Japan Today

Salvor Hardin comments

Posted in: Japan considering ending currency swap pact with South Korea See in context

Abe and his cronies likes to poke, poke, poke their adversaries from afar, but when he comes face-to-face with them, he's all phony smiles and handshakes, claiming he's "doing everything we can to make our region peaceful." Then he runs home to safety...and does things like this.

Well, who do you think that comment about "segregating foreigners like South Africa's apartheid" comment by one of Abe's closest advisers was directed at? I think the Koreans and other Asian nations know full well the answer to that.

This Abe administration is as slippery as an eel. It constantly talks out of both sides of its mouth. If I can't trust him, and I most certainly do not, why should I be surprised that not a lot of others do, either? In fact, I'd be far more suspicious if they were showing signs of confidence in this revisionist charlatan.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Posted in: 1 dead in Copenhagen cafe shooting in likely terror attack See in context

Yet more attacks by religious zealots on freedom of speech. Yet more attacks on the right not to have another person's religion dictate what you personally can and cannot do.

Until everyone in the world stands up and says "I don't want to insult Islam, but Muslims DO NOT have the right to silence non-Muslims' right to choose what they want to say, show, do and think"-until everyone who loves freedom is seen holding up a picture of Mohammed (so that everyone is involved in stopping this Thought Fascism), the terrorists will continue to accomplish their goals and even more.

If you can't show a picture of Mohammed, you can't also "insult" Mohammed. Soon, you can't even "talk disrespectfully" about Mohammed (and who decides what's "disrespectful?" You? No, them, of course!) If we keep surrendering to the demands of a bunch of crazed fanatics, where will their demands ever stop? Halaal-only food? Covering girls' heads on public transportation? People don't quite realize that this is very slippery slope, and the West (and its media) seem ready and willing to by and large capitulate to the terrorists' demands...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Killjoys demand end to Valentine's Day See in context

I have nothing against Valentine's Day per se, but I've always thought that habitually buying a prefabricated packaged consumer product on a socially prescribed "giving day" has got to be one of the least creative and most shallow ways of "expressing your love" for another individual. In this day and age, it's sad how truly commercialized, uninspired and homogenized giving has become.

As for White Day, well that's just plain old capitalist exploitation! Down with White Day!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Ex-adviser to Abe praises apartheid as means of immigration control See in context

Those that think this xenophobic, seperatist mentality in the Japanese or even the tendency to be conservative in their politics suddenly materialized in 1945 or is the outsider MacArthur's fault REALLY do need to read a bit more history. If you keep spouting off such nonsense you're going to get called out pretty quickly.

I'm sorry to burst your pretty little polemic, guys, but the trends you refer to started WAAAAYY before 1945...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: When residents see the actual data for their community that they collected, they will think more seriously about whether people can live there and if the compensation levels offered are appropriate. See in context

Good for them! Taking matters into their own hands is what it's all about.

Because nothing shows that a society is healthy quite like having a high participation level in a locally-built and devolved civil society unfettered by government interference or control!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's deflationary challenge caught in a bottle of ketchup See in context

If one actually believes that the Japanese food industry is anything remotely resembling a "free market," I don't know what to tell you....there's a reason why every food-related company name (foreign or otherwise) ends in "Japan," and it's not due to the "free market." Every food, ingredient and beverage brought into this country or sold here must first be done under parasitical Japanese subsidiaries who...wait for it...take their cut first and foremost, then set pricing outside the market mechanism of real supply and demand, restrict or limit real competition through import quotas or other "non tariff barriers to trade" and a whole slew of other restrictions which all belie the idea that price hikes in the food industry are the "free market's" doing.

