Japan Today

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Posted in: Pizza Hut Japan asks customers: 'Don’t you hungry?' See in context

Ever see a Toyota dealership and notice how its called "Toyopet"? Sounds kinda cute, with a bit of ring to it, but it's not the original name.

Actually, this was the result of British distributors flagging the first iteration of the name back in the 70s. Originally, Toyota wanted to combine the name "Toyota" and "outlet", but fortunately for them they took heed in altering their initial result of "Toyolet".

Reminds me of how Fukushima Industries a couple years ago made a new character combining their name and "happy"... "Fukuppy"

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Posted in: Murder charge dropped against American in case of woman found floating in bay See in context

Interesting, given the amount of circumstantial evidence and the fact that Japan has a 99%+ conviction rate.

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Posted in: Horseradish -- seriously underappreciated root with bold kick See in context

While I understand that this is an outsourced article, its amazing that it appeared in JT without a hint of mention that horseradish essentially is wasabi as most people know it. Just about any pre-made wasabi in a tube (like S&B) is about 90%+ horseradish, which is what gives the flavor kick. Plain wasabi doesn't have the bite, and its unlikely most people even know what the real stuff tastes like (not to mention, its way, more expensive).

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Posted in: Makers of frozen snack apologize for Y10 price increase See in context

I would say that also in Japan apologies are equally seen as "an admission of guilt" or feeling sorry for one's acts or behavior. No difference there. But it is true, in Japan lots of focus is given to the contrite bow, the lower the better with hands and head on the floor 'dogeza' groveling the best, played endless loop on the evening news. It is also a big thing here to force an apology through harsh bullying and intimidation even for fairly minor or even non-existing transgressions by the person who has taken offense. The apology mindset here is rife with power-trip politics and petty tyranny.

Interesting points Sensato. Does such analysis fit in with apologies towards international neighbors?

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Posted in: One in five adults may be obese by 2025: global survey warns See in context

I just ran the stats in tis article and its daunting to say the least.

1975 obesity = 3.2% men, 6.4% women (population average 4.8%). Adult population that year was about 3 billion, so there were 144 million obese people on earth.

2014 obesity = 10.8% men, 14.9% women (population average 12.8%). Adult population that year was about 5 billion, so there were 640 million obese people on earth.

That's a 500 million (half billion) increase! or 3.5 time the 1975 number in 40 years!

So if you're worried about job security with your career, just switch to health care!

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Posted in: One in five adults may be obese by 2025: global survey warns See in context

I use to be slightly overweight and recently lost 50 pounds with the 3 week regime

That's 22+kg... in 21 days! A kilo (2.2lbs) per day! How is that even possible (or was did you do an extended version...)?

An average human burns 2400 calories/day naturally, and a pound of fat is equal to approx 3500 calories, so you'd need to burn over 10,000 calories a day, every day (or eat absolutely nothing and only burn 8000 calories) to do that. Running a mile (1.6km) burns about 100 additional calories... so burning 8000 additional calories would be 80 miles (130km) of running a day!

Such dramatic loss can't be healthy, so be careful of the rebound.

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Posted in: Japanese firms could stash cash in safes if rates go negative: survey See in context

A company who was wise with their finances wouldn't have that much cash deposits available to worry about the effects of negative 0.1 interest.

Sales of safes are now running some 40 to 50% above this time last year

A company who was really wise with their finances would remove their money from a bank and not put it in a Secom safe, but instead invest in Secom stock.

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Posted in: Angry parents demand more daycare as Abe struggles to respond See in context

I lived right next to a nursery school for years in Tokyo. I worked nights so I was home usually during the day. Yes, it was a bit noisy when the kids were outside, but hardly that irritating. But when I heard noise the most was when all the moms picked up their kids (the entrance was just outside my window).

So here in lies the entire problem: the kids would be gotten everyday at 2PM. Try to understand this. If a mom needs daycare, why is she available at 2pm? (obviously she isn't working full time as an executive, as Abenomics claims to desire)

From my understanding, priority for child placement is based on income: lower family income gets preference over higher income. Makes sense on paper, but is clearly flawed. If a woman works a full-time job that pays well (meaning, she's skilled and valued in her field), and her husband also makes decent income, then they will make too much money to get their kid into daycare. On the other hand, if a mother works P/T as a supermarket cashier or simply doesn't work at all, the lower family net income allows them to get childcare.

But until the (mostly male) politicians realize this and fix it and/or build more daycare, any newborn today will be in high school.

