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Posted in: Sony cancels Dec 25 U.S. release of 'The Interview' after threats See in context

Why is Sony getting all of the hate for this? I'll agree that, unless there was hard evidence supporting an attack, Sony is empowering the hackers and letting down free speech. But Amercan owned theaters cancelled first. They deserve some of the blame as well.

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Posted in: Abe vows to rewrite constitution, instill patriotism in schools See in context

So almost half the voting populion didn't vote, and Abe claims a mandate anyway and is moving forward at full speed. Who would have guessed?

@sfjp330, I'll agree that patriotism, love of your country and countrymen, etc., is a good thing. But I don't think it includes the "right of a people to make their own decisions for themselves." By that logic, North Koreans are not patriots. In fact, people who let the government think for them are often lauded as great patriots.

In politics, the word patriotism is used like a bludgeon. Anyone who questions the country vis-a-vis the government is accused of being anti-patriotism. I'm afraid that's what will happen if you try to artificially raise patriotism.

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Posted in: From Japan, the joy of minimalism at home See in context

For me, clutter is usually the result of productivity. I like to see the mess I make. Seeing a work mess puts me in the mood to work.

I can agree with the principle of getting rid of unused or unwanted items, but why use this language of "communing" with your posessions? Why talk about being kind to my shirts as if they're objects that have moral significance? She worked in a Shinto shrine, so maybe that's where she gets it.

Let's talk about maximizing the practical and psychological benefit of your organization strategy. But viewing objects as things which deserve respectful and appreciative treatment seems like a strange kind of super-materialism.

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Posted in: Low voter turnout could erode Abe's call for fresh mandate See in context

Mr. PerfectNov. 26, 2014 - 03:56PM JST

Abe called an election which the people don't understand the need for. If no-one except your most ardent supporters show up to vote can you then claim to have a mandate by the people? Can he seriously expect to move forward with his agenda and say it's the will of the people after there was a massive campaign to successively boycott the election he called and nobody supported?

Yes, he can. Because no one will vote him out. You're not addressing my concern. If no one votes, Abe and his party retain all the power. You're saying that it will make him look like a laughing stock if no one votes. I say that Abe isn't so petty. He couldn't care less what anyone thinks as long as he gets his way in government. As Yamiko Otokawa pointed out in the post above, there are unpopular agenda items that he would like to force through.

I think Abe does get a mandate, even if no one votes. He can simply say, "Hey, I gave you a chance to vote against me. I even offered to resign if you did. But you didn't. That says, even if you don't love my policy, you're comfortable with it." Voting for a fractured opposition at least sends a message of disapproval to the LDP.

A mandate is important because acting without one means that people will likely vote against you in the next election. But if no one is going to vote in Japan, why is a mandate important? Boycott has efficacy when used economically. If you boycott political involvement, it's a boon to your opponents. They proceed unobstructed while you sit on your thumbs.

You want to humiliate Abe? Then vote for for anyone else. You talk about how broken Japan's government is, but the fact remains that its voting populace still has power to make real changes.

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Posted in: Low voter turnout could erode Abe's call for fresh mandate See in context


There are only two ways citizens can affect government policy: voting (if it's allowed) and protesting.

If everyone got out there and voted not LDP you would see change in government. You're advocating that people boycott. If they were protesting in the streets, I'd agree with you. If people skipped work to picket, then the government might listen, and I would agree with you.

But if the election comes and goes, and most people just stay at home, and the LDP keeps its hold, how is Abe negatively affected at all? In fact, if people don't vote, Abe learns that he can do just about anything and the Japanese people won't hold him accountable. Japan might be more plutocracy than democracy, but non-involvement just preserves the status quo.

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Posted in: Low voter turnout could erode Abe's call for fresh mandate See in context

@Mr. Perfect

I don't understand your reasoning. I accept that Abe might not get a "mandate" with a low voter turnout, but I don't see how that makes him a toothless lion. If everyone who doesn't like Abe stays home, then only his supporters come out, giving him and his party real power , mandate or no. With a population that won't vote against him, he can do whatever he wants.

Voting for someone else sends a message. Forcing Abe to make good on his promise to resign if his party doesn't get a majority sends a message.

In a democracy, citizens talk to their government by voting. Not voting is the definition of doing nothing. Politicians don't care about groups that don't vote. And they shouldn't care. If you won't hold them responsible, then they aren't responsible to you.

So vote in some crappy opposition party. Do it because they're different. And then vote them out too, if they really are crappy. Keep voting out parties and leaders until someone in government finally gets the message and listens.

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Posted in: Low voter turnout could erode Abe's call for fresh mandate See in context

Rather than boycott the election, why not vote for someone, anyone, else? Politicians everywhere get away with a lot of crap because of voter apathy. Don't like Abe's snap election, think it's a waste of money? Vote for someone else. Give your reasons to pollers when they ask you. If the new people do a bad job, vote for someone else.

