songwillem2011 comments

Posted in: Why do so many anime characters have non-Japanese names? See in context

All these points have serious flaws to them. First of all the foreign market is actually of little financial significance to the Japanese. Yes it's big and dedicated, any convention or anime only isle in an video store will prove that but once licensed most money goes the Western distribution and dubbing companies not the Japanese creators or IT holders themselves. That's why in spite of Westerners having very specific tastes for cynical and violent anime like Hellsing and Cowboy Bebop very few Japanese writers have altered their trends away from cuter and happier anime like K-ON!, Precure and Love Live which are loved throughout Japan but reviled overseas to suit Western audiences. On the second point I think consumption of Western media is limited to only a handful of videogames and movies. I see no indication that Japan likes the kind of TV shows Westerners like. On the flip side anime has had a profound and wide reaching affect on Western animation and thought for at least ten years now so consumption of Japanese media must be quite high. Vritually all anime has Japanese flavors to them such as an adherence to pacifism, group harmony and hard work. Super popular titles like Avatar the Last Airbender, Legend of Korra and Teen Titans and movies like Frozen and How to Train Your Dragon cite inspiration from Japanese animation and the particular plots that go with them. The second point made skirts but does not acknowledge the fact that lots of anime characters are Westerners. Also a lot of anime characters inspired by Westerners aren't necessarily non-Japanese characters I'm watching a show called Tokyo ESP which has a Japanese yakuza boss obviously modeled after Gerald Butler's Leonidas, years ago there was an anime called Seto no Hanayama with another yakuza boss obviously modeled after Arnold's Terminator. Also the notion of having a non-Japanese lead to improve appeal is just not true. Lots of shows tend to have Japanese characters in them regardless of the setting. Later Gundam titles, Shingeki no Kyojin, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha and Strike Witches all have Japanese characters mixed and often leading the non-Japanese cast. It's pretty much no different than most Western titles that throw in a White male into a non-white setting and have him lead like Avatar and Pathfinder. And it's not just to appeal to some sense of ethnic pride from the core audience, often a show can't go on unless you tell it from a perspective the audience can relate to. In addition to that lots of Japanese characters have Western names for no better reason that because the writer thought it sounded nice. I'm watching a magical girl metaseries called Precure and quite often there's a Japanese girl in it with a Western name like Iona or Alice. I mean why not? Robin Williams named his daughter Zelda after the video game. Ethnicity is actually very important to an anime character, Shingeki no Kyojin's Mikasa's mixed heritage is even a early sub-plot. Rarely is it not mentioned or at least acknowledged in some fashion, even in sci-fi or fantasy shows race is focused upon even if it's a fictional one. I think this is simply due to a lack of widespread multiculturalism in Japan more than anything else. Japanese writers like using it as a tool to explain why character's behave the way they behave or as a means to making characters exotic. That's one of the reasons there are so many blondes in anime even if they're Japanese. Sometimes this can be just lazy stereotypes but most of the time it's just to acknowledge different cultural strengths and amusing nuances. In the case of Strike Witches and Girls Und Panzer each character has a set of amusing behaviors and strengths modeled more or less after their ethnicity. Food and personal habits unique to their background are also important in making the characters more interesting.

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Posted in: Instead of allowing the economy to rid itself of bad investments and heal, Japan has continued to prop-up failed business models — creating zombie banks and an equally zombie-like economy. See in context