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Posted in: Trump candidacy continues to stir angst in Japan See in context

"They took our jobs!"

"Dir teerk ter diiir!!!!!"


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Posted in: Tokyo Business Today aims high in delivering top level English corporate news See in context

Magazine style format, with about 50% business, 50% fluff ("Top 10 hidden onsen", "Top 4 nabe restaurants"...). Seems like a lot articles are externally sourced, though some are by their own staff. Practically all articles have zero comments.

Interesting that JapanToday is promoting the competition.

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Posted in: Abenomics on the ropes as yen soars, markets plunge See in context

@JeffLee By saying "remove" it doesn't mean its thrown away. Imagine this: You come to Japan with no money. You then go to a bank in Tokyo, borrow 10,000yen, then convert that into USD at say 114yen/$, giving you about $87. You then take that $87 and leave Japan. The yen is still in Japan, but now you have $87 in your pocket when you arrive in New York. You just removed $87 (or 10,000yen) from Japan. That currency exchange is propped up by the BOJ, and by you doing this it makes the yen weaker (as in, there's now more yen in the BOJ with less foreign currency reserve. Or another way to put it, the yen is less sought after than dollars.) Therefore, this decreases the yen's value compared to dollars. When a huge amount of money is moved this way, it will push the yen up to maybe 120yen/dollar (as we saw). Now, you can revert your dollars back to Japan to pay off your 10,000yen loan, but at 120/$ it now only cost you $80 to do this. Congratulations, you just made $7 !!

(Note: when everyone reverts back to yen to pay off their loans at the same time, the opposite effect on exchange rates happens. The yen is now sought after, dollars are abandoned, and the yen increases with value. This reversion has been happening for the past 2 weeks, even causing the BOJ to create negative rates to try to convince people to keep on borrowing, even though everyone wants to just pay back their loans and make a tidy profit.)

This isn't some secret deal, just under-reported (especially in Japan). Just google "yen carry" or look at the actual wikipedia article about it


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Posted in: Abenomics on the ropes as yen soars, markets plunge See in context

Yes @warispeace, the yen carry would be unattractive if Japan's economy was strong and stable, but the fact that the economy is currently beholden to a system like the yen carry is what helps make it weak and unstable (because the yen carry de-couples the currency from the economy).

So while the causes are a chicken-and-egg scenario, the fact is that it is currently happening. So how to stop it? Yes, if Japan became a strong economy again it would fade out (but as you said, this is unlikely due to demographics). The BOJ could raise interest rates instead of making them negative (but raising rates is usually the sign of a strong economy. Further, raising rates would only gravely weaken the overall economy even more at this point). Or Japan could regulate open market foreign exchange, but there's probably a ton of rules preventing this in the WTO, IMF, and the newly signed TPP.

The only other way would be to print more and more yen to the point that it starts to water down any effect of remittance, and this is whats happening. As Abe went on a printing-spree recently, we probably won't see the yen at 75 per $ this time around, but I won't rule out it topping somewhere in the 90s. The next downturn in a few years time the top may only reach 105, then 115, and so on. So in the long run, being that strength is nearly impossible, the only way for Japan to escape a system caused by weakness would be to become exponentially weaker.

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Posted in: Abenomics on the ropes as yen soars, markets plunge See in context

Most of the current up-turn on the yen (and in the past couple years, most of the down-turn) has been caused by the very-famous-but-hardly-ever-mentioned "yen carry". It has existed for a couple decades. If you don't know about or understand this currency move, you can not even begin to analyse the Japanese financial situation, since it is essentially why Japan (unlike any major economy of the world) can have an increasing value of its currency while having a decreasing value of its economy.

The problem is not simply imports/exports, not Abenomics, not de-population, not lack of immigration, not taxes, not consumer confidence, not Fukushima (though, yes, they all have a part). All of those things point to a decreasing currency with a decreasing economy (and vice-versa). But that is not what happens.

Simply put, the 'yen carry' is this: collectively (but not necessarily a conspiracy) world currency traders, including Japanese ones, borrow yen at near zero rates in Japan then exchange this money for foreign currency. The removal of so much money from Japan makes the yen weaker and weaker the more its done, and its done on a massive scale. All currency traders know this scam/system. They don't need to conspire, they all just know it. The borrowed money is then put elsewhere with better interest rates (like foreign bonds), and as others do this over and over, the value of the original amount borrowed in Japan technically becomes less and less as the yen loses value because everyone collectively keeps doing it. (though the borrowed yen is still owed at the same amount, since one now has that yen in foreign currency and the foreign currency is worth more than what it was first exchanged at, the amount needed to pay back that yen is less).

