Japan Today

ThonTaddeo comments

Posted in: Filipino woman admits to killing sister, Japanese niece See in context

You are excessively minimizing the number of people charged with federal crimes, but let's run with what you said anyway. 

No, I'm really not; the number is tiny compared to other courts:

An American lawyer answers the question on Quora: https://qr.ae/psrCgT As of 2014, 75 million cases heard in courts in the US; of which, 400,000 are in federal court. "Tiny fraction" is absolutely the right phrase.

Would you rather live in a country where almost half of all males can expect to be arrested at least once or in one where arrest is highly uncommon? No need to worry about conviction rates when you are far less likely to be arrested in the first place.

If this is your argument, why bring up the statistical blip that is US federal courts? Very few of those far-too-many arrestees are dealing with the federal court system, which is totally irrelevant to these men.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Filipino woman admits to killing sister, Japanese niece See in context

Note for the guy you are replying to, whataboutism with the US is his only method. Nevermind the fact that federal crimes are a special type that may be very hard to get away with.

Happy to see people picking up on this "but federal courts in the US have the same guilty rate as Japanese courts" sleight-of-hand that I seem to be seeing more often on the internet lately. Only a tiny fraction of US cases are tried in federal court -- nothing that the average person would be picked up by the police off the street for (even murder, which is generally tried at the state level) -- and they should not be compared to the Japanese justice system as a whole. The vast majority of US crimes are judged in state and municipal courts, which have the ratios others have cited.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: Dragon’s Maze: Japan’s built-by-hand giant labyrinth that gets bigger and harder every year See in context

This is fantastic. And great to see an amusement park far from urban centers thriving like this!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: The noise problem in conflict averse Japan See in context

The article doesn't mention them, but another big noise polluter is 6:30 AM radio exercises. Participants are mostly elderly, and they will set up the radio in parks surrounded by apartments and blast that music.

Getting out and exercising is great for your health, but depriving the neighbors of their sleep damages their health. This is the society that invented the Walkman; just wear headphones and you can dial the volume up all you like!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: China consumer prices rise in February for first time in six months See in context

But in a rare bright spot, official statistics Saturday showed the consumer price index rose 0.7 percent last month

These writers don't even try to hide it anymore. Next comes this propaganda:

While deflation suggests goods were cheaper, it poses a threat to the broader economy as consumers tend to postpone purchases, hoping for further reductions.

Nobody postpones anything because it might be 0.1% cheaper a year from now. Certainly not daily essentials like food, and even durable goods -- the utility of having them now rather than later outweighs the lower price you might pay in the future.

Lower consumer prices means workers can buy more and better goods, and that their wages retain their value. Rising consumer prices benefit indebted governments and connected big businesses who can borrow money while it has more value and then repay their debts with less valuable money. For workers who have little leverage to negotiate wages upward and who need to save for their futures, inflation only makes you poorer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan real wages fall in January for 22nd month See in context

"Real wages fell" makes it look like the people aren't working hard enough; in reality, they're working harder than ever but inflation is destroying the value of their wages.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Tokyo police mistakenly arrest Filipino man for allegedly overstaying visa See in context

It is better to always have valid documents, a Residence Card, My Number, visa, passport, etc. They should be renewed before they expire.

You don't get a choice in how fast the MoJ processes your documents. You have to submit them before the renewal date, and you can do that up to three months before, but if the MoJ takes longer, there's nothing you can do about it. That's why they stamp the back of the residence card. You can't get this stamp if you renew online, which is why these police officers (who shouldn't have stopped this man to begin with) had to call the MoJ to confirm. They confirmed his legal status, but the police arrested him anyway, with no grounds. That's why people are so angry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Theater company Takarazuka admits harassment of deceased actress See in context

Great to see Hiroshi Kawahito on the case. He started battling against karoshi and overwork-related suicide more than two decades ago and is now moving on to bullying-related suicide.

(I think my very first comment on Japan Today was to support him and his case against the employer of 24-year-old Ichiro Oshima, who committed suicide after months of overwork and extreme sleep deprivation. Kawahito won a settlement for Mr. Oshima's family.)

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan inflation falls to BOJ target of 2% See in context

Inflation-adjusted real wages have now fallen in Japan for 22 consecutive months. Was that the target?

Now you see what the BOJ's plan (and really the plan of most of the world's central banks) has been all along, including the relentless propaganda about how inflation is somehow good for the average person. Inflation is good for the top 5-10% who get access to freshly-printed money before prices rise, and who can borrow now knowing that they'll be able to pay their loans back in devalued money later.

For regular wage earners hoping to save for the future and who are at the mercy of an always-difficult job market when it comes to wages, inflation is slow-motion impoverishment. Or, as we've seen in the past three years, somewhat less slow impoverishment.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Elderly driver hits 2 pedestrians, killing one, near Nara temple See in context

inadvertently stepped on the accelerator, mistaking it for the brake pedal

Every. Single. Time.

Perhaps car manufacturing needs to change so that this mistake isn't so easy to make for so many people.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: University of Tokyo to launch new 5-year program with 50% foreign students See in context

I attended this university and it was the most amazing and fulfilling time I've ever had in my life. I would love to see this program succeed so that more people can have this experience, and adding English-taught courses opens things up even further.

