Japan Today

wnagler1 comments

Posted in: Japan's justice system under scrutiny over Ghosn's continued detention See in context

Ghosen is not a criminal who sought to injure anyone. He is a very respected executive, who may have let his ego get far out of reasonable bounds, The value he added to Renault and Nissan (and VW back in the day where he developed his prowess in global supply chain) far exceeds a few flights on a corporate jet, etc.

Japan, this is absolutely unjust. You don't hold a man like this for 23 days arbitrarily because some salarymen in Nissan found a way to push out a foreigner that clearly threatens their way of life, which is to protect their jobs by running the business for themselves, and their job security, not for the shareholders.

Free Ghosen, give him his day in court if necessary. Most of his compensation indiscrtions could be solved internally by Nissan and Renault, and maybe he is retired without his back end pension and golden parachutes?

Japan should adopt the US' Writ of Habeas Corpus, and should not be able to hold anyone for more than 72 hours without having filed charges.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump shifts focus to Japan after trade truce with China See in context

There are 2 different issues here that naive, simplistic Trump fails to appreciate.

Japanese agriculture is excessively protected and subsidized. It is a big reason why Japanese pay so much for staples such as rice. Absolutely open the markets for meats, poultry, and sea food. Reduce the massive artificial subsidies to rice growers, who still have small farms located on terraced hillsides. Maybe some of the numerous nearly abandoned villages in Japan's countryside could be re-purposed for more efficient and competitive agriculture.

However, with respect to automobiles, American cars are not relevant to the Japanese market. They are generally too large and consume too much fuel, in a country where with gasoline taxes etc the price of fuel per $1.38 liter is or $5.36 per US Gallon (average price of gas in the US is around $3 per gallon), and they are built with the steering wheel on the left side for the US' right hand drive rules, while in Japan the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, as Japan's roads are like the UK, people drive on the left. Also, Japan's speed limits are much lower than those in the US, so even 6-cylinder engines favored by Americans are not practical.

So If Trump can provide some aid to American companies to invest in Left hand drive car assembly lines, and other Japanese conventions, then the US would sell a lot more cars in Japan.

Business, especially world trade, is as much about Competitiveness and leveraging what is called "Comparative Advantage", versus just arbitrary business volume quotas.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Trump says Japan treats U.S. unfairly on trade by not taking more American cars See in context

Because Trump rarely takes the time to learn the details about something, he takes a position that is adversarial for little or no reason. I have other examples about Trump's ignorance.

It reflects very badly on Americans.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Trump says Japan treats U.S. unfairly on trade by not taking more American cars See in context

Also, US Manufacturers only produce cars with steering wheel on left side, because we drive on the right side of the road. Japanese cars have it on the right side. European car companies manufacture cars with it on right side for "left hand drive" like in Japan, because of the UK and Australian markets.

If US manufacturers produced cars configured for Japanese drivers, they might sell some more?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Trump says Japan treats U.S. unfairly on trade by not taking more American cars See in context

Trump acts like such a stupid American, but maybe on purpose. It is his way of saying that he does not have to respect a polite culture like Japan.

Japan has about 0% tariffs on automobile imports. American cars have a history of poor quality, and big SUVs and Pickup trucks that Americans prefer are too large for many Japanese streets and parking lots

There have been many partnerships between Japanese manufacturers and the US Autobilie industry major companies. It is probably the American's fault that it does not produce models that work well in Japan

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: With U.S. absent, world's exporters turn attention to China See in context

The United States is taking major risks by acting in ways that are not cooperative with China on trade, and acting hostile towards China as it builds and expands its Silk Road and Belt initiatives.

The United States Government has a lot of ways that it influences trade. The US Commerce Department and State Department agencies regularly participate in trade discussions and lead trade missions of government officials and companies to foreign nations.

One of the primary missions of the US military is to protect international trading and operations of US Multinational Corporations.

Even President Trump gets involved in negotiating some Federal contracts.

