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Posted in: Japan's retail sales post sharpest fall since 2015 as tax hike hits demand See in context

Meanwhile we keep hearing how much cash companies are sitting on. How about taxing that instead?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Sakura Cola See in context

How is this new? Cheerio - the discount soft drink manufacturer responsible for undrinkable black coffee and rip offs of most major beverages, all for just ¥100 each, and not the American breakfast cereal - had a sakura soda a few years back. It was largely indistinguishable from their other "ciders" and had just a hint of some cherry-like artificial flavoring, but sakura cola, in a sense, it was. I'd be looking at intellectual property infringement if I were them, though I wonder if they have much of a legal department that looks at rip offs by others, rather than what they themselves can reasonably get away with. Now eel soda, on the other hand...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Fan-made Nazi anime parody, 'Goeppels-chan,' appears in Japan See in context

This article calls it a light-hearted paody, which to me suggests nothing like the black humor others have suggested such material would be more suited to. I seriously doubt there's anything at all critical to it, unlike say Iron Sky.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Land of the rising sister: Japan’s search for gender parity See in context

Dr. Snow, thank you for covering this issue. When you are able to speak with some of your contacts in the government, particularly in MHLW or MoF, or people doing corporate lobbying here, could you ask how they intend to square the circle of making a society "in which women find it comfortable to work, and enhancing opportunities for women to work and to be active in society" while simultaneously shunting many of those same women, as well as many men, into dead-end contract positions with no chance for promotion or increased income?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: LDP panel proposes new teacher recruitment system See in context

While the content of the test would undoubtedly be important, I think switching to a single, national test rather than the separate tests each prefecture has is a great idea. First, it would save considerable trouble for potential teachers, who, at present, have to take the exam for every prefecture they are considering, not to mention for any private schools. Depending on how it's implemented, it could also save money since you wouldn't have each prefecture duplicating their efforts. I'd like to hear more about what this committee means by requiring "the government to fully support its educators in all ways possible" since right now, there is almost zero continuing education for in-service teachers. That said, I do agree with previous posters that trainee teachers also need a lot more time in the classroom than they currently get. Though I deplore most of what the Abe administration is trying to do overall, on education (not including the history issue of course) they do seem to have a few good ideas (see also introducing English as a compulsory subject in elementary schools for instance). The devil, as always, is in the details.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: BOJ to meet as weak consumer mood tests price targeting resolve See in context

Most Japanese work in small-medium size enterprises not connected to tourism, so the benefits to big companies or to those in tourism does not have much impact. That so many on this board still believe that myth of trickle down (more aptly trickle on) policies would be laughable if it didn't betray decades of brainwashing. If the government were really interested in raising wages, policies that would push companies to actually raise wages rather than hoard cash would help, along with raising the abysmally low minimum wage. Instead, we get these shows of Kuroda and Abe asking their buddies to raise wages while pursuing policies that go against this aim. Either they are stupid, too intoxicated on their BS, or simply cynically trying to be seen as doing something they have no real intention of carrying out.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: The most annoying people you’ll meet at a Japanese fitness gym See in context

Without a decent public gym nearby nor adequate space at home for the weights I'd like, the gym is the only place I can do the exercises I want to do. I'm relieved to see that others, even Japanese, are as disgusted as I am with the blowdryer misappropriators. Perhaps it's just my gym, but I'm also amazed at all the guys who insist on turning on the fans in the locker room in the middle of winter. Would love to have all the equipment a decent gym back in the states would have for half the price, but so it goes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan eyes compulsory 5 days' paid holiday a year See in context

But how will this be enforced, and how will violators be cajoled or coerced into compliance? Without this, such a law is meaningless. At least it would give a basis for union action and lawsuits, though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Gov't establishes expert panel to debate planned second tax rise See in context

Replace "debate" with "rubberstamp" and this headline might be accurate.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Man charged with coercing 14-year-old stepson to commit suicide See in context

