Stay in touch with the latest and widest range of Japan News with JapanToday's News Alert newsletter.
Up to the moment news in your inbox everyday. Subscribe now!
NEW USER REGISTRATION
Already a JapanToday registered user?
Login to update your settings to subscribe to News Alert.
Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday.
Letters and numbers only; 5 to 50 characters. This cannot be changed later.
You will be sent an email to activate your account before you can log in.
Yes, I would like to receive news alerts from JapanToday
senseimanFeb. 07, 2013 - 12:34PM JST
I thought this sounded familiar and I just realized: The Simpsons did an episode based on the exact same situation!
See the season 2 episode Itchy & Scratchy & Marge. The statue of David comes to Springfield and some activist group protests its nudity. There is even a scene with a picture of the statue wearing pants (on Kent Brockman`s news show).
Conclusion: In Japan life imitates the Simpsons.
Posted in: Shimane town demands pants for Michelangelo's David sculpture
senseimanFeb. 07, 2013 - 10:12AM JST
The funny part isn`t that the locals want to put pants on it.
The funny part is that a businessman thought it would be tasteful to decorate a public park in an aging town of 15,000 in rural Japan with a full size replica of a massive 16th century Italian statue portraying a biblical hero with absolutely no connection to Shimane whatsoever.
It calls to mind that scene in the film Analyze This where the mafia boss builds a giant Romanesque fountain in the front yard of Billy Crystal`s little bungalow in the suburbs. Not sure if the humor in that scene would be appreciated by the businessman referred to in this article.
senseimanDec. 22, 2012 - 11:49AM JST
Just as a factual matter with the article, there is no such thing as a federal stage in Japan. Japan is a unitary state with a central, rather than a federal government.
Such errors aside, there isn`t much being said here. Basically the conclusion of the article is that Hashimoto is different from most politicians and that might be a good thing but it also might be a bad thing. This is kind of obvious.
Posted in: The case for Toru Hashimoto
senseimanDec. 06, 2012 - 10:08AM JST
Reasonable points in the article.
Just from my day to day observations I`ve always felt, as other commenters have suggested, that the problem lies in a skewering of budget priorities towards building stuff rather than maintaining it. I see this a lot with public parks that have a lot of expensive looking statues and other things installed but are basically abandoned once completed and spend there whole existence covered in waist high weeds that get cleared only once a year.
Posted in: The enigma of Japanese infrastructure
senseimanNov. 12, 2012 - 09:24AM JST
I notice a lot of these types of articles are written for an audience that has little to no experience or knowledge of living in Japan. They are always based on an observation that something in Japan is different from what exists in the United States and then proceed under the assumption that Japan is the outlier whose deviation must be explained.
I can see how this would be of some interest in a travel publication or something, but for anyone who has ever been to Japan most of the observations made are quite obvious and not very interesting.
Also there is inevitably a tendency to describe these things as though they were recent trends that are growing, which usually isnt the case. Women arent wearing shorter skirts now then they were 10 years ago (or 40 years ago for that matter). Nudity hasnt become normalized, Ive been here for more than a decade and have never seen a naked person in public (unless old men relieving themselves on the side of streets counts). Some customs (communal bathing, lack of a religion that views sex as sinful,etc) obviously allow for nudity and undoubtedly make people less squeamish about it than they are in a country with a puritanical heritage like the US, but I think the US is more of an outlier than Japan in that regard.
t the case. Women aren
t become normalized, I
Posted in: Why Japanese people are comfortable with nakedness
senseimanNov. 11, 2012 - 11:02AM JST
As has already been mentioned, American fast food is nothing new so the use of the future tense in this article is out of place. McDonalds and KFC have been here for decades (a fact that McDonalds is specifically highlighting in its current TV ads) as have their Japanese counterparts like Lotteria (not to mention the donburi places like Yoshinoya and Matsuya). Ive been here since the late 90s and except for Subways havent noticed any increase in the presence of American fast food outlets or any increase in people buying that type of fast food. Some of the big chains (ie Wendys) have done the opposite and completely left the Japanese market. The supposed trend that the article is based on seems to solely exist in the authors mind. Perhaps a more interesting approach to the subject would have been to ask why 40 years of American style fast food in Japan hasn`t led to the same alleged health effects it has in the US.
s and KFC have been here for decades (a fact that McDonald
ve been here since the late 90s and except for Subways haven
s) have done the opposite and completely left the Japanese market. The supposed trend that the article is based on seems to solely exist in the author
Posted in: How will American fast food affect Japanese culture?
senseimanMar. 24, 2012 - 11:44PM JST
The sense of shadenfreude I am experiencing in reading this exchange between the author and his detractors is making me feel a little guilty at the amusement I take in watching such a train wreck in progress.