To ignore an important conference like this one, at a time when Trump is insisting that China buy more from the US, is counter productive and unfriendly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Princess Ayako to receive ¥107 mil after marriage to commoner See in context

Let's hope that 107 million Yen is enough to keep her "Cute & Fashionable" for many years to come! Kanpai!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Hanks braves the fires of critical censure in 'Inferno' See in context

Apollo 13 was great. Forest Gump, Saving Private Ryan and Philadelphia are all incredible performances by Tom Hanks. And of course, Big in 1988 was such a fun, heart warming film. Its hard to find any fault withis filmography.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Luxury or bust for foreign automakers in Japan See in context

Japan is open to imports of foreign cars, there are very low import duties. Bottom line, in the everyday compact/midsize segment, American cars are way behind Japanese cars, so low demand in Japan is because of market forces. SUVs and Luxury Vehicles outside of chauffer driven Crown Cars are vehicles of choice for Japanese entrepreneurs and highest earning executives. I have a friend in Tokyo from Hokkaido, both of her parents in Sappiro shi drive Mercedes Benz. And these are very typical Japan centric people who never travel abroad, even though they can afford to. So Trump, as always, is wrong, because this is not due to trade restrictions or Japanese government policies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan prepares for release of tritium from Fukushima plant See in context

At some point, regarding Fukushima, Japan will not be able to keep sweeping the truth, and the actual risks "Under the Carpet." Time for Japan to face reality, get the right assistance & resources, and dissolve Tepco.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan prepares for release of tritium from Fukushima plant See in context

This is outrageous. How much longer can these incompetent criminals at Tepco be allowed to self regulate and manage the state of and decmmissioning process of Fukushima Da-Ichi? And where are the experts in Physics at Japanese institutions like Todai, and learning foreign resources including MIT, Caltech, UC Berkeley, Israel and global nuclear/ atomic orgaanizatiions and government agencies? Why are they not being consulted nor quoted when these are proposed? Why does supposedly "Green" Japan, sweep under the carpet things that will in some way contribute to global and national ecological cancers?****

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Microsoft wants you using Windows 10, like it or not See in context

MS Windows 10 has eliminated the ability to use a PC DVD drive to play DVD movies and games, unless you pay MSFT US$1500 or Y2000 for the DVD driver. This is it's way of trying to force us to rely on its Cloud Services and Streaming Media. I wonder when it will try to restrict ownership of software on our PC's internal HDD.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Microsoft's big Windows 10 push is part of broader strategy See in context

First I apologize for all of the typos in my post. I wrote it on my Apple iPhone (yes not MSFT phone, lol) early this morning on my way to work. I think that it is outrageous of Microsoft to arbitrarily delete the ability to play DVD's without paying them $15 to do so. It is because they want us all on subscription based software and programming. Hence their aggressive pushing of Surface tablets and compatible machines made by HP and Dell. I have a good friend at Microsoft in Sales, and he agreed with me that this was not a customer friendly decision on MSFT's part. Nor was it communicated to him or anyone else in their sales force.

Second, to answer Shonangreg, VLC is not compatible with Windows 10. In fact, VLC is quite out of date, if you visit their website.

Not being able to own your own software, DVD programming and games, is similar to eliminating all bookstores, and libraries and forcing us all to rent whatever we want to view or use through third parties. It takes away our rights to own and use these kinds of products as we choose, within copyright laws and legal restrictions. Rather 1984 don't you think? Maybe Apple was rather prescient when it aired that famous 1984 commercial during the Super Bowl broadcast in January 1984?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Microsoft's big Windows 10 push is part of broader strategy See in context

A nefarious thing about Windows 10 is that it is trying to force us into cloud based, subscrption based siftware and ithwr nedia like strwaming movies and TV. I recently found out that Windows 10 gas eliminated its free Microsoft Media Pkayer, and does not incorpirate a free DVD player driver. It has also rendered PC manufacturers like Toshiba's proprietary media pkayers as incompatible. If you want to watch a DVD on tour PC, you have to pay MSFzt $15 US for a DVD driver app. I winder what other PC features will be blocked in future releases? Maybe the Hard Disk Drive will not be supported? Hmm

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Flight MH17: Will the world ever know the truth? See in context

Mr. Butler is a clearly pro-Russian journalist. Go to his website All Things PR. He offers a long droning set of opinions but he provides few facts. Just as bad as popular Western media.

