Japan Today

Shumatsu_Samurai comments

Posted in: Woman arrested for leaving fetus in suitcase in Nagoya See in context

Abortions can be done up to 22 weeks in Japan

It still requires a doctor's approval. It's not like in western countries where a woman can simply say "I want an abortion because I want an abortion".

There is nothing seedy or backstreet about them.

That was on the assumption it was an illegal abortion or the doctor was taking a bribe. Certainly there will be such places for women who want abortions after the maximum time limit has passed.

I suppose the real question here is whether doctors just rubber-stamp the approval or actually consider whether the abortion is actually necessary. If the former then perhaps this was perfectly above board.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Woman arrested for leaving fetus in suitcase in Nagoya See in context

Five months, that's horrible. It's theoretically possible there was something very wrong with the fetus that meant a late abortion was understandable, but the mother is certainly mentally unstable.

Aborted at 5 months? By whom and how? That is a crime in itself.

As noted above, it's possible the abortion was done legally because the fetus had significant medical complications that meant it was necessary. As I say, it's just a possibility.

If this was a "I don't want it" abortion, it's improbable it was carried out by a major healthcare centre. It's likely it was done by a doctor that has off-the-book clients like criminals who don't want questions asked when they get injured, or it was done "officially" but with falsified records to show that a late abortion was justified (fetus very heavily ill/mental anguish to the mother/etc). Or indeed an unregulated private "medic" of the sort that used to carry out abortions before they were legalised.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Woman awoken by naked intruder in her apartment See in context

However, if you are a child, female or elderly the dangers are no different to anywhere else in the world.

That statement is not supported by crime statistics.


Rape reports vary from country to country, but there's no reason to believe Japan is particularly unsafe for women.

14 ( +24 / -10 )

Posted in: One single black mother's story of raising a half-Japanese child against all odds See in context

I thought that this was going to be a story about how the author was the victim of racial discrimination, being refused support because of minor reasons that kept changing each time, or how the system has idiotic requirements (e.g. consent from the former partner).

In reality, the story effectively amounts to "it was hard to apply for child support because I had to attend a lot of meetings in places where there was no free daycare".

That's unfortunate, but it's not discrimination. It's a lack of resources for the welfare offices, and I can see how providing free childcare for parents who need to use their services isn't going to be at the top of their priority list if they've got other problems to deal with.

I don't know where the author was brought up, but in the UK government offices do not routinely have childcare for people who attend. They're expected to juggle children in the same way the author was.

I also disagree with the author that Naomi Osaka is a good sign of discrimination against ethnic minorities. She's been hugely accepted by Japanese tennis fans, despite her poor spoken Japanese and the fact that visually it's extremely obvious that she's mixed race, and if anything is now a sign of better attitudes towards mixed-race Japanese.

Japan is no land for hafus and children of single moms

I'm not sure I can think of a single country where life is cushy for single parents. (Oh, and you think single mothers have it bad? Try being a single father anywhere.)

As for half-Japanese children, there's discrimination but I think there's no reason they can't be happy in the long-term.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Survey reveals 70% of Japanese adults believe corporal punishment is necessary See in context

A child can be taught consequences without the threat of violence.

Only when they reach a certain age. You can't explain verbally to a 6 month child that biting is bad.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Posted in: Ghosn's escape leaves Japan red-faced See in context

I don't think that Japan being red-faced is the biggest story but how foreigners living in Japan will feel. Their reputation was in part riding on how Ghosn behaved on bail. Now every foreigner will be considered a flight risk and even generally untrustwory.

I remember clearly, a few posters on JT were stating months ago that, should Ghosn be granted bail, he would skip the country.

They were shouted down and told it would be "impossible" to get out of Japan, that they had been "watching too many James Bond films", etc. Well, they know who they are, and how wrong they were!

Absolutely. Anyone who said Ghosn would skip bail was denounced as paranoid or a racist.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

Posted in: Ghosn's lawyer says he is stunned his client left country See in context

This isn't something to be celebrated. Japan's justice system isn't going to change by "innocent" rich people fleeing the country. People like Ghosn have all the privileges of wealth that ordinary people don't have. Them fighting cases in court is the only way to get more transparency and better treatment of suspects.

As Carlos mentioned in his brief press announcement later today - He has "not fled justice — I have escaped injustice and political persecution." The larger issue is about confronting the legal system in Japan and he can only do this from afar unfortunately.

