Skip to content

Thank you for being brave enough to share your opinions on this topic. No matter who wins the election, I hope that a lot of people will think seriously about the issues and decide who they think would be the best person to lead the country. As many people have pointed out, neither of the main parties looks very good, so I suppose it will be a case of choosing the lesser of two evils.

For me, the LDP is the party of “amakudari” and “pork-barrel” politics. That system worked in the past when Japan was a very rich country, but I can’t see how it will help the country now. It will make a lot of individuals (i.e., politicians, bureaucrats, and bosses of construction companies) rich, but the young people of today will end up paying for it with much higher taxes in the future. To an outsider like me, it seems as though the older generation of Japanese people are just stealing from their children and grandchildren.

By the way, did you see the news about the NHK announcer? He has been suspended for 3 months for sexually assaulting a young girl on a train. In any other country he would lose his job and be thrown in prison. I guess the “I was drunk so I don’t remember anything” excuse still works in Japan. How would you feel if the girl was your daughter? Would you think a three-month suspension would be sufficient punishment for this man? I know I wouldn’t.

I noticed also that the situation with the Senkaku Islands is getting more and more dangerous. China has started flying planes over them now. I hope that some kind of solution can be worked out in the near future.

Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments on this week’s topic.

I think he didn’t have enough time or chance to really run the country.
I don’t think he had enough time or opportunity to really run the country. (A-Z: negative sentence word order)

>I can’t help thinking that the last thing Japan needs is to go back to the old way of doing things.
私は日本が昔の(物事の)やり方に逆戻りすることだけはやってほしくない、と思わずにはいられません。
That sounds right to me. Thanks for doing the translation again. It must take you ages!

I tried talking about the coming poll when we gathered, and no further conversation.
Do you know the expression “and the conversation just died”?

> I don’t think Mr. Noda was a bad leader.
I think so, too.
I don’t think so either. (A-Z: me too)

Although I’m not pro-nuclear, I think he is not altogether wrong.
No matter how bad the consequences, I think that Japan needs to abolish nuclear power. It is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, and the power companies and the government have shown clearly that they cannot be trusted to regulate it properly. I hope the Japanese people do not fall for their lies.

To tell the truth, I can’t find any specific plans how they’re going to abandon nuclear power in any of the parties.
If anyone is interested, here is my plan:
1. Invite a panel of experts from other countries to assess how dangerous each nuclear power plant is depending on its age and location. Stop the system of “amakudari” between the power companies and the regulators.
2. Close down all the old and/or dangerous ones. Japan might need nuclear power, but we have seen in the last year that it doesn’t need so many power stations.
3. Set up an independent committee of experts (including people from other countries) to establish and monitor safety systems. Let them have the power to close down stations that do not meet the standards.
4. Stop building any new power stations, and start investing in alternative power sources.
5. Set a time limit for Japan to become nuclear free.
6. Hope and pray that there is not another major natural disaster during that time.

I don’t think opening the country is a bad idea, but we should remember that it can produce a big loss and victims, too.
This is true, but Japan seems to want other countries to open up so that it can sell its products overseas. That strikes a lot of people as unfair.

because it might mean that his students will have to go to war in the future.
Can you imagine the current generation of young Japanese men going to war?! They would have to take their hairdryers and eyebrow scissors!

Mr. Abe should go to war the first and fight for his “beautiful Japan”.
Right-wing politicians tend to be very keen on sending other people’s children to war. Of course, they make sure they find a way of keeping their own children out of danger (e.g., George W. Bush!).

David said “the LDP seem to be in favor of” in his entry, but I found “If the LDP wins power” in Japantoday. I’m not sure, but perhaps both are okay.
That is correct. Both are possible.

I’ve been supported for DPJ for many years.
I’ve been a supporter of the DPJ for many years.

Also, it’s very difficult to figure out who belongs to which party.
Nice sentence, and very true!

I don’t have any political parties or politicians that I can believe in or who I would trust to lead Japan.
There are no political parties or politicians who I would trust to lead Japan.

Sorry but I am tied up with work.
I hope you get it all sorted out before the holidays.

