sangetsu03 comments

Posted in: No. of homeless in Japan falls to 15-year-low See in context

As of January, 4,977 people were living in such places as riverbeds or parks across the nation

Funny. There are more such people living in Tokyo alone. Ueno has thousands by itself, the old Sanya district is still full of the homeless. The city’s parks are still have lots of people living under tarps, boxes, and shelters made of old umbrellas.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: England's World Cup run sparks domestic violence surge in UK: helpline See in context

It’s the alcohol. Fans drink while they watch the games, and alcohol can bring out the worst in people. My brother was a flaming alcoholic, and when he started drinking earlier in the day than usual, look out. Days like that were dreaded, and usually ended up with the police paying a visit.

When sober, he was the nicest guy you’d ever meet. When drunk, it would take three cops or a taser to subdue him.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: U.S. firms doing business in China mostly oppose tariffs, survey shows See in context

That's why we have public sector policymakers.

Yes, to make policies which benefit themselves. They make policies which help themselves and their friends, and which harm their enemies. They create policies, and then sell exemptions and loopholes to those with deep enough pockets. You can make more money, more quickly in politics than you can running a business. The Clintons are worth hundreds of millions now, they were broke when Bill was sworn in 1992. Al Gore was worth $1 million in 2000, he’s worth more than $300 million now. Obama is raking in over $1 million a month.

Policy-making is good business.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe, LDP under fire for holding party amid heavy rain warning See in context

Rain “warnings”? The last I heard, it’s rather hard to predict how much rain will fall in a storm, harder to tell exactly where it will fall, and impossible to predict what it will do. If anyone had thought the storms would have done so much damage, they would have evacuated everyone.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Posted in: EU council chief tells Trump: Respect the allies you have See in context

Europe netted a $153 billion surplus against America last year, how's that for respect.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Cabinet approves guidelines for ¥100 tril budget for fiscal 2019 See in context

When the governmen spends money on economic growth, the economy shrinks. This is because the vast majority of money spent by the state creates a negative return. For every 100 yen the LDP spends, they get 80 yen worth of “growth.” Rather than increasing growth, they are increasing debt and economic contraction.

This spending bill is just more corporate welfare for Japan Inc.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Why have record rains been so deadly in Japan? See in context

With the rural areas becoming ever more depopulated, less attention and maintenance is being performed. In these areas, sometimes more than one-third of the buildings are vacant. Smaller drains, gutters, and spillways are not being cleared, land that was being farmed or otherwise used has gone fallow.

Infrastucture built the 50’s to the 80’s has not been well-maintained, and has certainly not been improved. Japanese have a way of using something until it doesn’t work anymore, and then replacing it, rather than performing routine maintenance and improvements over time. Look at school buildings and government offices, they are never pressure washed or repainted, plants grow in the cracks in concrete walls.

In America, such disasters, from fires to floods, can usually be traced to poor land management.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Postponed EU-Japan summit moved to Tokyo See in context

No need for criticizm. PM Abe will direct the recovery effort, so cannot attend the Summit in Europe.

Given Abe’s record of directing recovery efforts, we’d be better off if he went to Europe.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Postponed EU-Japan summit moved to Tokyo See in context

Is this agreement like the “free trade” agreement with Australia a few years ago? The one where Japan got almost immediate free access to Australia’s market, but Australia only got beef tariffs reduced to 18% after decades?

Japan does not do “free trade,” and I am tired of these news articles using the words “free trade” to describe these agreements when there is nothing “free” about them.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: Japan household spending drops sharply See in context

I would have thought the shortage of labour that we keep reading about would put upward pressure on wages, but it seems not. And if the government wants wages to rise they should abandon their plan to import cheap, unskilled labour

The problem is that the labor shortage is not caused by increasing demand, but a decreasing population and workforce.

Japan’s population is falling by more than 400,000 people per year now, and has fallen by millions since the 80’s. Japan depends on domestic sales for more than half what it produces. With fewer people, consumption, demand, sales, profits, and wages fall.

Raising minimum wages will not work. Economies are not based on the creation or exchange of currency or money, but of value. The government can change the amount of currency exchanged for an hour of work, but it cannot change the value of that work.

With Japan Inc. monopolizing all industry and finance in Japan, and stifling competition, new businesses and new value cannot be created.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan completes domestic procedures to ratify TPP without U.S. See in context

13% of the world's economy is a big enough chunk to warrant such an agreement. Let the US just shrink its economy by losing more and more international clients who have no reason to do business with the US anymore because of their protectionism.

”Protectionism”? No one practices protectionism more than Japan, which is why Japan changed TPP from a free trade agreement to an agreement which “protects” Japanese agriculture and “sensitive” products.