A fact I do know directly from Boeing is that Russians went in the crash site and cut away and took many of the high tech components of the downed B-777..

The only thing I agree with him about it will be years before any semblance of the so-called truth is made public.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Posted in: If you want a child, do it before you're 30, says leading obstetrician See in context

Invitro is not good for the children. It leads to many instances of twins, at least here in the US, and the babies have more health and other issues than children conceived naturally.

Japanese families need to start having children before age 30, and have more than 1 child. This result in both healthier babies, with young, energetic parents, and growth for Japan. People have to be given incentives to have children, and comfort that the cost and childcare responsibilities will not be onerous on them.

Otherwise Japan's population will fall precipitously, and be comprised of too many older people and an inadequate tax and work base.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: TEPCO asks for Y1 tril in public funds in exchange for giving gov't 51% control See in context

I think that the Government and Sumitomo Mitsui Bank (Japan) which has injected trillions of Yen quietly to keep TEPCO alive, should just seize control of TEPCO and decide for themselves how best to maximize the value of the assets and resolve the crisis at the Fukushima power stations.

According to Japan Times, Reactor No 2 radiation level is now up to 72 sieverts per hour, so not even a robot can get inside that reactor building now. How much radiation is actually spewing out of that damaged building? What doesn't Japan Today report this information?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Radiation fears haunt food shoppers in Japan See in context

The Japanese Government has done everything possible to obfuscate the truth, including either destroying or not allowing the production of minutes of meetings about the Fukushima Disaster. (These meetings' notes were supposed to be compiled and published in February, where are they?)

The bigger danger to Japanese people's food supply, water and health comes from the numerous accidents at petroleum and chemical producing facilities in Japan. According to US Government officials, but never publicly discussed in Japan, the fires and leaks at these toxic materials' plants posed a greater danger to the Japanese environment. The radiation is bad enough, and more widespread than the 20km "No Go" zone, but the chemical related dangers are actually much more serious.

Time for the J-government to become honest and accountable to the people of Japan. Time for the Japanese people to get more aggressive about the real dangers, and given ways to deal with and overcome them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: IMF urges Japan to triple consumption tax to reduce debt See in context

These Economists could not be more incorrect. Japan owns its debt, so it is not really an issue. It is a matter of time before the Government transfers the citizens money that sits in Government bonds into other forms of investment.

Japan's population is aging and declining so rapidly that in another article I read that Japan's population could only 30% of what it is today, so fall from $135 million to about 40 million, if birth rates do not rapidly increase and the country generate the growth to support a higher birthrate and the massive number of old people when the life expectancy for women hits 90 and for men, 84.

Keep taxes low, remove a number of structural barriers to efficiency and lower cost in Japan, such as reducing layers of middlemen, and reducing favorable treatment of small farmers. Government spending should be allocated towards investment, business encouragement & support and incentives to the country's young people to continue to be creators and makers of products which contain high value, not so much sales people, media developers/distributors, social media and service industry people, which is the trap the USA has fallen into.

Finally, stop lying to the people about Fukushima, take interest rates back to market rates, such as 3% so money will have value. And when Japanese companies invest and acquire, integrate with Japanese parents, make the companies more valuable, and figure out to do valuable things in Japan based on the learnings from other countries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Ayumi Hamasaki to divorce husband of 1 year See in context

Hollywood romances do not work between most Caucasian couples. Japanese culture, ways of thinking and looking at the world are 180 degree polar opposites from an Austrian who probably had little appreciation of Japanese ways, to begin with. Both people might have taken a superficial view of a union of two entertainment figures, for superficial fashion, beauty, or even PR reasons. Tohoku may have caused Ayaumi to wake up and know herself deep inside. She may have realized what is truly important in life. That is not Hollywood, ame nor money. Those things are empty and lonely.

