Sensato's past comments

  • 4


    If you think Japanese gun laws aren't working, you have a serious problem with logic.


    Well said — even though this should be painfully obvious to all the NRA supporters who think the answer to reducing gun deaths is arming more citizens.

    The threat of me or a family member getting shot by a gun is one of the things I never ever worry about living here in Japan.

    Even in this case, although I would prefer that Japan's yakuza did not have guns, it is fairly obvious that this gang member turned shooter was handed over to the police by crime syndicate higher-ups who fear repercussions of a more rigorous crack-down on organized crime otherwise.

    Posted in: Man fires shots into ex-wife's apartment in Yokohama

  • -1


    Great article. Everyone who has bought, or intends to buy, a home in Japan should read this. I was particularly glad to hear that the government is finally going to require that homes have decent insulation. That move is far overdue.

    For all the talk about quality products in Japan, housing is definitely one area where the quality is very poor. Superficially, new homes here look well-made, but begin to fall apart within a few years of construction.

    “I don’t think the thought that buildings are not permanent was a part of their culture”

    This is one statement I disagree with. For instance, all of the most famous old temples/shrines in Japan get completely rebuilt, not renovated, every so many decades. This practice has been ongoing for centuries here.

    Posted in: Cultural lessons in housing and construction

  • 10


    Although it looks similar on the surface, the role of journalism in Japan is vastly different than in most other democracies.

    In most democracies including the U.S., the media is expected to play a fourth estate role, keeping an eye on the government and law enforcement and asking hard questions when the facts don't add up. If he media fails to do so, the public often takes them to task for practicing sloppy journalism.

    In Japan, the role tends much more toward conveying pre-approved information as it is provided by the government or law enforcement officials. A journalist or news organization that asks the hard questions, or reports unapproved information, runs a high risk of getting booted out of the kisha club. This system is aided by a public that has a very high tolerance for stories where obvious details are omitted or the facts don't add up. This was painfully obvious as the nuclear disaster was unfolding after the tsunami in 2008.

    Posted in: What do you think are some of the main differences in the way Japanese and U.S. media report the news?

  • 6


    I'm glad to hear that someone at the JSDF seems to have some common sense. I worry about the type of recruit this sort of advertising would tend to attract — probably not exactly the type of person you would want to entrust with your nation's security.

    Here is this officer's quote in Japanese: "「美少女キャラでの勧誘は、あまりに軽く、違和感がある」". He used the word "karui," translated as "flippant" here, but basically he is saying that these posters come across as shallow. Apparently he would rather the campaign more accurately reflect the gravity of the work, and the JSDF's role in times of disaster.

    Here is a link to the Japanese-language Yomiuri article:

    Posted in: Luring potential members with the cute girl characters is too flippant. I’m not comfortable with that.

  • 0


    Onaka was arrested for allegedly molesting a 7-year-old girl in May, but released.

    Japan sorely needs a sex offender registry.


    Why was he released the first time? Was he prosecuted?

    I feel your frustration. The Japanese media invariably leaves out these sorts of glaringly obvious key details, and rarely provides any form of inquisitive reporting or follow-up stories (it's not JT's fault, they rely on the Japanese wire services for this type of news). It ought to be simple journalism 101.

    Posted in: Man arrested for molesting elementary schoolgirl

  • 10


    Why call an election now?

    Ulterior motives, plain and simple. Abe claims that he is calling for snap elections to weigh public support for his delay of the sales tax hike. Obviously that is a conniving pretext, particularly given that a vast majority of the public are firmly against the increase.

    Abe aims to strike while the iron is hot, and before his diminishing popularity erodes further, and before the opposition which is now in complete disarray can get its act together (although that may never happen).

    These elections will enable the LDP to easily extend their guarantee of control to four more years to 2018, from two more years without a snap election. This will also enable Abe to take unpopular and controversial steps — like restarting nuclear reactors and reinterpreting Japan's constitution to allow for overseas deployment of military forces — without repercussions.

    Posted in: Voters to Abe: Why call an election now?

  • 13


    Now I just wish it were possible to revoke his U.S. citizenship. What an embarrassment.

    Posted in: 'Pick-up artist' Blanc banned from UK

  • 2


    This story follows on one in JT a few days ago where a school girl falsely claimed that a stranger had slashed her uniform so that she wouldn't be punished for having torn it herself. In that case police also came to the conclusion it was a false accusation after viewing surveillance camera footage.