As for “shrinking” economies, America’s is the only industrialized economy which is seeing substantial growth right now, right? What was Japan’s most recent GDP figure? Negative, wasn’t it?

Japan’s population is falling now by more than 400,000 per year. No one needs free trade and economic liberalization more than Japan.

The LDP does not do free trade, it is all a farce. The LDP buys it’s way into power by using money from agricultural tariffs to buy the rural vote, as rural voters get 3 votes per person. This is the trick the LDP has used to keep almost perpetual power.

Japan imports all of it’s energy, most of it’s materials, and much of it’s food. Even if Japan lowers tariffs, it’s constant practice of keeping the yen week keeps the prices of imports high. And when that fails to keep import prices low, Japanese retailers turn to price fixing.

Remember back in 2011 what happened to the prices of imported goods and cars when the exchange rate fell to 76 yen to the dollar, and 100 yen to the euro? Nothing happened, prices remained exactly the same.

It’s all a farce. Any change in costs brought in by TPP will go to the pockets of Japan Inc and the LDP, the people will pay the same retail prices.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan completes domestic procedures to ratify TPP without U.S. See in context

“Free trade”? Had it been a free trade agreement, America would not have pulled out. TPP was a free trade agreement, with all partners agreeing to zero tariffs on all goods after 3 years. Then Japan joined the treaty, and removed anything “free” about it.

The moment Abe began demanding exceptions in the treaty, Abenomics was over. Without trade reform, there would be no fiscal reform, and no deregulation. And none of these have come to pass, have they?

Without America the treaty is utterly irrelevant, the rest of the members combined don’t amount to a fraction of America’s economy.

Abe killed TPP, not Trump.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Posted in: ¥2,020 tickets to be sold to children, elderly, disabled for 2020 Tokyo Olympics See in context

Were not astronomical

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: ¥2,020 tickets to be sold to children, elderly, disabled for 2020 Tokyo Olympics See in context

Funny. When I was a student in Southern California during the 1984 Olympics, children, the disabled, and the elderly got free tickets. I saw many of the events, they cost nothing.

But that was the last “amateur” Olympics, when sport and prestige were the objectives, and not billions in sponsorship or ad money, or bribes and graft. It was nice to go to a large sporting event, and not be bombarded with corporate logos, and incessant ads. And it meant that ticket prices were astronomical

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: BOJ's Harada spurns rate hikes, says 2% inflation goal needs lower unemployment See in context

Apparently no one in the LDP or BOJ have ever studied economics. Inflation is caused by two things, increasing demand, or diluting the currency. Increased demand causes increased production, employment, and wages to meet that demand, value is created, and added to the economy. Diluting the curreny can cause inflation, but the value subtracted in the process of weakening currency negates whatever “benefits” could be gained.

Japan has so mismanaged it’s economy, and acquired so much public debt that if the economy were to turn around and create positive growth and value, the rise in interest rates which go along with inflation might make these debts too expensive to manage.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Froome says huge weight lifted as he is cleared for Tour de France See in context

There has to be more to the story. Hinault and the others would not care about Froome doing nothing but taking an extra dose of asthma medicine.

I was in Europe in 1998 when performance enhancing drugs were de rigeur, and those few riders who weren’t taking them were castigated for slowing down their teams.

Perhaps we’ve reached the opposite point, where those even remotely suspected of cheating are scorned, and riders are actually trying to ride and win cleanly.

But I doubt it

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Airbnb, Uber woes show Japan does not share easily See in context

Japan Inc monopolizes the economy. It owns the large industries and all of the large banks, and insurance companies, and through these, it controls middle and smaller-size businesses as well. And by controlling all business, directly, or indirectly, all business, it also controls the government.

I own a business, and when I needed to open a business bank account, I had to pay a visit to a Japanese “Mega-bank.” I had to submit business documents, seals, certificates, be interviewed by a manager, and then wait a considerable time before my account could be approved and opened. Had my business been something which might have been able to compete against the bank’s larger customers, I would have been declined, or gotten an eventual offer from one of these larger customers. Had I been opening a business account in America or Europe, I would have been approved instantly, and had my account opened in as much time as it takes to have a coffee at Starbucks.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan's jobless rate hits 25-year low; labor shortages remain a concern See in context

*Really?The GDP per Capita, in Japan, when adjusted by Purchasing Power Parity is equivalent to 215 percent of the world's average*

Among developed countries. When it comes to disposable income, Japan rates among the lowest of developed economies. With food, energy, materials, and many finished goods being imported, a weak yen and tariffs drive up prices, and the cost of living. Japanese spend three times as much as Americans for food, and more than twice as Europeans.

