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md2009Mar. 19, 2017 - 11:46PM JST
"The Muji operator is headquartered in Tokyo, one of the 10 Japanese prefectures on which China still imposes a food import ban." Interesting that Tokyo is one of those banned. But more to the point, it is a fact that Japanese firms are finding ways to channel raw materials from Fukushima which find their way into products labelled in other Prefectures and the Government turns a blind eye. The Japanese Government is always trying to probe thst Fukushima produce is safe. But while the credibility of the Japanese food industry is suspect, one has to believe this is primarily driven by politics.
Posted in: Chinese shops pull Japanese food items from shelves over safety fears
md2009Mar. 11, 2017 - 07:31PM JST
The main hurdle foreign car manufacturers face is that Japanese are proud of their cars - they may buy European brands and specialty items like Jeep, but Japanese consumers believe in the quality of their vehicles when it comes to your average family car (as they should). Trump needs to be careful, if he starts to get too pushy, all he will do is further encourage Japanese to buy more Japanese products. No way will they buy American if they feel they are being threatened. If and when American cars achieve eqivalent quality of say German made cars they may have a better chance. Japanese consumers like to buy Japanese products, all things being equal - no amount of threats or chest thumping is going to change that. It's a matter of culture and national pride (with just a tinge of "sabetsu" thrown into the mix.)
Posted in: Japan says no barriers to auto imports after U.S. fires trade salvo
md2009Jan. 31, 2017 - 09:23AM JST
With every announcement like this you have to ask what is not being told and what spin is being put on it. I am not a scientist, but you can bet this is just a cover so that in future the Government will be able to say that the public was informed. In this case the only story that matters here is that we have melted nuclear cores exposed to the environment that Tepco has no idea how to control. Great. Thanks Tepco, we feel better now!!
Posted in: TEPCO spots possible nuclear fuel debris beneath Fukushima reactor
md2009Jan. 10, 2017 - 09:42AM JST
Toyota running scared, but all they have achieved is to show that Trump has them by the you know whats. Toyota is a great company, but this kind of tatemae (i.e. BS) approach will not work in the U.S. Releasing investment plans that must have been determined years ago in areas of "improvement" Including head office and .....robotics - that is, research into how to employ less people! I hope Trump keeps tightening the noose until (1) Toyota actually closes a plant in Mexico (2) American companies ( not only in the automotive industry but in others such as pharmaceuticals etc.) have equal and easy access to Japanese markets. I don't like Trump but I do like the fact that he has all these companies running scared. For too long the average worker has been treated as dispensable as jobs have been transferred to China, Mexico etc. without any regard for societal impacts. I would argue that Toyota and other Japanese companies care a lot less for their workers overseas than they do for their workers in Japan.
Posted in: Toyota to invest $10 bil in U.S.
md2009Oct. 12, 2016 - 12:51AM JST
Would be interesting to see what the reaction would be if a Tokyo train driver apologized for all the people from Kansai on a Tokyo train. Probably start a civil war. The train driver was conpletely out of order. Foreignors should make more effort to understand Japanese norms when it comes to good manners. But Japanese really do look down on some foreignors, especially mainland Chinese. You rarely hear any Japanese person say something good about someone from mainland China. But the long and short of it is.... If they want the Olympics and tourism and all the money that comes with it, put up or shut up.