He isn't going to change anything. His supporters will continue to say he's a victim because he's not Japanese and foreigners are "always" treated poorly in Japan.

But 90+% of Japanese people (those who matter if you want to reform the legal system) will say "well, he's fled bail - so he was a crook after all", which is how people will usually react in most democracies. So if anything prosecutors and the courts will just double-down on how they treat people and be even less flexible in the future.

Don't forget, Ghosn didn't even wait to see what happened in the first trial - he was guaranteed further appeals, almost certainly whilst on bail. So what if the trial date hadn't formally been set? He had a comfortable house to live in. It's not like he was broken out of jail where he was about to die due to ill-treatment/neglect.

The fact that Ghosn has fled to a dodgy country like Lebanon where his money will protect him for the rest of his life speaks volumes. He could have travelled to France and handed himself over to the French authorities, who wouldn't have returned him to Japan (yet) as they wanted to prosecute him as well. That would have been in line with his story of only fleeing Japanese "injustice and persecution". Indeed, had he been aquitted in France there's a good chance he could have avoided extradition to Japan by convincing a judge he couldn't get a fair trial there.

But as I said, he chose to go to Lebanon to avoid prosecution by any country.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Posted in: Schoolteacher bullied by colleagues; curry rubbed against eyes See in context

Completely unacceptable. I agree with some others that the police should be involved, although I suppose that's up to the victims. The staff should be investigated with a mind to dismissal.

I taught in public schools for 20 years in the States and never heard of teachers bullying other teachers.

Maybe not like this, but bullying within the workplace certainly happens. I'd be surprised if there's no bullying within the US school system between teachers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreign tourists in Kyoto reminded of etiquette via smartphones See in context

Yes. Be a client. They are still very accessible.

Eh? 99.9% of people can't be a direct client, because they don't know anyone who is already a client.

The only way normal people can privately interact with a geiko is via an agent. This used to be obscenely over-priced, so to say they are "still" very accessible doesn't make any sense.

I will admit that I'm pleasantly surprised some establishments have undercut the ludicrous prices originally charged to outsiders, but it's still a lot of money that people may not feel they can afford.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Fraser-Pryce seals fab four as Felix adds to gold haul See in context

Stop me if I'm wrong, but didn't Yusuke Suzuki get a gold medal yesterday? Surely that should have been the lead story. He's not mentioned anywhere here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreign tourists in Kyoto reminded of etiquette via smartphones See in context

I'm not sure it's possible to comply with item #4, because a geiko will not interact with someone that's not a client (or person she's seeking a service from, like a taxi driver). I remember a time when a tourist tried to get a geiko's permission to take a photograph and accidentally blocked her - the geiko ended up being quite distressed because she couldn't say anything to resolve the situation. I had to step in and just tell the tourist to take the photo and move on.

A better request would have been not to try to take close-ups or selfies with them. That's rather invading their personal space.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Posted in: 'Made by war criminals' label proposed for some Japanese-made items in S Korean schools See in context

Are they proposing to slap stickers on goods from Germany saying "made by genocidal goose-steppers"?

It's very sad that the so-called "peace faction" of South Korea is so desperate to forge a single Korean identity that the only thing they can think of is hated of Japan. If that's the only thing binding North and South Korea, reunification should be abandoned.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

Posted in: Bus driver refuses ride to passenger in wheelchair See in context

The bus driver's complaint doesn't even make sense. No bus around the world can run strictly to a timetable, because of traffic. If he was already late, that was either a) his fault or b) not his fault, in which case a further delay shouldn't have been an issue.

This is reminiscent of the train coming around the bend too fast ramming into a condominium in Kansai more than a decade ago because the conductor drove over the speed limit in order to avoid being late.

That's not really a good comparison. The train driver was already late and had overshot a platform, so was trying to avoid being disciplined by speeding and also not using the emergency break, because it would have required him to report its use.

Wehreas stopping to let a wheelchair user on would have been a good reason for a short delay.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Kono denies S Korean account of talks; calls for appropriate response See in context

You can tell things are really bad when two countries can't even agree on what was said during a bilateral meeting. :(

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan to start collecting ¥1,000 departure tax from Monday See in context

Limited Airbnb service

I don't see why that's an issue. All Japan has done is require people to register. This is a good thing, because it helps protect visitors to Japan and also discourages people letting out residential properties permanetly via Airbnb, which makes it hard for locals trying to find accommodation themselves.