Here are the trends that will most likely become popular as a direct result of Abenomics' regressive inflationary push:

1.) 100 yen shops selling more food products. 2.) Supermarket chains introducing their own "value" (generic) brands that are inherently cheaper than name brands 3.) "Time Savings" offerings based on approaching expiration dates or the hour you buy the food (if it's perishable) 4.) More and cheaper per-unit bulk options (3 packs, 10 packs, etc.) 5.) Reduced sizes for what used to be larger portions (instead of increasing the unit price)

And it won't just be that people aren't buying the products...they'll buy LESS OFTEN and then USE LESS OF IT. Plus, they'll eat out less, and when they do, will receive limited amounts of condiments where they once used to be allowed to decide such things for themselves (sauces, mayonnaise, etc.) All of which will...you guessed it...decrease demand further and push the deflationary spiral into the foreseeable future! This is the New Japan, better get used to it, folks!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Kanye West retreats on Grammys diss of Grammy winner Beck See in context

OK, as for the number of producers, if you actually own a copy of Morning Phase, you'll read that Beck is THE producer, while all the other names listed are clearly labelled "engineers/mixers" which is a bit different from "producer." But his most famous album, "Odelay," had many producers like the Dust Brothers or B-Boy producer Mario Caldato, often different ones for different songs...just like Beyonce.

His previous albums have also had direct collaborations with other producers sharing production credits... like Beck/Danger Mouse for his last album Moder Guilt, or even Radiohead's long-standing producer Nigel Goodrich taking sole production credit on The Information.

The differences between Beck and Beyonce are that Beck plays a wide variety of musical instruments/styles while Beyonce doesn't play any/the same kind of music, there are many more credited people involved in the production of Beyonce's albums than Beck's (her latest album had more than 70 contributing credits listed in the liner notes!) and on Beck's latest album he writes all the songs by himself while every one of Beyonce's is a "collaboration" of often four or five writers. Just keeping things real here.

As for Kanye, (start sarcasm) what a "genius!" That guy is so clever, that comment about a "clock being right twice a day?" How fresh and totally original!? I'm glad he's breaking new ground, like...being interviewed by long-time Kardashian pal Ryan Seacrest? He obviously loves his wife so much, since he can't stop talking about...how amazing another man's wife is? And by the way, if you ever get a chance to see Kanye walking up to Beck at the Grammys, you'll realize it's Beck who positively recoils when seeing Kanye...that's what really forced "the genius" to back up and sit back down!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Riken considers filing criminal complaint against Obokata See in context

Maybe we could roll this into a class-action lawsuit against a whole bunch of Japanese fibbers all at once?

Let's see...how about 1.) Obokata for her fake stem cells and plagiarized "evidence" 2.) Mamoru Samuragochi, once hyped as "Japan's Beethoven," who didn't actually write his own music and even lied about being blind, 3.) Ryutaro Nonomura, whose pathetic bawling tantrum of fake contrition when caught misappropriating public money fooled exactly no one, and finally 4.) Naoya Tomita, the swimmer who admitted stealing a camera from a swimming competition sidelines but then abruptly changed his tune and said his taped confession was actually false!

Off with their heads!!! I'll even throw in the serial "misrememberer" Brian Williams if that'll sweeten the deal for you....

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Book containing Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Muhammad goes on sale See in context

"The face of Muhammad is blurred in the photos."

This as-yet uncommented on fact shows how muddle-headed Japanese still are about this debate. The fact that they have intentionally bowed to Muslims by blurring the face instead of publishing the photos AS THE ARTISTS CLEARLY INTENDED shows the publishers are self-censoring what is perfectly OK to be seen and drawn by non-Muslims and thereby offending those in favor of not allowing another person's religion dictate one's own free speech!

But on the other hand, the very fact that they still published the pictures will cause international condemnation from Muslim extremists regardless of the blurry images! So in more than one way, they manage to offend both sides while satisfying absolutely no one. That's some hat trick!

By the way @ jcapan, I hope you know that Islam is not a race...

13 ( +18 / -5 )

Posted in: Tokyo Fiancee See in context

Nothing "aggressive" at all about commenting that the picture in the ads have definitely been photoshopped until she's literally portrayed as stick thin when compared with now. There's a reason why the term "thigh gap photoshop" is currently trending, it isn't because actresses and marketers all over the world are being forthright about weight and honest body images, and it has definitely been used in this particular actresses' marketing, regardless what you say about her presently being pregnant!

