Nator comments

Posted in: Pandemic puts pressure on gov't to open up rice stockpile to charities See in context

but the poverty in the US, which is the world's largest economy is at 18% and in Korea it is 17%. I wonder why those stats where not mentioned?

Because it's an article about food poverty in Japan?


2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Pandemic puts pressure on gov't to open up rice stockpile to charities See in context

The Japanese government seems to often claim that there are things it can't do because of the law. Are they not aware that they can change the law?

They said all last year that they couldn't enforce a lockdown because they were bound by the law, and then suddenly recently they were proposing to change the law so they could fine or jail people who ignored covid rules.

So they weren't bound by the law at all last year, they just couldn't be bothered to change it.

If they wanted to use the stockpile for welfare I bet they could change the relevant law within days if they tried.


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Hay fever season arrives in Japan amid coronavirus pandemic See in context

But that would cut in to the pharmaceutical companies profit. That's not going to happen,? So suffer in the knowledge that someone is making huge sums of money on a preventable problem

Maybe so, but if the japanese government is supporting it then that's dumb because the country as a whole must lose more due to lost productivity than they gain from pharmaceutical profits.

Of course, in most countries you can pop to the drug store and pick up 3 months of antihistamines for 600yen or so, whereas here the drug store prices are crazy and even if you go to a doctor you have to pay more, pay for the doctor's fees, and usually the doctor will make you come back at least one more time. Sigh.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan begins COVID-19 vaccinations amid supply worry See in context

I don't get the logic of vaccinating 3.7 million healthcare workers before moving on to the elderly and vulnerable. Most of those 3.7M healthcare workers aren't going to be having anything to do with Covid patients, whereas the old and vulnerable are much more at risk.

They should vaccinate the healthcare workers in the hospitals that are designated for Covid, and those who are giving the vaccinations, and then start on the most old and vulnerable people. Then they can deal with the other 3M healthcare workers either in parallel or after the most vulnerable.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

Posted in: Kono says supply will determine vaccination progress See in context

90% of the japanese people I know, including my wife, dont want to take the vaccine.

They are too scared of the possible side effects.

They heard too many scary news from the media and the self nominated so called experts.

Yeah, same here.

In fact, every japanese person I've talked to about it other than doctors (but including some doctors!) has said they don't want to get it, and been surprised when I said I'd get it as soon as I could.

My parents in the UK got it about 3 weeks ago, which was a huge relief.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Average monthly household spending down record 5.3% in 2020 See in context

Friday's data also showed that the average monthly income of salaried households with at least two people grew a real 4.0 percent to 609,535 yen in 2020,

that would equal about 140,000 per person over the year. Which would be roughly equivalent to a family with 2 parents and one kid receiving 100,000 each.

However, given that we've seen data that a lot of people on non-permanent contracts have lost their jobs, and I know a lot of freelancers have lost income, and that thousands of particularly women have lost their jobs, it's kinda weird that the average income hasn't dropped a fair bit more.

If they are calculating the average income, are they then not including people who have lost their jobs? Because if it is mainly low-paid people who have lost jobs then that would actually push the average income of working people up.

Personally, I don't really care that much if the aid is targeted or not targeted, I care if the people who need the aid get the aid that they need.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Google opens paid-for Australia news platform in drive to undercut Canberra's content payment law See in context

Google paying to feature news articles or large snippets of them seems fair. Google paying for them to appear in search results seems crazy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: 'To the moon' or to a lawyer, GameStop investors cope with stock's rollercoaster See in context

Side effect of this has been I can't sign up to any online brokers as they're all overloaded.

While I have some sympathy for the Reddit guys cause, I'm kinda amazed Game Stop hasn't gone the same way as Blockbuster already. The last time I bought a physical game disc was probably in 2006, around about the last time I rented a DVD.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Biden seeks to go big, fast and alone on COVID relief See in context

Fact is the economy does much better under Democratic Presidents. Again this is just simple historic fact. Reagan/Bush ended in big recession, Clinton economy boomed, Bush Junior ended in near depression, Obama boomed, Trump again near depression level results, Biden again will have to clean up the Republican mess on COVID and the economy left by the total failure of the last four years of Trump incompetence.

So in reality the Democrats are the party of economic success, the Republicans of economic failure.

This does seem to be statistically generally true. But the Democrats seem reluctant to trumpet this fact, and the Republicans keep trumpeting that they're the the party of business, the party of fiscal responsibility, etc...

You'd think every election, the Dems would be repeating the facts about their economic successes ad nauseam, but they hardly ever mention it. So you end up with a lot of people who get their news from unreliable sources who honestly believe that Biden is somehow going to destroy the US economy.

