Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My goal in 2015: Forecasting

In every beginning of the year, I set one abstract principle which I will adhere to, as I wrote before.

My past entry: My goal in 2014
My past entry: My goal of the years

This year, "Forecasting" is my theme.

Knowing the future is difficult, but essential to an efficacious life. I am a dull person. I cannot react quickly to the changing situations. So, I have to prepare to do properly in advance. Additionally, good estimation lets me get along with many things. Both in work and private life, prediction skill is extremely useful.

Imagination is also required to predict the future situation exactly. I have to train it.

May God bless everyone in happy 2015!

Look back to 2014 (2)

Look back to 2014 (1)

July 2, 2014
Japan has right of collective self-defense

"Collective self-defense" was elected in Japan Buzzword Award this year. But I do not think many Japanese are concerned to this decision. Collective self-defense dose not mean the ideology of militarism, despite some people are worrying. There is another issue how Japan will go on the way in the future.

July 6, 2014
Banned account case of Instagram for child porn

The issued account is now owned by Michael Adamo, a father of four children. The owner is continuing to upload lovely photos of children.

July 20, 2014
iPad mini has come

I am utilizing this iPad mini with satisfaction. The storage is small, but enough for business use.

Unfortunately, I cancelled the monthly contract. Besides, I began to use Scribed, an e-book subscription service. Just after I joined to it, it started Audiobook service in addition. It was fortunate for me to find a textbook I had been seeking in it.

August 5, 2014

Since I came to the UK, I have not ridden in an airplane. I would like to take a trip again.

September 20, 2014
Scotland chose not to be independent for a while

It was a historic decision. It is no doubt that English people were relieved by the decline of the proposal to independence. But how about Scots?

By the way, I visited Scotland recently. Houses were a little different from England. So beautiful.

October 14, 2014
Ginger crash my IME?

A couple of months after, I challenged again to use Ginger. But it made another trouble on my PC. I uninstalled it immediately. Perhaps Ginger has several problems for stable activation.

October 23, 2014
Immature Kindle Unlimited

As described above, I introduced Scribd. There are some other similar services, such as Oyster. In the US, there is also a collective subscription service named "Next Issue." You can access lots of online magazines with $10 per month.

November 18, 2014
Mikan, a gunslinger exercise of English

For unknown reasons, it has disappeared from the App Store. I will investigate it, re-installing via iTunes.

November 20, 2014
reCAPTCHA, an unconscious internet project

Soon after I wrote this entry, Google introduced a new architecture. In this solution, you can choose some pictures matching the image suggested above, instead to inputting a series of letters.

Google Online Security Blog: Are you a robot? Introducing “No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA”

Selecting images is easy to do in a touch screen. I guess this task is contributing to improve the accuracy of image identification, as well as reCAPTCHA.

November 26, 2014
Sankei lawsuit in Korea

The trial has been continued. I wonder how Korean court make a judge about this kind of scandal.  Western media are criticizing the attitude of Korean government. The result will influence to national reputation of Korea.

The Washington Post: In South Korea, journalists fear a government clampdown on the press

November 29, 2014
James Watson to sell Nobel Prize medal

This medal was sold to an anonymous buyer for US$ 4.76 million. I was surprised that the buyer did not disclose the name, suggesting that he or she abandoned a great opportunity of advertisement. Maybe he or she is a retired millionaire, not an active entrepreneur.

Scientific American: DNA Laureate James Watson's Nobel Medal Sells for $4.1 Million

December 1, 2014
Threatening on Facebook: US Supreme Court case

The defendant is still appealing against the conviction. The decision of Supreme Court is yet to be published.

Mail Online: EXCLUSIVE: Criminal at center of landmark Supreme Court after being jailed for telling ex-wife on Facebook that he wanted her 'soaked in blood and dying' is STILL abusing people on social media

December 8, 2014
Bitcoin is recognised, but not accepted in the UK

I think Bitcoin has been stabilized in financial market. However, it is difficult to estimate its value in reality. The chart is still volatile.