To NOT make a comment on the OBVIOUS and MARKED difference between the girl being packaging in the movie poster and reality would just be silly. To say we're being "aggressive" means you don't want us talking about weight or digital alterations to women's weight at all, which is much, much worse! It's literally destroying young women's self-images all over the world now. That's not right, and it's an industry-wide problem! If you still think it's just "lighting and angles," you're purposely keeping yourself ignorant about the deliberately false body-images being being pushed everywhere in the media world!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: Voting age See in context

Support for this, along with almost everything the Abe government proposes, is naturally "tepid" enough, since a good amount of the population suspects that Abe is always up to something surreptitious. And he is! This is obviously connected to his plans to change the constitution and make Japan more physically aggressive abroad with its military power. It coincides, interestingly enough, with a more nationalist and "moral" educational course being pushed on these future voters in private and public schools nationwide. Coincidence?

While I support extending the voting franchise to those 18 and older, I bet a majority of the millions of new, youthful voters will buy into the constitutional "reinterpretations" over which Abe drools, since they've already been well versed in the right's revisionist whitewashing of history (wherein all past "incidents" of aggression have been either "defensive" or "attempted for the good of the nation,") while the lap-dog media has been doing a great job of demonizing Japan's neighbors. And I be the Japanese opposition will still be "in disarray" two years from now, so we just might have Abe and the LDP at the helm in both houses for quite a while to come.

As for Japanese youth being less informed than the present adult population? I know many 18 year olds who are more informed than their adult "betters" about contemporary issues, while many others are willfully and completely ignorant about such things. In other words, they're not that different than the adults! And as has been stated before by others here, one only needs look at the voting record of "adults" in Japan to understand how informed or wise they really are!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Berlin Film Festival See in context

I've always thought her a drag...and judging by her sour look, I'd say I was right in thinking so! "Oh! The ennui that comes with being rich and famous!"

Speaking of drag...I mean, Shota (as in "Shota than my wife when she's wearing heels," perhaps?) did her husband borrow a pair of her shoes or what? Cute little girly bows you're sporting there, Slick!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Posted in: U.S. news anchor Brian Williams recants on coming under fire in Iraq See in context

How does one "misremember" being involved in a helicopter crash, anyway?? Either you were or you weren't: if you weren't but then claim that you were, again and again, that's not "misrembering." That's LYING.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Hakuho wins 33rd title, but it's lonely at the top See in context

kokoro7: "Most Mongolian rikishi, recognizing they have a wrestling tradition in their country, feel they can do well at sumo in Japan."

Sorry, kokoro, but they don't just FEEL they can do well at sumo in Japan. In case you've been on another planet, Mongolian rekishi have been mopping the floor with Japanese-born wrestlers for a decade or more now. Take all the Japanese wrestlers' so-called "class" and put it together...and you'll still have a bunch of second-rate wrestlers!

Think about it: the last Japanese-born Yokozuna retired fully TWELVE YEARS AGO (2003.) That's a lifetime in sports-even more so in the so-called "national sport" of sumo. And since you brought up class, remember that the last pair of Japanese to ever hold the spot, Takanohana and Wakanohana, were so "classy" that they openly fought over their father's inheritance money and then further hung out their dirty laundry for all to see by publicly criticizing their mother for having an extramarital affair!

In sum, if the Japanese actually think that this type of behavior is being "classy," then perhaps it's the Japanese who need lessons from Hakuho after all!!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: If you could live in any city in the world, other than where you live now, which one would you choose and why? See in context

Which city? The City! (Where I'm from, that's San Francisco.)

Best diversity, views, food, ocean, bridge, people, nightlife, salaries, amazing history, hi-tech and low-fi, all at the same time, with no snow but fresh sea air, easy public transportation, the best bread and best baseball team housed in the absolute world's best baseball stadium!

1 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Bradley Cooper says he is surprised by 'American Sniper' controversy See in context

@Jimizo: you just proved my point, buddy! You're phoning it in! You're more interested in proving your talking points (about Jesus now, it appears) than you are about actually analyzing the film itself! Seriously, have you even seen the film? I only ask since you're "analysis" is about as predictable as a sunrise and as deep as a puddle in the desert.

