Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘japan’

Our ally in Asia…

Posted by Charles II on September 9, 2014

Justin McCurry, The Guardian:

Barely a week after Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, overhauled his administration amid flagging popularity, two of his senior colleagues have been forced to distance themselves from rightwing extremism after photographs emerged of them posing with the country’s leading neo-Nazi.

Sanae Takaichi, the internal affairs minister, was among a record-equalling five women selected by Abe as he attempts to make his cabinet more female voter-friendly and to increase women’s presence in the workplace.

Takaichi, an Abe ally on the right of the governing Liberal Democratic party (LDP), was pictured posing alongside Kazunari Yamada, the 52-year-old leader of the National Socialist Japanese Workers party, on the neo-Nazi party’s website.

Yamada has voiced praise for Adolf Hitler and the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. In a YouTube video Yamada’s supporters are seen wearing swastika armbands, while he denies the Holocaust took place and criticises postwar Germany’s ban on the Nazi salute, accusing the country of being “no different from North Korea”.

I can see why the Chinese might be itchy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Comments Off on Our ally in Asia…

If corporations are people, they are very bad people

Posted by Charles II on January 16, 2012

John LaForge, truthout, on the latest atrocity:

In the amoral milieu of the corporate bottom line, you can’t blame Tokyo Electric Power Co. for trying.

Tepco owns the six-reactor Fukushima complex that was wrecked by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and smashed by the resulting tsunami. It faces more than $350 billion in compensation and clean-up costs, as well as likely prosecution for withholding crucial information that may have prevented some radiation exposures and for operating the giant station after being warned about the inadequacy of its protections against disasters.

So, when the company was hauled into Tokyo District Court October 31 by the Sunfield Golf Club, which was demanding decontamination of the golf course, Tepco lawyers tried something novel. They claimed the company isn’t liable because it no longer “owned” the radioactive poisons that were spewed from its destroyed reactors.

“Radioactive materials that scattered and fell from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant belong to individual landowners there, not Tepco,” the company said. This stunned the court, the plaintiffs and the press. An attorney for the golf club said, “We are flabbergasted….”

You gotta admit, that’s a novel defense. If they get away with it, I wonder what’s next? Guys claiming that they are not responsible for the deaths of people they shoot because the bullet is not longer in their gun?

Anyway, as we groan about the outrageous conduct of our corporations, it’s good to keep in mind that foreign corporations aren’t sweethearts either.

Posted in corporatists, corruption, crimes, impunity, Japan | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

US Media Talks Much About German Demands For Austerity, Not As Much About German Wages As Compared To US Ones

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 26, 2011

Betcha you won’t see this on your evening TV newscasts — or hear about it on your drive-time radio news programmes:

In 2010, over 5.5 million cars were produced in Germany, twice the 2.7 million built in the United States. Average compensation (a figure including wages and employer-paid benefits) for autoworkers in Germany was 48.97 Euros per hour ($67.14 US), while compensation for auto work in the United States averaged $33.77 per hour, or about half as much as in Germany, all according to 2007 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For Germany-based auto producers, the U.S. is a low-wage country.

Despite German companies’ relatively high labor costs in their home markets, these firms are quite profitable. An examination of the latest publically available financial statements of BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz cars), and Volkswagen reveals strong sales and profits even in the midst of the currently weak consumer markets in Europe and the U.S. In 2010, for example, BMW, produced 1.48 million cars (63 percent of them in Germany), and earned a before-tax profit from its automotive division of 3.88 billion Euros. The Mercedes-Benz car division of Daimler, likewise produced 1.35 million cars (72.4 percent in Germany) in 2010, and earned a before-tax profit of 4.65 billion Euros.

America’s one-percenters — and the media companies they influence and/or control — are too busy pretending that the 99-percenters, the poor and middle-class people, are a burden that needs to be punished and stripped of whatever pennies they have so the one-percent crowd can get even richer. Anything that contradicts that pretense is generally suppressed by US establishment media, especially the media that most Americans encounter regularly.

That’s why, while you’ll hear and see lots of stories in the US media about Stern Germany Punishing Debt Sinner Countries, you won’t hear about German autoworkers getting paid twice as much as US ones. Or about Greek workers working more hours and retiring later than German workers.

That’s why you won’t hear that, far from dying, Japan is actually doing quite well, thank you very much: because Japan a) has a well-functioning social safety net and b) has reined in its rich people quite effectively.

It’s also why you won’t hear much about how Argentina, which told the IMF and World Bank “Enough!” rather than further hurt its own people at the banks’ request, is now the economic powerhouse of Latin America.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Can Solar Power Save Japan?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 15, 2011

This sounds interesting:

Billionaire Masayoshi Son has a track record in taking on monopolies after building a business that opened up the nation’s telecommunications industry. Now he aims to shake up Japan’s power utilities after the worst nuclear crisis in 25 years.

Son, the 53-year-old chief executive officer of Softbank Corp. (9984), plans to build solar farms to generate electricity with support from at least 33 of Japan’s 47 prefectures. In return, he’s asking for access to transmission networks owned by the 10 regional utilities and an agreement they buy his electricity.

Radiation has spread across at least 600 square kilometers (230 square miles) in northeastern Japan after the March 11
earthquake and tsunami caused reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Prime Minister Naoto Kan said in May he will rethink a plan to increase atomic power to 50 percent of the nation’s total from 30 percent. Renewable energy accounts for 10 percent, according to Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, and Son wants that ratio to be tripled by 2020.

Sounds a bit like T. Boone Pickens’abortive scheme to get people to pay for his transmission lines and buy his natural gas in exchange for a few windfarms. But who knows?

Posted in Japan, solar | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

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