Japan Today

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Posted in: Two men arrested over fatal hit-and-run in Chiba See in context

This is a country that does not know the word, "sidewalks." I see kids in dark school uniforms riding bikes on narrow roads at night, in heavy traffic, all the time.

Even in the new danchis, the developers, in their quest to cram as many new lots into an area as possible, do not allow space for sidewalks. Why isn't there a law mandating sidewalks? Probably because, as in many cases, the politicians are beholden to construction company lobbying/money.

It's a wonder there aren't more accidents.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Emperor, empress arrive in Philippines to honor WWII dead See in context

It is curious how both Abe and the Emperor makes general statements like "many lives were lost". Truth be told, most of those lives were civilians killed by rampaging Japanese soldiers going out in a blaze of glory at the end of the fighting. The IJA raised Manila and killed anyone in sight.

I have seen Japanese textbooks written with those kinds of general statements, i.e. "many people lost their lives in Nanjing," with no mention of who did the killing!

The comfort women will be kept in the background; the Philippines is too dependent on Japan's foreign aid to cause any embarrassment.

I have a hunch the Emperor can't say what he would really like to say. He is kept on a short rein by his handlers who are influenced by Abe's right-wing governance.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Posted in: Abe oblivious to people's hardships, says tabloid See in context

Abenomics is smoke and mirrors. Sadly, the meek Japanese public lap it up all the while lamenting "shoganai". Japan's decline will continue until hell freezes over.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: 'Nothing to forgive,' says U.S. vet on crashed plane See in context

Too bad the movie about Zamperini and his trials as a POW in Japan (Unbroken) can not be shown in movie theaters here because of pressure from right-wing groups. Is this a free country or what?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Posted in: Bangladesh asylum seeker deported after working for years in Japan See in context

Just think, if there were no national borders at all in the world, millions from poor countries would be pouring into the rich countries. Think of the chaos and social disruption that would cause. For better or for worse, it has to be a crime to cross a border illegally, and those laws need to be enforced. Life is not fair.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: 9 ways Tokyo could become more foreigner-friendly in time for 2020 Olympics See in context

How about labels on food, drinks and medicines sold in stores. Pity the poor tourist who goes shopping in a supermarket. Almost all products have labels only in Japanese. Would be so difficult for manufactures to write JUST THE NAME of the item in ENGLISH? For example, "Green Tea," "Wheat tea," "Chinese Oolong tea," "Jasmine tea" etc. Seems to me that would not be so difficult.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan should accept more refugees, fix asylum system: UNHCR See in context

As a 40-plus year resident of Japan, I will add my two cents. I am no fan of Japan's xenophobic immigration bureau, but I agree with the readers who say Jpn should not accept Muslim refugees. Most immigrants are will willing to assimilate, but Muslims generally will not--they expect you to accommodate them. Witness what has happened in France with face coverings, etc. I found this out when I was teaching ESL to Muslim students in the U.S., a diverse and tolerant country. It was at a community center. The women Muslim students (mostly from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) demanded to be taught separately from the men, and they further demanded a female teacher, i.e. not me! Had they been paying for the lessons, that would have been one thing, but these were FREE city-sponsored classes. Needless to say, it gave me a bad impression of conservative Islam.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Posted in: Three 16-year-olds killed in car crash in Ehime See in context

One thing I have seen more than once. Mother is driving with seat belt on; young child is standing in the front seat. Total lack of common sense.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan, S Korea, China leaders agree to mend strained ties See in context

Right-wing Abe has missed so many chances to be a real statesman. All it would take is a few sentences to mend ties with China and Korea. Poor leadership to be sure. Same for Abenomics.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: Traces of blood found in minivan of suspect in child killings See in context

Why doesn't any media ask and investigate the following: "Why were two young kids out all night walking around on their own?" What kind of families did they come from, anyway. Has anyone looked into this?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Ghosts of WW2 haunt East Asia as Abe prepares statement See in context

The right-wingers say enough is enough regarding unending apologies, but with over 20 million Chinese killed by the JIA, between 1931-45, one would think the govt. can't apologize enough. I predict Abe will miss the chance to rise to statesmanship with a vague, murky statement that the Japanese are known for. I hope I'm wrong.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Do you think the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally justifiable? See in context

