senseiman's past comments

  • 1

    senseiman

    And if a species can be sustainably hunted the IWC is suppose to remove it from the moratorium and issue a quota under their RMP.

    Actually the wording merely states that the IWC can "consider" modifying the limit, it does not oblige it to do anything else.

    Posted in: Japan's whaling plans come under scrutiny at IWC meeting

  • 1

    senseiman

    Japan might have signed up for "restriction level X" (back when Japan joined IWC, it was still a "Management" organization and there did seem a need to bring the whaling into some kind of check), and that's fine. Now, New Zealand wants to up the ante to "Restriction level Y" and push it through under tyranny of the majority.

    The fact that the majority want something different does not make it a "tyranny". Organizations change their focus, goals and even purpose all the time. This is why they all have procedures and rules which allow them to do so, providing voice for objections and debate. It is ridiculous to assert that any time one member tries to alter the rules in a manner totally consistent with the rules constitutes some sort of evil that should be condemned. Organizations need to evolve and change.

    With all due respect this just sounds like petty complaining because Japan isn't getting its way. Japan is free to leave the IWC at any time it pleases, nobody is forcing it to stay.

    I'm not sure about the precise rulebook of the IWC, but I speak from principle. IWC in effect started out as a hunting club / guild between hunters, enforcing certain limits so the deer are not wiped from the hill and everyone gets some deer meat.

    Unfortunately over the years, some of the hunters go vegetarian. Now, instead of thinking about how to hunt deer in a sustainable way, they now join the meetings to try and push through motions to stop hunting deer. All according to the procedures perhaps (with perhaps some arm twisting in the back doors - so those that are against can't even leave the club without fear of GBH), but does this not in effect defeat the very purpose of the club?

    You are, in substance, arguing that organizations should not evolve even if the majority of their members want them to do so. I see no valid reason to accept that as a principle. Organizations must be able to evolve in accord with changes in their environment and the views of their members, otherwise they will become irrelevant as organizations (which are simply humanly created entities meant to further our interests, not to stifle them). You are arguing that a small, conservative minority should be able to hijack the agenda of the organization in express contravention of the wishes of the majority. How on earth could anyone accept that in principle? If the majority of the members of a hunting club decide to become vegetarian and turn the club into a vegetarian club then why on earth should we wish to stop them from doing so? Because it used to be a club about hunting and the older members don't like it?

    What you are advocating sounds more like a valid reason for Japan to leave the IWC and start its own organization. It strikes me as an extremely weak argument for forcing the rest of the IWC to unwillingly stop expressing their valid opinions about whaling and making legitimate and democratic use of the processes that organization provides for them to turn their opinions into policy.

    Posted in: Japan's whaling plans come under scrutiny at IWC meeting

  • 3

    senseiman

    On the other hand, if we talk about international waters, we have to discuss yet another Western principle that New Zealand is stuffing under the table. In principle, all nations should have the right to freely use the high seas. UNCLOS clearly ratifies this principle in Article 87, section 1(e) and (f) (unless you want to insist "whaling" is not "fishing").

    Which only means that New Zealand or any other country, in the absence of a treaty commitment to the contrary, cannot deprive Japan of its right to freely use the high seas. Japan, having become a member of the IWC has, as a part of that, voluntarily given up a right to unrestricted exercise of its right to the high seas (at least so far as whaling is concerned). In other words, the UNCLOS is irrelevant to the dispute, which solely relates to the rules of the IWC (which Japan could have entered reservations to if it had liked but did not).

    If anything, an fundamentalist position will be to argue that countries like New Zealand, who clearly has a near hatred regarding whalings should be kicked from the commission. Suppose you have a hunting club. Some members are clearly not at all interested in hunting and are only there to try and place restrictions on those that do. Should they be there at all?

    Of course they should.If the majority of the organization favor a policy - in this case a moratorium and rules which enforce it - and they follow the proper rules and procedures in implementing that policy - which they have - then there is clearly no basis for that. You are literally suggesting that countries should be kicked out - in contravention of the rules of the organization - solely based on their subjective views on a given policy.

    senseiman It's not that simple. You people criticize even if Japan bought whale meat from other countries. The core point is that you are demanding Japan accept your beliefs that whales are sacred. Japan cannot accept that. I thought it is OK if int'l waters.

