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blendoverMay. 26, 2013 - 10:41AM JST
Right now the nuclear industry in Japan is viewed as being a rogue among rogues. Cutting out the sleazy middleman and ensuring standards properly would probably cost a lot more, but it would reduce the staffing problem and make people take a little more seriously about the industry's claim that it intends to reform.
Posted in: Stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant struggles to keep staff
blendoverMay. 24, 2013 - 10:23PM JST
Regardless of whose side you are on in this issue, this way of last minute cancellation by the party who asked to have the meeting, is disrepectful at the very least
I used to think that last minute cancellations were the height of rudeness - before I came to Japan. Here it seems to be more of a cultural norm.
Posted in: Korean 'comfort women' cancel meeting with Hashimoto
blendoverMay. 20, 2013 - 11:07AM JST
I think the role of cultural ambassodor is one that the majority of JETs are suited to, if the selection process has been well done. However, as mentioned above, the role of emissary of educational reform is not. Anyone who simply sticks to the first and avoids the second is unlikely to have problems.
When it comes to the current value of the JET program, however, I think it is already a case of mission accomplished.as regards the program's potential for internationalisation. People in Japan, including those in country areas are now relatively comfortable with the foriegner in ways that they weren't before the program started.
In the days of relative national affluence, the JET program was an easily affordable one as well. But these days with many ordinary school teachers having had their salaries savagely cut in some areas as a matter of budgetary necessitity, the presence of the freindly underutilisable cultural missionary would seem an unnecesary extravagnce.
Doubling the number of JETs makes no sense in terms of the original mission of the JET., and arguments could be made in favor of reducing the number from that point of view. But enhancing the original mission is not the purpose. The people proposing this hope that they can thereby achieve significant a difference to the success of the nation's English programs. Personally I think this is highly over-optimistic and not based on any evidence that ALTs do or can in fact improve the abilities of students to any significant extent.
Posted in: Strengthening the JET Program
blendoverMay. 19, 2013 - 09:02PM JST
Very attractive to little fingers those moving parts. Kids do need to be both supervised and educated about escalators, just as much as alll the other potentially dangerous technology out there.
Posted in: 5-year-old boy's hand gets caught in shopping mall escalator
blendoverMay. 19, 2013 - 08:56PM JST
A fair proportion of these companies are in a serious financial hole. at the moment, with no clear indicatioin that they will be able to dig themselves out again.
Posted in: Companies Japanese people are most proud of
blendoverMay. 18, 2013 - 09:33PM JST
A proportion of these people are of the lazy, spoiled by their parents type, and something needs to be done. I would put one of the posters above into that cateory - although I can't be sure if it wasn't just humour. However, a hight porportion of them have problems with mental health.
My sister in law is a 42 year old mum married with 3 kids who spent 15 years working as a dental technician before being asked to resign because the dentist decided he wanted to buy his false teeth more cheaply from a company you can order from, rather than employing his own technician any longer. During her period of service despite being licenced and highly skilled her wages were never raised, so that by the time she left she was earning less than brand ne receptionists. Also the dentist refused to pay her insurance, and she had to pay it herself for the full 15 years. She received no customary leaving bonus even though she was staff and had been asked to leave for business reasons rather than her work.
Anyway, after just a few years only looking after the kids, she decided to go to work again, did training and got a job as a receptionist at a hospital not far from her house. From day one, the staff was against her and did everything possible to try to push her out through constant complaints and nagging about her work. At one point one of someone who overheard the staff carrying on at her actually made a formal complaint about their behaviour towards her. After that, she came in for even worse treatement because they wrongly thought that it was she and not someone else who had complained.
My sister in law is a normal hard working family person. She doesn't have a personality problem as many would assume when reading a story like this. The fact is there are a large number of workplaces in Japan that are absolutely brutal. My sister in law is tough, so she didn't quit, she is still there. However, I can see why a number of people with weaker personalities could easily develop a major complex after treatment of this sort. and believe themselves to be unemployable.
In addition to that, many of these people do in fact have serious pre conditions, and I fully concur with Frungy's concerns about the mental health professional's remarks.
Posted in: Parents advised to give the boot to their sponging adult kids
blendoverMay. 17, 2013 - 10:58AM JST
The problem for people defending Mr Hashimot on the basis of what he said in his recent interviews is that these are things he has been forced into saying as a result of massive adverse reaction to his earlier comments.