But, as soon as things go a bit sour with world markets, traders get nervous, look to go liquid, or just look to make their profits finalized, so they pay back their loans by exchanging some money back to yen. This huge influx is again like a snowball going down a mountain, and as people seek to put money back into Japan it makes the yen stronger (and conversely, it makes the foreign currencies weaker). Once things hit bottom, it repeats.

So in reality, 'Abenomics' has been a way for the government to try embrace the 'yen carry' (past governments tried to fight it with little success). Its how the yen went from 80 to 120 in about two and a half years (thats a 50% increase). Its why Japan just introduce negative interest rates to banks (meaning, your better off lending out your money to whoever will take it than to hold on to it). But its not a sound policy. Japan needs to break from this as it means the economy is beholden to speculators who most often not even Japanese. For a reporter not to mention the yen carry in an article like this, well one can only guess why they wouldn't.

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Posted in: Stock shocks See in context

What these foreign tourists are actually thinking in the photo:

"Oh no, now I can't buy as much Japanese stuff with my foreign money."

However, had these been Japanese tourists departing Narita, they would be thinking:

"Cool, now I can buy more on my trip abroad!"

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Posted in: Facing New Hampshire loss, Clinton looks ahead to counter Sanders See in context


Karl Rove ran ads FOR Bernie Sanders

Are you suggesting Karl Rove is a Sanders supporter? Cause that would be crazy, Joe.

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Posted in: Japan CPI, consumer outlays falter as Abe loses economy czar See in context

Japan just adopted NEGATIVE interest rates. BOJ announced it in the past hour.

So the govenrment will now charge banks -0.1% to save their deposits.

I can only imagine how this will be passed along to the diligent populace who've saved their whole life.

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Posted in: Tokyo investors eye Fed, BOJ meetings next week after Nikkei surges See in context

“The Fed and BOJ meetings will probably be positive ingredients for sentiment,”

So for each to contribute positive ingredients, that would mean:

Fed- "let's do what we can to strengthen the dollar"

BOJ- "let's do what we can to devalue the yen"

Seriously, In the US (as with anywhere else on earth) a strong economy makes the currency stronger, and vice versa.

In Japan, a strong economy makes the yen weaker, and a strong yen makes the economy weaker. Abe-nomics is certainly unique!!

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Posted in: Virtual reality takes porn to the next level See in context


Things just look better when it is fuzzy.

Yeah, if they want it to be realistic, they should add an optional inebriation filter to the VR screen.

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@wipeout "How can you stay in Japan legally with no passport since your visa is stamped in it?"

Last month I got a new passport from my home embassy, then went to immigration in Japan to switch over my visa. They said that this is no longer done (as in, no more visa stamp), and that my gaijin card is used at the border instead. So now I have a completely empty passport and am in Japan legally apparently.

Somehow, I feel naked.

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@LFRAgain Well said.

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@M3M3M3 "I'm pretty confident that you could have the bills cancelled or challenge the city's legal entitlement to the money in court if you can prove that you didn't actually live in the city"

Well, that's why you can remove your residency (juminhyo), but failing to do so and then going abroad won't mean you can get out of any bills after the fact. For example, during that time you'd still be covered with health insurance (including while abroad) and just because you may make no insurance claim, it doesn't mean you weren't entitled to do so if you needed to.

And as far as a court challenge in Japan, good luck with that. It'd probably be cheaper to just pay the tax.

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@M3M3M3 Look, I'm not denying your statements on double-tax, I actually agree, as I said above previously: "But again, one can apply for a tax credit (and again, this isn't automatic) so as not to pay tax twice."

But the fact is that Japan taxes income earned abroad which hasn't already been taxed by that country as long as certain residency requirements are met, or if there is no tax treaty with that country. If you keep your juminhyo you still have tax assessment in Japan (for pension, health, ku-tax,etc) even beyond 183 days, but this tax paid abroad can be applied as a tax credit back in Japan. Yet again, all that can be avoided by removing one's juminhyo, which is a system the US does not have.

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@M3M3M3 If a Japanese/non-Japanese resident maintains their residency (juminhyo), regardless of the 183 day threshold you stated, they are still obligated to pay tax in Japan, including national tax, pension, Ku-tax, and health insurance. All of this is based on income, whether derived domestically or abroad. But again, one can apply for a tax credit (and again, this isn't automatic) so as not to pay tax twice. A Japanese can remove their juminhyo so they don't need to deal with such paperwork, but a non-citizen can not do this other than cancel their visa.

