ThonTaddeo comments

Posted in: Kishida pledges to do utmost to tackle negative impact of price hikes See in context

When I came to Japan 50 years ago, this country was booming. It certainly isn't now. What's the difference? The huge one that I can see is taxes!

Indeed. I recently read a Japanese-language article talking about the massive increase in payroll taxes and insurance contributions over the last 30-40 years: national pension (huge increases), nursing insurance for workers over 40 (didn't exist then), and several others. About the only thing that has gone down is the marginal tax rate on super-high earners!

Someone earning 330,000 yen today takes home less than a 300,000-yen earner did back then, and that's before we even look at how inflation has destroyed the purchasing power of today's workers. Those at the top just keep squeezing and squeezing.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Posted in: Undeclared income of Japan's wealthy hits record high See in context

The agency looked into about 637,800 cases, higher than those probed in the year through June 2019 prior to the global spread of coronavirus infections.

The total amount of back taxes and penalties were also the highest ever at 136.8 billion yen, the agency said.

That's only about 200,000 yen per case. Not a lot of money compared to what politicians and other bigwigs routinely pass around in brown envelopes. Looks like the National Tax Agency is even going after small fish.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: Foreign players still a vital part of developing Japanese rugby See in context

In 2011 and 2015, helped by weak international eligibility rules, it was 10.

Disappointed to see editorializing like this. I'd rather say "liberal" international eligibility rules, or "more open" or "more inclusive".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Takarazuka group head to quit over actress' death but denies bullying See in context

Her overtime far exceeds what I have ever worked in one month. I found early on that overwork immediately depresses me and causes health problems and I adjusted accordingly and prrhaps lost opportunities that I was not suited for.

@Redemption - Certainly, and I think it's the sleep deprivation that increases the depression to a suicidal, no-point-in-living level. That's how it was for me when I was a young salaryman working those hours more than 20 years ago. (In fact, it's what got me to join Japan Today and start commenting: there was a story about Ichiro Oshima's family hiring Mr. Kawahito and suing Dentsu for about 100 million yen and I spoke up in defense of the thousands of other young men just like Oshima who were being exploited every day. At the time, it was unheard of for young women to be forced to work those hours, but as we now see, in the exploitative entertainment industry, no one is spared.)

There's something deeply depressing about finishing a day of work and knowing that even if you bathe and climb into the futon the moment you get home, you still won't be fully refreshed when you have to get up and do it all again the next day. I remember my alarm waking me up on Monday morning and realizing that as tired as I was right then, it's more energy than I'll have at any point for the next five days. Why push through the next five days? Why push through one more day? I'm very happy to see the recent reforms that are attempting to limit overtime hours per month, but I'd like to see more specific requirements that guarantee employees the right to get enough sleep every single day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Takarazuka group head to quit over actress' death but denies bullying See in context

I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the lawyer defending the bullied member is Hiroshi Kawahito, who has been battling this kind of abuse for decades now. He wrote the book Karoshi ("dying from overwork"), which popularized that word worldwide (along with karo-jisatsu "suicide from overwork") after successfully suing Dentsu when that company drove 24-year-old employee Ichiro Oshima to suicide from overwork and sleep deprivation.

Mr. Kawahito is one of Japan's most tireless defenders of the oppressed worker and we need a hundred more just like him.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Weak yen forces Japan to shrink historic military spending plan See in context

 But how did they ever think that it would drop down to Y108 with the amount of inflation going on in the US and around the world due to pandemic spending.

I think the horriffic US inflation was what made them think that the dollar would fall (from ~130 yen to ~108) and that the yen would rise. As bad as inflation has been in Japan, it's worse still in the US, which should cause the US dollar to drop, but because the US is raising interest rates to fight inflation, the dollar is going up against the yen, in which there is little incentive to invest as the BoJ insists on ultra-low interest rates.

If you can earn 5% on your savings in US dollars, you're still ahead even in inflation is 4%. In Japan, if inflation is also 4%, you can't protect yourself by buying interest-bearing bonds because the bonds pay less than 1%, a fraction of the value that inflation is taking from you. In past years the yen was a safe haven as inflation hadn't been destroying its value all through the early 2000s. Now, during inflationary times, the conclusion for investors is to sell your yen for a currency that lets you protect yourself better.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida to deliver policy speech as gov't maps out new economic stimulus package See in context

I wonder what PM Kishida is thinking in the photo above as he stares at that lettuce inside the Kiba Ito-Yokodo?

"It's just a head of lettuce, Taro; how much could it cost? A thousand yen?"