    I havent said anything like that. I just said that you dont understand what sovereignty is.

    Posted in: Japan's whaling plans come under scrutiny at IWC meeting

  • 3

    senseiman

    smithinjapan Sovereignty means independent, and not under the authority of any other country. As Kazuaki Shimazaki brilliantly explained above, Japan has the right to exercise its freedom without interferece from another country. If you want to challenge this, you have to have very convincing grounds. Not just whales are smart, etc kind of things.

    This is just factually incorrect. Sovereignty means the ability of a state to act within its own borders without the interference of another state. Since the impugned activity in this case happens exclusively outside of Japan, I believe entirely in international waters, soveriegnty is a completely irrelevant concept from a legal point of view.

    But, just to play along, please note that part of the concept of sovereignty is the right of a state to make commitments to other states in the form of treaty obligations. Japan has chosen to exercise its sovereignty in this manner by becoming a member of the IWC (a treaty based organization). Having done so - again, a sovereign action undertaken by the state of Japan - it has voluntarily accepted a commitment to abide by the terms of the treaty. Other members of that treaty are well within their rights to insist that Japan meets those commitments just as Japan is within its rights to insist they meet theirs. At no point does any of this action in any way involve a violation of the sovereignty of the other - the opposite is in fact the case.

    Posted in: Japan's whaling plans come under scrutiny at IWC meeting

  • 2

    senseiman

    ICJ recognized that the Japanese research whaling is scientific research.

    Well, that is a bit of a stretch, given that the judgment doesn`t actually say anything of the sort.

    It does however devote many pages to describing the lack of any evidence that the methods employed by the Japanese program are scientifically justified.

    And of course the actual final decision of the court was that the whaling program did NOT qualify for the scientific research exception to the moratorium.

    Posted in: Japan's whaling plans come under scrutiny at IWC meeting

  • 2

    senseiman

    NZ 2011 This is another threat. Japan is seriously doing scientific research, but you people don't believe and threaten Japan all the time.

    Well this makes no sense. If Japan is simply doing serious scientific research (a laughable assertion given the near complete lack of actual peer-reviewed scientific papers published based on that alleged research, but anyway) then a simple requirement that it actually provide scientific justification for its methods should pose no problem at all.

    The fact that such a simple requirement triggers such a backlash by the Japanese government is telling proof of the obvious fact that they cannot offer such justification because the program they want is not one that will produce scientific results (easily obtained through non-lethal methods) but one in which they can carry on a thinly disguised commercial whaling program.

    Posted in: Japan's whaling plans come under scrutiny at IWC meeting

  • 0

    senseiman

    It is an interesting problem and it makes me wonder why Fujii has so much difficulty with it. I've been hiking in some heavily touristed mountains in other countries (Lake Loise in the Canadian Rockies comes to mind) and have never encountered large amounts of litter elsewhere.

    I've never climbed Fujii, but what they are describing in general sounds like what I see when I go hiking in other, even much less frequented, hills and mountains in Japan. The amount of garbage can be overwhelming in some places. Beaches and almost the entire coastline of the country is the worst, so much garbage gets washed ashore that you can't even see the sand in some places.

    Increasing the number of garbage and toilet areas through the imposition of a mandatory (rather than voluntary) fee seems like the best way to go. When you attract that many people, many (most?) of whom aren't actual nature enthusiasts who can be relied on to follow common sense norms of cleaning up after yourself and taking your litter home with you.

    Posted in: Large amount of trash and waste left on Mt Fuji

  • 0

    senseiman

    The fact that one of the mothers has her face on telly would make her an automatic mother hen for these malignant witches, and with that power comes a sense of invulnerability.

    If I read the article correctly, it says that she (or, more accurately, her daughter) is the victim of these "malignant witches", not their leader.