There are of course external factors such as pandemics and wars that can help or hinder presidents, and also presidents don't have total control over the economy, but even controlling for such factors Democratic presidents have statistically significantly better records on the economy and job creation, going back even further than Reagan.

It's not entirely clear why, but it seems partly because Democrats are more pragmatic and willing to listen to research, whereas Republicans seem to dogmatically stick to the single idea of 'Tax Cuts' which hasn't been proven to work very effectively.

Also, when problems happen, Democrats are more willing to jump in quickly with larger measures to combat them, whereas Republicans will often delay or limit those measures in the name of keeping spending down, which can actually cause more damage in the long run. Plus Democrats seem more willing to champion new ideas and industries, which are often the ones generating growth.

It's purely speculative, but theoretically if we'd had only Democrat president level growth for the past 50 years, the US economy would be twice as big as it is now.

But yeah, why the Democrats don't highlight their economic results is beyond me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Biden seeks to go big, fast and alone on COVID relief See in context

It does seem that republicans only remember to demand strict fiscal responsibility when the Democrats are in power, and then forget it entirely when they get into power.

They've somehow branded themselves as the party of business

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: COVID-19 infections in Tokyo may have jumped nine-fold, antibody survey shows See in context

It's kind of a relief that it's only about 1%, given that we've had no real data to go on up to this point.

It's gone up a fair bit, but it's still mystifyingly low relative to a lot of other countries. Hopefully that will continue.

It's about the best we could have hoped for.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Posted in: Snoopy shines in Apple TV+ series that's true to its roots See in context

Snoopy isn't really the star of Peanuts. That is Charlie Brown, and to a lesser extent Lucy and the other kids.

Though, given the name, I assume he is the star of this adaption.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Nonregular workers at big firms left out of virus-related benefits See in context

I guess either way it won't help me.

I get paid by 'my company' on a contract worker basis, so they pay me depending on how much I work. Work has gone down by 30-40% so pay has gone down by 30-40%.

To be fair, the company was pretty good at supporting workers, but there's a limit to their ability to continue that.

Also, to be fair, I could apply for the government benefit last June that helped cover a lot of that loss.

But that was a long time ago, and things have recovered only partially, and the government is showing no signs of providing any support in 2021.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 450,000 See in context

“That’s total hogwash,” Oakes said, adding: “Why don’t we shut the world down because of the heart attacks? Why don’t we lock down cities because of heart attacks?”

Wow. He's a moron. How did anyone who can't see the obvious differences between heart attacks and a virus manage to start their own business?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Posted in: Suga asks people to hold on a little longer as he extends state of emergency See in context

@Kyushubill. The best comment on this panic-based government power-grab I have read!

Is 'panic-based government power-grab' referring to Japan? Because doing the absolute minimum and never wielding anything more than a 'request' is hardly a 'panic-based government power-grab'.

Or is it referring to the UK? If so, maybe look at how the number of cases and deaths were rising before the lockdown and how they're falling now, and calculate how many thousands of lives they saved.

Then again, the UK and US are at least providing financial support to people. Japan might not have the hard lockdown, but they don't have the financial support either.

But sure, it's a comment ranting about 'virtue signalling heroes', so a certain segment of the audience is going to love it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Moscow court orders Kremlin foe Navalny to prison See in context

as a child I was brainwashed to hate Russia and China, but now???

Now you are an adult and you can see for yourself how they behave and condemn it?

As for myself, and I'd imagine a lot of people, recent issues with Russia and China aren't anything to do with childhood brainwashing. Sure, the whole cold war thing was the west against the USSR and China, but that ended years ago.

Russia and China both seemed to be changing and improving and increasing freedom and human rights.

But over the last 5-10 years both of them have had leaders that have clamped down mercilessly on any sign of opposition or dissent. Both have become more and more blatant in their actions, seemingly unconcerned with public opinion overseas.

I feel like I've spent the last 10 years in Japan defending China from people who appeared to instinctively dislike anything Chinese. But in the past few years that is just getting harder and harder. Every Chinese person I've met has been very nice, but when you have a government incarcerating millions in concentration camps, forcibly sterilizing them or subjecting them to sexual assault... it gets hard to do so. When the Russian government is assassinating or jailing anyone who might threaten their power, it get's harder to keep a charitable attitude to them.

Whatever problems the UK or US legal systems may have, it's disingenuous to compare them to Russia or China right now... they aren't even in the same galaxy.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Moscow court orders Kremlin foe Navalny to prison See in context

He's a lot braver than I'd have been in his situation.

Jailing someone for parole violation for a 'crime' that you've already had to pay compensation to them for, while they were in hospital due to you poisoning them... that's a level of blatant scummy behavior that you rarely see.