Japan might be better at creating zombie businesses and inefficient, needless jobs but there are several upsides to it. First of all unemployment in Japan is lower than other growing economies about 4% to America's or Australia's 6%. In addition to that Japan's gini coefficient (the measure of equality of wealth) is better than just about everyone else being dark green to Australia, France and the UK's light green and America's light red. In other words the gap between the rich and the poor is small and the middle class is still over 90% of the population. Far as I can tell the gap is not widening like it is everywhere else. And despite that the Japanese economy is like a wave shifting between recession and growth admittedly not a upward curve that most would like but certainly not a download spiral either. The point is Japan didn't collapse, it's still no.3. This might actually have long term benefits as at least they're keeping their middle class alive from which most of the economy flows. It's also just humane to keep more people paid. And private debt is low so the Japanese public still have real cash whereas others use entirely credit which can count for a lot. Total private debt (that's the debt you and me might hold) in the US is now 3.5 times the economy (over 50 trillion), in Australia it's 2 times. In Japan it's 1/3. Most other growing nations are in fact growing on over-consumption fueled by credit cards and housing loans. Should the house of cards the world has become ever collapse Japan may be one of the few nations outside of China hit the least and public unrest and riots will more than likely not happen.

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Posted in: 3 Japanese students killed, 5 injured in California car crash See in context


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Posted in: Even if there are Ainu, they are no more than Japanese who are descended from Ainu. All they do is insist relentlessly on exercising their rights. It's absurd, and I can't explain it to the taxpayers. See in context

Overall I think the financial burden is not so great that it can't be maintained a least for a little while if only just as a kind of penance. Aside from the opinions of far-rightists I see no indication that the Japanese people at large are anything but happy at this monetary act of contrition. Contrary to what some may believe most Japanese are a highly apologetic lot towards the peoples they've wronged in the past. Even the Japanese I know outside of Japan are very contrite to me and my friends for no better reason than because we're Chinese. Officially there are only 25000 Ainu pure-bloods today, some say as much as 250000 but they're more likely mixed. And their culture still remains for the most part intact and preserved. Lots of them still live in the traditional style they did 150 years ago. Point is the government only accepts those 25000 which is about 0.0002% of the population. For a country like Japan this is minuscule compared to Australia which has 670000 undeniable Aborigines or 3% of the country.

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Posted in: There are cases in Japan in which people are discriminated against, or refused work or marriage because they are Korean residents. We encourage people to come and consult us, no matter how small the m See in context

@CanadianJapan Are we sure this article is actually referring to Japanese born Koreans or Korean migrants who may or may not have permanent residency yet? Still not good to discriminate but are we sure this article isn't deliberately mixing up groups just to construe a headline? Tabloids do that.

@Zichi Good news is it is progressing. Remember when Osaka uphold that anti-hate speech law earlier this year or when ethnic Japanese people literally tackled anti-Korean protesters in far greater numbers. It'll still take a while but Japan could become a leader in this area if they get it right. In many ways they're already better than most.

Still IMHO I neither think it's that bad nor entirely the fault of the Japanese. A lot of antipathy against Koreans in Japan is due to North Korea and the fact that there are highly pro-North Koreans living openly in Japan. Also even though I'm convinced Japan hates Koreans I'm not convinced that they hate them that much. And that the Koreans and Chinese hate the Japanese far, far more even beyond logic and reason. Case in point of the top ten richest people in Japan two of them are Korean: Masayoshi Son (3rd) and Han-Chong Woo (8th). The popular Toyota FJ Cruiser was designed by a Korean: Jin Won Kim. And most iconic of all cup noodles designed by Momofuku Ando who was originally born Wu Baifu in Taiwan post war. And then there's all the love for all things Korean and Chinese. Not such things exist on the mainland where they boycott Japanese goods, ransack Japanese businesses and make cussing anything Japanese a form of patriotism and moral uprightness.