    Posted in: Makiko Esumi's ex-manager says he acted on his own when spray painting actor's home

  • 5

    senseiman

    Not a moment too soon. These masive graveyards (not just in Japan but in most countries) full of concrete and stone are little more than cancerous eyesores on the environment, a horrible use of resources and an unnecessary burden on future generations.

    Burial at sea or under a tree sounds way more appealing to me.

    Posted in: In Japan, grave times for the tombstone trade

  • 0

    senseiman

    What is this? The article is just a series of questions the author raises without providing answers to them. The first half is reasonably well-written and seems to be setting us up for some useful or interesting answer to the question in the article title. Then it feels like he just gave up trying to write something coherent half-way trhough and just started sputtering out random questions to fill up space. He literally brings no new or useful information, insight or analysis to the issue.

    Very diappointing.

    Posted in: How much money is raised and spent in fighting cancer?

  • 6

    senseiman

    I sincerely hope these people spend serious time behind bars for this.

    Posted in: Video showing convenience store workers being forced to kowtow to thugs leads to one arrest

  • 8

    senseiman

    Another 2 Japanese falsely convicted then...if Nomura Satoru fired the fatal gunshot, why were 2 of his lieutenants arrested instead?

    Huge leap of logic there to say that they were falsely convicted based on what is stated in this article. It just says they were arrested over the incident, it doesn`t say they were convicted for pulling the trigger. Likely they helped him carry out or cover up the murder, making them accessories.

    Posted in: Yakuza boss arrested over 1998 murder

  • 4

    senseiman

    According to this:

    http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparecountriesresult.jsp?country1=Japan&country2=United+States

    Grocery prices are only about 14% higher in Japan than the US, based on a list of commodities which (except rice) is heavily reflective of a western diet. Higher, but hardly 2 to 3 times as much, and if you adapt yourself to local tastes there are tons of ways to reduce your grocery bill much further. All of the commodities you list are ones in which Japanese prices are indeed inflated but they are not representative of all food prices as a whole (bread, incidentally, costs less in Japan according to the above source).

    Also note that it states restaurant prices are about 20% higher in the US. Not sure if that includes the additional cost of tipping and drinks (often complementary at Japanese restaurants at lunch, while a major way to gouge customers in North America). I definitely eat out way more in Japan than I did back home as a direct result of the lower cost.

    Also I have no idea what you are talking about with regard to McDonald's. I paid 500 yen for a full Big Mac set just last week, which I believe is about $4.75 US. That is way cheaper than I would pay back home.

    Posted in: Demographic crisis empties out Japan's rural areas

  • 3

    senseiman

    Food costs two-to-three times in Japan what it does in Europe and America

    For about 90% of the stuff in most supermarkets, this is simply untrue. The cost of groceries in Japan is no more expensive than it is in my home country (Canada) and for a lot of items prices are considerably cheaper.

    There are a few items (rice, apples) where trade barriers do inflate prices, but my family grocery expenses here are actually less in Japan than they are in Canada. Unless you do all your shopping in the luxury goods section of Mitsukoshi and have a specific taste for the few things which are in fact more expensive here I have no idea how you can be paying 2 to 3 times more for food.

    Posted in: Demographic crisis empties out Japan's rural areas

  • 11

    senseiman

    "Honestly this whole reinterpretation of the constitution- thingy is no big deal, just cutting out some red tape that's all. Will not change our policy one bit. No need to get worried. Everybody got that? Good. Now that we've got that settled, on a completely unrelated matter does anybody know a good place to buy Tomahawk cruise missiles?"

    Posted in: Japan, U.S. discussing offensive military capability for Tokyo

  • 3

    senseiman

    Building bridges and tunnels, and expanding railways (not just the ones that lead to Tokyo), ports and airports in the inaka is going to be necessary to break through the isolation the country faces.

    Not to be blunt, but this point seems completely out of touch. Rural Japan is already awash with useless infrastructure projects of this exact type. The whole government policy towards economic development in rural areas has consisted of almost nothing but building bridges, tunnels and railways in the countryside and it has been a complete failure. Railway lines have been closing down all over the place simply because they can`t operate at anywhere near a profitable level in many communities, so buliding more of those will just be throwing good money after bad. Ditto with bridges and roads, the cost of maintaining these things are a massive drain on resources that produce almost no economic benefit.

