sangetsu03's past comments

  • 0

    sangetsu03

    But often, what Americans call 'dumping', other countries call efficiency

    "Dumping" means to sell goods even at a loss so as to drive a competitor out of business, and then recoup the money you lost when you become the main producer. Sorry to say, but Japan was a fervent practitioner of dumping in the 70's and 80's. Funny now to see that China and others dishing it back to Japan, but you reap what you sow.

    Food's not that expensive in Japan. Can eat meals for similar prices as I could in the US.

    Food is outrageous in Japan. The Japanese spend about 12% of their income on food, Americans spend 4.5%, Europeans pay a little over 5%. In America, fresh corn is about 1/5 what it is in Japan, dairy product are about 1/2 as much as Japan, and rice is as much as 1/10 what it costs in Japan. Your typical McDonald's meal is about 1/3 more in Japan than it costs in America. A baguette in Paris is about 90 cents, in Tokyo it is more than 300 yen. And I am tired of not being able to buy butter at the grocery store, Japan is the only developed country in the world where you can't buy such a basic staple consistently.

    More and more of Japan's farmland is uncultivated, famers are paid not to grow, or ar allowed tax subsidies on unused agricultural land, this is done to keep prices high, but ot also makes Japan even more dependent on food imports, as less and less food is grown here. Also, as old farmers die off, the land stops being worked. If subsidies and tariffs were eliminated, this vacant farmland would have to be culitivated, as Japanese farmers would have to compensate for lower food prices by increasing their yields.

    Posted in: U.S., Japan fail to close gap on rice, auto parts trade

  • 1

    sangetsu03

    Walk away, and don't look back. Don't waste time trying to fix something that will never work, the time would be better used to find and build a relationship with someone else.

    Posted in: What advice would you give to someone who has experienced rejection from someone they like, or who has been told by a partner that he/she wants to end the relationship?

  • 5

    sangetsu03

    and these product will competing against Australian import. Which Japan already has a Free Trade Agreement with.

    The "free trade" agreement with Australia means the tariff will reduced to 18% over the next several years. Australia got shafted by Japan in the deal. As usual, to Japan free trade means "no tariffs on Japanese goods, and only double-digit tariffs on imported goods".

    But TPP calls for an eventual "abolishment of all tariffs" traded between the member countries. If Japan cannot agree to zero tariffs, which it knew was the goal of the treaty when Japan joined up, then Japan has to get the hell out. The agreement said nothing about zero tariffs for everyone but Japan.

    Of all the countries in the agreement, none needs it more than japan. If Japan doesn't join, it won't make much difference to the other parties, Japan's market has always been closed to them anyway, and they will make plenty of money dealing with each other. America of course, does not need Japan in the deal. America is already the world's largest exporter of food, and will continue to be whether or not Japan is involved.

    Posted in: Japan, U.S. seek compromise on rice, auto trade

  • 2

    sangetsu03

    Without TPP and other deregulation of the economy, Japan is economically doomed. It is as simple as that. Japan has to realize that the world is a much different place than it was in the mid-20th century, when Japan had no competitors for low-cost labor market.

    Exactly how does the 700% rice tariff affect Japan? First, Japanese end up eating less rice than they otherwise would. Next, the money which is spent on overpriced rice is money which cannot be spent for other things. And the people who make and sell these other things of course make less money. Eliminating rice tariffs will be tough on the farmers, but they make up only 1% of the population, and more than half of them are part-time farmers, they already have other sources of income. In addition to this, the average farmer is over 60 years old, and is already able to collection national pension benefits.

    The notion that American rice has arsenic in it is stupidly ignorant. Apparently the writer doesn't know about America's tort systems, where people who get sick or injured by products or food can sue for astronomical amounts of money, and, having about half the world's lawyers, these lawyers are always looking for such cases. American food is quite safe, probable safer than Japanese food. If a Japanese food maker sells contaminated or mislabeled food, he apologizes, and promises not to do do again. In an American food maker does the same, he is sued in court, and not only has to pay for actual losses, but generally punitive awards as well.

    Lastly, much Japanese rice is grown using American seeds, and, funnier still, nearly all fertilizers and pesticides are the same as those used in America.

    If Japan cannot budge on even this basic part of TPP, they need to be thrown out.

    Posted in: Japan stands tough against rice imports in trade talks with U.S.

  • 2

    sangetsu03

    Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and the like are owned by construction companies? Which ones?