Also, as many Japanese friends here ask me, "why are there so many date club girls in Los Angeles?"' Ayumi may have caught Mr. Schwarz tempted by more than one DCG while she was away doing good for Japan in her way.

If he tried to understand and care about her, he would have supported her need to be in Japan at this time. Good for her to show strength and bravery so that she can dedicate herself to her country and her people. She sounds like more than just a pretty, hot Asian girl.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Posted in: Azumi worried about Japan's debt rating after EU downgrades See in context

Raising taxes, particularly on consumption will hurt Japan's economy.

Since Japan's debt is mostly held by its people, over 70%, and the interest is basically zero, it really has little debt pressure.

Japan needs to grow its tax base through stimulating investment in Sendai, other quake damaged areas, and in providing an environment favorable to business growth. Japan needs to act in amore open and cooperative way internationally by understanding foreign countries it's companies operate in culturally, and just promote Japanese only talking to Japanese.

Finally, Japan's corporations need to simplify their structures, speed up and improve decision-making. Also, the layers of middlemen need to be consolidated.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: March 11 disaster builds international friendships See in context

I have become very close class mates of mine from my Amerian Ivy League business school MBA program and gotten to know so many inspirational Japanese people because of wanting to help them and know them and their culture much better since 3/11.

One Japanese guy, a musician who lives in Tokyo has become my best friend in the world.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: HK remembers 'Black Christmas' of 1941 when Japan took over See in context

The Japanese government's failure to apologize to a more peaceful country than itself, Canada, my home country, illustrates the narrow thinking and ineptitude of the Japanese government. In my view, neither the acts of what has been labeled World War II by Japan in Hawaii, HK or any where else reflected the true beliefs and desires of the beautiful people of Japan. Since the 16th century, warlords were allowed tno rule parts of Japan. The central government was, and continues to be weak, dishonest and seless.

My maternal gradfather fought in WW II for the Canadians. Maybe Japan's act of apology might somewhat relieve the negative feelings he had that caused him to burn his uniform and dispose of all souvenirs of the Wars in Asia and Europe upon his return to Canada in 1945.

The Japanese government must change so that leaders of character can make sure that Japan does more positive things.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: LA mayor plans Asia trade trip See in context

I think that the Asian countries will just smile at Mr. Villaraigosa and his Date Club Girlfriend, Miss Lu Parker, who is a newscaster on KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles.

I heard some stories of Mr. Villaraigosa's mistakes and arrogance the last time he visited Asia.

Given that he likes to spend as much as US$130,000 per week on his trips, according to the LA Times, I think this is really a fancy vacation for him and his Date Club GF.

LA has serious problems. Instead providing leadership, our Mayor epitomizes the shallow, selfish, self-indulgent, narcisstic ways of Southern California.

It is good that Asians just tend to smile in a superficial way and act "atmospheric" towards people like him.

There are others in LA who are working to make things better, and to help Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Nozomi Sasaki's beauty secret - living without stress See in context

Must be an Egg Girl graduate?

Japanese girls are so superficial.

They think that while they are supposed to be adults in their 20's, they act like they are 15 year old school girls.

They must learn more important vocabulary words in English than "Fashionable".

Japanese models and actresses should show young Japanese women, that educated people like they are should be ambitious in a productive way, and work to build the strength of the country, vs. living passive, low stress lives, where their biggest concerns are just having fun, being fashionable, and bobbing their cute heads to Lady Gage, etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Adopting English as workplace language in Japan has its downside See in context

The point of this article shows how ignorant people in Japan are that they are part of a larger world.

I went to a very prestigious business school in the US, where Japanese companies used to send their young managers with the highest potential for success. Some of these people used their education in English to be fluent in English, and actually get along well with us Americans. Other Japanese people in my class were uncomfortable with speaking English, and stayed to themselves and socialized only with other Japanese.

