Japan Today

zorken comments

Posted in: Foreign lawyers fight for reform in Japan See in context

but then flew to California for a week to attempt the bar exam there (where you don't even need a law degree to become a lawyer).

It is true that you don't need a law degree, but you still need four years of experience working in a law office (with all sorts of requirements attached). Even then your chances of passing are abysmal.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Man dies after being pierced in eye by umbrella last month See in context

Was that really an accidental use of the umbrella?

The translation of 傷害致死罪 to 'accidental injury resulting in death' is rather misleading. It doesn't mean the injury was accidental - it means there was no intent to cause death (it doesn't exclude that there was intent to injure). Effectively he has been charged with the equivalent of manslaughter.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Magazine publishes name, photo of Kawasaki murder suspect See in context

also strengthens the resolve to try these murderers as adults.

If you know they are murderers why do you want a trial at all? Presumably we could save an awful lot of tax money and court time if we just asked Shukan Shincho to pass judgement on all cases from now on. There may well be a strong case for releasing the names and photos of convicts after a trial. But (as your post so deftly demonstrates) there seems to an unwillingness to separate guilt from accusation ; and a total willingness to accept everything the media prints about a case as absolute truth. If you were a juror is this how you would approach this case?

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Posted in: Magazine publishes name, photo of Kawasaki murder suspect See in context

I think they should also make 18 the adult age and stop molly-coddling these late teen punks, so they can be tried as an adult and sent to a man's prison.

They already can be tried as adults. Any suspect in a murder case from the age of 14 can be transfered from family courts to general courts.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Don’t want to pay your NHK TV license fee? Beat Takeshi agrees with you See in context

I am under the impression you do not have to pay NHK if you don't have a TV antenna or BCAS card (i.e. if your TV does not function as a TV receiver

Nothing quite so simple I'm afraid - as your TV still retains the capacity to be used as a TV receiver. The confusion arises from the exemptions clause of the Broadcasting Act - which allows devices whose primary purpose is not to receive TV signals to be exempt from payment. There have been some reasonably strong legal hints that this clause was not designed for individuals to exempt themselves from payment. There's no legal precedent for anything yet, but the courts (and the government) have a fairly long history of supporting NHK.

Also when the article says:

In other words, if you dont want to pay, they cant make you.

It's demonstrably false. NHK can take you to court, and they frequently win (don't ask me how...).

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Posted in: Police arrest 3 youths over murder of Kawasaki boy See in context

Because these gutless animals are under 18, they will be coddled and protected - and free to go back to killing in a couple years. Disgusting.

Actually as it's a murder case they are old enough that they won't receieve much protection from the family courts. They can stand for trial in an adult court if the prosecutor's office so decides (and it would be unusual if they didn't).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Amnesty Int'l criticizes Japan in 2014/15 human rights report See in context

This is one of the reasons that Japanese do not take Amnesty International seriously.

It's disappointing that you can write all that, but seemingly not take the time to look up what the report actually says. The full sentence reads: "In Japan, the daiyo kangoku system, which allows police to detain suspects for up to 23 days prior to charge, continued to facilitate torture and other ill-treatment in order to extract confessions during interrogation". The point they are making refers specifically to conditions in daiyo kangoku (or daiyo keijishitsu) where the investigators have direct control over the quality of life of the people who they are investigating. For a long time lawyers and human rights groups have argued this system is wide open to abuses.

The argument among lawyers is that Kangoku is better for the suspect than Daiyo kangoku. Maybe, they are correct. But I think the issue is quite minor.

It isn't minor. It's pivotal to the whole thing. It resolves an enormous conflict of interest.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan’s Juvenile Law says that criminal suspects aged under 20 cannot be tried as adults or have their names and photos published by media. Do you think this is too old to be considered a minor and if See in context

Japan’s Juvenile Law says that criminal suspects aged 20 or under cannot be tried as adults

This isn't exactly true. Family courts have the power to refer juveniles to the adult courts from a much younger age (from 14, I think). What used to happen a lot was the family court would veto the public prosectors request for escalation. I believe recent reforms have stopped them from being able to do this for the most serious crimes (one's involving death) - if the person is judged both mentally capable and a 'willing' participant in the crime.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Magazine publishes name, photo of minor held in Nagoya murder case See in context

but we also both know that Japanese law will not punish them except for a very minor fine while their sales will soar.

