Safety Warning

The consulate of Japan in New York has issued a warning to all Japanese nationals in and around New York.

Points 1. and 2. aren’t so interesting, but point 3. boils down to the following:

In (1) Japanese citizens being and traveling to New York are advised to keep themselves informed about current events.

In (2) they are advised to stay away from certain areas like Zucotti Park for their own safety.

In (3) the consulate advises them further to stay way from groups of marchers (aka occupiers) even if they’re curious, again for their own safety.

So there’s the first foreign government warning its citizens of this so called “movement”.

Japan, by the way, has no occupy movement. Why is that? I guess it’s because the people there, especially in the North, know real loss and desperation, unlike the spoiled children at these ridiculous protests.

Let me remind you: Almost 20,000 people died on March 11 in the quake and following tsunami (with up to 100,000 children uprooted from their homes.) The tsunami, according to Keio university, was over 40 meters in some places. It knocked out Fukushima and led to a massive series of problems there. The quake itself had seven foreshocks, but more than 1,200 aftershocks. The devastation in the North was, and still is, absolutely unbelievable.

I was up there in July and it was still bad. I will be up there again in December, and I doubt that everything has been cleared by now.

What this catastrophe has done in Japan was an absolutely incredible show of solidarity. The country grew together, united. Everybody pitched in. Super famous and popular girl group AKB48, Arashi, SMAP, all the big names of show business were pitching in. Super star Ueto Aya helped out in a kitchen in one of the hit areas, just like many others. Some of my favorite actors dropped what they were doing and headed north with what they could organize on such short notice. The “evil capitalists” ™ of Japan donated millions upon millions of dollars. Companies like noodle giant Nissin did what they could to help with their equipment. Nissin, for example, not only shipped tens of thousands of noodle packs up there, they also brought their mobile kitchens.

Everybody pitched in, and many people are still pitching in. It’s not over yet, it will be a long, hard road to recovery, but they won’t give up. They won’t start occupying parks in Tokyo to get what they want. They will instead work hard. It’s a mentality thing, really. The Japanese have this virtue, “ganbare” (がんばれ), never give up.


Now I’m just curious how many governments will follow with similar warnings.

And yes the Mountainbear changed his display name to what he usually goes by. Extra cookies if you recognize the relation and little wordplay.

About Edohiguma

A friend of death, a brother of luck & a son of a b*tch. A bear with guns (based on the right to arm bears), enforcer of the law and a riot cop of history. Studying that Japanese stuff. Shanghaiing your books since 1543.... AND NEVER GIVING THEM BACK!
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14 Responses to Safety Warning

  1. Xpat says:

    I want my COOKIES!!!!

    I’m in substantial agreement as far as Occupy goes, as well as the solidarity around the disaster, but I wonder if your fondness for the country isn’t biasing your perception.

    Japan 1) has a debt to GDP ratio that would make Greece blush, 2) the entitlement system is really starting to create problems which will only get worse with the greying population, and 3) I find more and more people, rather than being the hard-working go-getters of yore, are playing the system and doing the minimum they have to do to grab their own. Add to this the leadership deficit (as you have pointed out, the last substantial leader was Koizumi).

    The only question for me is whether the decline will be gradual, precipitous, or (best case) self-correcting and leveling out. But there is no up, mainly because of demographics (but not only).

    Japan is a very statist country. It worked for a while, but now? And things like crony capitalism are almost written into the system–very ingrained.

    • Edohiguma says:

      Oh, I know. It’s far from rosey.

      The national debt is absolutely nuts by now. 250% of the GDP in 2015 are expected and the idiots in the Diet aren’t doing anything about it. They continue to spend. Their solution? Oh, the usual, more taxes. That won’t do anything as long as these nuts don’t stop their ridiculous spending. LDP, DPJ the difference is trivial by now. And there aren’t really any alternatives, just like over here.

      Still, the number of welfare recipients is significantly lower than, let’s say, in Germany, where the welfare state now eats almost 50% of the annual budget (and that only with increasing the national debt.) In our system, why would anyone work for 900 Euro per month when you can get 1,000 Euro easily from the government for not working? And that’s not counting all the money you can get when you have kids (in Austria it’s 150 Euro per child, per month, and that 14 times per year, andthe older the child gets, the more money you get, if the child attends university, you get that money until the kid is 27.) And the system gets abused on a level… I don’t even want to think about it. It’s just awful. Our taxes are, of course, significantly higher than in Japan, but even those high taxes (Austria right now has the highest tax income ever) aren’t enough to stop the downwards spiral.

