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MASSWIPEJan. 28, 2012 - 07:52AM JST
"And I don't go around telling Koreans their cars are made up Japanese components when I meet them, sorry."
Don't worry, I was being sarcastic. I wasn't assuming that you actually had the courage to tell Koreans to their faces that they couldn't manufacture cars or electronics without made-in-Japan components. I'm sure you'll stick to anonymous internet sites.
Posted in: Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea
MASSWIPEJan. 28, 2012 - 05:47AM JST
"South Korean manufacturers are reliant on high tech from Japan, that's the truth. Why are you running away from it? And how arrogant are you to assume what I think? You know nothing about what I feel about Korea."
Oginome: After reading through all your comments here, I think I can write that I have some idea of what you feel about Korea. This is less about my "running away from it" than it is about you rubbing it in over and over again, and for what purpose? Your writing on this topic is redolent of a pro-American type who wishes to remind the Japanese that they are dependent on the US Armed Forces for their national security. I don't like it when pro-American types make such comments, and I'm sure you don't either. And yet you write in the exact same way they do, except on the issue of Japan's manufacturing prowess compared to South Korea. Why?
It's quite a stretch to claim that Japan is as far ahead of South Korea in manufacturing today as it was 20-30 years ago, as you insist. This is all about relative gains, and even most Japanese (I would venture to guess) will readily acknowledge that South Korea has closed the gap in the same way that Japan closed the gap with the US over the course of the 1960s and 1970s.
But please, feel free to travel to Seoul and tell Koreans repeatedly that they wouldn't be able to manufacture cars without Japanese components. Your reception there will be as warm as it is when an American tells a Japanese in Tokyo that his/her country would be a Chinese province by now if not for the US Armed Forces.
MASSWIPEJan. 28, 2012 - 03:14AM JST
Just have to write one more thing here about Oginome's running commentary, which has kept this thread going. So, after posting more than a dozen comments in which Oginome repeatedly insisted that South Koreans couldn't manufacture a pair of chopsticks, let alone a car, without the input of Japan-made components and Japanese technical know-how, Oginome then writes "I love South Korea." I'm sorry, but you're fooling nobody.
I actually like Japan and its people, but I can't understand why others with pro-Japan sentiments feel the need to downplay and minimize the extraordinary achievements and economic gains of South Korea and China in recent years (all the while pretending to be objective evaluators of the facts). Is it just because of the reputation that Koreans and Chinese have for being anti-Japanese?
MASSWIPEJan. 28, 2012 - 02:28AM JST
Oginome: Oh yes, of course, you prefer nominal GDP measures as opposed to PPP levels. I wonder why that is. Your stated love for South Korea notwithstanding, there are reasons to doubt you've even visited that country. Spend a weekend in Seoul after spending a weekend in Tokyo, and bold-faced declarations that per capita GDP in Japan is twice that of South Korea ring hollow.
Look, you're a cheerleader for Japan, and a pretty tireless one, it seems. That's understandable, and you're hardly alone. Just come out and admit it, rather than hiding behind your own set of "facts."
MASSWIPEJan. 28, 2012 - 12:37AM JST
"Japan losing its manufacturing edge to South Korea"
Unless you're a diehard cheerleader for Japan (and there's no shortage of such people among English-speaking Westerners, that's for sure; Japan is a seductive, alluring country that does well at cultivating pro-Japanese sentiment in the Anglo-American sphere), the title of this article has to be viewed as essentially true. Relatively speaking, of course Japan has lost its manufacturing edge to S. Korea. The latter country was, not too long ago, one of the sorriest, most broken-down countries on earth, overwhelmingly agrarian, with virtually no industry to speak of. Nobody in America owned a Hyundai car 25 years ago.
The big question is whether or not Japan, out of feelings of neo-colonial nobless oblige or something like that, has voluntarily ceded its advantage in automobile and other manufacturing to South Korea (some posters here seem convinced of that). Nobody can answer that question for sure, except Japanese and Korean government officials.
"South Korea gained first world country status in 2008 but Japan's GDP per capita still remains twice as large"
This is such a bizarre, arbitrary claim. Did you (Oginome) ever travel to South Korea in the years before 2008? Whether a country is 1st, 2nd, or 3rd world is subjective and can't be determined with mathematical precision. Per capita GDP figures vary widely, too. More than a few sources (IMF, CIA, World Bank) list per capita GDP in South Korea as being far higher than 50% of per capita GDP in Japan (in fact almost even).