There’re only some long-standing parties, but the others are all quite new.
To me, the whole thing looks like a game of musical chairs!

Japanese companies will have to make their products cheeper and cheeper if cheep foreign products are imported.
You mean just like companies in other countries had to do when they started importing Japanese products?! That was why Japan became so unpopular in the U.S. in the 1980s. (By the way, the correct spelling is “cheaper.”)

I think it can also be said as “fear of being the odd one”.
“fear of being the odd one out.”

His disease is ulcerative colitis(潰瘍性大腸炎)and it is designated as an intractable disease(特定疾患) and many people are suffering from this disease now .
If his disease is so serious, how was he able to become PM in the first place? And is he really the best choice now?

Just after Mr. Abe mentioned inflation targeting policy, the yen became weak(that’s good for exporting companies) and the stock market reacted strongly and the shares are on the rise.
Remember that markets tend to think only in the short term. Mr. Abe’s plans might do some good for Japan in the next year or two, but they will create massive problems for future generations.

This easy monetary policy will help to improve the present bad economy.
I’m afraid it is not as simple as that. It depends how the money is put into the system. Britain has been doing something similar for the last two years, and it has had very little effect on the economy. There is also a real danger of losing control of inflation once it has started.

If you watch this, you will understand how terrifying China is. 
I agree that China is a scary country, but the way that right-wing politicians in Japan react plays right into their hands. If Japanese politicians were to apologise properly for the wartime atrocities, pay compensation to the comfort women, and stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine, they would take away all the Chinese government’s ammunition and make them much weaker.

I wonder a person who has health problems like him should become our leader.
I wonder whether a person…
Actually, I guess it doesn’t matter, because the leader will probably change again in a few months!

I think, in Japan many people will be careful “not” to make their blemishes (is this an appropriate word?) stand out.
I don’t think “blemishes” is the right word. Maybe just “not to stand out”? (Mind you, Japan has some of the quirkiest fashions in the world!)

People around me might be a bit different… I always talk about politics or other issues with my husband and my friends. It’s not a quarrel but a discussion!
That’s good to hear!

That’s it for today. Thanks for taking part in the discussion, and I hope that whoever is chosen on Sunday can put Japan on a path to a more positive future. To be honest, though, my hopes are not high.

Have a great weekend.

18 Comments

  1. YU on Friday December 14th, 2012 at 06:16 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    > Can you imagine the current generation of young Japanese men going to war?! They would have to take their hairdryers and eyebrow scissors!

    I totally agree with you, and that is exactly the same as the story a politician mentioned on TV! Moreover, I don’t think most Japanese parents today will send their children to war.

    I hate wars.
    Everyone says “There’s nothing more important than human life”, but why do people kill each other in the war? Because some countries are rich in natural resources and some are not? Why some politicians like wars? Because selling/having weapons makes their countries stronger and richer?
    It doesn’t matter to me at all. All I need is a quiet, peaceful life.

    > You mean just like companies in other countries had to do when they started importing Japanese products?! That was why Japan became so unpopular in the U.S. in the 1980s.

    I know exactly what you mean, and you’re right, but did your products get cheaper when your country started importing Japanese products? Was your country in a bad economy then?
    By the way, do you agree with me that it can cause a further deflation in Japan? I’m a bit skeptical if Japan can really overcome the further deflation and survive. As you say, Japan isn’t a rich country any more.

    >(By the way, the correct spelling is “cheaper.”)

    I need to start from ABC again!

    > Actually, I guess it doesn’t matter, because the leader will probably change again in a few months!

    hahaha…
    Joking apart, I’m very worried about Mr.Abe’s health condition. He looks sick again just like right before he resigned last time. He looks pale and coughs a lot. I hope he is just exhausted from the election campaign.

    > but we have seen in the last year that it doesn’t need so many power stations.

    I agree. The other thing what I’m always thinking about is that in any case in the future we’ll not need the same number of nuclear power plants as now because it is said that the population will reduce by half.

    By the way, when do you leave for Australia?

    Have a great weekend, all!

    See you!