    The banks are part of the larger conglomerates, which also contain the largest land developing companies. Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, Motors, Heavy Industries, Chemicals, Insurance, Glass, Metals, Real Estate, Aircraft, etc. etc. And then there is their counterpart is the Mitsui Group, which has many similar subsidiaries. When the government funds a project, these companies are generally involved.

    The projects are developed by these companies, the construction companies who do the work are independent in name only, much like the suppliers to the motor companies.

    Posted in: Modern Japan - land of small government

  • 2

    sangetsu03

    The article paints a nice picture, but not an accurate one. The government in Japan is not like the governments in other places. In Japan the lines between the public and private sectors are blurry. There may be not so many bureuacrats working actively in the government, but Japanese banks and corporations have quite a few former bureaucrats in their boardrooms. It seems a rather obvious conflict of interest to have former legislators and regulators earning high salaries at the very places they were supposedly regulating, but that is how things are done in Japan. This system is why Japan has had a mainly one-party government since the end of the war. The domestic banks finance the governmement by buying bonds whenever the government issues them. The government builds infrastructure or funds other projects with the money raised, and the contracts for these projects are awarded to companies which own the banks. With rackets like this, is it any surprise that Japan has racked up so much debt?

    The effect of this practice adds costs to the economy which are not considered taxes, yet which still must be paid for by regular Japanese. This collusion between government and business has allowed corporations to keep out foreign competition via tariffs, closing certain products out of the domestic market, and price fixing. These are not looked upon as badly as they would be in other countries, as they cultural ways of doing business in Japan.

    If one looks at disposable income, that is, the amount of money people have left after paying taxes and normal living expenses, despite supposedly much lower taxes, Japan's disposable income falls behind all of the countries mentioned in the article. This is mainly due to higher costs for food and other goods, both imported and domestic, caused by corporate/government collusion. The article also makes too light the devaluation of the yen. In relative terms, it is far weaker against the dollar and British pound than many realize.

    Posted in: Modern Japan - land of small government

  • 2

    sangetsu03

    Japan has created financial circumstances which have made it too difficult for most families to have children, which is why the population is falling so quickly. The future of children in Japan has less to do with the incomes of their parents than the political system which is incurring debts that these children are going to have to repay, and a dysfunctional economy which will make repaying such debts all the more difficult.

    Posted in: I would like all of society to work together to ensure that a child’s future should not be determined by his or her family’s financial circumstances.

  • -1

    sangetsu03

    Imagine what else this great man might not have achieved without the Insane Party opposing every single thing he did

    It was because of the "great things this man was trying to achieve" that his party got tossed out of the congress and senate on their backsides. The people didn't like his policies, so they elected different representatives to stop those policies. Democracy at work, right? For lack of any other alternative, the people voted republicans into office, and voted democrats out.

    I hate to think about what Obama might have achieved had he maintained his party's majorities in the hiuse and senate, but he didn't, and his party's losses were a strong referendum in his performance as president. I prefer that he is able to do as little as possible, and I would feel the same if a republican were president. We need less policies and less government, not more graft, corruption, and further erosion of the private sector.

    Posted in: Obama could ease many Iranian sanctions without Congress

  • 1

    sangetsu03

    Their only real plan is to oppose oppose oppose.

    I am not a fan of republicans, but how is it they came to control both houses of congress? The president's partly lost it's majorities mainly because the American people have not been happy with his performance. The republicans ran for office on the platform of opposing the president, and surprise, now that they are in office, they are doing exactly what they said they would do.

    Obama can blame a "do-nothing" congress for making it difficult for him to get anything done, but in the end he has to blame himself first, after all, he, and he only is to blame for his party's loss of power.

    Posted in: Obama could ease many Iranian sanctions without Congress

  • -1

    sangetsu03

    Huh. We can discuss the pros and cons of brown vs. white rice until the cows come home, but the fact is that the Japanese are the longest-lived and healthiest people in the world (with the lowest rates of obesity), so they must be doing something right.

    This is largely due to the amount of food consumed, not the type of food. In Japan, food is expensive, therefore people tend to eat less. Your average salaryman cannot eat very much on the allowance his wife gives him, especially if he likes to smoke or drink. In addition to this, Japanese tend to walk more than westerners. Walk to the station, walk from the station to the office, and reverse the routine in the evening. And let's not forget the stairs. In America, all businesses are required to be wheelchair accessible. That means most buildings are simply one floor, and multi-floor buildings have large elevators. I can go for months in America without ever climbing a flight of stairs. There is seldom a day (none in recent memory) that I don't have to climb at least a few stairs here in Tokyo.