Posted in: Osaka train driver apologizes to Japanese passengers for ‘having many foreigners’ on board
md2009Aug. 25, 2016 - 07:17PM JST
I can see both sides. The teachers could operate fairly effectively with an interpreter. The University knows full well how to speak English and deals with its staff in English every day. On the face of it, it is true this is Japan so you could say that it is up to the teachers to speak in the local language and to have an interpreter. The reality, however, is that the University is pulling the "this is Japan, you don't know anything, do as we say" line often used to make foreignors feel inferior, particularly in negotiations. I think this Court got it right, foreignors should not be made to feel like second class citizens by the bullying and discriminatory tactics of Japan Inc. and the legal system. This Judge obviously understood the games the University was playing. By the way, I am an expert, my dear Japanese wife starts speaking in Japanese whenever we argue lol
md2009Jul. 04, 2016 - 01:33AM JST
AMBULANCES: The quality of the medical profession is variable as in any country and there are some exceptional doctors. In some areas they are ahead and in others way behind overseas in terms of treatment and medications. But while on the topic of medical service in Japan, I think there is a priority issue that Japan needs to deal with both for its own citizens and foreigners. As someone who has had cause to call an Ambulance a few times for emergency treatment in Japan I can tell you that (1) There is zero treatment given in the ambulances, and pretty much no equipment - you might as well be in a taxi (2) if you are a foreigner the ambulance will call around and a lot of emergency wards in hospitals are not that keen on accepting foreigners (especially if you don't speak Japanese or if you don't have a Japanese health insurance card) and so it is often a waiting game at the worst possible time (3) you can be kept waiting for a long time until you get the all clear to go to a particular hospital. I have been in an ambulance with an emergency heart issue and all I could do was lie there for 20 minutes in the ambulance outside my home waiting for a hospital to accept me. My friend almost died being kept waiting for a hospital to accept him after an asthma attack where he could not breathe and had forgotten his puffer. I shudder to think how many people die waiting in ambulances in Japan, but it's a national disgrace that never gets any mention. It seems one of the main purposes of the Ambulance is to allocate patients to the hospitals rather than to get to the closest or most appropriate one as soon as possible. If there are others with similar experiences please mention them as it is about time that this got some coverage.
md2009Jun. 07, 2016 - 09:17PM JST
As to radiation risks, I believe that this is only one of them. For example, Cesium 134 has an 8 year half life (I think) and Cesium 137 for example has a 30 or 40 year half life (I think) and we are told that particles of these were found to have been emitted at the time of the accident. These elements were believed to have been dispersed in the radioactive cloud that swept over the sea and then back over parts of Japan including Chiba and found their way into the soil. Did these disappear? Some people have claim to have found hot spots at various locations but I cannot judge if these claims are credible. Others argue that they are blowing around with the wind and infiltrating food and water systems in Fukushima and possibly as far as Tokyo or beyond, to what extent and how far, no-one really knows. Again, I cannot judge other than to say that it seems to make sense to a non expert person like me that they have not "vanished" . Background radiation (which is what most people talks about) is easy to measure and that is what people compare to X Rays and airline flights, bananas and radiation levels in other cities such as Hong Kong, Paris etc. But it seems the unknown in Japan is how many of these tiny particles of Cesium and other substances continue to be breathed in daily, not only in Fukushima but also in Japan's major cities. Have these particles ended up in the lungs of adults or kids only to give rise to cancer some time down the track? Some people claim to have found them in air conditioning units or car filter systems as far away as Tokyo or even Nagoya. This issue is the elephant in the room that no-one talks about. As far as I can tell no-one has been able to quantify that risk. The risk of internal radiation of this type is never discussed by official sources. If someone can find me a credible assessment of this risk of internal radiation by the Japanese Government I would be interested to see it. Of course the next question would be what could be done about that risk if it is found to exist, and the answer is probably very little, but the public in Japan and the international community deserve to be informed. Since this is a publication many people read, I want to say that the above is completely non scientific and just based on my own research as far as I have been able to do so online. International reports seem to have concluded that these risks are minimal, but their methodology has been questioned by some. I have not yet been able to satisfy myself from publicly available sources as to whether the risk of internal ingestion is significant or not. But we have all seen the bags of radioactive waste being collected in Fukushima and we all know that efforts are still ongoing to clean soil in various areas. Obviously there is still an exclusion zone filled with radioactive particles. Maybe the answer is blowing in the wind? I wish someone would address this issue in an objective way.
md2009Mar. 15, 2016 - 08:41PM JST
This is just spin by all concerned. Isn't it obvious that the US and presumably France know just how critical the situation is and demanded to be involved. The spin that the Japanese Governemt asked for help is just that. This is a crisis and I suspect the Americans said to Abe that unless we come in and fix this, we will be forced to raise questions about the viability and safety of the Olympics and maybe even have to start to think about removing military and other personnel from Japan in case Kin Jong Nutcase decides to fire a missile at the reactor or some other man made or natural catastrophe occurs there. There is a lot not being said here. IMHO. All just guesswork, but makes sense to me. And yes, TEPCO is going to make life difficult for them, and cover their well worn tracks so they can later blame the gaijin. It is a disgrace that it has taken this long. Oh, and don't ask about the hot particles.