      The greying population is the same issue everywhere these days. Japan is just somewhat farther down the road than we are, but the problem is present in the entire EU as well. The difference is how its handled. Even just suggesting that maybe the retirement age may have to be brought up a bit makes people scream over here. The retired people I know in Japan have one big fear: being useless. I know an ex-cop in Tokyo who is volunteering at a large police station. He’s long since retired but he just hates feeling useless.

      Sure, we do have significant immigration, but… yeah. That’s not working so well for us. Most of the people we get are unskilled, uneducated folk who just come to milk our welfare states. And the EU wants to import a few more millions of them.

      In Austria we used to import hordes of filipina nurses, since we were lacking them decades ago. We still lack them (our hospitals are all understaffed), but now Japan’s going to snatch them all, since they allowed them to come to Japan. Now where will those girls go? To Japan of course. It’s closer to home and the taxes are lower.

      Meanwhile small and middle businesses over here are having issues finding people who’re willing (and capable) to learn trades. I just need to look at my hometown. The kids coming out of school are usually to lazy and simply too dumb to be of any use. We’re breeding an army of non-achievers and welfare state milkers over here. Some of these kids can’t use proper German and fail at the most basic math (calculate the area of a square.) Japan isn’t doing that just yet, so they still have an advantage over us. Yes, they have the NEETs, but even those are harmless compared to what we have. Despite the crazy national debt Japan is still better off than the EU. What do you think will happen when Greece fails (it’s really a matter of when, not if), and when the other PIIGS follow that road. And don’t make me start on Eastern Europe. They will milk us too. Austria’s already facing a possible down-grade from AAA, and we’re one of the rich ones. Who’s going to bail us out? Nobody, because once we go down the other rich countries will come tumbling down behind us.

      We’re just as statist, maybe even more, thanks to the EU. Sure, in the EU theoretically EU citizens can go anywhere and work there. But there’s always the language barrier to consider, and that is a HUGE obstacle. Plus the completely out of control bureaucracy that is plaguing the entire system.

      Still, I’d rather experience the crash over there than here. If I go down, I rather go down with people I love. But we’ll crash long before Japan. The Japanese will sort it out on the long run. We won’t, simple as that. This artifical multi-cultural construct that is the EU is literally shoving us into a black hole. And if we bail out of that EUSSR, well, in Austria we’ve experienced how the EU treats countries that “step out of line”. Years ago we had an election and the so called “right wing” Freedom party ended up in the government. The EU quickly smacked us with sanctions. Sanctions over a free, democratic election.

      The EU also has its own “police” force, the EUROGENDFOR. I say “police” because they’re gendarmes, which are effectively military forces in police roles. The member countries are, interstingly, three of the PIIGS (Spain, Portugal, Italy), Romania (the most corrupt country in Europe), France (who’re pushing for “saving” the Euro at all costs) and the Netherlands (a multi-cultural nightmare.) They can deploy them into any country they wish. The Lisbon Treaty allows such interventions for various, partly absolutely ridiculous, reasons. Not that they would succeed. Such a move would lead to open war, even in Austria, cause I doubt the Tyroleans, Corinthians and Styrians would just watch foreign “troops” occupy their land. Especially the Tyroleans are known to not bow to foreign invaders (see Andreas Hofer.) Europe will burn, that is inevitable by now and, to be honest, maybe it’s even necessary. Sometimes a good, purging fire can do wonders.

      One thing I’ve heard from Germany this year particularly shocked me. Apparently the German gold reserves, which are stored in the US (for whatever reason), have been seen the last time in 2007. Since then nobody knows if they even still exist. This is going to get really ugly.

      And what do you want a cookie for? You have no solved the riddle!

    • Edohiguma says:

      There are two points I forgot. Or was it three… I forgot how many points I forgot!

      First of, the greying population is partly caused by the ready access to abortion. The EU, for example, has roughly 4 million abortions per year. To put that into perspective, every two years the entire population of Austria is butchered simply because they’re inconvenient or whatever. The entire attitude towards children in societies has changed. Children are a burden. My own aunt was whining how, should she have a child, it would also be her life, and the kid would have to make do with kindergarten and a nanny. Which eventually happened.

      It’s almost as if children are toys. They are cute for a while, but when they get annoying, hand them over to some minion or put them in front of the tv. Or, if you’re a total twerp, don’t let it get that far and just kill them before they’re born.

      Let me make a counter proposal.

      Politicians talk about how abortion is fine when the child would be a burden to the family and/or society. Okay.

      What about old people? They only cost money. They’re a burden to society and their families. Solution: no more retirement. The moment you can’t work anymore, you’re put down.