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Posted in: Japan considers building its own fighter jets See in context

Keep in mind the ATD-X is only a demonstrator for studying new technology, they've not confirmed if they'll go ahead or what the F-3 will even look like. From here on Japan has four options. 1) Use the technology to upgrade the F-2 including making it stealthy; has the advantage of lower costs and existing platforms. 2) Build a fighter directly based on the Gripen sized ATD-X maybe even recycle old electronics saving time, costs and compensate for small internal weapon bays with external weapon pods like the Silent Hornet. 3) Build an F-22 analogue by 2027 (currently the most sought after project) and probably pay upwards of 200 million per jet, probably more. And 4) Build a 6th generation fighter: currently Japan has one major concept for this the 24DMU basically a mix between the F-22, YF-23 and PAK FA which will cost even more but depending on how things go might outperform all the competition unless someone beats them to 6th gen. Presently every nation is having problems both technical and financial not just Japan but that hasn't stop them from spending on defense and it probably shouldn't. And many of them are even worse off, at least the Japanese aren't starving in the tens of thousands while the government invests in new tools of war. Japan might be a late starter but as of this moment there are no guarantee who will win the race in the next 15 years. Personally I think Japan will end up taking option 2, it's cheaper, it's new and they could get it out quicker. But we'll see by 2018.

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Posted in: Landslide See in context

I meant financial burdens.

Ah I see.

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Posted in: JFE Engineering starts operation of vegetable plant See in context

Japan really needs to technologically revolutionize it's entire agricultural sector. Being primarily vegan compared to other industrialized nations Japan could easily go near to totally food independent if it just build loads of vegetable factories and hydroponic greenhouses preferably in tall buildings linked to renewable energy sources like solar and wind. That solves high food prices and land prices right there.

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Posted in: Landslide See in context

@Schopenhauer Well the JSDF is there right now helping them in this picture, doesn't that count towards government help?

I suppose in a densely populated country, you're in trouble, no matter where you build. If you're near the coast, you are risk from a tsunami, near a mountain, it's landslides, near a river, it's flooding, and anywhere else, typhoons.

Which is why I think Japanese are the toughest and nicest people in the world. Here we are complaining about our problems and robbing each other and there they are experiencing this on a regular basis and still manage to remain polite and crime free.

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Posted in: Firepower See in context

Type 89 IFV in the front, Type 87 SPAAG on the side, a Type 90 tank on the right I see maybe three Type 10 tanks in the front right. The Type 74 tank will start being phased out in 2016 after they introduce the MCV a fast 8x8 wheeled 105mm gun tank destroyer and will be fully retired by about 2024.

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Posted in: Are Japanese growing less heat-resistant? See in context

I would also blame this on clothing trends. Most Japanese people young and old wear heavy Western clothing designed in much colder European climes out of fashion or habit without really taking into account the weather or season. Office men still wear full black suits, pedestrians jeans and jackets and women dresses even in the summer. It's funny that the nation that basically invented flip-flops and baggy clothes is so repelled by it these days for seemingly no better reason than habit and the misguided belief that it makes them look modern. Down here in Australia the flip-flop which as some people might know was originally the Japanese zori is one step away from being acceptable summer formal wear. I'm already seeing some office workers wearing them at work. Japan needs to collectively re-accept it's traditional wear as fashionable, the rest of world has and besides Japanese traditional clothes evolved explicitly to handle Japanese weather. The refusal to do so is about as intelligent as eskimos deciding to adopt Californian beach wear.

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Posted in: Film on 1597 victory over Japan breaks Korean box office records See in context

As a point of certain irony (if that's the correct word) as a raging Japanophile I've always had a certain fondness of Korean films and TV shows like this (such as the Invincible Admiral Yi) due to the fact that they're often the best made for portraying samurai warships. That ship in the background is called an Atakebune a beautiful design unique to Japan that I've seen depicted nowhere else except in Korean shows for the express purpose of getting blown to pieces by Korean turtle ships. I'll probably buy this movie when it becomes available and just skip to the parts where I can see the samurai and their warships.

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Posted in: Japan to test first stealth fighter jet See in context

Will they call it a Valkyrie, or Yukikaze?

If an F-3 fighter comes out of this it'll probably be called the Silent Zero or Stealth Zero. Possibly even Shadow Zero just like how the F-1 was called Supersonic Zero and the F-2 was called Viper Zero after the F-16's nickname Viper.