Yet I cannot look away.
Posted in: What's wrong with Japanese education?
senseimanMar. 23, 2012 - 07:08PM JST
If I may offer a word of polite criticism.
The purported argument of this article is that in order to solve Japan's educational woes the public education system should be abolished and replaced with a private one. It really fails to get that point across however, for a number of reasons.
First, the writer does not introduce this argument until the very end of the article.
Second, all of the article leading up to that point does absolutely nothing to support the argument. We are introduced to a series of random, stream of consciousness thoughts that the author included for no apparent reason. Instead of introducing the reader to the relative merits of private education over public education we are instead subjected to several paragraphs on child prostitution not being an educational issue (irrelevant), Japanese English teachers not being able to speak proper English but its OK because Japanese don't need English anyway (????) and so on and so forth.
Third the argument actually made (abolish public education) is a rather extreme one, yet we are given no discussion on how such a system would work, where the impetus for such reform would come, what barriers exist to its implementation and how they might be overcome, how actual Japanese teachers, students and families would react, etc etc. We are just told that private education would be cheaper and is only expensive because public education exists. Interesting argument, I would have been interested to see the actual evidence to back it up. But none is forthcoming.
It also doesn't help that the tone of the article is extremely argumentative and gives the reader the feeling he is being yelled at by the author.
senseimanMar. 22, 2012 - 06:56PM JST
gogogo - actually sacked isnt inaccurate. His actual job was CEO of the firm, which he was fired from. Being on the board of directors is not a full time job (it was an appointment seperate from his employment, technically he was elected to the board by the shareholders) and the only reason he wasnt immediately removed from that positionis that the chairman of the board who fired him didn`t have the legal authority to do so.
t inaccurate. His actual job was CEO of the firm, which he was fired from. Being on the board of directors is not a full time job (it was an appointment seperate from his employment, technically he was elected to the board by the shareholders) and the only reason he wasn
Posted in: Olympus foreign investors call for board rethink
senseimanMar. 21, 2012 - 09:13AM JST
Marcelito I would be careful about praising Hashimoto too much, he is also a rabidly right wing megalomaniac. Apart from creating regulations to punish teachers who dont stand when kimigayou is played I dont see what exactly he has accomplished....at least not what he has accomplished that would seperate him from the all talk no action model of politicians that you deride.
t stand when kimigayou is played I don
all talk no action
I note that threatening to put a shareholders proposal on the KEPCO meeting agenda is pretty much the most toothless action he could take. For starters, shareholders proposals never pass and I 100% guarantee this one wont. Why? Because there was already one on last years agenda and it failed to gather even 10% of the vote even in the direct aftermath of Fukushima (TEPCO also had a similar vote and a similar result). Also these proposals are not binding on management anyway so even if it did pass (and, like I said, it won`t).
t. Why? Because there was already one on last year
In other words this is all talk and no action. Not that I disagree with what he is doing in this particular case, mind you. I`m just saying that this is a very very unpleasant person whose political career indicates more concern for self-promotion than actually benefitting Osaka. God forbid he would ever become PM.
Posted in: Osaka to use shareholder rights against Kansai Electric's nuclear policy
senseimanMar. 05, 2012 - 01:28PM JST
Perhaps the reason I am being so critical is that I am actually a gradutae of a Japanese law school (in addition to a Canadian one) and therefore when I see articles that purport to discuss Japanese legal issues I expect them to discuss Japanese law rather than American law. As an article about American product liability I'm sure your discussion is excellent. But when applied to a Japanese case such as this one it just begs the question - would it not have been a much better and more informative article if you had written about the applicable Japanese law?
I understand that you are American and are thus most familiar with American law and practice. Still though, it would have been nice.