I could go on about how FILMMAKERS and not just those of the American persuasion like to make violent, war films about men with guns, or how they happen to actually do quite well not just in America, but in the UK, Australia and all around the world, but you're not really interested in broadening the discussion all that much, are you?

No, you are much more interested in making commentary about the American culture you so obviously despise than you are about talking about this MOVIE. Why, you could've brought up things like:

-Tying 9/11 in with the Iraq War -The multicultural, multinational composition of the troops in modern Special Forces units -Relations between soldiers and their families -Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the shift between combat and the home front -How Islamists use women and children as human shields and as willing combatants in the war zone -Even the obviously fake robot baby used in the film!

All of which would actually tie in to the movie under discussion. But then that would require you straying from your sophomoric talking points about "big long guns" (what next, let me guess, electric guitars being phallic symbols?) and "trash right-wing geriatric directors."

Clearly, you have issues larger than this particular movie, that's for sure. Good luck with them...meanwhile, the rest of the world moves on...until you find something new about America to criticize, that is!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Posted in: Bradley Cooper says he is surprised by 'American Sniper' controversy See in context

Cutting through the crap..." as you say, your "insight" is about as informed as a Bart Simpson book report! "Ah, American Sniper. OK...it's about....an American!....who's a Sniper! Yeah, that's it...And...uh...profits?"

"How does one separate 'Politics' from a war created in Dick Cheney's head, supported by fabrications solely for the purpose of making 'Political' friends Billions and achieving no demonstrable benefit?" "...how dumb can these Americans be?"

See? This is what I'm talking about. Usually when people parrot the same sophomoric talking points they've been taught by their favorite media outlet for...what? Going on more than a decade now? And without adding one single new point to the discussion, notice...this is usually a sign that the critic is not actually talking about a movie anymore. In fact, instead of having the movie actually inform any of their rather tired "logic," I would bet that their diatribes would be the exact same with or without it!

Usually those who attack this movie sound like they haven't actually watched more than the trailer, and aren't really interested that much in analyzing the movie; aren't interested in the actual facts surrounding this particular soldier's biography, and in reality have much, much bigger fish to fry. No, the movie becomes a convenient vehicle used to interject yet more of the same rehashed political points about Bush, or Cheney, or oil, the "hyper-power" America, its supposed "gun-culture," or "America's obsession" with violence, or...well, you get the "picture." ha-ha!

In short, surprise, surprise (or not): it's yet more of the same old, same old...

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

Posted in: Fighting Islamic State by military means is one thing, but how do you fight their ideology? See in context

"We" (non Muslims) can't do much to change Islam's problems with interpretation, historical relevance and extremism. Just like Muslims weren't responsible for converting Christianity's murderous ways to more benign ones, non-Muslims can't be expected to change Muslims' minds all on our own.

Christians changed Christianity, from inside, through education, reformation, reinterpretation and actually splitting away from the radicals and condemning their mindset. It's up to the Muslims who aren't interested in violent, Koran and Hadith-based Jihad to stand up and say "I'm NOT supporting your goals, your interpretations, you CANNOT kill or even coerce people based on religious doctrine or because you don't like their personal freedom to choose for themselves! All people MUST have the right to move freely between religions, to live in societies where one religion isn't totalitarian in nature and discriminatory towards non-believers! And EVERYONE should be able to reinterpret their religion more peacefully in light of modern civil society, but if people don't want our Muslim law imposed on them from outside, they shouldn't be subjected to it!"

Unfortunately, for now mainstream Muslims are too silent. I don't hear such calls, because unlike in Christianity, Islam's precepts explicitly forbid reformation away from the original texts and explicitly maintains that the brutal, conquering stories of its founder to be the epitome of what it means to be a "good Muslim." So they stay silent. And silence on the issue of violent Jihad means more death and destruction, mostly for Muslims themselves!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles See in context

They all look so puzzled, why?

They're Lost In Translation, of course!

("....mumble mumble katakana mumble, please?")

Will: "What's she asking? I don't understand!" Megan: "I don't either. And why did that other guy say to dress like we were going to the Playboy Mansion?! Everyone else is in turtle costumes!"