Tokyo U. has long wanted to change their academic year to begin in the autumn to align with most of the rest of the northern hemisphere, and while they couldn't get other schools or corporations to align with it, having this program do it is a good start.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Do you spend more time on social media than ideally you would like? See in context

I basically quit social media six or seven years ago. I do miss it a little, but the seeing curated versions of everyone's lives wasn't good for me mentally, plus more and more advertisements were creeping in.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Osaka advances as Gauff, Jabeur dumped out of Qatar Open See in context

Very happy to see Naomi winning again!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Chinese consumer prices suffer quickest drop in 14 years See in context

essentially impossible for the BOJ to successfully apply stimulus and interest rates fell to zero. This is real life,

BOJ stimulus is a lot further from real life than what is right in front of us at the supermarket: working people paying higher prices and getting less for their money month in and month out for something like three years in a row. The bottom 80% is being destroyed by inflation. If the BOJ were competent they would balance the money printing so that the value of the yen is maintained, but instead they deceive the public into thinking that the steady loss of the value of their wages is good for them and good for society. It's only good for the debt-ridden government and the connected rich.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Chinese consumer prices suffer quickest drop in 14 years See in context

consumers put off purchases thinking prices will be lower in the future

This propaganda again. It's not true. It's certainly not true for essentials like food, and it's not true at the "deflation" rates we have seen in the real world (on the order of 0.1-0.5%). Absolutely nobody is putting off buying a liter of milk because it might cost 1 yen less a year from now. And even goods with huge drops in prices, such as electronics, don't "suffer" (as the article puts it): putting off the purchase ignores the utility of having it sooner and for a longer period. People buy phones and computers all the time, and these are things that drop in price by more than any daily essential purchase like food.

When prices drop, people buy more and better goods. Ask any shopowner and go visit any department store running a sale. The light deflation (fractions of a percent) that we saw in the decade or so leading up to 2012 was fantastic for an entire generation of young people who could buy homes and save money and get ahead. It kept the working poor and older workers, who have no leverage to negotiate for raises and cannot afford the risk that comes with trying to invest, from falling even further as they are doing in many other countries. They can't take out loans at low rates knowing that they'll be able to pay them off easily in the future with increased incomes. They're stuck watching their savings get destroyed by a government that tells them it's for society's good.

If you're an economist, you surely know about the Cantillon effect: the central bank debases the money, and before prices rise, the rich and connected get to take advantage of the cheap new money by borrowing, while the workers and the unconnected don't get access and are stuck paying more, working harder, and hoping that their wages rise.

One of the things I've always appreciated about Japan is that the top 10-20% don't dominate a giant underclass and that there's a much bigger middle class here. Affordable housing even in the biggest cities; reasonable prices when eating out. And we're going to see those things disappear as the LDP finally gets the inflation they've been propagandizing the increasingly-poorer public into supporting. I won't be bamboozled.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Battle on the ice See in context

Halliday is his family name, so in English it should be "Jiei Halliday".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Chinese consumer prices suffer quickest drop in 14 years See in context

Consumer prices "suffer" a drop?

The pro-inflation, anti-worker propaganda just never stops, does it?

This line is particularly odious:

"The primary drag on inflation continued to be food prices, which fell by 5.9 percent year-on-year

Lower food prices should be something every society strives with all its might to bring about. Only the elites could complain when it becomes easier for working people to keep food on their plates.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Lipton releases Pancake Tea Latte in Japan See in context

I notice that you only get 450 milliliters in a package that is normally 500. And it's at a premium price, too.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Should you drive through a red traffic light like this in Japan? Confusing road rule explained See in context

Maybe if they used a bright orange like, or pink, or black light, or white instead of red the idea might be more useful.

Agreed. Pick three completely different colors and use red, yellow, and green for "stop, caution go" and the other three for "the cars perpendicular to you are in the stop/caution/go state".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida says gov't will do 'everything possible' to boost household income See in context

Achieving sustainable wage growth and stable inflation is a focus of this year's spring wage talks between employers and workers

This sentence is pure Kishida/LDP propaganda. Why would employers and workers want inflation? Everybody is supposed to work harder and more efficiently so that wages can grow, and then inflation takes the value of that growth away (and then some, as we're seeing)? That's the LDP and BOJ exploiting the serfs. Which has presumably been their goal all along. The people see right through it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Foreign-born Miss Japan sparks debate on what it means to be Japanese See in context

But it's ok for Lars Nootbar who is American to play for Japan in the WBC?

I would love to see international competitions in general become as open and inclusive as the North American baseball world is. You can be born in Country A but have citizenship in B, or both A and B, and represent either one. You can play for a country where your parents or grandparents were born. In the official records and team-issued media guides, players' birthplaces are recorded but nobody cares what nation your citizenship is.