Posted in: TEPCO’s liability to Japan
senseimanMar. 05, 2012 - 10:52AM JST
*The subject matter is strict liability, and the article was edited by Japan Today. *
How much did they edit it? The title and the entire first half of the article make it entirely clear the subject matter is TEPCO`s liability to Japan and not strict liability in general. Strict liability only enters the article about 2/3 of the way through.
*First, you state that there is not enough detail in the article, and then you say all the details weigh it down. *
I at no point said there was not enough detail in the article. I said that your focus on strict liability rather than on the other issues I mentioned was misplaced. At any rate if the article was simply one about strict liability then those details you include about strict liaility wouldnt have been a problem for me. The problem is that as I said the first half of the article is entirely dedicated to arguing against TEPCO and a clear understanding of how TEPCO is actually going to be held liable never enters the article. You just skip from that to strict liability which, though I have no doubt you accurately summarize it, isnt a particularly useful concept to help the reader understand how TEPCO is actually going to be held liable. I understand that you want them to be held strictly liable, but you should explain why that is a better solution than what is actually happening.
t have been a problem for me. The problem is that as I said the first half of the article is entirely dedicated to arguing against TEPCO and a clear understanding of how TEPCO is actually going to be held liable never enters the article. You just skip from that to strict liability which, though I have no doubt you accurately summarize it, isn
Tepco's "monopoly", as you put it
It isntas I put it, but an empirical fact enshrined in law. That might change in the future and there are a lot of forces acting to undermine it, but my point was that there are a lot more costs to breaking up a firm in TEPCOs position that differentiate it from other firms. There is no arguing that. This isnt a defence ot TEPCO, I hasten to add, but just a point I raised to illustrate why a discussion of strict liability rules as they normally apply isn`t particularly useful in this situation.
, but an empirical fact enshrined in law. That might change in the future and there are a lot of forces acting to undermine it, but my point was that there are a lot more costs to breaking up a firm in TEPCOs position that differentiate it from other firms. There is no arguing that. This isn
*Your rush to attack the article is apparent with the massive amount typos you left behind. *
You left a typo there.
*The UCC doctrine has been entirely craned, and codified into Japanese law. This makes the entire U.S. doctrine of strict liability applicable. *
Name dropping: You should read some John Haley, Mark West, Curtis Milhaupt, Frank Upham and....well, just about every American legal scholar who has written about the codification of American laws in Japan. Laws in the books and laws in action are not the same thing.
You allude to Conflicts of Law doctrines
I did not. I referred to comparative law, which is a completely different field from conflict of laws. Conflict of laws - in the question of the degree to which TEPCO will be liable to the victims of its massive tort - dont come into play. The act happened in Japan, committed by a company incorporated in Japan, Japanese nationals were the primary victims, etc etc. Might be applicable in the case of GEs liability as you say, but I wasnt talking about that.
t come into play. The act happened in Japan, committed by a company incorporated in Japan, Japanese nationals were the primary victims, etc etc. Might be applicable in the case of GEs liability as you say, but I wasn
To say that American legal "sources" whatever those are, are not applicable to Japan, clearly shows that you don't understand the basic doctrines of Conflicts.
First year law school. The laws applicable in Japan are Japanese laws (conflict of laws doctrine notwithstanding). Laws from other jurisdictions can be influential but not directly applied. My point was merely that a discussion of how the law on strict liability was applied in Japan rather than in the US would have been much more useful. All you have stated is your assumption that because Japan codified American doctrine then all the discussion on how the rules work in the US are applicable.
I`m not an expert on Japanese product liability, but I can tell you from the areas of Japanese law that I am familiar with (corporate law and anti-monopoly law) is that both were heavily influenced by American legal concepts yet neither is applied in anywhere near the same way that they are in the US.
senseimanMar. 04, 2012 - 11:43AM JST
As a law school grad myself I cant say that I am particularly impressed by the article. It focuses too much on some legal liability rules that dont really help us understand the situation at all.
t say that I am particularly impressed by the article. It focuses too much on some legal liability rules that don
It is pretty obvious, without the need for going into all the details that weigh the article down, that under normal liability rules TEPCO would be on the hook for all the damages caused.