Posted in: Nuclear experts from France, U.S. to help with Fukushima clean-up
md2009Mar. 14, 2016 - 05:35PM JST
The UN stupidly took on the impossible by attacking this issue. Abe's response was predictable. If you are going to attack hereditary imperial systems whether in Japan or elsewhere, then please start with the systems themselves which are inherently discriminatory. It's makes as much sense as attacking the US for waterboarding men more harshly than women. But that's a side issue. The real issue is that the UN, if properly advised would have taken aim at discrimination as a whole in Japan, whether in the workplace, at schools or in matters of divorce or family inheritance etc. etc. japan needs to change in so many ways, why attack the least likely to change?
md2009Feb. 16, 2016 - 04:52AM JST
Go into any Bank and see the public face of inefficiency. Companies in Japan will not be able to increase wages until they deal with all the dead wood. The only saving grace is that Japanese population ages and the dead wood is ageing with it. Japan is a disaster all round from the education system, to the immigration system, to the entrenched interests, to the inherent anti-foreigner bias that many still hold. And don't forget we still have the real possibility of the big earthquake and further nuclear contamination. Japan has so many creative, talented people who could change Japan for the better with a more flexible and global thinking Government. But not likely in the short term. I feel sorry for the Japanese people who are victims at so many levels. Most do not trust their Government any more but are powerless to drive change.
Posted in: Abenomics on the ropes as yen soars, markets plunge
md2009Jan. 30, 2016 - 11:04PM JST
A.N. Other. As with anything else its a question of degree but when you are using a place primarily as a commercial enterprise for short term rentals to tourists, what is the difference between that and a hotel or ryokan? Just like Uber can argue all it likes that it is not a taxi service but that is all playing cute games with old laws....it is a taxi service. You don't have the right to do anything you want with something just because you own it. Just because you own a car doesn't mean you can advertise and rent it out as a hire car to a different person every week without complying with whatever rules there are about car rental as a business. Nor can you roam the streets looking for fee paying passengers. Just because you own a swimming pool doesn't mean you can place an ad for the public to come swim in it without complying with health and safety regulations applicable to public pools. Lets leave aside the nightclub example (which is kind of unlikely), if you own an apartment are you allowed to cram it full of beds and let students live there as a business? Next day you might find 30 students crammed into a small apartment or house in your area, and that is not just a hypothetical, that also happens in some other countries. Another example...would you be just as supportive of people using their apartments as apartments for one day at a time if it turns out that they were being advertised for short term "Love Hotel" type use? That's not just a silly hypothetical in Japan. Even apart from the laws, a lot of people who are doing this are not even owners! They are in breach of their own leases and putting landlords at risk. As I said, I personally like the service, but I can totally understand the need to regulate it properly particularly in a cohesive, communally oriented society like Japan. And companies like Airbnb and Uber think they can by-pass regulation by just jumping in to countries, ignoring laws and just doing it. Seems like that is the way of the world, with laws not catching up with technology. But I fully support residents who don't want their buildings used as hotels....which is what is going on. And its not just Japan. All over the world Governments and local authorities are figuring out how to deal with these issues so I reject the implication that this is all happening because of some particular prejudices of the Japanese. Some of it may be motivated by underlying racism, some of it by lack of understanding, but I love Japan because it is safe and I hope it stays that way even if some of these rules may be annoying. Maybe you are passionate about this because you are earning money from it as many are. If so, good for you. But everyone knows that this is a commercial letting enterprise which is prohibited (in spirit if not in the letter of the law) by not only regulations but also the terms of most leases and bank borrowing terms. If you don't think this needs regulation, why is it necessary to regulate hotels at all? Go ahead and earn money but don't try to justify by these types of self serving arguments.
md2009Jan. 30, 2016 - 08:42PM JST
A.N.Other, its not exactly a nightclub, but it is a hotel. If you treat your place as a hotel you should be regulated as such. The point about Japan which we all like is that it is that people live their lives (on the surface at least) in harmony, with consideration for others and obeying the rules however stupid we might think they are. I don't think the authorities have the capability to enforce this but based on what I have seen with friends, the resident's committees can make life pretty uncomfortable for the owners and guests who try to do this. On the smaller apartments where students and similar people live and where people are coming and going all the time it is probably not such a big deal. As for the Olympics I hope and pray I am wrong but I don't think the Fukushima saga is over yet. I think there is every chance Japan will not hold the Olympics in the end. Lets wait and see. This might be the least of the issues.