It was not so long ago, that Mr Hashimoto was claiming that there was no proof that these atrocities ever occurred. Then he said that they were the necessities of war. Now he is saying that they were indeed atrocities and offering to host comfort women to apologise personally. That is a big turnaround that he would not have made, he hadn't been obliged to by public opinion. Those women simply won't come to see him without statements like that being made. Hashimoto is simply paying a political price now to try and avoid a greater one later at the ballot box.
The same goes for his remarks about America. Do you think politicians like to admit they made a mistake? No. He's doing that because he has been told to by people who will make trouble for him if he doesn't.
Posted in: Hashimoto says he lacked sensitivity to U.S. perception of prostitution
blendoverMay. 16, 2013 - 09:33AM JST
This is interesting. Usually things don't go even this far without something being just about in the bag. The sanctions must be biting the North Koreans at the moment or they wouldn't have revisited this. However, whatever the North Koreans give will immediately result in another round of mass villification from the Japanese public. And Japan can't offer much in return either without offending both South Korea and the US.I:m intrigued to see whether this comes to anything or not.
Posted in: Abe says he may meet with North Korean leader
blendoverMay. 14, 2013 - 11:03PM JST
The more I think about it, the less I can see this working out for Hashimoto. Certainly he will garner a lot more hard right wing votes for his party, but at what cost?
Up to now a lot of moderate conservative types have not necessarily liked his style, but have been willing to give him credit as a smart political operator. He just blew that credit. In addition there are all kinds of groups in fields like education that he has been building relationships with that he is going to find it a lot harder to do business with now.
It really makes no sense at all. So I'm pleased really, because I have never personally liked him, and I think he's just put the lid on his own career aspirations in all cases bar a massive rightward swing of a kind that I don't believe will happen.
Posted in: Gov't - but not Ishihara - backs away from Hashimoto's comfort women comments
blendoverMay. 14, 2013 - 02:34PM JST
A number of the people in these groups are politically opposed to the whole tax system. They are libertarian. It's not unreasonable, in my opinion to look at such groups a little more carefully on that basis. I can see why Obama has a political problem saying so though.
Posted in: Obama calls IRS targeting of conservative groups outrageous
blendoverMay. 14, 2013 - 12:42PM JST
Across the board wage stagnation of the kind that applies in Japan doesn't apply to nearly as great an extent in other industirialised countries. I wouldn't dream of describing it as unique, but it is certainly atypical
So are we to believe that Japan has a more pure form of market economy that those that exist elsewhere? Clearly this was not always so. In days of yore, the true company loyalist indeed received their reward, provided that they were also reasonably astute in their personality politics.It is only in recent times that this has ceased to be the case. Is that, then, because Japan has 'recently' become a more pure market economy, or is it simply that companies these days aren't makiing enough profits to provide their best workers with decent careers.
If Mr Tanaka is not being adequately rewarded, he should be reassessing his loyalties, not his motivatioin.
Posted in: The mindset of workers who will always have low salaries
blendoverMay. 14, 2013 - 12:10PM JST
There is some interesting reposiitoning going on amongst the ultra conservative set at the moment. First, the decision not to revise existing apologies, then the decision to review the comfort women issue. Now this kind of remark from Mr Hashimoto. It's a little difficult to figure out what these people are trying to achieve, beyond remarking that they are more concerned about maintaining and enhancing their existing conservative franchise than offending those who are already against the hard right camp.
Posted in: Hashimoto says comfort women system necessary for wartime troops
blendoverMay. 12, 2013 - 10:17AM JST
Perhaps he should have said 'It is regrettaable that one of our own personnel has been arrested - AGAIN.'
Posted in: Assistant police inspector arrested for groping 15-year-old girl
blendoverMay. 11, 2013 - 08:23PM JST
Oh well. At least he has a couple more years or so of free meals coming his way.
Posted in: Man busted for receiving dead mother's pension
blendoverMay. 11, 2013 - 06:20AM JST
This is news actually. I read an article on bullying in Japanese schools in an international newspaper quite recently. Apart from the general interest of the issue itself, it also connects to the status of Japan's olympic bid.
One thing to note about this school is that it is private, and not public. Private schools generallly have become more proactive on issues of this kind recently, and there is an obvious financial incentive to do so. Amongst many reasons parents have for choosing private education is the fear of bullying at their local school, particularly if the nearest one to where they live has an unsavoiury reputation. The last thing private schools want at this time of declining population and increasing competition from other private schools is a reputation for being worse for this sort of thing than state schools.