An overpriced economy pushes down the population and consumption. These push down sales, profits, and wages, even as the labor market tightens.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Automakers warn U.S. tariffs will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, hike prices See in context

Trump destroys the economy so goes silent 

Economic growth in America is now forecast at 5%. No destruction yet.

As for “beating the immigration drum,” the media did all that themselves. I said last week that putting immigration in the headlines would help Trump more than it would hurt him.

As for tariffs, for the moment it’s just sword-rattling.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Justice Kennedy to retire, giving Trump chance to reshape U.S. high court See in context

As for Kennedy’s replacement, Trump will appoint who he wants. Democrats will try to delay or stop any appointment, but Trump will use the “nuclear option” as he did with Gorsuch.

Elections do indeed have consequences, and the ones faced now are the unintended kind of which Obama himself sowed the seeds.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Tokyo gov't passes strict anti-smoking laws See in context

Ironically, smoking in the street is already banned in many places in Japan, under local regulations that impose hefty fines on violators. 

Really? I have never seen anyone ever cited for smoking on the street, and, as far as I know, no one has been fined. After 10 years of the law being in effect in Kansai, not a single person has ever been fined for smoking on the street or sidewalk.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump defends policies on border, North Korea in visit to Las Vegas See in context

What happened? I was in border patrol all my career and retired with great benefits.

Because I worked in the "Pork and Beans" district of Miami. Look it up.

As a kid who grew up on a remote, southwestern Indian reservation, it was like being put on Mars during wartime. Drugs, prostitution, theft, a few murders every month. There was little humanity there, and if you get stuck in such a place long enough, you begin to lose your own humanity. The only thing worse than having to work there every day was to live there. It was hellhole, which pulled many people in, and from which few could escape.

No pension or benefits would have motivated me to stay, and at the time I left, with the financial crisis causing havoc, new hires being let go, and transfers impossible get, I quit, and moved as far away as I could.

I own a business, and don't lack for money.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Trump defends policies on border, North Korea in visit to Las Vegas See in context

We never snatched kids the way Trump is doing now.

Really? Which station/s did you work at? I worked in the Metro Dade area, though not for the Border Patrol. One of my Army buddies was assigned to the Border Patrol station in Fabens, which you would be familiar with, if what you say is true. We used to go shooting together at the Border Patrol range near Cattleman's Steakhouse. Even though I wasn't a Border Patrol officer, I saw lots of families separated. Cubans, Hatians, and a surprising number of Latin Americans.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump defends policies on border, North Korea in visit to Las Vegas See in context

The parents weren't the ones who made the zero tolerance policy. The parents weren't the ones who ripped crying children from their mothers' breasts. 

Are you saying that we should not have zero tolerance for breaking the law? That laws should not be enforced so as to prevent children from crying?

The parents know very well that coming into America without permission is illegal. They know this as clearly as clearly as you know that coming into Japan without permission is illegal.

I was in law enforcement for more than ten years, do you know how many parents I have seen separated from their kids? By myself, I saw more than were separated by Trump. These parents were shoplifters, drunk drivers, domestic abusers, drug dealers, and worse. And nearly every day I saw children crying when their parents were cuffed and taken away.

In such cases we don’t blame enforcing the law for breaking up families, we blame those who break the law. What makes those who enter America illegally less responsible for their actions than those who break other laws? Are these people less human? Less capable of making responsible decisions?

Try using a little logic when you think about the law, and the personal responsibility we owe ourselves, our society, and our children to obey the law.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump defends policies on border, North Korea in visit to Las Vegas See in context

That sure is a funny way to spell "needlessly cruel and hateful oppression of innocent children".

Don’t the parents who chose to knowingly break America ln law have any blame? Isn’t it they, by breaking the law, who caused their children to be separated from them?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump defends policies on border, North Korea in visit to Las Vegas See in context

In America, when you break the law, you are arrested. When you are arrested, you are taken away from your family. Your children are cared for by relatives, or are put in a group home, or foster care.

Entering America “illegally” is a “crime.” When you are caught committing the “crime” of entering America “illegally,” you are arrested. When people are arrested for committing crimes, their children are not jailed with them. Hundreds of thousands of Americans currently in jails around America can tell you that. And their kids cried no less than those kids taken from their parents when they were arrested.

In the Bush years and earlier, about 6000 children per year were caught being smuggled across the border. They were separated from their parents for some days, and then reunited with their parents in Mexico. The same thing was happening last week, separations were temporary, lasting only days.

In 2012 Obama passed DACA. The number of children caught at the border climbed to over 28,000. From 2012 until 2014, countless children were separated from their families. When the press finally reported on what was going on (most of the photos attributed to Trump’s separation policy last week were actually taken in 2014), Obama stopped the separations by no longer charging parents entering America illegally with crimes. Obama was wrong to do so. First, he is required to enforce American laws, second, the 1986 Immigration Reform Act specifically states that “Immigration laws shall be vigorously enforced.