      What about handicapped people? They are “less useful” than people without handicap. And we need to install all kinds of special appliances for them. That all costs money. They are a burden to society and their families. Put them down.

      Of course some people will now scream, but what really is the difference? Human life is apparently that cheap already. The cost of a human life in some abortion clinics is roughly $400. Second trimester may be more expensive, but that’s what it essentially boils down to. That’s dirt cheap.

      And remember what I once said: the DNA of the fetus is 100% human and it’s alive, since the cells are multiplying. The fetus is by definition a human being. Whether it’s self-aware or not is irrelevant.


      Another issue is retirement age. The Greek retirement age is 50/55 (women/men). The Austrian retirement age is 60/65 (with exceptions for workers in physically demanding jobs, like construction or steel production.) Something ain’t right there and it ain’t in Austria.

      As people grow older and older upping the retirement age is something that every industrialized country will have to do.

      And then comes the one huge advantage Japan has over Greece (and the rest of us.)

      They don’t have the Euro.

      The Greek problems have been significantly worsened by this stillbirth of a wannabe currency. Greece has no control over the currency used in the country. None of us has. Brussels dictates it. Back with the drachme Greece could just have devalued it and made money with that. Today they can’t do that because they have absolutely no control over it.

      The Yen, right now, is far too hard. There will be a devaluation necessary eventually, probably combined with a currency reform. But at least Japan can do that. We can’t. If another PIIGS goes down, we’re all in trouble. What am I saying, we already are.

      Now the Austrian government says they want to bring the national debt down to 60% of the GDP. Well, how’s about not guaranteeing 20+ BILLION Euro for Greece as a start? No, we can’t do that. Why? Because the Lisbon Treaty is like the Paths of the Dead or goblin infested Moria in LOTR. Once you’re in, you’re toast. You can’t get out. According to the EU the treaty forbids leaving the Euro zone. And sadly there’s no Gandalf or Aragorn in the EU to lead us out of this. All we have is goblins.

  2. wormme says:

    I learn a lot from you Nipponophiles (is that right?) but every fact learned raises three questions. I’m starting to lean toward Steyn; either Japan goes successfully trans-human or it goes into history.

    • Edohiguma says:

      Well, the first trans-human systems already work. That’s the interesting thing. There are now tests of artifical limbs that allow you to climb stairs as if they were normal feet and legs. The first eye implant has already been tested and it worked. Now we just need to learn how to clone body parts…

  3. Xpat says:

    Niponophile sound right to me!

    Well, in my dreams the present “little” guys of East Asia (Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, maybe more) pull together into a tighter alliance because China is getting so incredibly obnoxious, and as a result Japan gains from the energy of the other members (and the US benefits from a much more US friendly Asia). I think robots are, and will remain, far too expensive to be a realistic solution to much of anything. I mean, stationary robots can do a lot of stuff, but as soon as you want one that actually has to move around (unless it’s a little horseshoe crab vacuum cleaner), the processing power is so inhibitive . . . But I’ve been wrong before.

    A Hokkaido brown bear from the Edo period?

    • Edohiguma says:

      I don’t think the processing power will be an issue. Compare the CPU power 20 years ago with today. It will advance further and that at extremely high speeds.

      My first PC was a 468 (was an Amiga user until then.) Before that we would be jealous over a buddy having a 60 MB hard drive on his 368. I had my first Pentium roughly 12 or so years ago. It had a 4 GB hard drive and I managed to beef the RAM up to 500 MB. Today I have more RAM than that and I’m riding 5 TB hard drives in the case (not counting my external HDs.) Imagine the power in another 12 or so years. The processing power advances in massive steps. Take GPUs as another example. My first 3D card was a Voodoo. You had to plug it into the case, and put cable from the AGP card to the Voodoo and then from the Voodoo to the screen. I’m now running a 590 GTX. It literally rapes every game right now.

      What I foresee on the long run is an Asian Union. Not as messed up as the EU, of course. That’s the nice thing. Asia can learn from Europe’s mistakes. The Koreans have already learned from the completely messed up German re-union. India eastwards. That’s what it’ll be. Now we just need to free and unite Korea, and then free China.

      Very close my friend, very close. Yep, it’s a pun at the ezohiguma. However, you didn’t see the most obvious thing. Edo is Tokyo. So you only get half a cookie.

      • Xpat says:


        And I could almost taste the other half of that cookie!

        The Missus has something of an inside line on the “aging industry” in Japan. These days all sorts of “day care” centers (ironically, day care centers are now for old folks!), day services, and various other old folk facilities are springing up, but quite a lot of it is opportunistic feeding off of centrally funneled pension money. It is not money properly planned, spent, or managed, but it is a chance for some people to get real rich quick. A splurge of profligate, unmonitored social planning spending.