Not quite - it's actually slightly worse. Article 61 doesn't carry a penalty in of itself - it's 'self-policing'. It'll only cost the magazine if the girl herself (or I believe her family) sue them for libel. Libel cases are so common for Japanese magazines I doubt it scares them.

Nineteen years old should not be regarded as a minor

Well, it hasn't gone to trial yet - but if she's judged mentally competent I'd be extremely surprised if the case isn't escalated to the general prosecutors office.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Uniqlo pledges to improve factory conditions in China See in context

since Uniqlo is really Sino-centric these days. They make more money in China than in Japan and the rest of the world combined.

Do they? According to the sales figures (http://www.fastretailing.com/eng/ir/financial/summary.html) international sales for Uniqlo don't even come close to Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe vows to rewrite constitution, instill patriotism in schools See in context

Have you ever compaired which country is the least patriotism in the world before making such a remark?

Have you? I'd like to read about the comparisons you have made...

Which coutry in the world have trouble rasing a national flag and sing national song at only entrance and graduation ceremonies?

Plenty of European countries have a (not historically unfounded) phobia of nationalist regalia (flags, anthems and the like). I never saw a flag at school once when I was growing up - perhaps this might affect your worldwide patriotism ranking system (?!)

It is painful situation.

It's only painful if you confuse petty acts of tokenism as patriotic. Plenty of people are working hard every day to make Japan a better place - that's where you'll find patriotism.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Posted in: Police find cyanide at home of 'black widow' suspect See in context

Exactly correct. The initial report use the phrase "trace amounts". The human body contains "trace amounts" of gold, but no sane person would seriously view this as evidence that you had been munching down on bars of gold.

I was always led to believe (perhaps wrongly) that cyanide broke down in the human body after death - so after a few days only trace amounts would be left. (Too many cheap detective stories maybe!)

How could the police suspect anything untoward when it was only 7?

If none of the other deaths were treated as suspicious then it doesn't surprise me. It's far easier now to connect the dots then it would have been at the time I suspect. But I think this case is probably (another!) massive failure of the autopsy system in Japan. Despite repeated political promises it still seems to be a broken mess that is hardly ever used by the police. Considering that if it was effective the murder rate would undoubtedly rise, perhaps they would prefer it to remain as is.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: What Japan's recession means for the country See in context

the amount of truly inhuman poverty remains (correct me if I'm wrong here) low.

If you think of 'truly inhuman poverty' as absolute poverty then you are correct. But that level of poverty is extremely uncommon across all OECD countries.

But I worry that your comments underestimate the rapid rise of poverty in Japan (especially child poverty). This years study puts nearly 1 in 6 below the poverty line. What relative poverty means for Japan is still pretty unclear though - so strong was the belief in egalitarian society for so long that real data is still very thin on the ground.

How Japan deals with this, and how it stops the wealth gap following a US-style curve, is going to be one of the real challenges to future social cohesion.

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Posted in: Abe appears to have decided on poll, LDP official tells media See in context

@smithinjapan Sorry! I wasn't particularly clear in my original post - think there may have been some misunderstanding. I wasn't actually talking about Abe's decisions at all. But the one of the previous commenters thoughts on the DJP and the tax increase. I do agree with what you've written though. I'm particularly frustrated with the election talk - it's feels like another distracting game for them all to play - while they get to avoid talking about (let alone solving) any real problems.

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Posted in: Abe appears to have decided on poll, LDP official tells media See in context

or hypocritically back off from their previous position.

Is this such a terrible thing? Why do we demand that our politicans be so inflexible with their thinking? It seems like any political policy, no matter how terrible, has to be persued to the very end - because a reversal or rethink is just about the worst thing you could do.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Nurse defies Ebola quarantine in U.S.; rides bike See in context

I know, on the one hand, we have the CDC and the NEJOM, and on the other we have, wait on it, internet commenters. A tough call, for sure.