Speaking of Japanese entertainment Blasts from the Past: in case you missed it, yesterday in Los Angeles County, a Red Power Ranger murdered his roommate...with his sword! Google it if you doubt me!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: No war See in context

I was wondering how this recent international crisis Japan just faced would play out concerning proposed changes to the Japanese Constitution.

I would like people to imagine that Abe had already had his way with Article 9, "reinterpreting" it in the way he proposes. In fact, such a "reinterpretation" would actually have allowed Japanese forces to intervene in an attempt to "save" the two Japanese hostages in Syria. According to reports I've read,

"The change would significantly widen Japan's military options by ending the ban on exercising "collective self-defense," or aiding a friendly country under attack. It would also relax limits on activities in U.N.-led peacekeeping operations and gray-zone incidents short of full-scale war. (key point coming up!) The proposal changes not the wording of Japan's postwar, U.S.-drafted charter but how those words are interpreted."

Now, according to Abe's "reinterpretations," what COULDN'T Japan do, short of an all-out war, if Abe were to have his way? That depends on how he wants to "reinterpret" Article 9, is the present answer. In my opinion, this would be dangerous, since there would be no constitutional limits preventing a government from using force in practically any situation...except when they thought that they shouldn't.

Right now, Abe says it's an actual hot war which is off limits: everything else is pretty much on the table, if you think about it. Based on the above quote, Abe could certainly use force in the Syrian hostage situation, and on two grounds: helping under "collective self defense" (Jordan and Japan were under threat), and "grey zone incidents short of war."

But what about the future? Why couldn't another leader decide to "reinterpret" what is seemingly a clear-cut Constitutional limit as "...the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized"?

Now, if Abe can look at this quote from Article 9 and say, "There are actually many situations where I now have the power to use armed force to solve conflicts whenever and wherever I see fit," isn't this a rather slippery slope for a right-wing nationalist revisionist to be given in the present international context? And would such new-found and unlimited powers of aggression help to calm waters here in Asia, or rather heat them up (since the only thing preventing other countries from being threatened by Japan is...a historically revisionist elected official's rather flimsily-defined verbal assurances to the contrary?)

For these reasons and more, I'm against the present plans to simply "reinterpret" the Constitution. If Japan wants to be able to use force abroad again, the Japanese citizenry should force him to actually have to REWRITE the Constitution in a way that will make such "defense", well, Constitutional! Otherwise, I'm afraid I just don't trust self-serving and diplomatically ignorant Japanese politicians enough to keep us safe to be deciding for themselves the limits to their country's coercive abilities overseas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Australia downs South Korea 2-1 in extra time to win Asian Cup final See in context

Congratulations to Team Australia.

koreasentry.com: "watched in anguish as the weeabo, racist referee undoubtably (sic) paid off by the jealous, spiteful Japanese allowed the Aussie team to..." "Outraged by the injustice....I found they are so full of hatred...my racist Aussie neighbors banged at the wall and yelled at me to..."

I was waiting for some South Korean supporters to come here and bemoan how they were "cheated" out of "their" rightful victory, and guess what? I didn't have to wait long! It's sad that Koreans are such poor sports, and it certainly blemishes their athletes as well as their country, doesn't it?

Come on, Korean supporters. Why can't you accept a loss as a loss, like every other country/team has the sportsmanship to do? EVERY time your side fails, you blame someone else with allegations of cheating or racism. It happened with the last Winter Olympics (Kim Yu-na was "cheated" out of gold...), it happened at the last Summer Olympics (Shin Lam's fencing breakdown), and many, many other times. Crying wolf like this...have you no shame? And if this match was fixed, I'd like to hear why your team failed to win the previous final, and the one before that, and the one BEFORE THAT, too??

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Goto's mother expresses sorrow over his murder See in context

I wouldn't blame the family for hiding themselves away in grief, but if she really wanted to make a difference from here on out, she could.

Embrace the people Kenji Goto covered and obviously cared about. Start the Kenji Goto Foundation here in Japan.