    Posted in: Demographic crisis empties out Japan's rural areas

  • 3

    senseiman

    What?!? 4 downvotes net? What's wrong with those ideas? Got any better?

    I didn`t downvote you, but suspect it might have been this one:

    Discount or gratis tickets for bullet train or airliners, so they can enjoy the city life every few months.

    In other words, attract people to the countryside by making it easier for them to leave the countryside? Sounds kind of counterintuitive.

    Posted in: Demographic crisis empties out Japan's rural areas

  • 1

    senseiman

    The Ritsumeikan one survives because of the foreign student/teacher population but if you know of anyone who works there or worked there, they are all dying to get out because there is nothing to do.

    That is a good point and I should emphasize that I wouldnt hold APU up as a succesful example in that regard. The campus itself is actually built on a mountaintop that is completely seperated from the local town (Beppu) and only reachable by car/ insanely overcrowded bus. It doesnt surprise me to hear of complaints, I wouldn`t really want to work there either for that reason.

    About 20 years ago cottages and land in the French, Breton countryside could be purchased very cheaply, but then British and Germans bought it and the price went up. Some non-French live there farming or doing creative things. Others purchased cottages as holiday homes -- which tends to help destroy the community, at least so say the Welsh. Will there be an influx of holiday homers to the Japanese countryside?

    It is an interesting point of comparison with Breton and I`ve wondered about that myself too - patching up an old farmhouse in the Japanese countryside sounds about as appealing as doing so in the French countryside (in the abstract at least). I suspect freedom of movement within the EU has played a role in promoting that there - it is almost always outsiders who find these places charming and discover the value of them, locals just take them for granted. In Japan, the huge barriers to outsiders coming in and finding the value of these places (some of those barriers being deliberate, others just being the result of geographic and linguistic difficulties) prevent that from happening.

    Posted in: Demographic crisis empties out Japan's rural areas

  • 2

    senseiman

    The article mentioned that because of the drift of young people out of the country, there was land that was abandoned, and which could be had for the cost of the yearly taxes being paid. The town welcomed both the extra income and the people who made that happen, even though they were foreigners.

    There are a few rural towns that have programs like that, there was a show on TV a few weeks ago about one in Oita prefecture that is doing something like that.

    Part of the problem though is that while they will give you a house and land more or less for free, the cost of making the house habitable is usually several times more than what the property itself is worth, so they dont get too many takers. Youd be looking at a 10-20 million yen investment in a property with a negligible market value just to make it reasonably safe and comfortable (the houses they give away are more or less abandoned death traps).

    Its kind of tempting nonetheless, I have these things in mind as a retirement plan (or if I ever get work that I can do remotely from home). This guy here has a blog about raising a family in the Japanese countryside, it doesn`t look like a bad lifestyle at all:

    http://bastish.net/blog/

    Posted in: Demographic crisis empties out Japan's rural areas

  • 6

    senseiman

    but they will not change and will not allow others in their vicinity to change.

    It pains me to admit it, but I think this is a good point. One of the things undoubtedly keeping younger people out of rural towns, in addition to the usual suspects (lack of jobs, poor services, etc) is the annoyance of being subject to norms imposed by local busybodies, most of them old and most of them not really giving a dam if their village is in a downward demographic and economic spiral so long as nobody tries to change anything. I suspect from casual conversations that these people can make life truly miserable for outsiders over any perceived slight or faux pas the outsider might inadvertedly commit.

    First, Japan needs to create university towns in rural areas. Nearly every one of Japan's top universities is in Tokyo now, but most of them should be moved to locations more conducive to academics where costs are much lower.

    Some universities have actually already started doing that. Ritsumeikan set up its Asia-Pacific University Campus (which I have been to, its fairly big by Japanese standards) in rural Oita prefecture. Kyushu University is also moving is main campus out to the Ito penninsula, which is quite a rural area. Not sure how many others will follow suit.

    Posted in: Demographic crisis empties out Japan's rural areas

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