An elected official's livelihood depends on how well they don't offend their constituents. Not voting is the same as giving blanket approval to whatever goes on in government. It says, "I don't care, do whatever you like." Vote for someone else. They only way government is going t learn, is if you start voting for someone else.

Neglecting to vote doesn't give Abe a mandate, but it sure doesn't give him an admonishment either. It's not as good as he might have hoped for, but a low voter turnout won't give him much anxiety. Why should it? He and his are still in power. But Abe did say that he would resign if hi part didn't get a majority of the vote. There's you answer. Vote for someone else.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Man held for attempted murder after stabbing woman on street in Kanagawa See in context

DaDudeNov. 11, 2014 - 09:47AM JST Funny that on here nobody is sympathetic towards to woman but concerned about the man's counseling and hopefully quick release.

Of course everyone here feels sorry for the victim. A desire for more pervasive preventative counseling is a very rational and sympathetic response to this story. We hope that the mentally unstable get counseling so that they do not become violent lunatics who stab hapless passersby.

The first cynical thought that pops into your head is not likely to be very intelligent or worth anyone else's time.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: What is your stance on doctor-assisted suicide by terminally-ill patients? See in context

I also agree with the principle of of assisted suicide, but I think we're talking about the practice of it a bit hastily. We need some big qualifications.

Our friend might offer to sell us his car at a ridculously low price, but we would decline if he were dilerious with fever. We wouldn't feel obligated to honor a drunken friend's request to tattoo his face. If a clinically depressed friend tells us about plans to commit suicide but asks us not to tell, we might think twice. There are times when we think an individual can't be trusted to make their own decisions. I wonder if any of those times might occur when a terminally ill patient requests assistance with suicide.

If a person, in full control of his mental faculties and from an continuously rational state of mind, wants to end their life, sure. I'm all for it. But the nature of the decision, and the circumstances of the patient might give us reason to suspect the patient's rationality and wherewithall.

I think it's possible for a patient to request suicide assistance who would not have pursued suicide if some changeable circumstances were different. Perhaps their profound loneliness is affecting their decision.

Again, I'm for the principle! But if it were implimented, I would like to see an advisory board of indivduals which takes on individual cases to ensure the patient's rationality and which ensures the patient wouldn't be happier with some other arrangement. I'd also like to see a minimum deliberation period where the patient is forced to reaffirm their desire for suicide over a reasonable span of time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan, N Korea hold 2nd day of abduction talks See in context

North Korea has every reason to draw this out as long as possible. Whatever information they actually find is going to be bad for NK's image and could give Japan a legitimate claim for some kind of formal apology/remuneration. If it's true, kidnapping 800 citizens is huge. If you take all those cases together, it could be cause for war. Imagine what America might do if 800 of her citizens were kidnapped.

If NK was honest about only 13 being kidnapped (a big if), then they have nothing new to report anyway. The Japanese already believe that NK lied about 13, they aren't likely to accept the same number.

NK's best course is to ride out the lax sanctions until they inevitably go back up anyway.

If they were serious about mending relations, they'd let a Japanese team conduct their own unrestricted investigation.

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Posted in: If you found a large sum of money in a secluded spot, would you keep it or hand it in to the police? See in context

Of course this is a bit of a ridiculous premise. It's hard to imagine how you could stumble across a large some of money in a "secluded spot". Additionally, it's hard to imagine a sensible person who would hide a large sum of money (legitimately acquired or not) where someone else could find it.

But if we just accept that, then we have to acknowledge that it's at least possible that the money could be legitimate. If it's legitimate, you could really ruin someone's life. Keeping the money runs the risk of ruining an honest person's life. That's just... mean.

I don’t buy the “keep it and wait to see if someone claims it” argument either. Which is more likely, that you missed the news story about the money, or that the person forgot to check the police station? Again, you run the risk of ruining someone’s life.

“Finders Keepers” is not some divine utterance given from on high. When you keep other people’s belongings, you run the risk of seriously injuring their life or their essential projects.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: 2 children among 4 dead in fire at Ishikawa religious facility See in context

I've a few Tenri friends in Japan and I've been to their "churches". Usually, the actual place of worship is attached to the dwelling of the family that administers that branch of Tenri. Imagine a traditional church with a traditional house tacked on where the pastor and her family live. You can walk from a bedroom to the shrine without going outside.

Zybster is right that English doesn't have a good word to describe that kind of building. Although facility makes you think of some kind of compound, when in reality, a typical Tenri church from the outsides looks just like a bigger than normal traditional Japanese house.

However, Zybster, I'd mention that although it's aesthetics and instruments and rituals are influenced by Shinto, it's misleading to say Tenri is "based" on Shinto. Tenri is a monotheistic religion with an inspired profit that started kind of on its own. The actual beliefs of Tenri and Shinto have nothing to do with each other.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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