As far as legal rights, if you remove your juminhyo, you in essence have nowhere to refer to in Japan as residence, so in many legal situations since you aren't connected to any local system, you will have a hard time figuring out any rights, especially those regarding family (yes, yes, J-embassies cover non-resident nationals, but it gets tricky and ill-defined for many domestic Japan issues).

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@Strangerland Correct, the systems are different. I don't deny it, only the simplified claim that "only the US and Eritrea tax their citizens abroad". (whereas it should state "their officially defined non-resident citizens who maintain no financial or legal connections to their home country", but that's a bit long.)

What it boils down to is that the US has no way to define someone as officially a non-resident citizen. Japan has a residency system (juminhyo) which requires someone to register where they live (so you can remove this if moving abroad), while the US has no such residency system, allowing someone to essentially be homeless (though after the fact one can try to "prove" they were out of the country if necessary, but the US doesn't stamp citizen passports when arriving/departing, so good luck on that).

So its either the freedom of being able to live under the radar as a US citizen yet still pay tax, or its the Big Brother registration system of Japan but not pay tax. Kinda ironic, huh?

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@M3M3M3, @powderb Yes, that is a good distinction, but not always or entirely true. A Japanese citizen must first remove their residency from Japan through an application process prior to departure (its not automatic) to avoid tax on income earned abroad. Most Japanese do not do this if working abroad, especially if on a contract or if they still have family/children back in Japan. Also, doing so means losing their health insurance, pension, legal rights on most property, voting rights, and custody rights on kids. And if they continue to generate any income back in Japan (through investments, property, salary, or any other business) it would further complicate things

Simply put, for a Japanese to remove their residence from Japan (to become a "non-resident" if you will) might remove tax obligations, but they also lose so much more that some won't (or can't) do it. So while Japan doesn't tax "non-residents" in theory, few take the necessary steps to make that legal distinction, even though on the surface they would be regarded as an "expat".

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@powderb "I think you can agree that Bloomberg financial news is a reliable source, so spare me the condescending "know the facts.""

Sorry, I don't wish to sound condescending, but regarding Bloomberg's reliability, I just gave a link to the Japanese Government's tax page which refutes Bloombergs claim in the very first line.

Voting me down or disregarding me doesn't make the Japanese tax policy less true.

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@Strangerland If you are a Japanese citizen living abroad (out of Japan), then you are obligated to pay tax in Japan on any income earned abroad. However, Japan is possibly different than the US on this in two ways:

1- Japanese can get a tax credit on any taxes already paid abroad (though for US citizens, they aren't obligated to pay taxes in the US on the first $100,000 or so earned abroad)

2-Japanese can "remove" their residency prior to departure so as not to obligated on such taxes (this isn't possible for US citizens)

However, the removal of residency would only be good for Japanese living long-term abroad as they lose voting rights, some legal rights, and lose their national health insurance (which still actually does cover someone if they are outside Japan).

As far as non-Japanese residents of Japan (anyone with a visa that isn't "tourist"), you can not "remove" your residency other than cancel your visa, so any income earned outside Japan is taxable back in Japan, though a tax credit can be applied for if you deal with the paperwork. So if you have a business or investments outside of Japan and they generate income for yourself, you are obliged to pay tax on this if you hold any non-tourist visa for Japan.

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Posted in: Memo to U.S. citizens: Pay your taxes or you may lose your passport See in context

@powderb, @rainyday Regarding tax on income earned abroad, "Only the U.S. and the dictatorship of Eritrea have such a tax policy."

This is false, since JAPAN HAS THE SAME POLICY, including for non-citizen residents of Japan (such as, I assume, yourselves).

"Basically, residents have an obligation to pay income tax on incomes derived from both sources in Japan and sources abroad". -Japan National Tax Agency

Yes, if you also pay taxes abroad on this income then one can file for a partial tax credit in Japan (its not automatic), but the widely spouted line that its only the US and Eritrea is incorrect

Know the facts, since you're on the line for it: https://www.nta.go.jp/taxanswer/english/12007.htm

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Posted in: Sakura-flavored Red Bull coming for cherry blossom season See in context

How to make a bad thing worse.

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Posted in: Sometimes 'poor little rich kids' really are poor little rich kids See in context

These writers may have a point about how the anxieties of affluent kids might make them delinquent, but poor kids as well as middle class kids have lots of pressures too (and probably even worse problems at that), so does it mean that they too can be horrible people?

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