MASSWIPEDec. 19, 2011 - 04:10PM JST
"Apart from tyhe (sic) abilty to invade SK he was a threat to no-one"
This is like saying that "apart from his child porn collection, he was not a pedophile." Come on, Bush's obsessive demonization of North Korea and his torpedoing of Kim Dae Jung's Sunshine Policy were not good things, but it's just as wrong to understate the threat that the North Korean regime poses. It's a very black hole in an otherwise extraordinarily prosperous region.
Posted in: N Korean leader Kim Jong-Il dead at 69
MASSWIPEDec. 15, 2011 - 08:41PM JST
"No-one is talking empathy here, we all got it. Japan is not an Island, they did nothing less or more than others did in history. Why demonise/separate them from the world and that is from a non-japanese?"
Well, Japan is an island nation. I'm fascinated by the obsession that many non-Japanese have with trying to establish the idea of moral equivalency between Japan and the West with regards to the events of 1931-45. To declare that Japan "did nothing less or more than others did in history" during those 15 miserable years is really stretching things, but the "moral equivalency" crowd is relentless. Why this is, I don't know. Contemporary Japan is certainly a seductive and alluring country, and it's easy to become a cheerleader for the nation and its people. But really, why get so bothered about the fact that wartime Japan is grouped together with Nazi Germany, and the peoples of those 2 nations are singled out for the grisly, unspeakable crimes their soldiers committed? The sad truth of the matter is that Japan's armed forces during World War II very much earned the distinction of being grouped together with the likes of the Einsatzgruppen and other Nazi organizations.
Posted in: Former sex slaves hold 1,000th protest outside Japan's embassy in Seoul
MASSWIPEDec. 06, 2011 - 03:58PM JST
The author needs to do some more research. There's been a large amount of revisionist scholarship regarding World War II and what exactly it was about. While Germany and Japan continue to be singled out for the grisly and horrifying acts their soldiers committed (Germans mainly against Eastern Europeans, Japanese mainly against East and Southeast Asians), more people (including Americans) have come to recognize that World War II was a hegemonic war that pitted revisionist, irredentist nations (Germany, Japan, Italy) against the established powers of Britain, France, the USSR, and the USA. You'd have to think Churchill respected colored people to believe that the latter group of nations were innocent players in the world.
The simplistic "good vs. evil" narrative about "The War" is, I can tell you, consistently challenged and refuted daily by people living in the victor nations. And, the difficulties of the author's great-uncle notwithstanding, the nature of the postwar settlement was incredibly good for Japan. No division of the country as was the case with Germany, and no occupation of Japan by soldiers from the USSR and, most crucially, China.
Posted in: The forever war
MASSWIPEDec. 03, 2011 - 03:09PM JST
Predictable but interesting responses from the usual suspects on this site. Are there people who really expect Mr. Edano to boast and brag that Japan has far better corporate governance than the US, even if that may be true? Japan more often than not gets burned when it tries to put itself on a pedestal above the United States, so no surprise that Edano stuck to the usual script of treating the US, despite its tarnished image, as the "global standard" or "global best practice" nation. I'm sure many of you find this laughable, but to me the more interesting point is that Mr. Edano--a typical member of the Japanese governing elite, ethnically "pure" according to the official bio and a graduate of Tohoku University--was willing to trot out the old assumption of the US--and not Germany or China or some other place--as the yardstick for measuring Japan's own progress and status.
Posted in: Edano says Japan's corporate governance on par with U.S.
MASSWIPENov. 23, 2011 - 11:51PM JST
"For one, Japan's economy is almost exclusively dependent on export-oriented manufacturing"
People like you need to stop peddling this myth. Exports as a percentage of GDP in Japan is quite low, and certainly much lower than in South Korea or Taiwan. Japan hasn't had an export-dependent economy since probably the 1970s, at least.
The US is basically trying to engage in some clawback here, and it's not hard to understand why. During the Cold War, for the sake of geopolitical aims, Washington threw its own home-grown manufacturers under the bus in order to spur rapid industrial development in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Detroit and other industrial hubs in the US were sacrificed on the altar of avoiding the Sovietization of Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei. The US consumer market was kept wide open while the East Asians were allowed to keep theirs relatively closed, all the while accessing US technology and keeping their currencies weak. The East Asians gleefully took advantage of this offer that couldn't be refused, and quite understandably they are now resistant to altering the trading rules any further in a way that would hurt their people.