    But Japan's place on the list is due mainly to the price of rice. Few places in the world charge as much for rice as Japan does. The local grocery store I shop at in America was selling rice with a coupon at 9 cents per pound, or 21 cents per kilo. So that's 5 kilos for about $1, which is less than 1/10th of what the supermarkets here sell rice for.

    The downside of TPP might be an obesity wave in Japan.

    Posted in: Japan ranks No. 50 in world rice consumption

  • 1

    sangetsu03

    The Olympic committee will give tolerant, non-discriminatory fair play to whoever coughs up the most cash.

    Posted in: Olympic chief warns against political interference

  • 1

    sangetsu03

    I will have to decide which write-in candidate to choose, as I prefer not to have to vote for one of whichever two awful candidates will be on the ballot. I think this year it will be Hulk Hogan, I wrote in Mickey Mouse in the last three elections.

    Posted in: What do you think about the long, drawn-out U.S. presidential campaign that has already begun more than 18 months before the election?

  • 0

    sangetsu03

    No. I'm a political scientist by training

    Wow, finally someone who has a degree which is less valuable than mine.

    Was it Jefferson or Tocqueville who said that "Democracy is mob rule, which allows 51% to rob the other 49%"? It was certainly Adolph Hitler who said "what a wonderful thing for rulers that men are stupid".

    The Democrats are certainly not what they once were, but even in their diminished and compromised state, they still stand in opposition to the worst things the Republicans would do to the nation if they could and their tent, though tatty and full of holes, is still many times larger than that of the Republicans.

    There are no democrats and republicans, there are only people. Party ideology is nothing but empty dogma, designed to fool and divide, and those who believe in this dogma are "among the people lost for aye". And while you are ranting against republicans, and others are ranting against democrats, your politicians take advantage of your distraction by looting your economy.

    Poor little republican sheep, "democrats, baaaad!". Poor little democrat sheep, "republicans baaaad!". Keep bleating! No one is listening.

    Posted in: U.S. politics: Two small tents, with most Americans on the outside

  • 2

    sangetsu03

    What a bargain for the buyer, several million yen worth of publicity for a mere 300,000 yen. A single, 30 second television advertisement costs half a million yen and up, this store is getting hours of tv and press time for only what they paid for the mangoes.

    Posted in: Pair of mangoes sell for Y300,000 at auction

  • 1

    sangetsu03

    It makes no difference who is elected, Hillary, Jeb, Liz, or Pinocchio, anyone who gets the prize is so tied up with obligations and debts to the powers-that-be that their main job will be reading teleprompted speeches written by others, and supporting whatever agenda they are told to support. When your political system consists of parties more than it does of people, the parties are the power, and the president is just a figurehead.

    It doesn't matter who wins, in the end, the rest of us lose.

    Posted in: Hillary Clinton launches presidential campaign

  • 1

    sangetsu03

    This does nothing for the people of Japan. The whole world theory is an lie and only the business owners make more profit.

    Really? Tell that to the shop owners in Tokyo whose best customers are now from China.

    If business owners could not make a profit, no one would want to start a business. And if no one wanted to start a business, where would you work?

    Posted in: Toyota to build plant in China in investment splurge

  • -5

    sangetsu03

    Except that there has been no warming of the seas whatsoever, even the El Nino predicted to occur last year failed to materialise. Models of course predict warming, as they predicted back in 1996 that the earth would be 1.2 degrees warmer in 2015. But as of now, there is been absolutely no increase in earth's temperature since 1996, meaning that the models were wrong. I don't expect the models predicting ocean temperatures to be any more accurate. The recent study by the IPCC's Michael Mann showing models which indicated the Atlantic currents were slowing was rejected, apparently Mann didn't know that these currents have been carefully instrument-measured for the past 15 years, and have shown absolutely no change at all during that period.

    Once again, any headline which uses the word "may" to predict a future event is not worthy to be published. "May" or "may not" mean exactly the same thing. We only use these terms when we don't really know what is going to happen. The stock market "may" crash next year, but then again, it "may not".

    Posted in: Warming seas may spell end to Britain's fish and chips

  • -3

    sangetsu03

    Perhaps if nurses in Japan earned more than convenience store clerks, there wouldn't be a shortage. But then again, price caps in a fixed-costs national health care system limit wages. Nurses and doctors in Japan earn surprisingly little, while bureaucrats and administrators are numerous, and absorb much of what is spent on healthcare.