Normally the scale of the liability in this case would drive the company into bankruptcy, however, which wouldnt do anything to compensate the victims as liquidation of TEPCOs assets wouldn`t be enough to cover the bills. Also TEPCO is in a regulated industry with a monopoly on providing power to the Tokyo area and as such it cannot be broken up like any other company could be without serious consequences.
t do anything to compensate the victims as liquidation of TEPCO
So just saying TEPCO is denying responsibility but really they are liable so we should be mad and they should pay, which is the point of this article, doesnt tell us anything we didnt already know (or feel). The real question is how the compensation is paid, how government money is used (without it the victims wont be compensated adequately) and how TEPCO will repay that (equity stake in the company, bonds,etc). We dont get any discussion of any of that, I assume because it would have required rational analysis and research and wouldnt let him right an angry articletelling it like it is`, man.
TEPCO is denying responsibility but really they are liable so we should be mad and they should pay,
t tell us anything we didn
t be compensated adequately) and how TEPCO will repay that (equity stake in the company, bonds,etc). We don
t let him right an angry article
Also the author seems to assume that because Japan adopted a product liability law that incorporated US doctrines all of the rules of American product liability law are somehow now directly applicable in Japan. Notice that almost the entire legal discussion has nothing to do with Japanese law (applicable in Japan) and entirely relies on American legal sources (not applicable in Japan). As any comparative law scholar will tell you, the mere fact that a country has adopted a certain legal doctrine that is used in another country does not mean that the specifics of that doctrine are applied in the same way and it certainly doesn`t mean that the laws of that other country are suddenly applicable.
senseimanFeb. 25, 2012 - 06:55PM JST
Im not so convinced that any of this reallymattersso to speak. If creditors and equity investors were really interested in corporate governance, you would expect them to be punishing firms that maintained older insider dominated forms with a higher cost of capital while Sony and other firms that adopted the company with committee system (or which at least appointed a high proportion of outside or independent directors) would be rewarded. This hasnt happened. Most firms, even ones with a very high percentage of foreign shareholdings, do little more than meet the minimum obligations imposed by the Tokyo Stock Exchange`s listing rules and the Companies Act. In fact, about a third of the companies that adopted the Committee system have already abandoned it and proposals for yet another type of board structure in the Companies Act have already been released (this time for a board having only one committee instead of three).
m not so convinced that any of this really
so to speak. If creditors and equity investors were really interested in corporate governance, you would expect them to be punishing firms that maintained older insider dominated forms with a higher cost of capital while Sony and other firms that adopted the company with committee system (or which at least appointed a high proportion of outside or independent directors) would be rewarded. This hasn
Im also a little unclear about how MBAs are going to solve the problem. If, as the author says, the current system rewards loyalty and inside connections, then there is going to be little incentive for executives to get MBAs. If institutional investors were demanding it and punishing companies who didnt invest in it, then it might happen. Which brings me back to my previous paragraph - they dont seem to be doing this. So even if more MBAs were an effective solution to the perceived problem (not an established premise I should add) the incentives for it just dont exist right now.
m also a little unclear about how MBAs are going to solve the problem. If, as the author says, the current system rewards loyalty and inside connections, then there is going to be little incentive for executives to get MBAs. If institutional investors were demanding it and punishing companies who didn
t seem to be doing this. So even if more MBAs were an effective solution to the perceived problem (not an established premise I should add) the incentives for it just don
Posted in: MBAs can help stop the old-boys network
senseimanFeb. 15, 2012 - 10:23AM JST
The agencies that create Japanese pop groups are staffed by some of the most creative and vibrant people in the world. See what they did there? They ascertained that one massive girl group was popular and had the number 48 in its name.
They then ran with that idea and created something entirely different - a massive girl group that has the number 48 in its name but ALSO has the letters N and M in the title, which you will note are not in the name AKB48.
It is such an exciting time to be living in Japan when all this creativity is in the air. I imagine Vienna in the 18th century when Mozart and the other greats were coming up with their own creative works must have felt quite the same.
Posted in: NMB48 song tops Oricon chart
senseimanFeb. 09, 2012 - 09:41AM JST
Very good article. I do hope they have some success in opposing this project.
