Sensato's past comments

  • 2

    Sensato

    The number of children under 15 went from nearly 30 million in 1954 to about 16 million now (as stated in the article), and with just about 1 million births last year is likely to be about 14 million in fifteen years time.

    This is a slow moving demographic train wreck in terms of prospects for Japan's economic future over the coming half century or more.

    Posted in: No. of children in Japan down for 35th straight year

  • 2

    Sensato

    Here is the original Chinese version of the etiquette guide, before it was revised to be "foreigner-friendly": http://www.nihonryokan-hokkaido.jp/image/kaiin/c_manners%20guide.pdf

    Posted in: Tourism board wants foreign visitors to avoid 'public flatulence'

  • 11

    Sensato

    There is an English version of The Traveler's Etiquette Guide to Hokkaido, chalk full of similar patronizing, insulting to non-Japanese people, and self-aggrandizing, back-patting with respect to Japanese people, rubbish. It contains plenty of unintentional irony and nihonjinron-inspired arrogance.

    Some of the content: "Welcome to Hokkaido, a paradise of Japanese hospitality!" -- Don't the upstanding folks at the Hokkaido Tourism Organization realize that insulting your guests is the opposite of hospitality?

    One of the section subheadings: "The Moderate and Modest Japanese People" -- Don't the HTO people see the irony in this? If a person boasts that he or she is modest, it probably means that the person is not modest.

    One piece of advice offered: "Speak in a whisper" -- Yeah, right. Anyone who has lived long enough knows there is no shortage of locals not "speaking in a whisper."

    Another piece of advice: "Everything with modesty – even belching" -- The ironic claim of modesty again. I guess this modesty also applies to the way many locals go about nose picking, urinating in public and noisily hocking up loogies.

    I would recommend that the HTO make an instruction manual to 'teach' locals internationally acceptable manners and etiquette. These people need to get off their high horse. Rant finished, but blood still boiling...

    Here is a link to the English version: http://www.visit-hokkaido.jp/assets/file/document/2016/03/data2_file_18.pdf

    Posted in: Tourism board wants foreign visitors to avoid 'public flatulence'

  • 4

    Sensato

    He has no knowledge of what other countries think, nor has anyone asked him to pretend to be a global spokesperson on China issues.

    @Fuben

    I agree with everything you wrote, except for the above sentence.

    Kishida is Japan's foreign minister, he is supposed to have insight into what other countries are thinking, and he is supposed to speak on China and other global issues.

    That said, he certainly has a worrisome and well-documented record involving historic revisionism and re-militarization, as @Moonraker aptly pointed out. And as you are probably aware, this is the same Kishida who is also often in the headlines pushing for Obama's visit to Hiroshima Peace Park, which also neatly fits into his revisionist agenda.

    Posted in: Kishida says China's maritime expansion making world 'worried'

  • 4

    Sensato

    The police said they came to know of the case as the woman, persuaded by her friend, turned herself in to the police

    It seems likely that the police would never have found out about the abysmal crime if she hadn't turned herself in, which makes me think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Bone chilling.

    Article Unavailable

  • 2

    Sensato

    I have mixed feelings about Obama's visit to Hiroshima — apprehensive but hopeful.

    On the one hand, I am apprehensive about the visit because it comes at a time in Japan when the government is pushing harder than ever to whitewash and revise history. The list of shameful statements and acts in recent years by the GOJ is long, but for instance we read reports of officials trying to persuade U.S. textbook publishers to remove content that puts Japan's history in a negative light, and even foreign minister Kishida mentioned in this article is a member of numerous committees whose aim is to deny Unit 731, sexual slavery and other atrocities, and to claim that "the 'Greater East Asia War' was not a war of aggression but rather a war to free Asia from Euro-American imperialism." Moreover, Hiroshima Peace Park calls itself a "peace museum," but has never publicly denounced GOJ acts to whitewash Japan's past, but instead welcomes these same GOJ officials onto park grounds with open arms.

    Obama's visit plays right into the hands of Kishida and other nationalists, and his visit is exactly what they want.

    On the other hand, I am also hopeful about Obama's visit. He is a well-spoken, level-headed and internationally respected U.S. president, which is a rarity. Even if it were somehow possible to conclusively prove that even more innocent lives would have been lost if the bomb had not been used, the fact remains that the bomb caused the loss of many thousands of innocent lives, and that it should never be used again. Obama is the perfect president to say something profound and meaningful about the atrocity of the bomb, and may also be able to do so in a way that lets the current GOJ know that their attempts to rewrite history are inexcusable and shameful.

    Article Unavailable

  • 9

    Sensato

    The government's handling of the Minamata mercury poisoning scandal and Chisso Corp reminds me very much of how it has been dealing with the Fukushima crisis and TEPCO. Lots of parallels.