About the mother, she knew, but was she abused herself? Hard not to suspect that she might have been a victim here too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan arrests Chinese fishing boat skipper over coral poaching See in context

While I certainly don't fault the JCG for catching such criminals, I do find it rather hypocritical considering that Japan and the US military are about the destroy some of the richest coral reefs in the Pacific at Oura Bay, Okinawa, to build a new base. No attempts at distraction here of course.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: TPP talks progress but gap remains between U.S., Japan See in context

Most of what you have to worry about in TPP is here. But hey, maybe dairy prices will go down! https://wikileaks.org/tpp/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Gang arrested following spate of drive-by eggings in Osaka See in context

Or maybe they were just fans of the Beastie Boys?


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: McDonald’s Japan’s new Avocado Beef, Chicken, and Shrimp burgers look surprisingly good See in context

My wife and I were tempted to try these a few days ago. Then we punched the names in to see the reviews. You can see some photos yourself here: http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2139771089053794501

While I'll confess to eating McDonald's here more than I ever would in the states, and some of their "specialty" burgers have been alright, I think I'll pass this time around.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Proposal to triple taxes on K-cars raises concerns among rural drivers See in context

Speaking as a kei car owner who probably wouldn't have a car otherwise, I could see a modest tax increase - say perhaps double to ¥14k/yr - along with a tax on luxury cars and SUVs. I mean who the hell needs a Hummer most anywhere in Japan? But, let's remember what the priorities of those who propose such increases. That it would make car ownership harder on people like me or put struggling small businesses out of business is really not their concern as long as they get their pound of flesh.

And, ditto to others who've criticized the barrier to trade argument. Aside from the fact that American cars generally suck compared to Japanese cars, if a suitable American model came out that had the size, price, reliability, and ready maintenance that a similar Japanese car had, I would certainly consider it. Until that happens, those who argue free trade in this case are betraying the hypocrisy of their position.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Teacher arrested after entering girls' toilet at university at night See in context

Ah, Otsu. First the school bullying suicide, and now this. Everyone thinks you're just an afterthought of Kyoto, but little do they know your suburban depravity. Glad he at least resigned, but reckon he'll be working at a juku in no time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: State secret law stirs fear of limits on freedoms See in context

Neoliberalization and increased repression always go hand in hand, folks. I at least hope that some of these journalists and activists are prepared to put their money where their mouths are and go to court and to jail in defiance of the new laws, and that some news organizations are prepared to provide financial and legal support to this end.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: 'Abenomics' impact on hiring activity See in context

No comments from the usual Abenomics scoffers in this space?

Okay, how about framing it like this: "2/3 of Japanese companies do not plan to hire more women or foreign workers despite purported benefits of Abenomics."

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Barefoot Gen' comic stirs history controversy See in context

Well, I'm skeptical of any attempt to keep things out of eyes of children, but what the school is doing is well within Western zeitgeist. I mean, do American history books typically show lots of gory graphics of badly burned victims from their incendiary bombs or nukes? If not, is that because they are "whitewashing" history or is it because of a desire to not show graphic pictures to children?

Sadly this is most likely true, but as with many things, don't let America dictate what Japan should do. What are German elementary/junior high school materials like in terms of graphic representations of violence with regards to WW II and the Holocaust?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: Gov't to introduce age cap of 42 for subsidized fertility treatment See in context

Having spent a fair amount of time in fertility clinics here in Japan recently, I can agree with other posters that there are quite a few over 40s pursuing treatment. Why the government doesn't simply provide stricter limits, such as fewer chances after 40 (or 42 or whenever), more stringent screenings, etc. is beyond me, though I suspect it's just perceived as a simple policy answer to a media controversy. Of course, no thought as to how it might affect the declining birthrate, and no thought of how to encourage more people to have children - through encouraging more stable employment, enforceable gender-equity and maternity/paternity leave policies that people are encouraged to use, increased vacation time, more affordable pre-schools, etc. etc. etc.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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