    Posted in: Police question NHK reporter over hoax 110 call

  • 2


    “If people suspect murder, I’d find it easier to bite my tongue off and die,”

    The Japanese for "bite my tongue off and die" (舌をかみ切って死ぬ) is apparently an idiomatic expression, even noted in my Japanese>English dictionary. First time I've heard that expression.

    Posted in: 'Black widow' with seven dead partners arrested

  • 2


    Unfortunately, not a day goes by when this sort of crime doesn't occur in Japan (or anywhere else for that matter), which makes me wonder why this particular incident made the headlines.

    Posted in: Man arrested for molesting student on her way to school

  • 1


    I am looking forward to watching this movie as I have been fascinated by the life of Louis Zamperini for many years now.

    Zamperini participated in the 1936 Olympics in Germany, before spending time as a POW in Tokyo, Yokohama and Naoetsu. Given his past, CBS Sports put together an excellent documentary on him during the 1998 Nagano Olympics. They even managed to track down a long-lost prison guard, Mutsuhiro Watanaba, aka "the Bird" (渡辺むつひろ), who escaped trial as a class B war criminal by hiding out for several years after the war. Here is the video (about 35 minutes):

    If you live in or visit Japan, the Yokohama and Tokyo sites of the POW camps he was placed in were the Omori POW Camp nearby present-day Omori Station on the Keihin Tohoku Line (one stop from Shinagawa Station), and Ofuna POW Camp nearby Ofuna Staion on the Negishi Line.

    Posted in: Jolie says 'Unbroken' an antidote to hate and violence

  • 2


    monetary and fiscal policies becoming more stimulative in other parts of the world and the autumn season for financial crises now over, a melt-up seems far more likely.

    For some reason, I suspect this article, particularly this bit about "monetary and fiscal policies becoming more stimulative," was written just before Japan released its dismal GDP numbers yesterday.

    Posted in: Time for a 'melt-up': The coming global boom

  • 5


    Japan’s population is shrinking and aging, creating a smaller domestic market and placing heavier tax burdens on younger wage-earners.

    Although Japan is now in a recession, counter-intuitively it faces a labor shortage as well (normally high unemployment accompanies a recession).

    Ultimately, what this all boils down to is a demographic bubble that year by year is steadily deflating. The government and BOJ can tweak all they want with fiscal and monetary stimulus (yet countervailed by the sales tax hike and other fiscal austerity measures), but the bottom line is demographics.

    More than 3 million people were born in Japan in 1946 and each of the several years that followed, compared with fewer than one million last year. Now, with all those born in 1949 hitting retirement age at 65 this year, lots of job vacancies have opened up over the last three years with fewer people to fill the slots — thus the labor shortage. Also, the masses born in the late 1940s were at their peak earning/productivity years in the late 1980s, largely explaining Japan's booming economy at the time.

    Now, the workforce is heavily-weighted with older workers not eager to rock the boat as they wind down careers and wait for pensions to kick in. Not good news for Japan's GDP, not good news in terms of potential to pay off the nation's massive debt.

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

  • 0


    This is the reality for women in Japan simply for not being fortunate enough to have been born with a penis, and thus earning a self-presumed right to partake in shameless and open objectification of women free of criticism.


    I agree with much of what you say. However, you considerably belittle the hostesses, making it sound like they have no agency, and are the mercy of advantaged men. Many of them obviously feel that this job option generates much easier money than other occupations like slaving away for Japan Inc. or flipping burgers in front of a hot grill at McDonald's.

    I would argue that, although somewhat of a two-way street, it's overwhelmingly the male patrons who are being duped, while the hostesses take more of a predatory role, milking their 'objectification' for all it's worth. Overall, the hostesses are considerably more savvy than the blockhead men who fork out wads of cash — eye-poppingly huge sums of money which they will regret early the next morning — for the fleeting privilege of faux warmth and a sweet smile, escaping from heavy-handed bosses and oppressive wives.

    (For the sake of equality, there is also a much smaller, but highly lucrative 'host' industry in Japan where the nation's lonely Mrs. Watanabes are similarly dim-witted and bilked of hard-earned yen by predatory boys with warm smiles and motivation to exceed their earnings targets.)

    Posted in: Your history is not appropriate to work as an announcer, a position that requires a person of integrity.