        My offspring are telling me taxes are going up hugely for young workers to fund these and other ill conceived things. There is getting to be a lot less reason to work hard and save for the future, much less raise a family. The Japanese work hard when they have something to work for, but this?

        When you get out beyond the Tokyo area (which still feels very vibrant and happening) you really notice this “oldening” going on everywhere. In the not too distant future it’s going to 1/3 old folks being supported by 2/3 able bodied young folks, and then the ratio’s going to get more and more unfavorable. How is that sustainable? There will be a brain drain as smart and capable Japanese get out of the country to try to make it happen somewhere else–some of this is already starting.

        I still find it hard to believe how Japan managed to p*ss away its hard earned wealth and extraordinary human capital. However, your abortion thesis is very plausible. I wonder if that might be turned into a serious empirical and statistical study?

        • Edohiguma says:

          We also have such “day care” centers by now as well. It’s convenient. For kids, just dump the kids there. For old people, just dump them there too. Actually, why not combine them. The kids have someone to listen to and play with and the old people are occupied. Win-win!

          Yeah, outside it’s pretty brutal. And often the only contact the old people in the provinces have with the outside world is the mailman. The kids have all moved away to the city. Heck, I just need to take the grandparents of a certain someone. They’re from near Fukushima. Their kids moved to Tokyo. Their grandkids are born there already, so are their great-grandkids.

          The problem is getting out of the country won’t help them at all. If they move to the EU, they’re in the same situation. US, well, that country can’t carry on the way it’s been run for the past decades either. So there’s not really anywhere to go. As for brain drain, we already have that. Especially in Germany it’s really bad. It’s not so much the academics, but rather skilled workers. Thousands of them leave Germany every year. Many go to the US. Australia is also very popular. And, from what I hear, the German carpenters and smiths and whatever else, are pretty well liked in the US, because they’re well trained and willing to work. The replacements we get for those who leave… oh dear. Let’s say they’re simply inferior.

          As for pissing it all away, well… it’s the same here and in the US. We all got soft, our societies are broken, our school system trainwrecks. We’re breeding armies of non-achievers who think they’re entitled to everything.

          I’ve started reading one of the “kamikaze” diaries again and, well, there’s this sentiment in it that Japan must be destroyed so that it can be rebuild away from the, back then, current government and systems. I’m beginning to think that this idea isn’t so bad globally. The nonsense is out of control. The diaries are generally interesting to read, as they show a completely different picture compared to the official propaganda from both sides back in the war.

          Also interesting how quickly this went off topic. I just meant it as a note of the travel warning by the Japanese consulat, which, given what happened yesterday in NY (with officers being assaulted, beaten with bottles and stabbed, while the highly hostile and aggressive crowd was screaming “peaceful! peaceful!” like the morons they are), was 100% justified.

    • MG says:

      Don’t forget that Japan already has the second most powerful navy on earth. Head on, China would be boxed in by Japan alone. (And China is vastly behind US naval power also.)

      We have a regional framework which, ostensibly, started as an anti-terror thing, but has become a much more general defense framework with all the major players around China.

      Japan, systemically, needs to drop some of their paternalistic protections. If their entire economy could be more productive, rather than loading their productivity into technology and industrial sectors, they would have a better footing.

      • Edohiguma says:

        Problem with the economy is that Japan is simply lacking natural resources on its own. So they have to import most of it. That has always been an issue from the very moment of the modernization (which is massively overhyped anyway, the Meiji Restoration didn’t really change much for the common folk, the majority of the Japanese were piss-poor until the end of WW2.) And that eventually led to the expansion into the Pacific, because the war in China was eating up resources like crazy, so they figured they’d need the oilfields and what not from other colonial powers (shows the madness of the leaders back then “hey, we can’t win in China because we’re lacking resources, here’s a cunning idea: let’s piss off everyone else so that we can get those resources!”.)

        • MG says:

          Their economic efficiency appears to mostly come from sectors most affected by the need to import resources.
          I’m thinking about things like food production where they have huge room for efficiency gains, which they don’t try to do. If their whole economy could streamline it would help it.

  4. SeanB says:

    So, the flower of Edo is unhappy with what is happening in the state. Wednesday I met a German engineer 9 the accent is a give away, having met a lot of Sudwesters. Qualified engineer here in South Africa, and looking for work. Current job he has is the one most “foreigners” land up doing for some period – unpaid Car Guard at a shopping centre. He hopes that next year he will be better employed. If there were any opening at my workplace I would have asked him to apply him right there, but nothing at the moment.

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