He's basically Russia's version of Jake Angeli.

He's a conspiracy theorist who claims that Putin controls everything and he wants to topple the government by force.

Careful, some people might get the idea you're a Russian troll.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Posted in: BioNTech 'confident' it will meet Japan's COVID-19 vaccine demand See in context

Wealthy countries are spending a lot of money for the vaccines to acquire artificial herd immunity while in India 50% of the population are already contracted with the pandemic. They acquired the herd immunity without spending money.

So are you saying wealthy countries shouldn't buy the vaccine?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Posted in: Suga asks people to hold on a little longer as he extends state of emergency See in context

Sure. I'll hold on for a while. At least I have some support from the government to cover the decline in income... oh, wait, sorry, I was thinking I was in another country.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

Posted in: Japan set to extend state of emergency for up to another month See in context

Not worried about money, although some nice savings lost, we are still going to

Someone has to help those poor little cute bunny rabbits and their poor little babies in this cold.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Hometown tax' donations rise due to virus pandemic See in context

@Nator your calculations are wrong!!

a ¥4,000,000 per annum salary will get you a ¥20~30,000 gift.

Get your facts straight.

Care to share your working with the class?

As far as I can tell, a 4M salary would mean you could donate about 35,000 (depending on marital status, social security payments, etc..).

A 35,000 donation will get you maybe 4x5kg bags of rice. Or ten slices of pork. I find it highly unlikely those would be worth 20-30,000. Maybe 6-8,000 if you're generous. Minus the 2,000 fee.

(back of the envelope calculations).

So, my ward loses 35,000 and then puts up local tax or health insurance by 35,000 to cover it.

Small town gets maybe 15,000 and sends me 4 bags of rice.

Intermediary company gets 20,000 (probably + 2,000 fee, not actually sure who gets that).

So if my ward puts up taxes to cover it then I end up paying 37,000 for 4 bags of rice. If not, I end up paying 2,000 for 4 bags of rice and my ward loses money.

I probably should just not use it, but if everyone else is getting 'free' bags of rice and I'm not, then it feels like I'm getting doubly punished.

I'd rather give the 35,000 to my ward and they could use it for some decent heating or aircon for my kids school, or for some computers or tablets for the kids.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: TV news anchors wearing masks on camera ignites discussion See in context

They at least stop wearing those silly little clear plastic chin/mouth shields, which do absolutely nothing and promote a false sense of security.

Why not wear the clear plastic face shields that some people are wearing? That way can still see the faces and for some able to lip read

The problem is that those do almost nothing to prevent you breathing out the virus. They only really protect from spittle from people who are talking to you. As such, they maybe make sense for workers at reception or in shops who are being spoken to by many customers, but they don't really make sense for tv presenters or ofice staff. Even so, they need to be worn with masks to be remotely effective.

TBH, there's probably little health benefit to in-studio hosts and panelists wearing masks. In other countries it'd still probably be worth it just to promote mask wearing - but pretty much everyone here is already wearing masks.. so there's not really any point, and the drawbacks for deaf people would outweigh any benefits.

When reporters are out and about, or on those boring shows where they walk around and visit restaurants, they should probably be wearing proper face masks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: 'Hometown tax' donations rise due to virus pandemic See in context

This is such an insane system. On many levels.

My local ward, where lots of people live, gets less money to provide for things like schools and public services which all those people need. But some remote prefecture with 200 residents gets lots of money to spend on unneeded public facilities.

So then my local area needs to either raise taxes, or raise health insurance payments, or have shitty underfunded schools etc..

That would be mildly dumb, but then factor in that most of these local prefectures don't have the manpower to handle this, so it's all subcontracted out to 3rd party private companies, and then about 50% of my 'donation' goes to those private middle-men. So not only does my area that needs the money lose out, but also the area that gets the money loses out.

that would be pretty bad, but then factor in that it's a highly regressive tax system that benefits the rich much more than the poor. Rich people who pay high taxes can now shift huge amounts of that to 'hometown' areas and get massive amounts of free stuff that they could easily pay for. (TV last year showed one guy living in central tokyo who had an entire apartment full of free food and appliances that would last him for a year).

However, if your income is low then you are limited in how much you can donate, and so limited in how much you can receive. (Not even including the flat rate admin fee).

My income dropped 30% last year due to the coronavirus, so the amount we could donate dropped almost 50% and we could get practically nothing... just at a time when it would have been really rather useful to get something. Not to mention that you basically have to pay a big lump sum in advance, which again is going to be much easier for high income people than low income people.

Eg: Income 3M. Can donate 20k. 2k fee. Get about 3k gift. yay! not.

Income 10M. Can donate maybe 60k. 2k fee. Get about 15k gift. Yay!