Posted in: Views of valuable cultural assets threatened
senseimanJan. 30, 2012 - 10:09AM JST
I have to agree with the above comments about putting some insulation in the walls and introducing central heating rather than these idiotic air conditioners in the ceiling. I use about 4 times more electricity in the winter months than in spring/ fall and double what I use in the summer thanks to that.
Posted in: Japan's emissions rising after nuclear crisis
senseimanJan. 18, 2012 - 09:32AM JST
Smithinjapan - my point is that the panel was formed at the request of Olympus. Yet it implicated Olympus` own auditors rather than the outside accounting firms.
The point of appointing a biased panel (ie not independent as you suggest this one was) would be to protect insiders at Olympus and deflect the blame onto other companies like those accounting firms. Yet the panel did the exact opposite.
That, and the fact that as nigelboy pointed out everyone on the panel were independent lawyers and accountants with no ties to Olympus, makes me wonder why you are accusing it of not being independent solely based on the fact that they found the Olympus auditors at fault.
Also it should be pointed out that this isn`t the only panel investigating the fraud, nor are the auditors the only ones being held liable. Virtually every member of the Board of Directors has been dismissed (or will be dismissed pending the next general shareholders meeting) along with all the senior executives involved in the fraud and cover up. They are also all being sued for billions of yen. So not only is it inaccurate to say that the panel is not independent, it is also inaccurate to say they are only using these auditors as scapegoats.
Posted in: 2 accounting firms cleared, 5 in-house auditors blamed in Olympus cover-up
senseimanJan. 17, 2012 - 07:40PM JST
Wow... an 'independent panel' clears the companies of wrong doing but finds a few scapegoats... go figure!
Wow... an 'independent panel' clears the companies of wrong doing but finds a few scapegoats... go figure!
Er....there seems to be some confusion here. If the panel was not independent, as you seem to imply, it would have been more likely to pin the blame on the accounting firms (Olympus outsiders) rather than blaming Olympus` own auditors (Olympus insiders).
senseimanJan. 16, 2012 - 11:05AM JST
I like to compare the price of cookies in the supermarket.
Foreign brands like Oreo and Chips Ahoy are in packages that are almost 100% packed with actualy cookies. The per-cookie price of those are far and away the cheapest. There is very little empty space in the boxes/packages and no redundant packaging.
The Japanese brands like Country Ma`am are puffed up with packaging and air. They usually cost more than the import ones yet the same sized package usually yields about half as much actual cookies. You basically are paying twice as much for the privilege of getting a bunch of useless extra packaging.
Quality wise there isn`t much difference. Basically the Japanese cookie firms are just grossly inefficient compared to the foreign brands.
Tis sort of comparison can be done with a lot of things in the supermarket and elsewhere. Its what Chalmers Johnson called the dual economy in Japan. Youve got a bunch of export oriented industries like the auto and electronics makers who have to compete on the international market and have thus become quite efficient. Then youve got the rest of the economy which only caters to the domestic market and, until the US started demanding Japan open up its markets, didn`t have to deal with much in the way of competetive pressure.
ve got a bunch of export oriented industries like the auto and electronics makers who have to compete on the international market and have thus become quite efficient. Then you
Mind you, even these inefficient industries are surviving. Japanese cookie makers under normal economic logic should have all been driven under by the importation of better quality, cheaper imports by now yet the supermarket store shelves are still stocked wtih lots of Japanese made cookies at grossly inflated prices. They probably have an advantage in terms of better catering to local tastes there than the foreign ones.
Posted in: Six things that foreigners feel are overpriced in Japan
May. 23, 2013 - 10:29PM JST
Oh, well. Some women could disagree with me, anyway, but I guess and hope that the…
Posted in: A visit from Thai PM
Only the Chinese? How about the Indonesians, Vietnamese, Malaysians and or other ethnic people?
Posted in: Do you agree with Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto's comments on comfort women?
May. 23, 2013 - 10:28PM JST
No matter how much we argue about Islamist and Christians; This Is A Dangerous Precedent.
Posted in: Anti-Islamist protests flare after British soldier butchered near London barracks
I should repeat that she is really beautiful!!!
May. 23, 2013 - 10:27PM JST
And yeah, she is very good looking. But still, tons of comments about ther look only…