  2. Fumie on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 06:34 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback and bringing up the timely topic! Reading everyone’s comments help me deciding which party I will vote for. But I still don’t decide whether I vote for LDP or DPJ. I said before “Mr.Abe resigned PM because of his disease so I don’t think we should blame him for that.” but I don’t mean I support him.
    I read newspaper and only watch 30 minute news on TV, so I don’t know each party’s plan well so I should study about them until tomorrow. As Japan(world) is in a difficult time, choosing the right(lesser of evils -if I borrow David’s word)party is very important.
    皆さんの意見を読んで、選挙の参考になりました。でもまだ、自民党に投票するか、民主党にするか決めてません。前のコメントで「安部元首相は健康問題で辞職したからそのことで責めるべきではない。」と書きましたが、だからって彼を支持してるわけではありません。
    新聞を読み、30分程度のニュースは毎日見てますが、あまり各政党の政策を知らないから、明日までにもうちょっと調べて投票に行こうと思います。日本(世界)は大変な状況だから、より良い(ましな)政党に投票することが大切に思います。
    >How would you feel if the girl was your daughter? Would you think a three-month suspension would be sufficient punishment for this man?
    – Neither would I. If that happened to me or my children, I would feel not satisfied with his punishment!
    3か月の停職だけなんて納得いきません!

    >Do you know the expression “and the conversation just died”?
    – No、 I didn’t. Does this mean そこで会話が途切れた?

    >No matter how bad the consequences, I think that Japan needs to abolish nuclear power.
    ー I totally agree with you. I think your plan is well-thought-out one and if you became PM, Japan would be better country!
    私も原発ゼロに賛成です。David のプランはよく考えられていて、Davidが首相になれば、日本はよくなるのではと思いました。
    >I agree that China is a scary country, but the way that right-wing politicians in Japan react plays right into their hands.
    – I think their acts is just fuel to their anger and we need global minded politicians.
    日本側がきちんと謝罪したり、もっと相手国に理解を示す行動をすれば、あちらの行動や怒りも少し収まるのではないかな?と思います。

    >Actually, I guess it doesn’t matter, because the leader will probably change again in a few months!
    – I hope that will happen again.
    今度は新首相が短命で終わってほしくないです。

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Fumie



  3. YU on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 07:17 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    >Actually, I guess it doesn’t matter, because the leader will probably change again in a few months!
    – I hope that will happen again.
    今度は新首相が短命で終わってほしくないです。

    Davidは「健康に問題がある人が首相になっても(安倍さん)あまり問題ないと思うよ、だってどうせまた2、3ヶ月で交代するから」と言っています。
    これは健康に問題がある人がなることに賛成しているのではなく、皮肉だと思いますよ。
    もしわかってコメントしていたらすみません。



  4. Biwa on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 07:26 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.
    I saw the news about the NHK announcer, too, and thought “Again! NHK must have very close ties to the police.” I can’t imagine the announcer going back to work after his suspension. Is he going to work and chat with his colleagues as usual? How are they going to look upon him? If he were a real man, he’d better quit for himself.

    >Mind you, Japan has some of the quirkiest fashions in the world!
    -You’re right, but to me, they look fully armed not to be seen their real selves. It’s just the other side of the same thing, I would guess!
    By the way, “not to stand out” is a bit different from what I wanted to say. I was looking for the word to say this: 他の国では自分の長所を際立たせる工夫をするのに、日本では「欠点」を隠すことに力を入れるようだ。 Maybe you don’t have the concept itself to “hide” a “weak point”?

    Hi everyone,

    This is an article in Japantoday that says the voices of the elderly are mostly represented in election results because less than half of the young people(20s) vote. I really think that if more young people voted, the results might change a lot!
    I don’t read newspapers thoroughly, so I might be wrong, but I think I hardly see these kind of articles in Japanese newspapers.
    http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/japans-alienated-youth-overlooked-in-elections



  5. Anne on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 09:21 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.
    >I’ve been supported for DPJ for many years.
    I’ve been a supporter of the DPJ for many years.
    —I wonder if my original sentence was unnatural or was grammatically incorrect.