Later these poor English speakers were posted here in the US. They completed their assignments as ordered by their Japanese bosses. But the deals did not go well in a number of cases.

If Japanese managers and executives had tried harder to speak to and relate with American counterparts, culture and business practices, I believe that Japan would not have made the overly aggressive moves because they neither understood nor could evaluate the American markets correctly. Instead Real Estate was way over-paid for, Japanese banks lost a lot of money making bad loans on Real Estate, and attempts at mergers and partnerships would have been more successful.

Japan's answer has been to further go into its Japan-centric world. Stagnation just got worse. Today, young people in Japan know that in order to change things, they need to develop a more global view. Some Japanese people have succeeded at doing this. But any progress was achieved on their own. Japan did not have a coherent program or understood the importance and implications.

Japanese students are taught to memorize and prepare for University Entrance Exams. To understand other languages, ways and cultures in a way that they can function and interact more successfully, Japanese students need to be better trained to think, reason, question and make decisions.

The world is quite diverse in many countries, except for in places like Japan, which 98.5% ethnic Japanese.

English is a way and a window to interacting with other countries and cultures, broadening one's views, and learning other ways that could help Japan.

I could care less about the ability of news reporters to understand and write about events. I care more about people being able to work with others to make things happen. Japanese media can report the events and results however they choose to.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Plutonium detected in soil outside Fukushima nuclear plant See in context

My company reported to our friends in Japan that there was no doubt that there was plutonium in the frou d in many p,aces in Japan. There is also Strontium which is similarly as bad for long term health as Plutonium.

I am concerned by the daily contradictions about Fukushima by the government.

Obe day they make it sound safer. Then they find more radioactove rice. Another day the temperature in the reactor cores is now supposedly 100 degrees. But that is the temperature at which water boils. So what is so great about that. Then they lift the ban on returning to that area for no good reason. Now plutonium is discovered 80 km away, because someone looked there.

Where else is it unsafe. I believe up to 175 km from Fukushima is not very safe, that includes sections of Tokyo. No one wants to hear this, never mind discuss it.

From the 1960's song "to everything, turn, turn, turn" it says "When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn??".

I continue pray for and cry about the fate of the people of Japan... :-((

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's nuclear disaster - six months on See in context

God bless Japan, its beauty and greatness. Please protect the Japanese people, who are basically so very good, from their own government, other broken institutions and culture-induced failings. It is not the people's fault.

God please bring the truth to light, because the good Japanese people need to know it. Help them to prosper because of their discipline and hard work in the aftermath of 3/11/11.

Finally, please bring an end to the deployment of nuclear power. Until human-kind truly demonstrates that it understands this terrible force, man has no right to try to implement power plants and other engineering applications of nuclear power.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Hosono says all of Japan should help with Fukushima's contaminated debris See in context

Spreading radioactive soil around the country is a pretty irresponsible idea. This guy should be removed from his position ASAP for displaying such poor judgement. He should consult with countries like the US that have expertise in hazardous material or HAZMAT disposal.

As usual, Japan sees their world as a closed loop and that it can solve all of its needs and problems by itself. A government of ignorant old men who are elected by their fellow ignorant old men of the Japanese Diet will never be anything but removed from reality and disfunctional.

Japanese people, you are well educated people, apply yourself, get informed and stand up for yourselves, FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Why do so many Japanese women take photos of their food at restaurants and post it on Facebook or their blogs? See in context

I am American, and I think it is very nice that both Japanese women and men like to remember beautiful meals. One girl I know here in the USA, who does not speak a lot of English, always says "Happy Memories" when ever she takes a photo of any nice scenery or food presentation.

I now find myself taking photos of beautiful foods and other nice things and forwarding these photos to some my Japanese friends, because I know they both enjoy and appreciate my sharing these things with them. Some people in the US are fascinated at my enthusiasm about doing so, and actually are both impressed and encouraging about my taking the time to do this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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