(figures pulled out of the air, so don't quote me).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Only 37% of firms met Japan gov't target of cutting commuters by 70% See in context

There are a lot of jobs that can't be done remotely. Regular office paperwork probably can, but a lot of people on the train might work in positions or departments where they can't work remotely.

My job is almost impossible to do remotely. My company has gotten a lot of backoffice workers to work remotely, they've also moved a lot of their customer interaction online, but there's no way they could ever get close to the 70% of employees working from home target.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: GameStop rallies back as U.S. regulators eye wild trading See in context

I get the sentiment, but maybe Robin Hood was worried about lots of these small investors losing a bunch of money if they all followed the trend and bought at a high price.

You could argue that they were protecting the low-income people at their home PCs.


And the Biden administration is siding with the Wall Street sharks.

Any evidence of this? they seem to be mainly staying out of it for now

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Posted in: 'Bridgerton' sets new Netflix record with 82 million viewers See in context

what with directors and script writers having their hands tied as they do regarding all kinds of social issues and other things

I think you're getting things a bit backwards, given that directors and writers have the freedom to address way more social issues than they used to. The show in question is a great example of the creators having the freedom to do things their way and address the issues they want to address in a way they probably couldn't have done 10 years ago.

"Bridgerton" has made the top 10 in every country except Japan,

I look forward to Japan suddenly catching up in 5 years time, just in time for the final season. ;-)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan taking cautious approach to COVID-19 vaccination rollout See in context

Unless it's 30 in the whole site then, yeah, we're doomed.


So, they could have certified the vaccine 2 months earlier? And in those 2 months about 3500 people have died?

Of course, the vaccine wouldn't have prevented those deaths exactly, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to assume that 2 months delay of vaccinations would lead to around 2 months of excess deaths.

But of course, we don't want to 'take any risks!'. I think my idea of risk and theirs are very different.

Using medical students to do vaccinations when there aren't enough medical staff available is apparently a crazy risk, but vaccinating less people is apparently not a crazy risk at all!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan enacts ¥19 tril extra budget to fight virus amid criticism See in context

Now I wonder where this money is going. Only yesterday, Suga said "do not look to the government to take care of you. As a last resort, claim welfare".

That's all they are doing - if you lose your job, sign on. So why does that need 19 trillion yen and who is getting it?

That would be welfare like "Hello Work" which isn't available to freelancers, right?

Or welfare like Rent Support where they pay direct to the landlord which will probably make you look bad or screw your credit rating. But even then they'll only do that after tapping your relatives or the guarantor company which will probably make you look bad or screw your credit rating.

Or just general welfare, where they will (for no good reason) inform your relatives that you are claiming welfare, which will definitely make you look bad.

The most frustrating thing is that, with summer and vaccines coming on line, we're probably only a few months from the end of the worst... but if people are losing jobs or houses at this stage, that's going to have a much bigger longer term impact on both them and their families, and on the economy.

I'm all for helping the environment, but right now doesn't seem to be the time. Now is the time for the government to take care of people, as other governments around the world are doing.

This is a massive budget, and I honestly have no idea where about 80% of it is even going to go, or what good it's going to do. Crazy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan likely to extend COVID-19 state of emergency See in context

Suga also said he is not planning a repeat of last year's distribution of a 100,000 yen stimulus to each of Japan's 126 million residents, saying the government is taking more targeted steps to keep businesses going and protect jobs.

Really?! What? Where? Can anyone point out where I can get hold of this, or any information on this?

(Side note: I'm not a restaurant)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: S Korea seeks 'amicable solution' to comfort women issue with Japan See in context

The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, acknowledged that a 2015 bilateral agreement on settling the comfort women issue was an official one, and thus South Korea "has a policy not to make any additional claims against Japan at the government level."

But it said Seoul has neither the right nor the authority to prevent the victims themselves from raising concerns, adding that "the real problem cannot be solved only by agreements between the governments that do not reflect the intentions of the victims."

This seems reasonable to me, assuming the court system in Korea is independent from the government.

That said, the entire thing is a mess that seems to keep dragging on, and could easily have been resolved many years ago.

Imho the Japanese government should just take out full page ads in all the main South Korean newspapers and print a clear an unequivocal apology, with an offer of decent compensation to each of the victims. They could use the money from that previous deal's pot if they want.

It seems that what the victims want more than money is a clear public apology and signs of contrition. So why not bypass the South Korean government and just publicly apologise directly to the victims and accept responsibility?

If they did something like that, and then the South Korea government demanded more in the future, I don't think the South Korean government would have a leg to stand on.

They are probably spending more per week on legal fees than it'll cost them in total in compensation.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

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