    >Just after Mr. Abe mentioned inflation targeting policy, the yen became weak(that’s good for exporting companies) and the stock market reacted strongly and the shares are on the rise.
    Remember that markets tend to think only in the short term. Mr. Abe’s plans might do some good for Japan in the next year or two, but they will create massive problems for future generations.
    —I agree with you,David. Kyon’s idea sounds rough to me.

    I’ve learned a lot of expressions or words from your feedback.
    Here are some of them:
    *“pork-barrel” politics–(土木費などの)国庫交付金を使う政治

    *In any other country he would lose his job and be thrown in prison—anyの使い方。(ほかのどの国においても、(そうした人物は)仕事を失い、拘留されることになるでしょう。

    *“and the conversation just died”?
    —It’s interesting.

    Take care not to catch a cold and have a lovely weekend, everyone!

    Anne



  6. YU on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 09:38 AM

    Hi Anne,

    *In any other country he would lose his job and be thrown in prison—anyの使い方。(ほかのどの国においても、(そうした人物は)仕事を失い、拘留されることになるでしょう。

    私だったら後半は「ブタ箱にぶち込まれる」と訳します。

    Anyway, it doesn’t seem that “pig” is used in a very good sense both in English(pig barrel politics) and Japanese….



  7. YU on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 09:41 AM

    Sorry,
    pig barrel politics should be “pork” barrel politics



  8. Anne on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Hi David,
    I realized I made a stupid question!
    My original sentence doesn’t make sense at all and I should have written “I’ve been supporting…” That’s what I wanted to write, anyway please forget my question.

    Hi Yu,
    >私だったら後半は「ブタ箱にぶち込まれる」と訳します
    –Haha, I avoided the strong translation. yeah, your are right.
    By the way, his case was dismissed because the girl didn’t want to appeal to the court. Aside from the feeling towards him, that result would cause NHK’s decision.  I’m meaning to talk what happened at the backstage.
    強い表現は避けました。 いわれる通りです。  ところで、彼のケース、女性が控訴を望まなかったので、不起訴処分になりました。 彼に対する、感情は別として、それがNHKの処分に影響していると思いますね。 後ろでどんな話し合いがなされたのか、について話すつもりはありませんが。



  9. Biwa on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Have you ever heard of JAXA’s(宇宙航空研究開発機構) project of launching a rocket called “Epsilon(イプシロン)”? They’re trying to produce solar-power electricity in space. If they succeed, they will be able to make electricity without worrying about bad weather, and also 10 times more electricity than doing that on earth. Aren’t these people just brilliant? I would like to add this project to David’s abandoning-nuclear plan. I hope some people in the new government will provide budget for these projects!



  10. YU on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 01:40 PM

    Hi Anne,

    –Haha, I avoided the strong translation. yeah, your are right.

    I actually thought so! because you always use refined language!! 🙂
    実はそうだと思ってましたよ、いつもAnneは上品な言葉づかいなので!(笑)

    > By the way, his case was dismissed because the girl didn’t want to appeal to the court.

    I heard it, too.

    > Aside from the feeling towards him, that result would cause NHK’s decision. I’m meaning to talk what happened at the backstage.

    I know exactly what David says, and I think he is right. By the way, do you think he will just accept NHK’s decision? Or do you think he will resign?
    Davidが言っていることは正論だと思います。
    ところで森本アナこのままNHKの処分を受け入れると思いますか?それとも辞職するでしょうかね?

    Anyway, what I feel is that if he hadn’t been a celeblity, his case wouldn’t have been widely reported as this. In this sense, I think it may be said that he already received severer social punishments than other criminals. Also, his family must be bashed more than usual.
    とにかく私が感じるのは、もし彼が有名人じゃなかったら彼のケースはこれほど大々的に報道されなかっただろう、ということです。この意味では彼は既に他の同レベルの犯罪を犯した犯罪者よりもかなり厳しい「社会的制裁」を受けている、と言えるのではないでしょうか?それに彼の家族も通常以上のバッシングを受けていることでしょう。

    Having said that, I think NHK’s punishment is surely too light!
    とは言え、NHKの処分はどう考えても軽すぎますよね!

    Hi Biwa,

    > I hope some people in the new government will provide budget for these projects!