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Posted in: Okinawa pub posts 'Japanese only' admission sign based on some shaky logic See in context

They require customers to speak Japanese? In Naha, Okinawa? So if you walk up and say saki ga du numi busan ga, yamatu-guchi ya wakaran (I want to drink some alcohol, but don't understand Japanese) you'll be refused service?

(My Okinawan grammar is a little shaky but the point would get across.)

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Johnny's to change name to SMILE-UP.; create new firm to manage performers See in context

Editors, now is the time to start insisting on writing Smile-Up in articles, ignoring this firm's ridiculous mockery of the English language and its standards. No, Johnny's, you don't get to insert a random period after your name and force beleaguered journalists to come up with kludges like:

Johnny's will be renamed "Smile-Up." from Oct 17

...with quotes around it, just to make it readable.

No Japanese media would allow a foreign entity to do this with the Japanese language; why do they expect English writers to endure it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Johnny's abuse scandal giving fresh Japanese talent a chance to shine See in context

I see that the Japanese media are using the "Smile-Up" name with that silly extraneous period included, just like they did with Morning Musume and its 「。」. I hope they aren't expecting the English-language media to do that and make. sentences. barely. readable.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Nagoya ordinance prohibits walking on escalators See in context

analysis showed that if no one walked, you could actually get more people up the escalator quicker than if there is one lane standing and one walking (this is due to people queuing up for the standing side).

Even if total throughput were higher, having to stand means that the escalator has no value if you need to be at the top in less time than the escalator gets everyone there in.

The time lost by people queueing on the standing side isn't really "lost" time; these people don't care about saving time. If they did, they'd go on the walking side. It's no more efficient than telling walkers that they'll save physical exertion by standing; their answer will be that if avoiding physical exertion were important to them, they'd stand.

Most societies have settled on the "one side walks, one side stands" convention with this logic in mind: it lets people with varying needs get what they desire.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan logs hottest September on record; 2.66 C higher than average See in context

The 15 measuring stations selected to determine the average surface temperature in Japan are specifically selected to avoid that bias, they are outside of areas affected by heavy urbanization.

This has always angered me; it's as if they're designed to understate the heat endured by the people, who are surrounded by asphalt and concrete and are sweating through temperatures several degrees higher than what is reported. "First snow of the year in Tokyo"? Sure, on some mountaintop where no one lives!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Nagoya ordinance prohibits walking on escalators See in context

These one-size-fits-all ordinances make me angry.

The current system is better for everyone -- people who have energy but no time can walk up; people who have time but no energy can stand. Everybody is happy; what's not to like?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Posted in: Video provides first clear views of WWII aircraft carriers lost in the pivotal Battle of Midway See in context

Julian Hodges looks great for 101. (OK, so he's 99 in the photo.) I hope this generation lives as long as they can, and shares as much as they can, about a time in history that we don't ever want to repeat.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Petition filed against felling thousands of trees in historic Tokyo park area See in context

According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's web page, the developers said in January last year they plan to cut down 892 trees.

But they and the Tokyo government say that after the redevelopment, the number of trees and the amount of green space will in fact increase.

We saw in a previous article that this was number-fudging chicanery. They were swapping the amateur sports fields from private space to open green space along with other tricks to make things look better for the plan. The trees will still be gone, the public's access to beauty will still decrease, and the LDP insiders will still get rich at the public's expense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Hearings in $1 billion lawsuit filed by Carlos Ghosn against Nissan start in Beirut See in context

Shameless criminal rat.

This article is about Ghosn, not Saikawa.

7 ( +35 / -28 )

Posted in: Do you prefer using self-serve checkouts at retail stores or regular check-outs where you can talk with the cashier? See in context

Regular checkouts and it isn't even close.

The self-serve checkouts bury you in so many extra steps and loud high-pitched robot voices and needless button-pushes that all the convenience is gone. A button to tell them that you want to pay cash; a button to say that you're ready to pay; a button to say that you're done and want a receipt. And everything is designed for someone short-in-stature and right-handed. Give me a human who will take your money from either hand, not make you verbally confirm that you're paying cash when you're holding money out in front of them, and won't make you press a final button to tell them the transaction is done. And who will thank you with a real human voice!

The least they could do would be to study the train companies' ticket machines to see how self-service machines should be done. You can pay for a train ticket in seconds; there's no audio by default; very few extraneous button presses and demands for your attention. If you're going to deny us the human touch, then that's how it should be done. The self serve checkouts at supermarkets are the worst of both worlds.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Posted in: Motegi, Aso likely to be retained in LDP executive reshuffle See in context

Two old fossils whose verbal gaffes somehow always seem to reveal their bigotry.

Can't they find anyone better?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Japanese firms reduce teleworking despite workers' wishes: survey See in context

Opponents of telework seem to be arguing that we're just going back to how work always was, but from where I sit, things are a lot more stressful than in 2019.