70 years later it is easy to take the moral high road, but the reality then calls for a "yes" answer. I have met ex-pow's, who were dying at a rate of about 150 a day, and who say the bomb saved their lives. The bomb was an atrocity, but so were the 20 million killed by the Japanese in China, just to mention one example. As others have said, if Japan had the bomb and the capacity, they would have dropped it on U.S. cities in a second. It ended the war and saved lives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan frustrated over slow pace of North Korea abduction probe See in context

This is a classic example of "jerking around," making the J. govt look foolish. I feel sorry for those relatives, who are always appealing for some action. I am getting tired of seeing them on NHK; they are wasting their time. Who are they appealing to? The NK govt could care less about their appeals, and their own govt./prime minister is too week and cowardly to do anything. Just talk, talk, talk.... Really sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: What do you think of those long black gloves and dark visors that some women in Japan wear during summer? See in context

I find it curious when I see a women with a white mask covering all of her face, and a large hat pulled down so low that she can barely see--even on a cloudy day. I think for some it is a psychological problem, not a sun problem. Insecurity or something like that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Which sports, when they are played well, do you find the most exciting to watch, and which sports do you find so boring that you can't understand how anyone could find them interesting? See in context

Soccer is boring. Someone said it is like watching rice grow. Back and forth, back and forth, almost no scoring. Some games end 0-0. If they would widen the goal posts it could become more interesting. Same for hockey.

Curling is very dull to watch; is it a sport?

NBA is the most exciting. Running, dribbling, jumping, scoring--the best athletes in the world playing the most difficult sport (as stated by Sports Illustrated). If soccer were as popular in the U.S. as basketball, the U.S. would dominate in the world. That is because black athletes have more physical talent than any other race, and that is on display in basketball.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Posted in: WWII firebombings of Japanese cities largely ignored See in context

Yes, the firebombings were terrible. But, I get so tired of hearing how the Japanese suffered during the war with very little reported on the suffering the IJA caused, over 20 million killed in China alone, to cite just one example. Whenever I talk to my university students about the war, I am shocked about how little they know about the latter. 20,000 million! Heck, most of them don't even know Japan fought a 15-year war with China.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan revises growth in Oct-Dec downward to 1.5% See in context

So much for Abenomics, which is basically "smoke and mirrors." Just throwing money around with little structural reform won't make it. This was dismal news, but NHK, Abe's nationalistic mouthpiece, mostly brushed it over. BBC told it like it is--a failure of his policies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Can Shinzo Abe make the bird sing? See in context

"Smoke and Mirrors" best describes Abe's economic measures. A lot of talk and throwing money around but almost no structural changes. His efforts are mostly futile, and Japan will continue its decline.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: The conformist aspects of Japanese society makes events like the hostage crisis particularly emotionally disturbing for its people. That trauma is compounded by the fact that I don't think most Japane See in context

I agree with Mocheake, Japan has been in a state of "hiewa bouke", i.e. peaceful ignorance of world affairs, for years now.

The country is well-known for throwing money around, checkbook diplomacy, but keeps it's distance from direct involvement--not what you would expect from the world's 3rd largest economy.

If a plane crashes and many are killed, but no Japanese on board, it is somewhat big news. If even one Japanese was on board, we are bombarded with the news to no end.

This hostage event might wake them up a little, but not much.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Posted in: What do you think of the quality of medical care at hospitals in Japan? See in context

In over 30 years here I have found the care to be excellent. J. doctors are dedicated and quite knowledgeable, as least a big hospitals and medical schools. Same for nurses. And the cost--how wonderful Japan's government-run health insurance system is! Doctors nowadays don't act like they are God, as in the old days. I am over 70 so pay only 10%; this is one of the big reasons I will never leave Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering a visit to Pearl Harbor in spring as part of activities to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II. It would be the first visit to Pearl See in context

Good to go but he should go to Nanjing as well. ( An the U.S. president should visit Hiroshima/Nagasaki.) Abe should also go to Okinawa and apologize for the way the island was sacrificed during the war, and continues to be used as a U.S. pawn today. Actually, the list of places--where the IJA caused great harm and suffering--that he should visit and bow his head is quite long. It would keep him so busy there would be no time to promote his "smoke and mirrors" Abenomics.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: No. of tourists to Japan tops 13 mil for first time ever See in context

13 million tourists is a drop in the bucket compared to France's 83 million, really nothing to brag about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: New Okinawan governor snubbed by Abe, Suga See in context