December 11, 2014
Torture by CIA published

Criticism for CIA torture is still burning. Some people insist that the authorities involved in this issue should be prosecuted, but it is difficult to realize, I guess.

December 14, 2014
General election 2014 in Japan

Shinzo Abe seems to be willing to rewrite the constitution. This matter has been hardly discussed ever before, because it is not advantageous in general election. Wide discussion is needed for the both sides.

December 21, 2014
Nut rage case in Korean Air

Cho Hyun-ah was prosecuted with violating air safety laws.

Fortune: Former Korean Air executive's 'nut rage' lands her in custody

It is a disgrace for Korean Air. On the other hand, it is relieving that public justice is functioning in Korea. I wonder if the court will sentence to her.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Look back to 2014 (1)

The end of this year is approaching. This is not for the first time for me to stay on the New Year's Day in a foreign country. Now, I do not miss Japan.

I experienced some tough incidents in this year. I am not sure how is the next year is for me. I am willing to do my best for the future.

January 3, 2014
My goal in 2014

Considerably good performance. I have written over 300 entries in this years. I feel my working speed has been improved to some extent. I am proud of it.

January 5, 2014
Facebook in the future

My prophecy has not been realized yet. But I am certain that Facebook will direct to become an infrastructure. Interestingly, the ex-president of Line Japan also said that he would like to make Line work as an infrastructure.

January 18, 2014
Who is the strongest mutant in X-MEN series?

Surprisingly, Emma Frost was proven to have been killed in "X-Men: Day of Future Past." I wonder why she was defeated. Perhaps, young Magneto was not a good commander.

January 26, 2014
My first Chromebook and failure

Chromebooks is now available also in Japan. You can buy one via I am not sure how many people utilize them.

January 28, 2014
Snowden effect and the internet in the future

Not surprisingly, each nation has taken respective ways. Russia began to administrate information on the internet strictly with a new legislation. Facebook, Google, and Twitter are resisting Russian government censorship. Instead in Japan, Snowden is no more a topic. What a difference.

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Social-Media Giants Are Resisting Russia Censors

February 10, 2014
Tokyo governor election

Yoichi Masuzoe has been governing Tokyo. I heard no rumor about him, good or bad. I hope Tokyo will develop much more on his leadership.

March 19, 2014
Missing case of Malaysian Flight MH370

This case is still yet to be concluded. Furthermore, another missing airplane case occurred very recently. Horrible.

BBC: AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ8501 to Singapore missing

April 12, 2014
Article 9 of the constitution as a candidate of Nobel Prize

Article 9 and Japanese missed the Nobel Prize. I was not surprised. We Japanese have something more to develop the peaceful world. I think it does not mean the absence of the army.

April 17, 2014
Cloud storage services (2)

Copy is excellent. I have utilized it without any troubles.

April 18, 2014
Ara, destructive project of Google

Now, you can see the official website of Project Ara. A limited market pilot is planned in 2015.

Project Ara

May 22, 2014
Remote PC criminal revealed

The prosecutor demanded ten years' imprisonment for the defendant. The court desicion has yet to be sentenced.

May 23, 2014
Thailand Coup

Thailand seems still in confusion. The next general election will not be held until 2016. The economy is also deteriorating.

The Economisc: Delaying the day of reckoning

May 25, 2014
Best cities on the planet

London is chosen as the second best city to live. I agree that London is very safe and convenient city. Without some exceptions, I am satisfied to London life. Coldness is the worst matter.

May 29, 2014
Ishin split due to missing of the bosses

In the last general election, Japan Restoration Party lost some seats. Moreover, The Party for Future Generations (Jisedai no To), organized by Shintaro Ishihara, suffered a disastrous defeat. The both are in peril of extinction.