md2009Jan. 30, 2016 - 03:41PM JST
As a tourist I love Airbnb of course as it is cheaper and often better than hotels. But if buy an apartment, I don't expect what is essentially a commercial hotel enterprise to be carried on in the apartments around me any more than I want someone to open up a restaurant or store or medical centre. I think the way to do this would be to say that these kind of short term rentals would only be allowed if say 75% of existing owners of the building approve such use. I know I don't want holiday makers coming and going in the building I live in. While I am assuming the vast majority of people behave, there are also those that want to party, hire hookers, play loud music or whatever. Also, one of the beauties of Japan is that it is safe for kids. Parents and kids know what to expect with their neighbours and often leave their kids alone or allow them to go to and from school without supervision at an earlier age than in other countries. If I were a parent I would start to feel uneasy about strangers coming and going. And who pays for damage to elevators or other communal facilities as people drag their luggage in and out week after week. As a user, I love Airbnb and I love Uber, but I don't like the fact that these companies are entering markets in disregard for laws and rights of others. So I think these types of measures by Ota Ward are sensible. The only think which is unclear is whether the neighbours have a right to refuse once they are notified, it would be interesting to know. Anyway, as I said building residents should have the right to decide by super-majority or whatever what their buildings are used for, not companies like Airbnb.
md2009Sep. 03, 2015 - 01:27AM JST
There are 2 sides to this, The first is the unconscionable exploitation of students. This must be stopped. But the other side no-one is asking is why students are allowed into Australia with no means of support so they are forced into part time slave labor like this. Australia has unemployment of more than 5 percent so why do these students go to Australia and expect to be able to find work? Maybe students should be forced to show they have the money to survive before letting them in there?? Why are they working at 7-11? I guess jobs are very scarce so they should not go if they are placing themseves at mercy of employers like this. Sonething seems wrong all around. And as for Japan I hesitate to imsgine the amount of exploitation going on. Why are there so many more Chinese staff at convenience stores these days. Lower wages? Why?
Posted in: 7-Eleven under pressure in Australia over wage fraud claims
md2009Apr. 29, 2015 - 10:09PM JST
There are 2 underlying and criticsl issues here. (1) japanese people have never been educated about the bad things they have done. It is not taught in schools or discussed in official channels. For example: When I tried to discuss the Nanjing Massacre and also comfort women issues with my 40 year old Japanese friend, she really did not believe it, and was fairly dismissive saying that all countries do bad things in war and that Japan had been victim of propaganda to justify America's use of the atom bomb (I am just repeating her view). No amount of discussion was sufficient to dissuade her view that there was no proof Japanese did anything wrong (presumably because she had not been taught the truth). (2) Just my view based on anecdotal evidence, but I think a majority of Japanese still are incredibly prejudiced towards nationals of most Asian nations and really look down on Chinese in particular, and also Koreans ( with the limited exception of some Korean celebrities at the youth level). Japan sees itself as a higher nation. I am not wanting to offend by saying this, but many Japanese believe mainland Chinese are dirty, rude, uncultured and money focused (translation: jealous of their economic success). It is difficult for politicians to apologize against the background of pervasive prejudicial thinking of this type. I hope and pray there will be strong leaders in Japan who will educate their young and help eradicate these prejudices, but until then, even were an apology to be made ( which is unlikely) it will not really be representative of broader Japanese opinion and so could not really be taken seriously. I really hope the next generation of Japanese will prove me wrong.
Posted in: Abe says he is 'deeply pained' over 'comfort women'
md2009Jul. 18, 2014 - 06:20PM JST
I think it all comes down to service and atmosphere. McDonalds is supposed to be fast food but in Japan every time I walk in I get a number and have to wait. Often I get the burger and have finished it before the fries arrive. Second, McDonalds has become an embarassing place to be seen. It feels like the stores have not refreshed and so inevitably I hesitate before being seen there. Usually lots of students sitting around using wifi, It looks and feels like a place for those on a budget rather than a place to take the family or work colleagues. Finally the service is often unfriendly. I was not aware of the franchisee system, but that explains a lot. Staff are clearly not motivated. All in all, going to Maccas has become a depressing experience and they will continue to fail unless they make their stores somewhere people want to be and be proud to be!
md2009Mar. 30, 2014 - 09:04PM JST
But prosecutors say they had little choice, in part because of constraints with evidence and the challenge of gathering testimony and information from witnesses outside the United States*
What a load of rubbish. Since when has the US been unwilling or unable to prosecute beyond its borders? I smell a rat somewhere.