    Article Unavailable

  • 13

    Sensato

    Am I missing something here? I'm scratching my head wondering what it is about this particular incident that made the news.

    These sorts of groping incidents happen dozens if not hundreds of times on any given Friday night in Japan. If you've lived here long enough you've probably witnessed several yourself. Puzzling.

    Posted in: 2 women sexually molested by man near train station in Saitama

  • 1

    Sensato

    There are even calls for the BOJ to resort to “helicopter money” - printing fresh cash for direct injection into the economy, instead of its current easing measures

    It's time for the BOJ to give helicopter money a try. Let the cash rain on down as long as deflation persists.

    I've been pushing this idea of helicopter money, and moving away from current trickle-down central bank monetary policy, for at least the last year. Putting helicopter money directly in the hands of poor and middle class people who will actually spend it is a sure-fire way to fuel inflation. As it now stands, the BOJ is putting money in the hands of the 1%, and all they are doing is amassing wealth at the expense of the bottom 90%.

    “We’re already essentially doing helicopter money,” said one of the officials with direct knowledge of policy-making.

    This official is dead wrong. The BOJ's quantitative easing is not "essentially doing helicopter money," fairly far from it. QE is helicopter money for the 1% only. It is essentially Regan-era trickle down economics.

    The BOJ's and the U.S. Fed's QE strategies of buying government bonds, and now equities and other securities puts money in the hands of the 1%, hoping that it will trickle down to the rest of the population. By doing that, those central banks have helped bring about the greatest redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the 1% since the Guilded Age of the Robber Barrons. The money is not trickling down. Reaganomics doesn't work.

    Posted in: Japan eyes double-barrelled stimulus to ease yen strains

  • 13

    Sensato

    It's ironic that South Korea made this goodwill gesture of aid on the very same day that 90 Japanese cabinet ministers made their ill-will gesture of visiting Yasukuni Shrine.

    I would like to see more good-will gestures from both Japan and South Korea, and fewer ill-will gestures from both sides.

    Posted in: Korean help arrives

  • 0

    Sensato

    In 1984 Jimmy Carter, as a former American president, visited the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima.

    Carter's visit to the museum helped give him the widespread reputation as the most humanitarian and arguably America's most revered former president in the role of ex-president. Likewise, Obama's visit as president will be a defining act of his presidency for generations to come.

    However, I do have mixed feelings about Obama making the visit, particularly with respect to Japan's nationalistic Nippon Kaigi types from the education and foreign ministries using this to further their revisionist "Japan as well-meaning liberator and hapless victim and non-aggressor" interpretation of history. This visit is exactly what they wanted.

    On the other hand, in some respects good could also come of his visit. I hope during the visit that he encourages the peace museum to take a more broader approach to the pursuit of peace by speaking out against the Japanese government and Nippon Kaigi when they attempt to whitewash Japan's wartime atrocities. I also hope he publicly and officially asks Abe to act in kind, by for instance paying a visit to a site of Japanese atrocities.

    Article Unavailable

  • 5

    Sensato

    The honoring of those who died serving their nation is both decent and respectful. It is the right of anyone who does not understand this to criticize or attack this honoring

    @CrisGerSen

    Not a single person that I know of is "criticizing or attacking" people for honoring those who died serving Japan. That notion is either disingenuous, a red herring, or perhaps you don't understand the situation.

    When politicians and the Emperor visit Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery (千鳥ヶ淵戦没者墓苑) or other such locations to honor those who died serving Japan, everyone praises them for doing so. But Yasukuni is different, and a visit there is not a matter of merely honoring those who died serving Japan, it is much more nefarious than that.

    Japan's Emperor refuses to visit Yasukuni, but Japan's right wing extremists do, because that shrine and the 'museum' on its grounds whitewash and glorify Japan's military past. It's as simple as that.

    Article Unavailable

  • 8

    Sensato

    . . . .and Kerry gets slammed by the hibakusha reps for visiting Peace Park for 50 minutes.

    @Wc626

    I do wish Hiroshima Peace Park as an organization would, in the name of peace, release an official letter admonishing these lawmakers for their visit to Yasukuni, particularly now that the peace park is hoping for a visit from the U.S. president.

    In many people's eyes, mine included, public and official denunciation of these visits by HPP would certainly give it much more credibility as a true peace park, and help dispel the notion of its ulterior motives in promoting the Japan as victim not aggressor narrative. As it now stands, HPP seems to implicitly support these visits through its silence.

    Article Unavailable

  • 3

    Sensato

    The AP found the second brother the former student accuses of rape, at a Japanese school in Yokohama where he continues to teach.

    Although the name of the first brother (Brother Lawrence Lambert) is mentioned in this article, the name of the second brother is not.