It isn't quite that simple though. The NEJOM, to the layman like me at least, seems to have adopted a condractictory position. In the editorial claiming we shouldn't quarrantine because there are no symptoms. But in a different study claiming that people can carry the disease without a fever (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-1012-ebola-fever-20141012-story.html#page=1).

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: 19-year-old arrested for pushing man off train platform See in context

So anyway, attempted murder? I was think more like reckless endangerment or something. You know. Something that might actually stick in court.

The prosecution wouldn't have a lot of options in this case, and I think they are probably acutely aware of what will 'stick in court'. 'Reckless endangerment' as such isn't codified into Japanese law. The closest you could get is involuntary manslaughter. This can't apply in this case because there is no charge for attempted involuntary manslaughter. And in law manslaughter involves a failure in what the court considers reasonable duties - it most commonly applies to negligent car drivers or teachers etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Why does 'Engrish' happen in Japan? See in context

trying to find a qualified translator willing to accept an offer for a one-sentence project is pretty hard to do

It isn't that hard to do. I thought it was the main reason translation sites like Gengo existed in the first place. I don't know how 'qualified' their translators are - I presume there's some kind of ability test.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Officially certified textbooks should be introduced to improve moral education, which is important to prepare children for social life. See in context

The new generation needs to learn some values, respect, manners, and that it is not all about their entitlement to what ever they desire.

It wasn't the younger generation who took and took and took until there was nothing left. And then borrowed trillions to make up the shortfall for the life they were 'entitled' to. It is, however, the younger generation who will have to work harder and longer, to ensure that those before them can continue to retire into the life that they want. My generation has left behind a pretty poor example.

the reality is that many children do not have parents that are intentionally challenging them to live lives of kindness, integrity, courage and forgiveness

I wouldn't disagree with you. But those characteristics should imbue all of the child's school life - not be sectioned into one part of it. For example, how can you teach children violence is wrong, when corporal punished it employed to widely and with such minimum punishments?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Minister hit by bar scandal also under fire for owning TEPCO shares See in context

If someone is sworn in as a minister, the rules say he or she should refrain from share trading during their term

I'm not totally clear on how this works as a deterrent. Surely he can still influence the market as a minister, quit whenever he feels like, and then sell his shares the next day. Surely the best solution is have ministers 'opt-out' of any decisions where there is a declared conflict of interest.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. urges Japan to be bolder in opening markets See in context

The US is proposing to reduce the tariff on cars and trucks over the coming 30 years.

That's not what the article you linked to says. The US doesn't seem to have official proposed anything of the sort. Of course the car makers want 30 years - they have a fairly strong vested interest in painting the best doomsday scenario they can.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Justice minister undone by cheap paper fan See in context

do we have case law to show the law was really broken?

Do you mean case law for fans? We don't have that. There is case law for gift giving from political groups though (alcohol, bentos, towels etc.) But in most cases where this kind of thing happens though someone usually turns up to tell them to knock it off before it gets anywhere. I think you'd struggle to show that the distribution of fans wasn't in violation of the letter of the law. You are right, though, that we can't assume that she can be held legally responsible, or that anything will come it.

The laws against vote buying are to do just that - avoid vote buying.

Vote buying is a big part of it - but it's more subtle than that. Matsushima can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of yen on fans with her face on, and get people to carry them around (it's hard to throw away a fan immediately). A candidate with less resources is not going to be able to compete with this. It's supposed to (in theory at least) level the playing field.

Away from the specifics of this case, I disagree with the idea that any infraction of the basic election laws can trivial. It's supposed to be the legal framework that hold the hold democratic process together. Any infraction of this, big or small, should never be glossed over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Trade, justice ministers quit as Abe loses 2 of his 5 women ministers See in context

(I have received them from mayors myself. But didn't see any of those mayors hounded out of office.)

If the mayor or politician is already in office then there is no violation of the law which concerns electoral campaigns.

That makes sense. But handing out a paper flag with your information on it is mere marketing. Would a support button have qualified for an accusation, too? Kleenex packets?