In 2012 and 2013, despite large numbers of families separated by the Border Patrol, nearly all were reunited in Mexico within days of their arrest.

As of now, thanks to Trump’s executive order, entire families are detained togeteher until their hearings, after which they are deported. If they come in a second time, they face felony charges, and long-term separations.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Suspected substandard walls found at 15 schools in quake-hit Osaka See in context

One reason these problems are not taken care of is because there is no consequence for not doing so. My daughter was hurt in a Japanese school, requiring two months of hospitalization, a child from another family died in an accident at the same school when he was left alone, unsupervised.

What happened as a result these incidents? Some profuse apologies, and nothing else. No lawyer we or the other family talked to would dare sue, even though the school and staff admitted to being negligent. Weeks of worry, hospital visits, doctors, city investigators, lots of missed work, and end of story. The same people who admitted to negligence are still doing their jobs, the school seems to have done nothing at all. It’s quite terrible to see pain and even death, but no justice.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan has 8 million vacant homes and that is a wasted asset, so we think there’s huge potential for those homes to be used productively to accommodate guests and also for local people to participate in this global tourism industry, particularly older people. We have a lot of seniors on our platform, and they’re actually our fastest-growing host demographic. See in context

Most of these abandoned buildings are dangerous even to the insects and wildlife which inhabit them. Most are outside the metro areas in places which are nearly inaccessible to tourists. Lastly, Japan's hotel lobby is all-powerful (being financed by competition-hating Japan Inc's "Mega Banks"). The only reason these millions of buildings still stand is because non-agricultural land with structures is taxed at a lower rate than vacant land.

If you are living in Japan, and have an extra million yen lying in your bank account, you can by a large country home on a large lot. You'll need to put another million or two into it to make it habitable, but for less than the cost of a decent new car, you can have a nice vacation home out in the countryside.

If you have an income, such as a pension, annuity, or other something similar, you can rent a large, subsidized house in a rural area for as little as 10,000 yen per month. The rural areas are desperate for inhabitants.

Had the Japanese government evolved into the 19th century, and allowed people who own their homes to rent them as they please for any term, something might be done with some of these homes. But the old men who run Japan are backward-thinkers.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Unlicensed lodgings remain listed on Airbnb after new law takes effect See in context

Price fixing is illegal in Japan, but is never enforced, as you can plainly see whenever you go to a movie theater. Smoking on sidewalks and such is also illegal, yet people who smoke on the sidewalks and such are never cited or fined. I wonder if the Japanese government will enforce the new lodging laws as selectively as they enforce others?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Pro-smoking LDP lawmaker apologizes for heckling cancer patient See in context

A sad state of affairs, but I am not surprised. The Japanese government, being heavily in debt, and always in need of revenue, depends much on what their one-third ownership of JT brings in.

I would support a total ban of smoking in all public places, large fines on those who defy the ban, and fines for those who throw cigarette butts on the ground (which has caused more than a few fires). I find smoking utterly offensive, like farting in a small elevator, and I get angry when people walk past me while smoking, as they step on signs which say smoking on sidewalks is prohibited.

However, I have read the studies about second-hand smoke and cancer, and the most rigorous studies find no link whatsoever. Surprisingly, many have found the opposite to be true, that those exposed to second-hand smoke are less likely to get cancer than people who are not. Below is a interesting quote from Michael Crichton, Harvard MD (and creator of "Jurassic Park").

"In 1993, the EPA announced that second-hand smoke was “responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in nonsmoking adults,” and that it “impairs the respiratory health of hundreds of thousands of people.” In a 1994 pamphlet the EPA said that the eleven studies it based its decision on were not by themselves conclusive, and that they collectively assigned second-hand smoke a risk factor of 1.19. (For reference, a risk factor below 3.0 is too small for action by the EPA. or for publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example.) Furthermore, since there was no statistical association at the 95% confidence limits, the EPA lowered the limit to 90%. They then classified second-hand smoke as a Group-A Carcinogen.

This was openly fraudulent science, but it formed the basis for bans on smoking in restaurants, offices, and airports. California banned public smoking in 1995. Soon, no claim was too extreme. By 1998, the Christian Science Monitor was saying that “Second-hand smoke is the nation’s third-leading preventable cause of death.” The American Cancer Society announced that 53,000 people died each year of second-hand smoke. The evidence for this claim is nonexistent."

I am all for banning smoking, and other acts which are disturbing or offensive to others, but bending the truth or lying outright in order to facilitate such bans is wrong.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

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