Posted in: White House, Noda differ over what he said to Obama on TPP
MASSWIPENov. 07, 2011 - 01:51AM JST
cwhite: Good comments. You provided substantive reasons for why Japan should not join the TPP. I'm not persuaded by simplistic arguments about the need for Japan to maintain a large trade surplus with the US, since Japan is an economically mature country with a low exports-to-GDP ratio. And while I don't dislike Japanese farmers, like all developed nations the agricultural sector in Japan is far too protected, at the expense of mostly developing nations that need greater access to the agricultural markets of rich countries. The US agricultural sector, it should be pointed out, arguably has a far worse impact on the world owing to the export of subsidized GM crops and the like to poorer countries. At least Japan doesn't dump its rice at rock-bottom prices in Cambodia and elsewhere, perversely turning such nations into net importers of their own staple crops.
But if TPP means the destruction of Japan's relatively good system of universal health care, then by all means Japan should not sign onto TPP. Japan's health care system takes a lot of flak from people, but it's pretty good overall and needs to be improved rather than privatized and dismantled for the likes of Aetna and Eli Lilly.
Posted in: Big anti-TPP rally held in Tokyo as deadline for decision looms
MASSWIPENov. 05, 2011 - 11:40PM JST
Nigelboy, I can't take seriously somebody who not only wishes to see Japan extend a middle finger to the entire world, but somebody who also draws an online smiley face in response to the prospect of the Japanese PM groveling on his knees before Japan's agricultural lobby and capitulating to their narrow interests. You really call that acting in Japan's best interests? I call that pathetic for a supposedly strong nation.
And by the way, I'm far from being a fan of the American agricultural lobby, which has played a crucial role in helping to decimate the livelihoods of farmers in Mexico and elsewhere. So no, I don't wish to see Iowa farmers reap the benefits of exporting genetically modified corn to Japan at subsidized prices. The agricultural lobby in the US needs to be dismantled as well.
Posted in: Japan to make decision on TPP next week
MASSWIPENov. 05, 2011 - 02:20PM JST
Nigelboy, again you write like somebody who cares far less about alleviating deflation in Japan than you do about seeing Japan act like a d**k on the world stage, so there's no point in answering your questions. You wrote that if you were PM Noda, you'd use a 4-letter word when speaking to President Obama about the TPP. Very classy and an example of why it's a good thing that nobody with real power in Tokyo takes your advice (I would hope).
MASSWIPENov. 05, 2011 - 01:59PM JST
Nigelboy, you're being evasive as usual. What I'm not comprehending is very simple: Why you are seemingly obsessed with Japan's trade surplus vis-a-vis the USA (you bring it up over and over again) when Japan has an advanced, mature national economy that is FAR past the point of more export-dependent economies like the ones in South Korea and Taiwan. You sound more interested in sticking it to the USA than in supporting a policy that's in Japan's best interest. Is that the case?
Or maybe you just equate Japan's acting like a d**k with acting in Japan's best interest. This appears to lie at the root of all your frustrations with Japan's (or the DPJ's) attempts at meeting others halfway rather than extending a middle finger each time.
MASSWIPENov. 05, 2011 - 01:03PM JST
Nigelboy, you're making absolutely no sense, because of course you want Japan to have it both ways. Trade surpluses are of the greatest importance to countries with highly export-dependent economies. Japan is not such a country anymore, and hasn't been since at least the 1970s, so why are you so obsessed with maintaining Japan's trade surplus vis-a-vis the USA, as if the year is still 1965? Is it just a matter of disliking the USA? If so, just say so. Then I'll know your opinion is not motivated by what's best for Japan.
And as for your odd argument that Japan can't afford an influx of cheap imported goods because of deflation, try telling that to Japan's consumers, especially the housewives who control household budgets.
MASSWIPENov. 04, 2011 - 09:07PM JST
Nigelboy, there you go again, writing about Japan as if it's some garden-variety "trading state" of Asia that needs to maintain large trade surpluses because of a very high exports-to-GDP ratio. But you know Japan doesn't fit that profile, and has not since probably the 1970s. All the talk about Japan's "export-dependent" economy is overstated. A lower trade surplus with the US (if that's what results from approval of TPP) will hardly pose a threat to Japan's well-being. Unless, of course, you think Japan is such a weak and fragile country that it needs to treat trade surpluses as a matter of national security.