Tissues, yes. Buttons, probably not. The law specifies that you can't give out products that give any kind of additional 'value' to the person. As a fan can be used, it's considered a step beyond marketing materials and could therefore be a violation of the law. Also while the value of a single fan might be small - it's the cumulative value of all them that will be the number used. In legal terms how this all goes down will undoubtedly fall on some absurdly petty arguments on the function and definition of a fan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Trade, justice ministers quit as Abe loses 2 of his 5 women ministers See in context

The sums for her are truly trivial. Handing out paper fans to supporters? Shocking! It doesn't support a criminal complaint and certainly not walking the plank.

I get what you are saying, and I sort of agree with you. But pretty clear rules about this kind of thing exist for a reason. What if she was handing out cakes, would that still be OK? Or just cut the fans and hand out 10-yen coins to people? It's easier to draw the line at an easy to understand nothing. What surprises me is these rules aren't complicated or hidden - why did no-one on her campaign team point this out?

The whole thing puts Abe's tax-hike in an interesting position now though. If he raises tax his approval ratings will probably plunge. But if he holds out then it looks like politicking - I think he'll be accused of putting his own political capital before economic interests.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Obuchi resigns over misuse of political funds; justice minister also resigns See in context

SHE DID NOT SPEND people's money. She spent her party funds donated by individuals/corporations...

Party funds are supplemented by billions of yen that comes directly from the treasury. From this year: http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASG415Q3WG41UTFK012.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Obuchi under pressure to resign over political donations misuse See in context

What did she steal? What public funds did she misappropriate?

(As a disclaimer my understanding of this could be outdated, so apologies if I'm wrong). Politicians in Japan aren't allow to directly fund raise as individuals only as parties. The parties then distribute these funds to the individuals. Part of the drive to end corruption was to introduce political fund subsidies for parties from public finances. If this system is still true - then some of the money in her fund may well have been public funds.

I haven't read if she actually broke the law. Perhaps someone could be specific about that point.

If the theatre trips were not paid for by members then it constitutes a 'gift' to her constituents - which would be illegal under election law. Other points are up to how a prosecutor would interrupt things. If she can't prove that buying baby clothes etc. were part of her election campaigning - then that would also be against the law (which specifically limits the use of funds). Lastly there are apparently discrepancies in the reporting of expenses from the campaign group. All finances are supposed to be reported - if they have failed to do that honestly then it's a breach of political funding laws.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Abenomics' architect calls for BOJ easing, tax hike delay See in context

When you give a lot of money to the average person on the street, they simply spend it quickly on toys.

That's quite a patronizing view of the 'average person'. Sure, I wouldn't disagree that some people would waste it - but plently of people would have a vested interest in trying to make their money grow. By keeping the money away from those people you stifle innovation and start-up potential.

Money spent is money thrown away, money invested is what provides goods, services, and jobs

But where is the money invested? In creating jobs in Japan, or building factories in China? Or worse a lot of companies just sit on that money or shore it off to tax free havens. Even if the company does use it to grow their own capital - there's often no direct effect on the standard labor wage.

"Trickle-down" economics gets a bad rap from many, but in reality, it is the most effective way to cause fundamental growth.

Where? Trickle-down gets a bad rap because there's no evidence that it works anywhere. Where is the economic boom following the Bush-era tax cuts?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: All aboard the good American ship Titanic See in context

Many people don't want it, don't need it, were happy with their personal healthcare and now his ACA is the law of the land.

Then they shouldn't have voted for it. The ACA was on the cards way before Obama's re-election. If so many people didn't want it then the election should have been a cakewalk for the people who wanted to kill it stillborn.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: All aboard the good American ship Titanic See in context

commonly cited authority of Russia Today

I think this might help explain things...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: I think manga is depriving young people of the pleasure of reading real literature. I hope people would return to the written world and the beauty of the past. And get rid of katakana. Katakana should See in context

Katakana should be abolished. The Japanese language is a beautiful language, and is capable of every kind of expression.

To me this is a bit like saying: the numbers above 1 should be abolished. 1 and 0 are beautiful, and are capable of every kind of mathematical expression.

Language isn't designed by committee - it evolves. And clearly there's a preference for katakana over lengthy, obscure kanji compounds in certain cases. Keene might not like it, and it might offend his personal sense of 'beauty' - but communication is king is languages. The beauty of language surely partly lies in it's freedom and flexibility ; I think trying to oppress parts you don't like is a very ugly thing to do.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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