Sensato's past comments

  • 2

    Sensato

    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government plans to raise the nationwide sales tax to 10% from 8% in April 2017 to help pay for rising welfare and healthcare costs.

    One problem with the sales tax in Japan is the multiplier effect that it has in terms of causing much higher consumer prices (I don't know if this is the same with consumption/VAT taxes in other countries), because it is taxes more than just retail sales.

    For instance, when I provide a service to one of my customers (a business-to-business transaction), the sales tax amount is included in the transaction. That amount obviously gets passed down to the end-consumer at some point. So, the end-consumer ends up paying the 8% tax on the sale, plus the other hidden eight percents that accumulate down the supply chain.

    This is one reason why consumer prices are so high in Japan, and also why companies tend to be vertically integrated (so that they can avoid extra tax on B2B transactions).

    Posted in: Gov't weighing income tax hike on wealthy to meet fiscal goal

  • 10

    Sensato

    I often have to roll my eyes about the tendency in Japan to dumb 'complex' things down with juvenile manga characters and cutesy teenage girls doing duck lips, double-handed waves and elementary school girl voices. A brochure for an adult audience explaining taxes, opening bank accounts and life insurance isn't complete without one of these silly manga characters there to simplify explanations and soften the blow. Somehow, this doesn't come across as patronizing.

    Now, the SDF has taken the Barney & Friends approach a step further and is even making the notion of national self defense and combat cute and juvenile. This doesn't say much for their target audience. (clickable link to the SDF promo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wANQJfZolks)

    Posted in: SDF hopes to attract recruits with cutesy smartphone game

  • 0

    Sensato

    Here is a link to a promotional spot for the Jietai Collection smartphone apps (50"): <www.youtube.com/watch?v=wANQJfZolks>

    Posted in: SDF hopes to attract recruits with cutesy smartphone game

  • 9

    Sensato

    As usual, China and South Korea exhibiting their insecurities.

    @titanium

    Remember this was said by the head of the China Cherry Industry Association.

    I would have found the comment somewhat disconcerting and quite counterproductive it had been from the Chinese or Korean government, but fortunately it wasn't. This man's role is precisely to be partial toward China's cherry tree industry and promote their cherry tree varieties.

    Posted in: Blooming row over cherry blossoms splits China, S Korea, Japan

  • 2

    Sensato

    In my experience, the customs officials at Narita while adequately stern, are polite and professional, at least toward those of us flying in from nations with developed economies.

    This is in stark contrast to Customs in the U.S. where they go out of their way to be rude, heavy handed and intimidating toward everyone.

    Posted in: How would you compare security measures inside and outside the terminal buildings at Narita international airport with airports in other countries?

  • 12

    Sensato

    Gearing up for Abe's visit to Washington, some in Congress are shining the spotlight on the issue of child abductions to Japan, and will probably profile that during the week. This marks another group in addition to the Korean Americans and U.S. veterans who are speaking out before Abe steps up to the podium.

    As an example of this, one parent of an abducted child was asked to address Congress on the issue on March 25th. He gave a very persuasive and moving testimony on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eHITnrRMFA&feature=youtu.be

    Posted in: Japan's long wait to address U.S. Congress

  • 4

    Sensato

    Good comments here, all of the above.

    My other half, Japanese, stays up watching TV until the wee hours on an almost daily basis, then constantly whines and harps because she is tired. She doesn't seem to realize the connection there.

    Anyway, going on business trips with Japanese colleagues I have found it very difficult to mesh with their sleep habits. They insist on holding late night meetings, followed by even later drinking sessions, but then catnap throughout the day in meetings, while in transit, or whenever and wherever they can to make up for the sleep deficit. I am not able to catch a few winks on the spot like they are, so I find myself in physical agony trying to keep my eyes open when it comes time for the next evening session.

    Posted in: Japanese people on the whole are facing chronic sleep deprivation -- and I think the situation is very close to hitting its limits. This in turn has a connection to other problems, such as decreasing concentration and performance, as well as traffic and industrial accidents.

  • -2

    Sensato

    As it now stands, commutes of junior and senior high school students and those of Japan's white collar workforce are somewhat staggered. Students ride the less crowded earlier trains slightly before the bulk of the office-bound commuters begin completely packing the later trains.

    Workers heading to the office earlier would mean that the morning rush hour, horrific already, will become significantly worse. Students and workers will pack the trains simultaneously (particularly in July before school lets out for the summer) because it is doubtful that schools whose days already start quite early would be able to alter their schedules. My daughter, for instance, now leaves for her morning commute at about 6:45 a.m., hard to imagine the school altering its schedule and forcing her to leave the house an hour earlier than that.