  • 3


    JT needs to consider a change to their reporting policy.


    I'm fairly positive it was the Japanese-language media that reported the minor's name but not that of the perpetrator, and that this story is merely a translation of what the Japanese public is reading. That being the case, I prefer that JT report, at the very least, details given to the Japanese-speaking public.

    But otherwise I agree, the Japanese media needs to change its reporting policy. On top of that, I get frustrated with the Japanese press's tendency to leave stories hanging with no follow up and other pertinent details sorely lacking.

    Posted in: Reckless driver runs into teenage girl; drug use suspected

  • -1


    Personally, I think the U.S. would be better off focusing on issues at home, and closing down military operations overseas. That said, this vote obviously reflects the Okinawan majority's sentiment that, weighing the pros and cons, they are better off with the base in terms of economic advantages and security. I think much of the protest has been fueled by ulterior motives of local communities to gain added concessions, but the protests have been taken to the point where the bases could actually be closed, as happened in Subic Bay in the Philippines for a time, before people there did a 180-degree turn and decided they wanted the base after all.

    Similarly, I watched a Japanese-language TV documentary some time ago about a dam that was to have been built somewhere outside of Tokyo. The public works project was later scrapped due to budget cuts. In the documentary, the interviewer talked with some community members who had wielded anti-dam placards initially, but soon upon cancellation of the project did an about-face and began protesting the government's decision not to go ahead with construction. They apparently saw no irony or inconsistency in their sudden change of heart.

    Posted in: U.S. base relocation opponent elected Okinawan governor

  • 10


    It depends on the situation and how/why it is done. Sometimes it is endearing, such as when the other person seems to be reaching out and making a sincere attempt to show kindness and an interest in you as a fellow human being.

    Other times it can be quite obnoxious and patronizing. Although an experience I haven't had in many years, I have been in situations in the past where a Japanese person refuses to say a single word in Japanese to me, which is particularly irritating when in conversation that includes others who do not speak English (as @Bertie noted). It is probably times like those where I have felt the most 'othered' in Japan.

    The worst types are the opportunistic, single-minded ones who are hell-bent on learning English often for a leg up in their careers, but have no interest in spending substantial time outside of Japan. I have even had some people tell me they want to befriend me so they can practice their English under 'natural' circumstances (free English lessons). Now that I know the score, I avoid those people like the plague.

    Posted in: How do you feel when you speak fluent or reasonably good Japanese to a Japanese person and they insist on answering you in English?

  • 4


    This raid at Kyoto University apparently comes in the wake of a TMP raid on Chukaku-ha's Tokyo headquarters a few days ago.

    This blog provides some interesting background information on the raid and the incident of the undercover police officer being exposed on the Kyoto U campus:

    Posted in: Riot police raid Kyoto University after 3 activists arrested

  • 1


    I would like to see what happens when parents refuse to follow these requests. How will the government act then? Will they help foreign parents have their kids returned home?

    @Knox Harrington

    I couldn't agree more. Still, this to me is a positive and somewhat unexpected turn of events.

    Also, I think it is clearly best if the ministry starts with the low hanging fruit — the abductors that are more likely to cooperate with a ministry request — before delving into the highly contentious cases. Also, probably best that the first-ever case of Japan sending an abducted child back home involved Germany, given that it will be much harder for Japan's right-wingers to play the victim card in this case than it would have been if it had involved certain other countries.

    Let's hope the ministry picks up momentum from here; there is lots of work still left for them to do in getting abducted children back home.

    Posted in: Japan returns boy to Germany under new child custody treaty

  • 10


    At the same time China’s Communist authorities stoke a narrative of historical victimhood to appeal to nationalist sentiment and bolster their claim to a right to rule.

    The meeting on Monday appeared strained, with footage of the two leaders’ initial handshake showing them looking deadpan and Xi not responding to Abe’s greetings.

    Xi obviously went out of his way to give Abe an icy reception, and his hostile body language is clearly something he had put some thought into well beforehand.

    In the first photo on the bottom left-hand side, Xi stands still, waiting for Abe to come to him. This is all so overly dramatic on Xi's part, and it definitely made China look bad on the world stage. I'm no fan of Abe, but at least in this instance he is making an effort at taking a conciliatory approach, despite the stone-cold response he received.

    Posted in: Japan and China need each other: Abe

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