June 10, 2014
France ban off time email

By the way, I think not a few people do not return to e-mails. Even considering each situation, it is doubtful that a person seldom respond to e-mails deserves a trust.

June 21, 2014
English is no more first language in the UK

I recognize the matter after reached London. Many languages I heard in the restaurant. Some of them are not good at English at all.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sequel in December 2014

December 28, 2014
Usagi Yojimbo, realistic and educational play

I felt that Usagi Yojimbo was a story created for children seeing the play, yesterday. Indeed, many children visited the theater. And, I had no difficulty to understand the story line on the comic book. However, I was surprised afterwards to know that Mariko, a neighbor of Usagi, got a baby with him just before marrying Kenichi, a rival of Usagi. This episode is too complicated for children, but has a bitter taste. Interesting.

December 22, 2014
Sony Pictures abandon publishing Kim Jong-un movie

The internet was temporarily crippled repeatedly in North Korea.

Nobody has declared anything about this shutdown. But North Korea blamed Obama for these incidents.

It is uncertain that the US has seriously revenged to North Korea. If it is the direction by Obama, the second attack cannot be explained.

By the way, "The Interview" was published via the internet to the US residents.

It is ironic that this film attracted attention of consumers by this incident.

December 12, 2014
Oil price falling

Decreasing oil price has great influence to world economy. I guess Russia is the most suffering victim. Russia Rouble (RUB) was weakened by approximately 30% in this few months.

December 10, 2014
Skymark seek also ANA for collaboration

Skymark is going to collaborate with both of JAL and ANA, according to the media. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism intervened to the negotiation, proposing the idea of trio sharing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Usagi Yojimbo, realistic and educational play

Today, I went to see the play "Usagi Yojimbo."

Usagi Yojimbo is a series of comics originally written by Stan Sakai. It describes the life of samurais in Edo era in Japan, with many personified animal characters. The hero of this story is Miyamoto Usagi, inspired by Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary swordsman. Usagi means rabbit.

This series is so famous that many stories have been published in the US. I do not know how many issues have been released. Usagi Yojimbo

This time, I got an opportunity to see the straight play of Usagi Yojimbo at Southwark. So, in advance, I read some episodes via Kindle. As a Japanese descendant, the author seems very familiar with Japanese culture. The descriptions in the comic book were precise in detail. Some Kanji characters were present in it.

The theater was small, jointed to a tavern. The stage was surrounded by audience' seats with the three sides.

Southwark Playhouse presents: Usagi Yojimbo

The play focused on the adolescence of Usagi. He was grandchildren of a great warrior and dreamed to be an honorable samurai. But he was expelled from his home by mother, to have to enter a school of swordsmanship. On the way to a school of samurai, he met Katsuichi, a retired swordsman. He decided to study under Katsuichi, to learn about samurai spirit.

In this play, some Japanse culture were introduced without artificiality. Usagi had not been taught about swordsmanship unless he gained patience. His master told him that the essence of samurai was in faithful and industrious daily life. This concept is widely believed in Japan. He had to learn about many things other than fighting skills, such as gardening, calligraphy, and tea ceremony. Katsuichi said, "Fight for honor, not to revenge."

Having grown up, Usagi encountered his old friend, Kenichi, who had been a student of a famous school of swordsmanship. He was to fight with Kenichi at a championship tournament held by Mifune, a powerful lord.

By the way, Mifune is originated from Toshiro Mifune, a famous Japanese actor who played a samurai in film many times. In Western countries, "Mifune" represents a samurai lord. Actually, I have no Mifune in a real name of samurais.

This work was played by only five actors. Each of them played various characters. Fighting scenes were exciting. Additionally, clothing, items, and projecting objects were also realistic in replicating Japanese traditional culture.

Furthermore, there was another staff playing the drum set behind the stage. He hit several oriental drums and played the flute. The music had Japanese taste, quite attractive.