    Posted in: Abe asks gov't employees to start work early, finish early in July, August

  • 5

    Sensato

    "My hobby is sleeping" is a really common answer when put to Japanese men.

    @Tessa

    Your comment brought back memories — I had to laugh.

    Many years ago when I was still fresh off the boat and initially began teaching English at companies, I would try to break the ice at the start of Monday classes with, "What did you do over the weekend?" I found that almost always the answer was, "I slept." It was a bit of a culture shock, and I soon realized that the question was not much of an ice breaker in Japan.

    Back home it is sort of the opposite. The question "how was your weekend?" is an almost obligatory greeting on Monday, and everyone (or at least the 20-somethings) feel the need to outdo one another with stories of their eventful weekend.

    Posted in: Japanese men share top 10 ways their weekends disappear

  • 9

    Sensato

    LDP and Rebublicans have a good chemistry.

    @Schopenhauer

    I fully agree about the "good chemistry" between the LDP and the GOP — and the fact that the LDP gravitates toward the Tea Party Republicans speaks volumes about the parallels between both camps in terms of their oppressive agendas.

    Boehner is a scoundrel, and obviously prospects for finalizing the TPP is thing that enthuses him about Abe's visit. I'm still on the fence regarding the TPP, but there are certainly lots of red flags being raised regarding those of us who are not part of the 1%.

    Posted in: Boehner invites Abe to address U.S. Congress on April 29

  • -1

    Sensato

    I think LDP advisers wanted to look like they are going to look like 2 version so that Atrocities will not be focused. So one side used aggression. Now, people are talking aggression instead of atrocities, Clever advisers. The action Japan did was not defined as aggression, Aggression is just Shinryaku or Kogeki normal war activities. Atrocity is Zangyaku. that include Iaunfu and gyakusatsu ( such as massacres in China).

    @toshiko

    I think you hit the nail on the head. What you write very well could be the case in that the Abe camp may be using diversionary tactics here — a red herring. If that is the case, many have taken the bait, including most of us on this thread.

    By channeling the debate toward whether or not the GOJ should use the word 'aggression' (shinryaku or kogeki), the Abe camp is lowering the bar on the discussion and avoiding the need to address the true point in question which is use of the word 'atrocity' (zangyaku) in admitting that the Imperial Government of Japan implicitly and/or explicitly condoned unspeakable acts.

    Now, if the GOJ does end up using the word 'aggression' they can make it look like they have graciously made a compromise.

    Posted in: Abe's advisers split over how to describe Japan's WWII actions

  • 3

    Sensato

    In terms of semantics, the nationalists are attempting to have the GOJ portray the war as a war of liberation (解放戦争, kaiho senso), not a war of aggression (侵略戦争, shinryaku senso).

    Both sides are willing to express remorse for the war, but their rationale for that remorse is completely at odds.

    In referring to Japan's role as one of "colonial rule and aggression," former PM Murayama expressed remorse for the war in terms of the suffering Imperial Japan caused others, and as such his hope that Japan would never again engage in war.

    On the flip side, PM Abe with the backing of the Japanese nationalists expresses remorse for the war in terms of "the injustices Japan suffered," and as such his hope that Japan would never again engage in war.

    Posted in: Abe's advisers split over how to describe Japan's WWII actions

  • 2

    Sensato

    I feel sorry for yanks

    @GW

    I appreciate your sympathy. Thank you.

    That said, expats from the UK may be next. From what I have heard, the British government has borrowed a page out of the American playbook on this one and is now making moves in the same direction.

    Posted in: Attention U.S. taxpayers: Are you ready for FATCA?

  • 2

    Sensato

    since US citizens can vote regardless of where in the world they are its not "Taxation without representation"

    @Shinjuku, @konekochan

    I beg to disagree. Yes we have the right (obligation) to vote, but we have no congressman or other representative in our constituency where we reside.

    As such, we are not directly represented in the distant U.S. congress — and that is exactly what the main grievance was of the British colonists in the 13 colonies back in the mid-1700s. Those colonists had marginal representation in the British Parliament, but not full representation.

    Plus, living in Japan, even though I am subject to U.S. taxation, I am not allowed to send my English speaking children to U.S.-funded schools, even though there are U.S. schools here in Japan on some of the American military bases. (By the way, the French and German governments subsidize their schools in Japan for their expat communities here.)