At my employer, once telework started, they reduced office space and switched from regular assigned seating to a system where you have to find an open seat when you arrive. We also started monitoring what people are doing on their computers all day, mandating Outlook calendars with each person's activity, and communicating mostly through Teams chat. But now that WFH is ending, we're keeping all these stressful micromanage-y new ways of communication while bringing back all the bad parts of in-office work, and we're not getting the office space back so everybody is crammed into a smaller space and not knowing where they'll be sitting until they walk in that day.

I love telework, and can tolerate pre-2019 on-site work. But what they seem to want going forward is worse than either.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese high school kids average 12% correct answers in English oral test See in context

All this will inevitably result in the best jobs, ie international companies, being more accessible to English speakers from abroad.

I'd love to see that, but let's be honest: when English is needed in the Japanese business world, Taro the Japanese middle manager will always value other Japanese people with mediocre English over an English speaker from abroad. This is one of the reasons Japan lags so far behind in English: they absolutely refuse to cede authority to a non-Japanese on what is correct, even when the subject is the non-Japanese person's native language.

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Posted in: In Japan, which bans dual custody, a table tennis star refuses to hand back her son to her ex See in context


It's ridiculous that Japan still has not worked out this issue.

A cynic would say that Japan has worked out this issue exactly as it wanted to.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Posted in: Nissan plans $663 million investment in Renault's EV unit; says profit leapt in April-June See in context

@Mike - absolutely, and the patronizing "explaining adult concepts to children" tone that these articles always take, seen in the second sentence here, just makes it worse:

Weakness in the Japanese yen also helped Nissan’s bottom line. A weak yen raises the value of Japanese companies' overseas earnings when they are converted into yen.

These writers shill for the government and BoJ over and over, parroting propaganda that is directly against the interests of working people.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Will Twitter’s rebranding result in poaching ‘X Japan’ name? Legendary musician Yoshiki weighs in See in context

It's pretty ridiculous that any single company could be able to trademark a single letter of the alphabet to begin with. Perhaps trademarks should be limited to phrases or sentences.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Posted in: Making health care affordable to all is a big political issue in many countries. What do you think is the best way to achieve this? See in context

Do what Japan does and set fixed prices for medical procedures, ensuring that there are no unpleasant surprises when you suddenly need medical care. This is the real strength of the Japanese system, more than how everyone has to pay into it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Central Tokyo condo price soars to record high in 1st half of 2023 See in context

@David - I'm not talking about barbecues or doing any other specific thing on building property; I'm talking about legal ownership. Apartment ownership is not just a box-shaped piece of air as is occasionally mistakenly believed; you own your share of the land under the building.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Central Tokyo condo price soars to record high in 1st half of 2023 See in context

@David - you do own land; if there are N units and they are all the same size, you own 1/N of the building's land area. If they're different sizes and your unit is X square meters and the total land area is Y, you own X/Y of the building's land area. If the building owners vote to demolish the building and sell the land, you would get that proportion of the proceeds.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Posted in: Prosecutors to seek conviction at retrial of 1966 murder See in context

Let me get this straight: a man is bullied by police into confessing to a crime. He is put on death row and spends every day wondering which day will be his last. After 48 years behind bars, evidence exonerating him is finally presented and he is released.

The prosecutors don't appeal. (Why is the prosecution allowed to appeal, anyway? That means even people declared innocent can never rest easy.)

And now, at 87, they just can't let this innocent man finally enjoy the freedom that they deprived him of for half a lifetime. These people are monsters.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Posted in: Ex-Square Enix employee gets suspended term over insider trading See in context

At the end of a day all you will get is suspended sentence.

He didn't have to go to prison, but he had to pay a penalty of roughly 8 times the profit he made. Just for buying stock in the company he worked for, which seems bizarre to me. He wasn't short-selling in advance of an expected decline that only insiders would know about; he was buying. Many companies encourage employees to regularly buy the stock.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Old-school Shibuya Hyakkendana neighborhood targeted for urban renewal — Will it lose its charm? See in context

If the government's position is truly:

The first is creating a neighborhood that is fun to walk around

Then why is there a multi-decade plan to widen all the thin pedestrian streets and force setback land-confiscation on new construction so that every road can accommodate automobiles? All these charming pedestrian-first streets and alleys are being taken away because they don't want any roads thinner than four meters.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Posted in: 2nd French arrest warrant issued for former Nissan chief Ghosn See in context

prove your innocence if you can.

This is not how the justice system works in civilized countries, of which France is one, and of which Japan claims to be one, at least when the Minister of Justice is not misspeaking. (She said this very sentence, in direct opposition to Japanese law, during Ghosn's escape.)

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

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