not have a written constitution (Aristoteles wrote about the constitution of Athens and other ancient Greek states)) of the kind Japan now possesses.

I am not sure where that leaves us.

Nor am I sure where that leaves the people of the United Kingdom.

I do believe that the sovereign power in the UK resides in the "Crown in Parliament".

The only time the people of the United Kingdom are said to have something like sovereignty is when they fleetingly cast their votes in a General Election.

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Posted in: Exhibit showcasing UK-Japan royal relationship opens in London See in context

One might ask -

What is the difference between an empire and a kingdom? (Besides the fact that one is headed by an emperor/empress while the other is headed by a king/queen.)

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Posted in: Exhibit showcasing UK-Japan royal relationship opens in London See in context

The following link is to an article about the exhibition and contains a couple of pictures plus a description of some of the works of art -

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Posted in: NZ police probe mosque attack links after man dies in stand-off See in context

The 'sad' thing about it all is NZ allowing dangerous individuals into the country.

Also a little 'sad' is the standard of English -

"... The whole gambit of what would otherwise be described as intrusive activity," he (NZ Minister Andrew Little) told the New Zealand Herald.

The correct word to use in the quoted sentence is 'gamut' not gambit.

The gamut of "intrusive activity" he has authorised is a political 'gambit".

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Posted in: Japan keen to do post-Brexit trade deal quickly: UK trade minister See in context

I don't agree,Aly. Japan is a bigger player in the trade world than the Australia, Canada and New Zealand combined. And, if Japan wants UK armed forces support in its region then it should think carefully about its strategic position.

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Posted in: Rubella infection cases in Japan quintuple from previous year See in context

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Posted in: Deaths from heatstroke quadruple to 96 people in July in Tokyo See in context

High temperatures plus high humidity lead to higher death rates.

The human body needs to sweat in order to dissipate heat.

If not body temperature will rise and when it is above 40C (105F) brain and cardiovascular functions will change for the worse with danger of death if the body temperature is not reduced to normal levels.

A study just concluded by MIT predicts that the North China Plain - the most populous region on Earth and former cradle of humanity - may eventually become uninhabitable in the future due to sustained heatwaves. With humans only able to survive the conditions for 6 hours, even in the shade.

As for those who think the old are "useless mouths to feed" it is not the current generation of old people who are the problem. They mostly lived fairly modest, even frugal, lives and continue to do so.

Those who have consumed at higher levels in the world in recent times, and will do so in the future, are the drivers of the destruction and death of the planet they infest. (Time to rehash Soylent Green, anybody?)

What is the world coming to?

No sweat... a hot and sticky dead end!!

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Posted in: Japan asks Russia to reduce military activity on disputed islands See in context

"They are not Japanese, plain and simple. Russia can GIVE them, but there is no 'back', unless you want to argue Russia 'took them BACK', since Japan had previously taken them to begin with. Russia can do as it pleases with their islands, and them's the breaks."

The original internationally recognised "break" was as follows -

The first official agreement between Japan and Russia regarding the islands was the1855 Treaty of Shimoda and it defined the border between Russia and Japan to be the strait between two of the Kurile Islands - Etorofu (Iuturup) and Uruppu (Urup).

Therefore that initial treaty between Japan and Russia clearly recognised the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and Habomai as part of Japan (and the rest of the Kurile archipelago, as Russian).

Therefore "give them back" is a totally appropriate slogan since the Russians agreed from the outset of diplomatic relations with Japan that the "disputed" islands were Japanese.

There can be no dispute about that.

In 1945, after repeated urging to do so by the USA and Great Britain, the USSR abrogated a 5-year neutrality pact that it signed with Japan in 1941.

[That pact had allowed Stalin to move, in December 1941, about 400,000 troops, 5,000 artillery pieces and 3,300 tanks" (cited from the Soviet's own figures) from Siberia to just in front of Moscow - where the Germans were hammering at the gates.]

After abrogating the neutrality pact, the USSR declared war on Japan on 8th Aug. 1945 (2 days after the Hiroshima atomic bomb) and proceeded to invade Japanese held Manchuria, Korea, Inner Mongolia, the southern half of Sakhalin island, and the Kuriles.

[The behaviour of Soviet forces at the end of WWII in Asia and Europe was as almost as bad as that of the Japanese and Germans in the beginning.]

A pity that when in 1987 US President Regan uttered the words, "Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall." he didn't add, "And, give back those islands."

[Japan would do well to start considering giving Hokkaido back to the Ainu the day Russia returns Siberia to its indigenous inhabitants.]

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Posted in: Japan to survey disputed islets in Aug. for projects with Russia See in context

Correction to the above leading quote -

"Possession is nine-tenths of the law."

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Posted in: Japan to survey disputed islets in Aug. for projects with Russia See in context

"Possion is nine-tenths of the law."

Think big to leverage the other one-tenth...

After many years of territorial disputes between Imperial Russia and Imperial Japan the 1855 Treaty of Shimoda defined the border between Russia and Japan to be the strait between two of the Kurile Islands Etorofu (Iuturup) and Uruppu (Urup). It left the ownership of Sakhalin (Karafuto) open to question and unresolved.