Sure, there's nothing wrong with people letting out a home for a few weeks a year, but in some places it has got ridiculous where there's no Airbnb regulation.

¥1000 is a lot

It's a fairly trivial sum of money given what part of the world we're talking about.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Trans-Pacific trade pact takes effect without U.S. amid protectionism See in context

This is a positive way forward for trade around the Pacific, and hopefully even wider if the organisation expands. Tariffs and quotas can be useful as a temporary way to protect your country against unfair subsidies and dumping, but long-term it hinders more than it helps (e.g. higher food prices and reciprocal trade barriers levied against you).

As a treaty, the TPP supersedes the domestic laws of each member country. That means once a pro-business legislation is passed, people cannot change it by voting against it.

That isn't how international trade pacts work. Although in Europe it is the case that EU law can force countries to act in a certain way, the TPP won't be passing legislation as the EU Commission, Council and Parliament do, so the effects won't be comparable. It is largely about removing tariff barriers to trade.

There is nothing in the TPP agreement that will stop any member country from, for example, increasing corporation tax, passing laws to increase worker rights, etc.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Yasukuni Shrine chief priest to quit for criticizing emperor See in context

Maybe the new chief will remove the names of the war crimimals at the shrine.

My understanding is that would be highly unlikely, not least because my understanding of Shintoism is that a person's soul cannot be moved once interred in a shrine - you're not moving physical remains.

That's one of the issues with Yasukuni, that the actions of some priests has effectively bound the hands of future generations.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Posted in: ANA’s Paris branch manager assaults passenger after consuming 6 glasses of wine See in context

Whilst incidents of "airplane rage" seem to be relatively few and far between, I can imagine they're pretty scary because you may feel trapped due to the fact you're in a plane. I hope the victim wasn't too traumatised by the event and can recover.

I hope the woman files a criminal suit against the man AND the company, and keeps this in the media both here and abroad for some time to come.

What good would bringing criminal charges against ANA do? ANA aren't criminally responsible for the actions of their employees. (Maybe you've got shares in JAL - I don't know.)

Anyway, it's up to the victim if she wants to press charges or not. She also has the separate option of bringing a civil case, especially as she might have grounds to involve ANA in that, as he may have been flying for business purposes and therefore acting in the course of his job by being on the plane.

On a side note, I feel bad about the fact all ANA group employees are facing punishment due to this one person's actions. If you're flying long-haul, an alcoholic drink can be very handy, especially if it helps you fall asleep. Of course it's understandable why ANA has brought this rule in.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Kumamoto councilwoman who took baby to work kicked out of conference for using cough drop See in context

Ogata was the only dissenting vote, with the rest of the council, including its female members, all voting to have her removed, and so she was.

I've highlighted the relevant bits. Everyone voted against her - other women and all the political parties.

Japan isn't a one party state. If Ogata couldn't get a single councillor from a single party to even abstain, let alone vote against her removal, it's highly likely that she was deliberately causing trouble - probably hoping there would be some sort of punishment that would cause another social media storm.

If she really wasn't feeling well, she could have not attended that day. Or she could have temporarily taken the lozenge out of her mouth.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: Japan rejoices in having first grand slam champion See in context

Really pleased to see the first Japanese woman win a grand slam - hopefully it will inspire more to take up tennis.

Regarding whether or not she retains her Japanese nationality, it's entirely possible that after the horrible way she was treated by the US crowd - which had nothing to do with her behaviour - she may decide she'll just stick with the people who actually support her (the Japanese).

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Arguing, booing overshadow Osaka's U.S. Open final win over Williams See in context

I don't understand the claimed issue of sexism - she was playing another woman.

Is Williams complaining that men are allowed to be more aggressive towards umpires? Two wrongs don't make a right. If she's right, the men's tour needs to be tightened up, not the women's tour allowed to routinely shout and jab their fingers at umpires.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Diplomatic seal for Tokugawa shogunate found See in context

Sheesh. How do you lose something like that?

It was probably hidden deliberately by someone in the Tokugawa administration, or a servant to such a person, before it fell.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan activates first marines since WW2 to bolster defenses See in context

A very sensible project, and long overdue. As an island nation, having marines is a must for Japan.

As for them being "controversial", they're not a threat to their neighbours, because Japan simply doesn't have the manpower to start assaulting other countries (and never will). All it will do is make it harder for countries like China to occupy outlying Japanese islands and hold on to them.