Japanese culture is sometimes misinterpreted in some American films. But Usagi Yojimbo completely replicate the atmosphere. The original comics are admired for its educational effect. I enjoyed it very much.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Top news and separated world

In the end of the year, many media report "top news of this year" every year. Reminding the past to summarize the current condition is worthy in terms of both confirming our footprints and learning from past failures.

The Guardian published the top 10 news stories. They are;

 1. The Great 2014 Celebrity Nude Photos Leak is only the beginning
 2. Sydney siege is over, say police, as hostages flee the scene – as it happened
 3.  D-Day landings scenes in 1944 and now – interactive
 4. Robin Williams’s death: a reminder that suicide and depression are not selfish
 5. The Scottish independence referendum: Scotland votes no – as it happened
 6. Philip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws
 7. Rosetta mission: Philae makes historic first landing on comet
 8. ‘In 1976 I discovered Ebola – now I fear an unimaginable tragedy’
 9. US student is rescued from giant vagina sculpture in Germany
10. Optic nerve: millions of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ 

The Guardian: The 10 top news stories of 2014 on

This list is ordered by page view. So, it is reasonable that articles with a sensational title such as "nude" or "vagina" are ranked in. I have known some contents of the news, in particular, celebrity nudes leak, Robin Williams, Scotland, and Ebola. But I have not read any articles cited.

On the other hand, some domestic media also published top 10 news of the year. Based on the vote by readers of Yomiuri Shinbun, the top 10 domestic news is;

 1. Eruption of Ontake volcano killed 57 people, 6 still missing
 2. Hike of consumption tax to 8%
 3. Nobel prize to 3 researchers invented blue LED
 4. Kei Nishikori won runner-up in the US open
 5. General election of lower house to assess Abenomics
 6. Land slide disaster in Hiroshima killed 74 people
 7. STAP cell fabrication case
 8. Several medals got in Sochi Olympic
 9. Tomioka silk factory certified as World Heritage
10. Ken Takakura pass away

Yomiuri: Top 10 news in Japan (in Japanese)

I mentioned most of the news listed in my past entries, indeed. I have known all of them but Tomioka silk factory. It is ironic that natural disaster is listed twice.

My past entry: Ontake volcano eruption
My past entry: Article 9 of the constitution as a candidate of Nobel Prize
My past entry: Nishikori challenge Federer in ATP finals
My past entry: Consumption tax election by Abe is absurd
My past entry: Cheating case in science (1)
My past entry: Murder case in Sochi Olympic [fake] is also carrying up the voting to impressive news. The current rankings are;

 1. Ukraine crisis
 2. Ebola pandemic
 3. Hike of consumption tax
 4. Bank of Japan intervened to weaken Yen
 5. Isis rising and bombing by the US
 6. Nobel Prize to Nakamura et al.
 7. Questionable STAP cell paper retracted
 8. Kei Nishikori won the semi-champion
 9. Malaysian airplane missing case
10. Collective self-defense approved by the Cabinet

Though some world news attracted the attention of Japanese people, our eyes seem gazing domestic issues.

According to Epoc Times, originated in China, the top 10 world news are below;

 1. Ebola pandemic
 2. Malaysian airplane missing
 3. Ukraine crisis
 4. Korean ferry sinking
 5. Germany won the champion in World Cup
 6. Malaysian airplane shot down
 7. Scotland independence vote
 8. Isis and bombing by the US
 9. the US midterm election
10. Michael Brown killed by the police

Similar to other sites, but Asian cases were emphasized.

I wonder how can people share these issues. There are too much information in the world for us to investigate. We have to focus on limited matters. In the near future, this type of articles will be no more established, I guess.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Alcohol selling and intimate partner violence

Intimate partner violence (IPV), or domestic violence, is a serious social problem. In the UK, approximately one-third of the women have experienced victimization. Even in Japan as the most safe country in the world, the proportion is one-fourth.