In the 1875 Treaty of St. Petersburg Japanese claims to the island of Sakhalin (Karafuto) were dropped in exchange for the northern Kurile Islands. Thereby giving Russia the whole island of Sakhalin and Japan all of the Kurile Islands, northern and southern.

That seemed to be a reasonable exchange at the time based on the political geography of the time.

When the Russo-Japanese War was ended by the Treaty of Portsmouth (Maine) - brokered under the auspices of the US President Theodore Roosevelt - in Sept. 1905 one of the many things agreed was that the southern half of the island of Sakhalin (Karafuto) was to be ceded to Japan by Russia.

That remained the situation regarding Sakhalin and the Kuriles until August 1945 (a few days after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan) when finally - after much urging by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill - Stalin's Soviet Russia declared war on Imperial Japan.

One result of that decision by Stalin was the seizure of the whole island of Sakhalin and all of the Kuriles and other smaller islands north of Hokkaido and absorbed them all, de facto, into the USSR.

The1951 Treaty of San Francisco was meant to conclude a lasting peace between Japan and all the allied nations they had fought in WWII and to resolve the situation regarding the islands.

However, agreement could not be reached between the USSR and Japan on the tems of the treaty, so the USSR refused to sign it.

In 1956, when the USSR offered, to return the smaller islands of Shikotan and Habomai but to retain the larger islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri, which were both claimed by Japan, the Japanese were reluctantly preparing to agree.

However, the US government warned Japan that such an agreement would result in Okinawa being retained by the US and not being returned to Japan.

Instead, in the the same year 1956, Japan and Russia did sign a joint declaration ending the state of war that technically still existed between them.

Therefore no final comprehensive peace treaty has yet been concluded between Japan and Russia, nor any real resolution of the status of the disputed islands agreed and they remmain under Russian control to this day.

Japan is the dummy partner of the USA in a global bridge game against Russia and China.

Japan could suggest to the Americans that they try to broker the 'trading' of the Senkaku islands to China in return for the return of the disputed Kurile islands to Japan by Russia.

In return the the US and EU would recognise the Crimea as Russian, provided the Russians evacuate their nuclear-armed enclave of Kaliningrad that is situated just behind NATO's frontline with Russia in the Baltic.

All that might just bring about a tidy end to the loose ends of WWII.

Oh, almost forgot, Taiwan to be returned to China in return for them relinquishing Tibet.

Dream on...

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Posted in: Japan moves to accept more foreign workers, but hurdles remain See in context

Da'anzho Cochise.

Diversity came - unlucky for the Apache.

Japan, like Arizona & New Mexico, was opened up in the mid-to-late 19th century at the point of US guns.

I don't blame the Japanese for being wary of a large influx of foreigners. Look what happened to the native Americans after the Europeans 'discovered' their lands.

There's about a billion Chinese next door that might come knocking once the advanced guard has prepared the ground.

By the way, upstream, it's a troop of monkeys (and a bunch of bananas).

Also, if foreigners live in Japan and own businesses there but have "no intention of changing Japan" then they are deluding themselves.

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Posted in: Japan probing abuse of health insurance system by foreign residents See in context

@ Jonathan Prin, Netgrump & others

The UK currently leads the world in universal free healthcare (and has long championed free trade and the movement of people from one part of the world to another for mulifarious purposes).

However, this has started to rankle with the majority of the population and is being seen as unsustainable economically and politically in future. (Hence, in part, "Brexit".)

Japan's ,problems on this front are very small, by comparison with the UK, which has significant "health tourism" (usually free of charge for the medical component) from the African continent, Indian subcontinent and elsewhere.

I regard it all as both a legacy (in terms of all the doctor, nurses and other healthcarerers from Africa & India and elsewhere) and a debt (in terms of all the poor, hungry and sick arriving from Africa, India, and elsewhere) of the relatively long-lived British Empire.

Japan also had its empire - a relatively short-lived one - that at its zenith/nadir (delete one depending on which side of history you are on) included Korea, Manchuria, large parts of China, the Philippines and the lion's share of SE Asia (most of which was 'liberated' from the European imperialists).

Therefore Japan has a similar but smaller legacy (of "guest workers") and debt (to "health tourists") to enjoy.

The real problem is getting the best fit balance right between give and take.

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Posted in: Bastille Day parade rehearsal See in context

On 12 July 1918 the Japanese battleship Kawachi was sunk by a magazine explosion, at anchor, in Tokuyama Bay.

In October-November 1914 it had been part of the Allied naval forces at the Siege of Tsingtao.

Other vessels of the Imperial Japanese Navy served in the Mediterranean sea in WW I.

Japan was an ally of France & Great Britain in that conflict and was mainly invited to this Bastille Day on that basis, I should think.

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Posted in: Japanese man, woman say they were duped by anti-Korean blog See in context


I toadily agree with whoever says that there should be no public funding of private education, and vice versa.

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