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Posted in: The fuzzy logic behind Japanese attachment to kanji See in context

If Japanese language leaves Kanji/ Hanzi system, it'll render the whole language soul-less, 1 kanji character can clear all doubts /meaning of the whole sentence.

@evian1 Thanks for reminding about something I forgot. Kanji is very good for getting around homophones. For instance kami can mean paper, hair, spirit or deity, shin can mean new or deity etc. A single kanji character can easily clear this up. Of course some kanji can be pronounced in a number of ways which probably throws us back to where we started.

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Posted in: Japan to test first stealth fighter jet See in context

They are talking about the ATD-X right? How come JT is posting F-35 pictures and references when the Internet is teeming with info on the ATD-X?

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Posted in: The fuzzy logic behind Japanese attachment to kanji See in context

A long time ago the Royal British family now known as Windsor was known as Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (they're of German descent). Then anti-German sentiment reached an all time high, a bomber called the Gotha G.IV bombed London and the Tsars were destroyed so the Royal family changed it's name to avoid abolition. If anti-Chinese sentiment ever builds high enough the same thing could happen. I wouldn't want it to happen though plus everything from calligraphy to classical Japanese history could become inaccessible to all but the most dedicated historians and poets. IMHO though in the end I think any script reforms if ever made should to be made or not made based solely on how much it would improve or damage the daily lives of the Japanese people more than anything else. The article makes mention only to hypothetical very one-off instances without really considering how the average Japanese writer or reader might feel. Spoken Japanese I find is very simple compared to English; it is grammatically simpler and possesses fewer synonyms, euphemisms and slang. One of the primary kana; hiragana or katakana I believe would be best and there are proponents for it. I find this has two advantages. One is fewer strokes the other is the mental benefit of matching characters to syllables rather than nouns to characters. This however has the disadvantage of making writing longer. For instance the word cat or neko needs two kana characters (ネコ) but only one kanji (猫) which will add up especially if you're printing books or newspapers. But if you look at the characters the kana is much easier to write by hand. Also unlike Hangul kana is already widely used and all literate Japanese are literate in kana which makes transition actually very easy not to mention cheap.

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Posted in: Japan, France agree on defence equipment cooperation See in context

A proposition made by netizens as of late is for Japan to buy the stillborn future French aircraft carrier PA2 itself derived from the British Queen Elizabeth class (the French having already paid for some of the design off the British) and combine it with tech from the Hyuga and Izumo. It makes sense, Japan has a long history of military exchange with the French and France sold a CATOBAR carrier to Brazil; the Foch now San Paulo. It would be an inspiring sight but personally I'm ambivalent about Japan further leaving it's pacifist stance. Plus what would they fly off it?

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Posted in: Man dies after being stung by wasps See in context

These hornets are most common in Japan and per sting the most venomous insect on the planet. And they're the size of a man's (a well built Caucasian man's) thumb not including the wingspan. They're utterly terrifying.

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Posted in: Controversial Japanese World Cup ref hits back at critics See in context

Referees are only human, they can make mistakes but they do their job to the best of their abilities. But soccer has been a focal point of national animosity so I'm at least glad he's being articulate and well-mannered in way we should expect of referees and athletes never mind Japanese.

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Posted in: Japan, Britain to launch joint missile research See in context

26 years ago Japan developed the world's first next generation active phased array radar for their ships and still possesses what is arguably the world's most advanced models. 19 years ago they made the world's first fighter aircraft AESA radar in the F-2 10 years ahead of the Raptor. 2 years ago they made the world's first AESA air-to-air missile in AAM-4B and are one of only a few nations with ramjet missiles in the test missile AAM-4 TDR and anti-ship XASM-3 and are still ahead of both the Meteor and the Russian K-77M. Forget joint developed just buy Japanese radars and missiles already.