    I hope 蓮舫 will read your comment!

    I’m going out to the Christmas party of my English club soon. I’m very worried about whether my son will perform well…

    See you!



  11. Kyon on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 03:24 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you very much for your feedback.

    It is very interesting to know different opinions of other people and exchange them.

    I’m looking forward to the result of the election tomorrow.

    Have a nice weekend, everyone.
    Kyon



  12. Fumie on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thank you for the explanation.
    >Actually, I guess it doesn’t matter, because the leader will probably change again in a few months!
    – I hope that will happen again.
    私もDavidは、どうせ日本の首相は2,3か月で交代するだろうから問題ないと皮肉で言ってるんだろうなぁと思いました。それで今度選ばれる首相はそうなって(交代して)ほしくないと言おうとしました。
    ごめんなさい。言おうとしてることをきちんと伝えれてないようです。英語だけでなく、日本語でも面と向かっての会話でない場合は難しいですね。

    Fumie



  13. YU on Saturday December 15th, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    >ごめんなさい。言おうとしてることをきちんと伝えれてないよ
    うです。英語だけでなく、日本語でも面と向かっての会話でない場合は難しいですね。

    Please don’t apologize.
    So, you actually wanted to write, “I hope it will NOT happen again.”?

    私もきちんと伝えられていないと思います。日本語でもよく誤解されてるし。書くのってゆっくり考えられるからいいけどどれだけ相手に伝わってるか読めないですよね。



  14. Fumie on Sunday December 16th, 2012 at 06:33 AM

    Hi YU,

    あ、そうか。ようやくわかりました。またすぐに首相が交代してほしくないと言いたいなら、notがいるんだ。あーこんな単純なことなのに気付けなかった。 Thanks!

    Fumie



  15. Biwa on Sunday December 16th, 2012 at 08:08 AM

    Hi YU,

    >I hope 蓮舫 will read your comment!
    -lol! Yes, I think so, too. I don’t like what she has said about the super-computers(どうして1番じゃなきゃいけないんですか?), though what she tried to do was not wrong. It made people think that they cannot waste people’s severe tax, at least.

    Hi Fumie and YU,

    >英語だけでなく、日本語でも面と向かっての会話でない場合は難しいですね
    -I really agree! That’s what I always think about when I write here and also emails. Written language don’t have intonations or face expressions(of course!), so sometimes they sound very strong. I hope my sentences don’t sound offensive to any one.
    同感です!書いた言葉は、抑揚や顔の表情が分からない分、想像以上に強く聞こえてしまうのでは・・・といつも心配になります。私の書いた文章が攻撃的に聞こえていなければいいのですが。



  16. Biwa on Sunday December 16th, 2012 at 08:28 AM

    Hi YU,

    How was the Christmas party? Did the children act all right? I believe so!
    My in-laws are coming for dinner tonight, so I’m going to do a lot of cooking today. We’re going to drink and eat watching the news flash of the vote-results! Perhaps ヤケ酒???



  17. YU on Sunday December 16th, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    She(蓮舫, actually, our government)tried to cut 97% of the budget for the JAXA’s Hayabusa 2 program by 事業仕分け. Finally, Hayabusa 1 returened to the earth with lots of research results right after the 事業仕分け!!

    JAXAはざま~見ろ、と思ったに違いありません!(笑)

    > How was the Christmas party? Did the children act all right? I believe so!

    Oh, well… I don’t think they performed very well, but they were not shy at all and looked like they were enjoying their performance very much. wonder, wonder!!
    My son also tried his first self-introduction in English in public. Of course, I sat beside him and supported his speech, though…
    Anyway, we had a very good time there. I’m glad that both the performance and the speech made my son’s day memorable.



  18. amo on Sunday December 16th, 2012 at 09:26 PM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your feedback, I haven’t written any comments on the topic though.

    >I hope you get it all sorted out before the holidays.
Yes, I believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel!!

    Hi everyone,

    How was your weekend? I eat out a lot this time of year. I dined out with a couple of friend from work on Friday night. I had lunch with a friend today and I am going to dine out next weekend. I am sure that I am going to put on some weight 🙁

    Good night,

    amo