    I'm sure there may be legal reasons for not mentioning his name, but citizens of Yokohama and Japan at large would be up in arms if they realized this man is now teaching at a Japanese school in Yokohama. I'm shocked but not surprised.

    Posted in: Tokyo Catholic school sex-abuse victims demand to be heard

  • 3

    Sensato

    Decades later, he learned that Lambert returned to St Mary’s, serving as principal of its elementary school from 1982 until retiring in 2011.

    This notion of church-employed pedophiles getting caught and then transferred elsewhere is a very common thread with these stories, largely but not only in the Catholic church.

    When I was in my early teens living in the small American white-bread community, we had a pedophile pastor serving at a church affiliated with a mainstream protestant denomination (which I won't name). He very actively promoted the youth group, and regularly had boys stay the night at his house. There were no suspicions among the parents because he was one of the most trusted members of the community. They couldn't even conceive of the possibility of a pastor molesting young boys (this was before the Catholic scandals became headline news).

    Long story short, at that church he tried to molest one of the boys who promptly told his parents, and the pastor immediately lost his job at that church. Fast forward two or so decades later with the advent of the Internet, and I did a search of the pastor's name. It turns out that the denomination headquarters had not fired him as people living in my town had thought, but instead they had transferred him to another small community church across the country where again he had been in charge of the youth group. However, it turns out there, within a decade or so after leaving our church, he did succeed in molesting/raping at least two young boys who came forward some years after the incidents, and in that case it made the local papers and he was finally expelled from the church, but not prosecuted for his crimes as far as I can tell.

    Thanks to the Internet, churches can no longer hush up these incidents and quietly transfer pastors to other parishes.

    Posted in: Tokyo Catholic school sex-abuse victims demand to be heard

  • 1

    Sensato

    These animal-themed cafes have become Japan's latest fad over the last couple of years. Hopefully for the animals this will be yet another short-lived trend.

    Article Unavailable

  • 7

    Sensato

    Stars and Stripes, a news service for the U.S. military community

    I would hardly call Stars and Stripes a 'news' service if they are so heavily censored that they are permitted only to put out sketchy details like those in this article. The 'journalists' at the Stars and Stripes doubtlessly knew a lot more of the details behind this story, but were barred from reporting as true journalists should.

    I really do despise censorship, particularly when it comes from a country that prides itself on supposedly being a Democracy.

    Article Unavailable

  • 6

    Sensato

    Still, the supermarket shelves in Japan are amply stocked with bluefin, albeit at higher prices than in decades past. There has been no attempt to reduce the catch.

    But I have noticed that the slices of maguro on nigiri sushi at revolving sushi places has been getting increasingly thinner over the years, now to the point where sometimes it is nearly paper thin.

    When it comes right down to it, any debate with your average Taro for imposing a fishing moratorium are sadly met with the not very persuasive counterarguments "it's an attack on our culture (which trumps all environmental concerns)" (as @Moonraker said), and "but I like bluefin, it's delicious (therefore we should be able to keep fishing it to extinction)."

    Posted in: Sushi alert: Grim outlook for bluefin tuna

  • 3

    Sensato

    low of 200+ until 1985, 100+ since 1986, definitely not 360 as Sensato suggested.

    @tina

    The USD/JPY traded at Y360 from 1949 to 1971 (see link below), and remained artificially weak until the Plaza Accord of 1985 (around 250 in the first half of 1985).

    In 1949 the U.S. occupation government set the artificially low exchange rate of Y360 to the USD to help Japan get its economy on track. The Japanese export-driven miracle was in large part attributable to the artificially very weak yen, protectionism at home, and low-barrier access to the U.S. market (plus of course also attributable to the hard-working, educated and at the time demographically young Japanese population).

    In 1990, Japan's lost quarter century began as the nation began to suffer the quadruple whammy of the bursting stock market/real estate bubble, increasingly difficult and strings-attached access to the U.S. market, strengthening yen, aging manufacturing infrastructure, and the aging population.

    Here are the USD/JPY rates post WWII: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_yen#Historical_exchange_rate

    Posted in: 'Japan as Number One' author Vogel still upbeat on country's future

  • 6

    Sensato

    Japan Inc worked for a reason. The close coordination between technocrats and corporations was undeniably a large reason for Japan's post-war prosperity.

    @Illyas

    Even more crucial to Japan Inc.'s success (the educated and hard-working population aside) was the longstanding artificially weak yen (Y360 to the USD), import barriers for several decades post-war combined with unfettered access to the U.S. market of over 300 million consumers.

    Japan deserves a lot of credit for the post war "economic miracle" but it wouldn't have been possible with a lot of external support as well.

    Posted in: 'Japan as Number One' author Vogel still upbeat on country's future

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