Focus on educating about the conflicts around the world so important to the slain journalist (Syria, child soldiers, blood diamonds, etc.)-real information available in Japanese, unbiased by the cowed mass media too busy towing Abe's line to actually care all that much. Offer ways of donating funds through the foundation to support meaningful changes for the better to war-children and refugees' lives, thereby honoring Kenji's life-work as well as the generous Japanese donors behind the foundation.

It's just a suggestion; she can do what she wants. Either way, my heart goes out to her, Kenji's family, and all whose lives have been directly damaged by Islamist-sponsored terrorism.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: After the tears have dried, where is shamed politician Ryutaro Nonomura now? See in context

If this "No, no, More-a" character were REALLY hard up for cash...he could easily rectify that situation. All it would take, however, is an encore of his melodramatic shtick for public consumption, just one more time...

One You Tube video, published and owned by the man himself. Another press conference where he bawls his eyes out anew. Put it out as an exclusive with commercials throughout and BAM! Millions of viewers and perhaps as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Of course, this guy still thinks he's still got a chance in the straight world (and for all I know, in Japan, he still does!), so for now we're left with only our memories...but WHAT MEMORIES!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Serena Williams beats Sharapova to win Australian Open See in context

Congratulations to Serena Williams, the reigning Queen of the Court!

It's so great to see people come from such meager beginnings, from public tennis courts of Gangland, USA (Compton, CA) with her parents as her and her sister's primary coach, to rise through sheer talent and determination to dominate their chosen focus in life. To compare the Williams' life story to the much more privileged upbringings of most of her adversaries makes Serena's victories even more poignant!

It truly proves that the American Dream is, contrary to the naysayers out there, alive and well! Success doesn't come easy, and it won't come and shouldn't be expected for everyone, but for those who truly strive for what they believe in all their lives-even if they fail, they can stand tall with the satisfaction that they lived their lives trying to achieve more than what most would be contented with!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Jihadists increasingly wary of Internet, experts say See in context

"Jihadists increasingly wary of Internet, experts say..."

Sorry, but it sure doesn't seem to be that way to me. Rather than being wary, every single day the Jihadists' organizations release more new slick videos to the world, to both intimidate foes as well as enlist supporters and fighters. The trend is only increasing: not decreasing at all.

Why, a daily check of the excellent website "Jihadology" proves that the proliferation of messages coming from these Islamists is certainly on the rise, as is their technological savvy. Google the webpage and see for yourselves!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Lower house approves Y3.12 tril extra budget See in context

Yeah, that's just what we need to feel "confident" that the economy's finally "turning the corner:" more government stimulus, more borrowing and spending. Happy days are back, right? Riiiight...

I can see the government's logic clearly on this one: "We've charged you an extra 3% for every single thing you can possibly purchase in this country...so here, have a 10,000 yen voucher, and don't spend it all in one place, you lucky spoiled citizens, you! Now, we're even! And it's YOUR turn to say the economy's getting better!"

Higher corporate profits = higher wages for workers? Nope. Not yet. As has constantly been the case in the past, higher corporate profits = more government spending on pork and stimulus projects. Rah-rah-rah? Wait, how has that strategy worked out so far during this "lost decade" we're supposedly in (which has lasted, oh, twenty-five years and counting??)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Families plead for lives of IS hostages as swap hopes fade See in context

I hate to be cynical, but how does this hostage situation play for Abe-san? Does it help shift public perceptions away from its long-ingrained pacifism and towards more weapons and military spending? Will it scare Japanese away from taking vacations abroad so they spend their hard-earned yen on trips here in Japan? Will it make it easier for him to justify spending more on "defense" when all he did was donate money to middle eastern countries "for non-military purposes" and the "bullies" of the world use Japan's "weakness" to hold its citizens hostage as they see fit? And will this incident instill in Japanese a subconscious mindset such as: "Wow. If they can do this to us with impunity in the Middle East, what do our adversaries in Asian countries stand to gain from using aggression against our helpless people here?"

I'm afraid Abe knew about the hostages and decided support for the region (and its allies) was more important strategically. If ISIS didn't link the two, so much the better, but if the response ended up shocking Japanese sentiment out of its shell and towards "preparing for the worst in this troubled world," wouldn't this also suit his domestic ends as well?