Competitions that use passports as dividing lines are positively backwards compared to the openness of baseball. Rugby is even more open, using residence as the standard. The way I see it, Ms. Shiino was raised in Japan and can represent Japan, but was born to Ukrainian parents and can identify as Ukrainian too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan's biggest business lobby calls for larger pay hikes than 2023 See in context

What will happen is that the people at the top, with lots of job options and lots of leverage, will get big raises, and those without a lot of negotiating power (the undereducated; older workers; minorities) will see inflation destroy their purchasing power even further. And the divide between rich and poor will worsen even further.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: Hit Chinese TV series rekindles sidelined Shanghainese dialect See in context

This is great to see. And the sounds of Shanghai Chinese are often closer to the Chinese that was brought to Japan 1300-1500 years ago than today's Mandarin is, so if you speak Japanese, a lot of Shanghai words will feel very familiar.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese passport back among world's most powerful: survey See in context

This silly association of visa-free travel with the word "powerful" is ridiculous.

A "powerful" passport is one that lets you live and work in many places; one where your embassy has your back in a dispute when abroad; one that doesn't make you give it up if you take on another nationality.

Just praise the Japanese passport as "ideal for tourists" and dump this misleading word "powerful". I see "powerful" over and over and it's a misnomer.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Posted in: Driver arrested after his car drags cyclist for 60 meters See in context

Personally, if I'm driving and someone attacks me and I feel my life is in danger, and they climb onto the car? Then they are going for a ride!

But that's not what happened here. The cyclist didn't just "attack" the driver; in this case, the driver rear-ended the cyclist with his car and then when the cyclist got up and approached him, attempted to drive away.

You don't get to claim self-defense and "feel" that your life is in danger after you've just put someone else's life in danger by hitting them with your vehicle. You have to stop the car and call the police and face the music for rear-ending someone, possibly causing a serious injury to them, who had no way of avoiding you.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: China plans to keep ships near Senkakus for 365 days in 2024 See in context


You could do much more than a tent - before WWII, there was a bonito plant there, run by a Japanese man who employed a few dozen Okinawans and mainlanders. They were the first, and so far only, humans ever to live on that chain of islands. China has never controlled them; neither has Taiwan. They're Okinawan first and foremost.

36 ( +39 / -3 )

Posted in: Prospect of wage growth still challenging for households, BOJ See in context

In other words, companies that are uncompetitive could disrupt the wages/inflation/growth cycle. Given the severe labor shortage, just allow them to go bust, for the sake of the economy and working people.

While I agree with uncompetitive companies going bust, there's no "wages/inflation/growth" cycle; that's LDP/BoJ propaganda. Inflation isn't part of it: inflation pulls the workers backward, reducing their purchasing power. The only beneficiaries from inflation are the elites who can borrow and then pay it back with cheaper money, and of course the central bank who issues the money. The ideal cycle for working people is productivity/wages/growth, in which workers produce more, earn more, and can then buy more and better goods, with the standard of living steadily increasing.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Price of Japan’s favorite popsicle to go up for third time in 43 years See in context

The headline says 'third time in 43 years', but really it's 'third time in 8 years', given that all the increases have come since 2016. I remember the first increase, that year, and people weren't all that angry given that they had enjoyed this popsicle for the same price for more than three decades. Now, with a 33% bump in just 8 years, we're seeing the real impact of what the LDP is doing to the working class: using inflation to make them poorer and poorer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Love it or hate it, self-checkout is here to stay, but it's going through a reckoning See in context

Or you can use one of the payment cards,

Cleo, I should have been clearer: I'm not talking about the easiest way to pay for things; I'm talking about how the machine should work if you're using a machine to buy something. The train companies have the ideal machines: you can select what you're buying first, put money in first; any order you like and no screeching voice stressing you out. No extra button presses to get started or make the money tray available or to say that you're done, either. Whoever designed these things should be in charge of designing the ones in the shops.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Love it or hate it, self-checkout is here to stay, but it's going through a reckoning See in context

One thing I'm noticing in Japan recently is the hybrid 'manned self-checkout' which is the worst of both worlds: self checkout for only the payment part, which adds a tremendous hassle to the whole thing.

Instead of just handing the total to the friendly cashier who just rang everything up, you now have to operate a machine that makes demands of you in a rapid high-pitched mechanical voice, requiring you to press a button to tell it how you want to pay (oshiharai hōhō), then another button press as it asks you if you're finished (yoroshikereba...). It might ask you if you want a bag and maybe make you press a button to tell it whether you do or don't. All in a specific order that the machine knows but you might not.

It's far more stressful than dealing with a human being, who will wait patiently and not shout at you if you take more than three seconds to answer something, and can see whether you've got a bag and how you'll be paying.

Learn from the train companies, who figured this out long ago: eliminate all these extraneous button presses and questions, and eliminate the voice entirely unless a visually-impaired user asks for it. When buying a train ticket, you can press the button for the ticket and then insert the money after, or vice versa; there are no extra 'confirm' buttons. You don't have to specifically tell it how you're paying; you just put money in the slot. Everything is quick and snappy and all the extra interactions are optional.

That's how self checkout should be. The supermarket machines are a weird hybrid that seem both over-designed for first-time users but also seem to expect the user to already know a lot. Hire whoever designed the JR and urban subway machines to handle it; they've already figured it out.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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