Posted in: Yamanashi high school soccer club members assault younger students in shower
blendoverMay. 07, 2013 - 10:06PM JST
It's difficult to know about the police fault in this case. If signs of mental llness were clear then the logical step would be to determine if he was on medication, whether he had been taking it or not, had a case worker etc. etc. or not. However, the signs may not in fact have been that clear.
On the same basis, it is difficult to know if the charge of attempted murder is warranted or not. Obviously they had to hold him on something, but maybe the charge will be reduced after a medical evaluation.
Posted in: Police ignore complaint from man who stabs neighbor
blendoverMay. 06, 2013 - 05:50PM JST
More and more knowledge is becoming available all the time about what really healthy eating is, but at the same time fewer and fewer are able to afford the time or money to do it. This trend is likely to continue, and the number of people who live past 100 in Japan is likely to take a dive during the course of this century even as the medical knowledge on how to increase longevity improves. This should please those of our public leaders who think that old people should hurry up and die.
Posted in: Report on potentially infected Chinese poultry used in Japanese fast food sparks fears
blendoverApr. 24, 2013 - 05:47PM JST
I'm no fan of the JET program, and don't hold out much hope that the kind of changes that would make expanding it worthwhile will be forthcoming.
However, if it is going to happen, I would far rather see these people in a program like JET than working for these scavenging private ALT companies. If they go out of business as a result of this, that will be great.
Posted in: Gov't plans to increase number of foreign English teachers to 10,000
blendoverApr. 23, 2013 - 12:34PM JST
For the most part, Tokyo university selects students who are better than anyone else at playing the testing game that so many of Japan's youth.have to play. From amongst those, there are some exceptions to this group of exceptional people, because in addition to being test aces they are also good at other things as well. Exceptions are great, but far more important is the average mentality and ability set not only of those who made it into Tokyo, but of all those others who played the same game and didn't get into Tokyo.
Far too many of these people are at a loss when everything isn't handed to them on a plate for them to work on with a set answer already there that they are supposed to know or calculate and be graded correct for. They are not all like that by any means but iit is a serious problem for a nation that is in need of innovation - a problem that exists in Tokyo university just as it does elsewhere.
I think that one of the reasons for this problem is the idea that tests should be completely objective in order to be fair. Therefore there is avoidance of testing anything that can only be rated sujectively. Then many people who know that their future depends on their performance on these kinds of tests underrate and underdevelop skills and abilities of a kind that are not tested and come out with an unbalanced skill set.
Posted in: Are Tokyo University students cleverer than other people?
blendoverApr. 21, 2013 - 08:16AM JST
At the moment it seems obvious that, whilst the act can still be defined as a terrorist act, any connections that these youths had to organised terrorism were tenuous if they existed at all. Organised terrorists would have wanted them dead at the scene, and to have had a clear and instant message attached to the act.
These kids were clearly not willing to sign up for that. They thought in their pot addled fantasy that they would be able to blend right back in as if nothing had happened and then strike again sometime later down the track. However, they didn't think through that they could get identified on video if they didn't disguise themselves, that the remains of the materials they used could be sourced, and that they should not have still had any evidence at all in their possession or onlne that they might have been connected to this.
Beyond confirming the above, I doubt that there will be much intelligence value to be had from interviewing the surviving boy. Except of course if one of the two brothers was stupid enough to tell some poor suckers around campus or elsewhere what they were planning while they were high. In that case anybody they spoke too is going to feel a heavy weight.
Posted in: Second Boston bombing suspect in hospital after being captured
May. 26, 2013 - 12:15PM JST
Comfort Women, Military Prostitution and Human Trafficking
The need for a perspective shift in Japan and…
Posted in: There is no evidence that people called comfort women were taken away by force or threat by the Japanese military. If three is such evidence, South Korea should provide it.
May. 26, 2013 - 12:10PM JST
Same with the sex-slaves, although that was more of a bilateral issue between Japan and the…
Posted in: Hashimoto to apologize to U.S. at Monday's news conference
This is going to start a trend of cold blooded murder that in effect will be…
Posted in: French soldier stabbed in throat in Paris
May. 26, 2013 - 12:09PM JST
Buying influence or not if it's like before with rampant corruption and with little or no…
Posted in: Abe vows all possible help for Myanmar economy
May. 26, 2013 - 12:08PM JST
Tamarama: "The thing is, that any apologies and retractions he is offering at the present time…