As for the Jordanians, I know many will disagree with me here, but I'd hang that woman terrorist and be done with it. Draw a line in the sand: soldiers are one thing, but those who even plan to murderer scores of our innocent civilians (in our capital city, no less!) will forever receive the harshest possible punishment, every time. Goto should be irrelevant in Jordan's deciding upon a sensible security strategy for its own (and much closer to the fighting) populace. Letting the terrorist go won't do Japan much real damage (other than open Japanese up to more hostage taking, that is, and even then this trade still might not save Kenji), but it will come back to haunt Jordanians ten-fold.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Factory data shows Japan's economy turning corner on recession See in context

I don't get it...if at first you don't succeed, try, try another 2 or 3 trillion dollars?

Didn't the former Economy and Trade Minister, Akira Amari, just admit on a national televised debate that "it will probably be difficult" for the BOJ to bolster inflation in the way it's trying to do it?

And does no one in this government take into consideration the changing composition of Japan's demographics? Fully 25.9% of the population is already over 65 years old, so one in four persons in the entire population can be expected to be living on a fixed income but with no (or often greatly reduced) employment. And you don't have to travel far to see this situation in action: the elderly are out there hunting for bargains, creating demand for cheaper and cheaper deals to keep them living within their budgets.

Further, they (along with the rest of society) can see the writing on the wall: there's no way the government will be able to sustain its generous pension payment policies into the future (since the Japanese Health Ministry expects the total population to fall a huge 25% by 2050, while a majority of youth in their 20s and even 30s are declining to get married and have enough children, and those retirees are living (and living off their pensions) longer, and longer, and longer...

I know it's not directly connected to Abenomics, but you have to admit that the recent sales tax hike was the single most damaging thing to Japan's economy since...the last sales tax hike (which threw the economy off any chance of recovery from the stock market crash back in 1991 in the first place.) Economists can choose to "not include the sales tax hike" in judging whether prices are rising, but certainly no one in the street is doing this: they see rising prices on everything they buy, everyday, and this only further convinces most consumers that now is not the time to start spending money like drunken sailors (as Abe would wish it so.)

Expect weak demand for consumer products to remain the norm for a generation at least, and don't hold your breath on creating a situation where companies suddenly start spending their profits on increasing wages just because some temporary politician wants them to do it. Since in a mature, aging economy like Japan's the BoJ's effort is 95% about confidence, its massive bond purchases mean little to anyone (not investing in the stock market) if the vast majority of Japanese still don't trust that better days lay ahead...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Hostage crisis trips up Japan as it seeks global security role See in context

Something I would like to have cleared up: earlier reports state that Abe was planning to give a total of $2.5 billion "to Middle Eastern nations in nonmilitary fields such as humanitarian assistance and infrastructure development for regional stability." So far, so good-note these funds are NOT for fighting ISIS.

Later, the same report specified that of this 2.5 Billion dollars, "...a total of about $200 million will be provided to nations fighting against the Islamic State, including Turkey and Lebanon." Now, if this money is for "nonmilitary fields such as humanitarian assistance and infrastructure development" as clearly stated above, how can this money be considered "helping to FIGHT ISIS? So Turkey and Lebanon are (barely) fighting ISIS: if a government, any government, gives them money for tents, for refugee relief or for roads, can this actually be considered by anyone in their right minds as equating to "money for fighting ISIS?"

I ask because nowhere is this specified, while it is clearly specified that the ENTIRE package of funds are for "nonmilitary fields." Meanwhile, some here are suggesting that the 200 million was to be used for FIGHTING ISIS? So, do those who hold this view have a link or quote that says this is in fact true? Because I've yet to find it online...

As for the "expert's" claim that "Going out of your way to call a group of people terrorists and challenging them..." I completely disagree. Abe didn't "challenge them," as far as I can tell, while calling ISIS "terrorists" isn't "going out of one's way" at all, but rather merely stating a proven fact of reality!

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Posted in: AKB48 founder plans Japan48 idol group for Olympics, Phillipines spinoff See in context

Are there any girls left in Japan who haven't been invited to join this opportunist manager's groups?!

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