I would suggest that Toyota should be excluded from all US government tenders until all key executives submit to US jurisdiction and testify as to what really happened.
Posted in: Toyota case shows it's hard to prosecute execs
md2009Apr. 12, 2013 - 08:40PM JST
I am so angry when I see stuff like this. Japan's culture and politeness is touted the world over and it is true there are so many special things to admire. But the flip side of all the things we admire is a perverse inability to tell the truth, make decisions and take responsibility in a meaningful way. Japanese company executives, managers and bureaucrats see their sole mission in life as to pass through their working life without rocking the boat but that no longer works.
(1) The famed Japanese style of consensus - no doubt the reactor and other reactors in Japan passed and continue to pass all the necessary annual tests and the requisite number of employees sign off on whatever meaningless safety certificates they need to sign off. If everyone agrees it is safe, it must be safe, right? Pass the little tray from person to person to the guy at the back of the room as is done at banks all over Japan for exchange of $10 worth of currency. Nemawashi has no place in nuclear safety!!
(2) Japanese style crisis management - yes, Japanese are always prepared for disasters! From their time at elementary school they prepare for earthquakes and fires with the requisite standard drills but no-one actually is taught to use their heads - everyone is taught from a young age that they need to ganbare for everything from meaningless after school tests to standardized sporting events - "gambare Nippon" is a stale slogan that passes the buck from the politicians and bureaucrats to the population. Please start thinking about how to change your society, you deserve better!!
(3) Tell the truth!! Japanese society is generally peaceful because no-one really questions whether others are telling the truth and no-one aggressively challenges their neighbors and colleagues. Japanese do not ask the right questions so they do not get the right answers. Everything is kept very vague and aimai. All very nice to be peaceful, but it is time for Japanese to realize that they need to challenge each other and expect the truth of those in positions of power.
(4) Taking responsibility: The Japanese way to take responsibility by bowing and apologizing (maybe even resigning in extreme cases) is long past its use by date. It is time for people to be held accountable under the law. Look at the case of Olympus where the only guy who tried to get it right (who happened to be a courageous foreigner) is no longer there!! Obviously Tepco executives should be hung out to dry. It is time for Japanese to start holding their corporate and government officials accountable under the law.
Enough is enough Japan. You continue to negligently expose your people to risk of radiation, your education system and your economy is in a mess and no-one seems to want or have the courage to drive change.
Time for fundamental change Japan. Ganbare!!
Posted in: Fukushima plant springs another radioactive leak
md2009Dec. 05, 2012 - 10:06AM JST
There are lots of reasons why Japanese are pulling out not least of all because of rising costs and because China often does not know how to make products that meet the quality standards that Japanese consumers demand. But underneath it all many Japanese do not like the Chinese very much and they are happy to stick it to the Chinese when they can. Based on discussions (admittedly an unscientific sample) I have held with Japanese, many Japanese hold the view that Chinese are inferior, unclean and unsophisticated. And not so far underneath it all many Japanese blame China for their country's economic woes. Japan has lagged behind China for so long and many Japanese find that hard to take.
Posted in: China less attractive to Japanese firms - but not because of riots
Search the Largest English Job Board in Japan.
Mar. 26, 2017 - 06:40AM JST
China you are the last country to be telling another one what they should be doing..…
Posted in: China warns Japan not to mislead young people over wartime history
Mar. 26, 2017 - 06:32AM JST
Opposition lawmakers including Democratic Party leader Renho said Thursday they now hope to summon the prime…
Posted in: Abe's school scandal far from over with Kagoike's testimony
Mar. 26, 2017 - 06:29AM JST
Yes, to repeat Aly, how has Japan been "hindered" by pacifism? What Asia fears is a…
Posted in: For many decades, Japan has played an important role in providing development and humanitarian aid to countries throughout East and Southeast Asia, but it was long ‘hindered,’ so to speak, by its pacifist defense policy. It can now become more directly engaged in regional securitization efforts. For some, this is reassuring. For others, it is cause for concern.
Mar. 26, 2017 - 06:26AM JST
Could someone explain the US system? There is a Republican Senate, Republican House, Republican President, but…
Posted in: Trump's presidency perilously adrift
Mar. 26, 2017 - 06:24AM JST
But the prefectural government has not punished any violators so far and will not impose penalties…
Posted in: No violator punished under antismoking ordinance launched in 2010
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