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Posted in: Why do Japanese cleaning crews bow at trains? See in context

I believe they're bowing to the train itself, but probably also to everything else mentioned. Shinto their primary belief system (I wouldn't really call it a religion) holds the belief that everything even objects and places have sentient spirits residing in them or alternatively the object itself is actually sentient and has a soul. You know whenever a Japanese person says 'please excuse me' when entering someone's home or 'I'm in your care' when preparing to work with someone and bows. It's pretty much the same thing only the recipient is now an inanimate object. At sporting events, other vehicles, machine, factories and even the armed forces with their ships and tanks tend to do similar things. Which is why I'm convinced an evil robot uprising will never happen in Japan :p.

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Posted in: Arrest of Tokyo vagina artist sparks free expression protest See in context

Hopefully the charges against her get dropped in court, I don't see why they won't since there's a legitimate violation of freedom of expression case here (and she obviously has a lot of public support) but these sort of things have always been very complicated in Japan due to the peculiar laws they have for it. You can't really blame the J-cops for just doing their job, the laws just happen to coalesce into something very confounding and certainly in needing of modernization. In a very cynical but amusing way pretty much this whole debacle is basically just due to one classification law; she hasn't registered it as porn but art. That's it. That's why other kinds of pornography and sex toys are fine but distribution of this is not, the legal authorities just went 'She's distributing porn. But she hasn't categorized it as porn! Let's arrest her!' says one cop. 'But isn't it just art?' asks another cop. 'No it's definitely porn. Let's arrest her.' That's it. Yeah the laws really need to be modified. Furthermore the notion of male chauvinism is not entirely true. Firstly in the case of the penis shrines there are actually vagina stones you can find there as well, though I think only the penises get carried around for festivals but you can buy vagina memorabilia and talismans from there as well. It isn't protested though because it's a cultural thing that predates the censorship laws and protesting it (I imagine someone has in the past) would also violate the freedom of religious expression law. Secondly this is not the first case of something like this. Remember in Shimane when they protested the erection (no pun intended) of a replica nude Italian statue of David and asked to have pants put on it. Same deal but nothing came of that because again it was freedom of expression. There are also hanging breasts along with golden penises at that Chinese restaurant in Roppongi too so you can't really accuse the Japanese of only picking on women looking at these cases. The lack of action taken against it I think is only due to a lack of awareness of it. The public (whether male of female) seem to sensibly not care and the police have probably yet to find it. Then there's the laws on animated and illustrated porn which takes on another whole dimension. To me this is less male chauvinism and more a well known "female" artist getting caught in the "cobwebs" of Japan's bureaucratic legal system.

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Posted in: Shoe cooler See in context

@philly1 Like a lot of things in Japan it's a hangover from the Meiji period which led to a pervasive belief that formal western clothing is the superior formal wear even when wearing it is borderline masochistic (which tends to define the Japanese salaryman mindset anyway). I think it'll take another 10-20 years before the average Japanese realize just how globally respected traditional Japanese garbs really are before they change and even then I think pro-Japanese countries like Australia, US and the UK will be swapping out their penguin suits for breezy yukatas and thongs before the Japanese do. Wouldn't that be a funny reversal from a century ago.

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Posted in: 'Bamboo ceiling' hampering Asians in Australia See in context

@5petals Indeed. Having lived in both the East and the West for roughly equal periods of my life I can safely I like both in equal in measure for different reasons; social, culinary, cultural, ethical etc. but right now I prefer my Australian home over my Asian one mostly for hygiene, health and economic reasons. Everything rots in the humidity and I have a skin condition set off by hot and humid weather. Indeed I would love to live in Japan for it's society and culture (Perth is incredibly isolated, just as expensive and taxed as Japan but with far less to offer) but definitely not to work. Not to mention I don't think I'll ever learn to read Japanese well :(. The economy is not good right now but I think Australia is about the only place in the world right now that an Asian (or anyone for that matter; I have a lot of friends from the UK in the same boat :)) can get a decent job that pays well and treats it's workers fairly. More or less. I still get racially harassed on trains or buses (similar events to that altercation with that woman in Newcastle happens here once every couple of months) and many of my bosses are rather brutal but nothing like what I've seen personally in the third world.