    With health care costs heavily subsidised by a national government which is already a quadrillion yen in debt, it is not likely that health care professionals will see any increases in pay.

    Posted in: The government is encouraging unemployed people to consider becoming health care workers because there is a chronic shortage in the nursing care business. Do you think that is a good idea?

  • -1

    sangetsu03

    What nonsense. The Republicans have never cared an iota for minority interests or people. Only now with a Latino demographic shift have the Republicans began to be at all concerned with appealing to anyone who isn't white. However, the party on the whole is still xenophobic, racist, anti-gay and Christian leaning (except for attempts to woo elderly Jewish voters in Florida)..

    You have been hooked, reeled-in, and filleted by the half-truths and lies of your politicians. You believe without thinking, just like any religious nut handing out pamphlets on the sidewalk. You, just like most other people, need to believe in something. You are lied to, pushed around, and manipulated by the system, and you don't even realise it. If you read the words you just wrote, you sound as full of hate as the xenophobes, racists, and anti-gay people you just railed against. You are exactly the same as they are, there is no difference at all between you and those you deride.

    Politics is about control. And the greatest way to control people is to make them afraid. In the past, the church did this using hell, satan, and demons. To be saved from these things, people gave the church food, money, land, and power.

    People nowadays are quite skeptical about hell, satan, and demons, so new issues are created to instil fear. If you are a liberal, you are told that the opposition wants to ban gay marriage, force your children to pray in schools, ban gays from marrying, etc. If you are a conservative, you are told that the opposition wants to take away your guns, take away your religious rights, force you to support gay marriage and abortion, etc.

    In reality, most people don't care what other people believe or do, these issues are entirely irrelevant. If you go to a typical neighbourhood, or company, you will see liberal and conservative people interacting as normal people interact, politely, peaceably, and honestly. There are nuts on either extreme, but these are few and far between.

    But politicians cannot allow people simply to get along. They need to find ways to get into office, and, once there, stay there. To do this, they need long-term support, and this support comes from people. To get this support, they lie and manipulate. The oldest principle in politics is called "divide and rule", it has been used for millennia. Funny that modern, educated people still don't understand how the system works, and how they are played against each other for the gain of a third party.

    Keep bashing each other, keep showing your stupidity and ignorance. The more time you spend doing these things, the easier it is for those who poke you and prod you to loot the system. While you are busy hating each other for no reason, the politicians who instigate you are spending trillions of dollars of your tax money. While you are debating about gay marriage and gun control, the disability and social security trust funds are being bled dry. While you are calling each other names, your politicians are laughing at you, and picking your pockets.

    Keep at it, keep at it, do what the 99% is expected to do.

    Posted in: U.S. politics: Two small tents, with most Americans on the outside

  • 0

    sangetsu03

    Toyota makes record profits by underpaying their workers and then makes capital investments in places where it can exploit even cheaper and less regulated labour conditions. Toyota calls this "Moving Forward".

    If you go to a Japanese car factory in China, the workers will not complain about being underpaid. They earn far more than the national average. They also have better working conditions than most other Chinese workers. They certainly think they are "Moving Forward".

    Industry has always followed low labor costs, even in Europe and America in the last century. But after industry arrives, wages and working conditions improve. Wages and working conditions have markedly improved in China over the past decade. In many Chinese industries, wages have doubled. The Chinese nowadays enjoy income and opportunity levels undreamed of in China for the past 6 decades.

    Take a walk through Ginza, Akihabara, Omotesando, or Ueno, and look at how many Chinese tourists there are in these places, and how much money they are spending. Their's is the first generation of Chinese ever to be able to afford to do such things, and as their incomes and opportunities continue increasing, they will consume more things which are made in Japan, America, and Europe.

    And, as their incomes increase, industry will begin (has already begun) looking for cheaper labor in other places. And in these other places, wages and working conditions are already improving.

    If you want all the jobs and money to stay in developed countries, what becomes of undeveloped countries? Do you prefer to condemn them to eternal poverty? Who is being more selfish? Industry? Or you? Industry has done far more to elevate the lives of people in developed countries than decades of government development programs, which simply line the pockets of corrupt politicians. Over the past 15 years, one-fifth of the world's population has been lifted out of poverty, thanks entirely to industry "exploiting" low labor costs.

    Posted in: Toyota to build plant in China in investment splurge

View all