It is disgusting the way the Japanese government uses money diplomacy, both internationally and domestically. Pay off the farmers to shut up and accept TPP, use coupons to stimulate the economy--never mind structural reform--etc.,etc. Now, they are going to use the money "stick" to get their way in Okinawa. The island was sacrificed during the war and so it goes today. Let Japan protect itself; it's a rich country. Japan should do what the Philippines did, close all U.S. bases and send the U.S. military packing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Is Japanese TV really as bad as its reputation? See in context

The lack of channels in this high tech country is puzzling. In the small city I come from in the U.S. (pop 150,000) there are about 10 channels on terrestrial TV. I think the J. govt. has passed regulations making it hard to open new TVRadio stations in order to protect their mouthpiece, NHK--speaking of which, is now controlled by Abe and the conservative/nationalistic LDP. Those of us who are not fluent in Japanese, and don't want cable or SkyPer, are stuck with NHK. Why doesn't NHK have even one news program in all English, only dubbed over news? China has a 24-hr all English channel

Although NHK provides some foreign news shows, they often get cut short, sometimes in mid sentence.. On holidays, they cancel the usual English programming. Emergency announcements are only in Japanese. Documentaries in non-English languages have only Japanese subtitles. Why can't they add English subs? I could go on and on. NHK really frustrates; it is so inward focused. What ever happened to kokusaika?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: On the verge of breaking sumo's all-time record, Hakuho ponders his long-term future See in context

Hakuho is lucky he is in sumo, not baseball. I agree that if he can't be brought down on the mat, others will try to bring him down by other means simple because he is a foreigner in Japan's "sacred" sport.

Unlike baseball, opponents have to fight him, no way around it. Anyone who remembers the Randy Bass/Tuffy Rhodes/Cabrerra fiascos will understand what I am talking about. Walk, Walk, Walk, Walk... That is a sad commentary on Japanese "sportsmanship" and the "great" Sadaharu Oh.

One dare not break a Japanese player's record, although it did finally happen in baseball; you can't keep good men-- even Gaijin-- down forever.

8 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese companies need to regain the animal spirit they lost over the past 20 years to lead innovation and sell products abroad. This is something that the government and business have to take more s See in context

I agree with jerseyboy. The decline of Japan, which will continue relentlessly, is mainly due to the mindset of the people. Cdr. Perry forced the country open, but minds are still rather closed, i.e. "mura ishiki" or "shima-guni konjo." So, the world-- globalization--is passing Japan by. It's politicians are hopeless; Abe's third arrow is failing; it cannot overcome vested interests. Sad to see since I love living here--42 years now. The high cost of living is my biggest complaint, and it need not be that high; it is the result of factors mentioned above.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Woman stabbed to death in Tokyo's Kichijoji; one suspect in custody See in context

Why didn't any of the media report on the boy's visa status? What is a 17-yr-old Romanian boy doing in Japan, anyway? Funny that no one in the media is asking or answering that question.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Truman's grandson visits Hiroshima after meeting atomic bomb survivors See in context

The bombs (whether the 2nd one was necessary is questionable) saved more lives that they took. POWs were dying at a rate of over a 100 a day. The invasion of Kyushu in November was expected to cost at least 500,000 US military lives, and that is just Kyushu. The Japanese people were expected to fight to the death, just as Japanese soldiers did on Okinawa and Iwo Jima, using bamboo spears, farm tools, and what ever. Fighting on the mainland of Japan would have made Hiroshima/Nagasaki look mild. Japan needs to get over its "victim" mentality which is perpetuated by the ceremonies every August. Japanese people all know how their country suffered, but know almost nothing about the death and devistation their military caused throughout Asia where millions were killed, including countless innocent civilians. Finally, if Japan had the bomb you can be sure they would have used it. Truman, a great president, made a difficult decision, but the right one in my opinion. I respect his grandson for visiting Japan.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Posted in: Foreign Buyers' Club going strong after 20 years See in context

Costco's coming to Japan must have been a terrible blow to FBC's business. However, you have to appreciate what they have done. I get stuff that I can't get at Costco for about the same as or just a little more than the US price, delivered to my door for 400 yen. How can you complain about that? Congratultions to FBC on 20 years of making life in Japan more comfortable for foreign residents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: America feels ready to snap See in context

And how many billion dollars $$$$$ continue to be spent in Iraq and Afghanastan? What is more ironic, many of those suffering probably voted for Bush, the man who wrecked the economy and gave us two wars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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