I'm sure there was huge opposition in Japan at one time to revision of the Large Store Law, which protected the small mom-and-shop stores once characteristic of Tokyo and elsewhere. But I'm sure today many Japanese are pleased to shop at Costco, Ikea, Carrefour, and the other big-box foreign outlets that were able to move in after reform (in addition to the large Japanese outlets too). Same scenario is likely to play out with TPP.
MASSWIPENov. 04, 2011 - 12:40AM JST
Nigelboy, has it ever occurred to you that maybe Korean consumers are pleased to have access to a greater availability of products from EU countries? And are trade surpluses really the be-all and end-all of existence for nations? Will the "trading states" of Asia ever get beyond this mentality?
Your opinion is a variation on the tired statement that says "The way Japan has done things up to now has served the country well, so there's no reason to change anything."
MASSWIPENov. 01, 2011 - 12:02PM JST
"so that no foreign power can have influence over decisions made by politicians and ensure they have no influence over important elections."
If this is the reason why it's illegal for Japanese politicians to receive donations from "foreigners" then it shows the utter absurdity of the whole situation. Because guess which Japanese political party received probably millions of US dollars in funds from foreign sources throughout the 1950s and 1960s? That's right, the LDP, best friend of the anti-communist US government. No wonder the Japan Socialist Party never had a chance. So much for ensuring that foreigners have no influence over important elections in Japan.
Posted in: Noda apologizes for receiving donations from foreign nationals
MASSWIPEOct. 26, 2011 - 01:13PM JST
Looks like Eddie was rushing to meet a deadline, because this is a rather sloppily written piece. The Wake Islands? An archipelago consisting of one coral atoll, really?
This is a tired and well-worn topic. I'm not really sure what Eddie is trying to get at. And all for what, he asks, regarding World War II casualties. Well, for a lot. It was a hegemonic war in which Japan tried (and failed) to supplant the West as the dominant power in Asia. It seems rather silly to write off World War II in Asia as some kind of pointless, perfectly avoidable tragedy.
As for Perry's place in Japanese history, that's up for debate, certainly. Pressure had been building up on Japan since the early 19th century to end its hermit-like status in the world, with that pressure coming as much (if not more) from countries like Russia, the Netherlands, and Britain. As for the extent of American influence on Japan from 1853-1900, it's long been overstated. The French-inspired national bureaucracy, the British-inspired postal service system, the Prussian-inspired educational system--on and on it goes.
And as for the idea that Japanese went off the deep end in their treatment of fellow Asians during WWII by mimicking Westerners, ask Asians in Seoul, Nanjing, and Manila if they blame white Westerners for inspiring/forcing the Japanese to behave in a barbaric manner, or if they just blame the Japanese themselves. I think the latter answer is far more likely, anti-Western attitudes among Asians notwithstanding.
Posted in: Commodore Perry & the legacy of American imperialism
MASSWIPEOct. 16, 2011 - 10:00PM JST
It's depressing to think of what will happen in sub-Saharan Africa, which remains relatively underpopulated with 900 million people. But that will change fast, and much of the animal life will go extinct. Visit Africa while you can still see safaris and the like.
Posted in: Challenges loom as world population hits 7 billion
May. 21, 2013 - 04:45PM JST
T_rexmaxytime - Hashimoto is admitting the use of comfort women. Are you saying that he is…
Posted in: Hashimoto says S Korean troops guilty of wartime sex abuse
May. 21, 2013 - 04:43PM JST
I don't think the organised military brothels by the Japanese prevented rapes, since thousands of rapes…
May. 21, 2013 - 04:42PM JST
Interesting comments. I agree entirely with Sheila Burt, both in that it was great for me…
Posted in: Strengthening the JET Program
May. 21, 2013 - 04:38PM JST
T_rexmaxytime - These comfort woman was paid lump some of money every month and they did…
May. 21, 2013 - 04:37PM JST
I agree with Mikihouse. Or announcements should be made (or posters) asking other travelers to offer…
Posted in: Transport ministry to unify rules for baby strollers on buses, trains