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Posted in: Man sues gov't over expansion of military role See in context

oldman_13 is correct. Japan is much freer that some people would give it credit for. Had someone like Chindo tried in this China we all know where that would go.

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Posted in: 'Bamboo ceiling' hampering Asians in Australia See in context

As an Asian living in Australia let me say that this bamboo ceiling is real though honestly it's not really that troubling for us and life for us Asians here I must say is pretty good. However in all of the jobs I've been there's always been a group of highly qualified, highly educated Asians (usually Chinese from Singapore or Malaysia) who've been with the companies for years but never receive any upward mobility even when seeking it. I had a Chinese friend who worked as an analytical technician for five years with additional tasks as assistant supervisor to make sure the rest of us weren't making mistakes. Any new managerial or supervisory jobs were always handed over to people of European descent sometimes from other departments as "people persons" with no technical knowledge of work being done whatsoever. In another place (both jobs were with the science sector) all the more experienced Asian workers (in fact all the Asians including myself had university degrees for a science but only some of the Caucasians had degrees at all) were all turned down when applying for supervisory jobs even though they had worked in the department for years in favor of again Caucasian people sometimes from other departments and in two occasions from another state. One Asian worker who tried actually even got laid off after 7 years of working for the organization. Admittedly though I'm not too offended by it. A lot of my Caucasian friends got the short end of the stick across this time period and some of this at least is probably just "ruthless business as usual". Also Asians themselves aren't really exoticised here certainly not on the same level Caucasians are exoticised in Japan, only our cuisines. There's enough of us here that are Australianized enough that the Caucasians don't really acknowledge our ancestry unless it's to crack a joke at our expense, learn about our culture or quite funnily enough seek culinary tips. Most of the time this technical racism is completely benign and completely too-way, we can make fun of whites as surely as they can make fun of us colored. So otherwise we're just like any other bloke or sheila on the street. :)

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Posted in: Pacifist no more? Experts discuss Japan's military See in context

I wonder what kind of medals we might see going into mint now that the JSDF face the prospect of real battle. Extant Japanese medals are really gorgeous IMO so I'd like to see new military ones if only just to admire them.

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Posted in: Japan tops the list of countries that are the most accepting of alcohol See in context

A lot of this I believe has to do with Japanese drinking etiquette. Down here in Australia we love our alcohol too but lots of us make very poor drunks and the media and social circles are rife with stories of violent inebriation and one-punch deaths. No such behavior seems to exist in any kind of perceivable excess in Japan.

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Posted in: Japan again delays rollout of C-2 cargo plane See in context

Japan actually did buy US aircraft for that purpose; the C-130 Hercules but even it has weight limits the C-2 will cover, as the article stated for helicopters and missile batteries. I suppose they could buy Globemasters though that's more for moving tanks across the pacific something the JGSDF has not needed until now. The first year delay was due to a shift in funds to the modernization of their F-15J fleet, seen quite rightly as a priority at the time. What with China sending jets all the time. The second delay is still only a year long and nothing compared to other aerospace delays in other countries and so far it's quite minor. We haven't had C-2s falling out of the air yet and I think everyone would prefer this not become another Osprey.

Also relatively speaking the XC-2 program is actually quite cheap, only US$2.9 billion with a unit cost of US$80 million. Compared to the European Airbus Atlas 150 million euro and the Globemaster US$220 million for only slightly less payload. Note: the C-2 is seemingly deliberately underpowered having only two engines instead of four like others probably to keep them from being accused of making something that can carry tanks to another country.

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Posted in: China sentences three to death for Tiananmen attack See in context

For a naive minute I dreamt this referred to the real Tiananmen attack - the one with the tanks.

You and me both.

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