17 ( +24 / -7 )

Posted in: Sumo chief apologizes after female medics asked to leave ring while tending to sick mayor See in context

This was not just inappropriate, it was also very dangerous. At least one of the ladies pushed their way to the front, which indicated she had medical training. People who have a stroke need urgent care. I'm glad to see that the women went back after momentarily hesitating on whether to comply with the instruction. But they shouldn't have had to make that decision.

29 ( +31 / -2 )

Posted in: Guide dog owners face discrimination 2 years after ban on such practices See in context

if any of the same restaurants concerned about dog allergies allow smoking?

I don't know. You would have to ask someone with a guide dog to test it for you.

In Britain, Muslim restaurants can not refuse guide dogs

There have been numerous incidents in the past years about Muslims refusing service to people with guide dogs, despite some Muslim organisations saying there's nothing wrong with them. It doesn't matter what the law says, if people are prejudiced or ignorant they will discriminate.

This is why education is vital.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Posted in: Guide dog owners face discrimination 2 years after ban on such practices See in context

So countries like Britain which have a very high number of guide dogs don't have all the negative reactions posted by some here.

Not necessarily. There is still prejudice against guide dogs, including by immigrants from Muslim countries where dogs are regarded as unclean. As I said, it's largely about education.

So no dogs should be allowed anywhere if that's the case - just in case.

There's no worry about dogs in the open air, but there is a potential concern if they're in an enclosed space. As for smoking, some restaurants and hotels do ban it, as well as taxis.

Remember, Japan introduced legislation to support guide dog users, not discriminate against them.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Posted in: Guide dog owners face discrimination 2 years after ban on such practices See in context

Allergies perhaps, but I can't think of many people with that problem.

You would be surprised. Lots of people have allergies to pets. What do you do if a customer complains they're allergic - tell them to get lost, or say they can have an allergy attack and suffer in silence?

Then there is the fact that some people are scared of dogs, or what they might do.

Lots of this comes down to education. Guide dogs are well-trained and highly unlikely to attack someone unprovoked, or crap on the floor. They're also normally well-groomed, so won't be carrying ticks or shedding lots of hair that causes allergies. If you do get dogs into your establishment, you just need to clean a little more frequently. As for taxi drivers, if a dog cannot sit in the foot-well, I guess they could carry an old blanket for it to sit on.

Discrimination against guide dogs is not surprising in Japan. Guide dogs were common enough when I was a child in the UK that we were told about them in school. That sticks with people. In Japan, if they're relatively recent (Japanese organisation set up more than 30 years after the UK charity) then you have to convince adults they're not a problem, in contrast to simply telling children they're ok.

The answer is more education in schools, led by the Japan Guide Dog Association, with the Association leading an education plan for businesses, as well as trying to get an accreditation system going (e.g. restaurant X is guide dog-friendly, guide dog users will be more likely to go there). Tougher legislation may be necessary as well.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Posted in: Speedskater Takagi surges to mass start gold See in context

What's with all the jumping on the podium?

Maybe she's exciting from winning the gold medal.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Posted in: LDP approves antismoking plan with many loopholes See in context

Shunsuke is worried that his smoking customers will leave in droves to Daisuke's little smoke filled den.

What's stopping Shunsuke marketing the restaurant as a family-friendly, smoke-free place? Do families actively seek out smoke-filled restaurants in Japan?

Once upon a time, customers could smoke in all hotel rooms. Now most hotels have specific non-smoking rooms. I'm not aware of a law that mandated this, so I assume that it was done because the hotels realised they could attract more customers that way. And in my experience the non-smoking rooms always sell out first.

There are already smoke-free restaurants across Japan, so there is demand for it. Other establishments just need to be a bit braver and make the transition - unless they're rubbish already and losing smokers would push them out of business, because non-smokers won't want to join them. In that case, why would you want to eat there anyway?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan reports suspected N Korea sanctions violation to U.N. Security Council See in context

I'm not sure I understand some of the anti-Japan posts here.

Yes, North Korea is going to try to break the sanctions, but that doesn't make it ok. Japan is being a responsible member of the UN by pointing out what is happening in the open. It's not like Tokyo faked the evidence or set up the oil transfer in a sting operation.

And before anyone else says "what is NK supposed to do?", the answer is to abide by UN resolutions and halt its WMD programs.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

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