    So anyway, I stand by what I said: Taxation without (proper) representation

    Posted in: Attention U.S. taxpayers: Are you ready for FATCA?

  • 12

    Sensato

    This infuriates me. Taxation without representation. It makes me want to throw crates of tea into Boston Harbor. (Even if you are not a U.S. citizen, be wary. A number of other governments are beginning to follow the U.S. example here.)

    The long arm of the U.S. government has gotten horribly out of hand.

    The U.S. and Eritrea are the ONLY two nations that tax their non-resident citizens. I already pay the same taxes as Japanese citizens, why should I also have to file with the U.S. when I spend absolutely no time there?

    Even if you end up not owing U.S. taxes, filing alone can be a major burden in terms of time and anxiety and a significant expense. Doing the paperwork for Japanese taxes is more than hard enough! Also, add to that the burden of many overseas banks refusing to let U.S. citizens open accounts (and I don't blame them at all). Plus, this is hurting U.S. international competitiveness. I know many corporate types who have left Japan due to the U.S. tax system. These are people who help keep U.S. international business viable.

    An irony here is that many 'accidental' U.S. citizens are also subject to tax filing. It should make non-U.S. citizens think twice before giving birth to their child in the U.S.

    Posted in: Attention U.S. taxpayers: Are you ready for FATCA?

  • -1

    Sensato

    The U.S. under the Carter administration was gearing up to make the shift, and it looked like a done deal at the time — that is until Regan came onto the scene (need I say more?). To be fair, there were many vocal opponents from both the right-wing conservatives and the left-wing liberal crowd.

    Now thanks to their efforts (sarcasm), the U.S., Myanmar and Liberia share the 'proud' distinction of being the only three nations not on the metric system.

    As a child in the 1970s, I remember well the move toward the metric system. State and federal signage was changed to include metric measurements, and McDonald's was even giving out metric rulers and educational pamphlets as their Happy Meal prize (needless to say, most of us kids weren't particularly excited about that particular item).

    Posted in: Why doesn’t the U.S. adopt the metric system?

  • 2

    Sensato

    Time for the U.S. to pack up and leave Okinawa, which would be a win-win situation (for most).

    Those in Okinawa who have been pushing to get rid of the bases would get their way, and many U.S. service members would get to go home back to their extended families.

    Posted in: Okinawa governor orders halt to work related to U.S. base relocation

  • -5

    Sensato

    If true, then that would be very productive. But, if he retreats from that, or tries to rationalize it at all, he's likely to incur the wrath of the veterans of the Pacific in WWII. And that could get real ugly. Let's hope he is on his best behavior.

    @jersyboy

    I can't understand why your comment is getting all the thumbs down. What you have written is obviously on the mark, no matter what side of the fence you are on regarding the Abe administration's sanitized view of history.

    Anyway could easily portray a positive image overall simply by not reopening old wounds with a remark about revising Japan's wartime past.

    Posted in: Abe's visit to U.S. generating a lot of interest, controversy

  • 5

    Sensato

    This whole interchange between Okubo and Abe took place during an upper house budget meeting. In this particular session Abe was being questioned over prime minister's office (Kantei) use of taxpayer funds.

    Here is the footage from that budget meeting. The interaction between Okubo and Abe referred to in this takes place beginning at the 13'40" mark (in Japanese): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsVaPnaahkM

    Posted in: Abe says he pays his Facebook and Twitter fees just like everyone else

  • 0

    Sensato

    “We have enough tools to combat deflation and achieve price stability…but it’s been very challenging.”

    Helicopter drop — it's the one and only tool that would fuel substantial spending and kick deflation.

    Forget the indirect, trickle down approach of quantitative easing, putting wads of money straight into the hands of consumers would do the trick, and this helicopter money should particularly go to those in Japan who are raising the nation's next generation and are saddled with education expenses and other burdensome costs of child rearing (which would also encourage a higher birthrate and help alleviate Japan's imminent demographic catastrophe).

    If what Kuroda really wants to do is stimulate spending to combat deflation, the current quantitative easing approach is not exactly the best way to go. QE mainly lines the pockets of the 1%, and monetizes Japan's fiscal debt with the BOJ purchasing the lions share of Japanese Government Bonds using new fiat money created out of thin air through a few keystrokes (which increasingly seems like Japan's strategy for paying off the massive government debt).

    Posted in: Two years on, BOJ chief says war on deflation 'very challenging'

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