My past entry: A 30% experiences domestic violence in England and Japan

On the other hand, it is widely accepted that alcohol consumption sometimes induce violence. There is a stereotype that Husband with alcohol dependence beats his wife. To reduce the risk for incident, the government regulates alcohol selling by time and/or region in many countries.

Recently, an academic article was published investigating the relationship between alcohol selling policy and IPV.

Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs: The Role of Alcohol Policies in Preventing Intimate Partner Violence: A Review of the Literature

The authors have not conduct their own survey. They gathered previous publication regarding this issue, to conclude that the outlet of alcohol density was the only factor associated with the rate of IPV. Pricing policies and restricting hours were not proven to contribute to reduction of IPV.

This is only a systematic review, without any statistical analysis. Publication bias cannot be denied. In addition, causal relationship has not been proven in each cross-sectional study, as the authors described. Perhaps, citizens living in the area in which many licensed alcohol stores are opened were occasionally a little aggressive.

Rather, it is interesting that neither time restriction nor taxation policies seem not to be associated to IPV. Maybe they contribute the whole incidents relevant to alcohol consumption.

It is difficult to estimate the effect of a certain policy in the society, even though some policies are enforced at sudden by a few loud politicians. Decision making is their task. But scientists should be more engaged in social policy through showing evidence about the prediction and outcome of each strategy.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Ebola, STAP, and disgraceful others

Science, a world famous academic journal published an article introduced some topics which were disgracing in the scientific industry.

Science counted Ebola outbreak as the top of the news. Ebola have flared every few years so far, but in this year the immature public health and uncoordinated international response allowed the virus to spread across borders, led to kill approximately 7,000 people. This outbreak was hardly predicted. The worst thing is that this incident has not been terminated yet.

Science: Breakdown + Breakdown runners-up Breakdown of the year: Ebola

Subsequently, a few issues were mentioned. STAP cells fabricating case is also dishonorable. Haruko Obokata, the team leader was found to have misconducted the research. In the maelstrom of the blaming to the researchers, Yoshiki Sasai, belonging to Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, or Riken, killed himself.

My past entry: Cheating case in science (1)

My past entry: Suicide in Japan, is it a culture?

Recently, a series of experiments attempting to replicate the result of the paper written by Obokata was conducted in Riken. The result was negative as expected. Obokata failed to create STAP cells, to retire from Riken.

The other two topics mentioned, I am not familiar with. There is an argument around an astronomical discovery. A telescope at the South Pole focused a signal, suggesting the newborn universe. However, following observers denied the finding. The last topic is concerned to the battle between US House of Representatives and National Science Foundation.

In Japan, scandal regarding Valsartan is still fresh. This anti-hypertension drug was strongly admired for the effect to reduce cardiac incidents in the research by several universities. Being revealed of many misidentified data and concerning of employees of Novartis, a drug provider of Valsartan, the reliability of the result was lost.

My past entry: Issue about fabrication of research

Human make errors. Each case has many point of view to be discussed. It is important for us what to learn from these failures.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas as happy day, research says

Christmas is the most popular celebrating day in the year in many countries. However, the way to spend the day differs in countries. In Japan, many youths are focusing how to stay with lover the day and night. Famous restaurants and hotels are fully booked. On the other hand, European people stay with their family at Christmas. One of my colleague said he would go to his wife's hometown. It seems like the New Year's Day in Japan.

By the way, there is a myth that suicide rate is increased in Christmas. In Japan, some uncoupled youths curse Christmas as a joke. Actually, for some people, it would be a serious problem to have to stay alone. Unable to realize the desire to find a best mate by the Christmas, they may feel desperate, named "broken promise" effect.

However, it is imprudent to estimate they tend to kill themselves. Statistics shows that the suicide rate is rather decreased in Christmas.

Martin Plöderl investigated the suicide rates in Australian holidays. As a result, he replicated the previous reports. Thus, Dec. 24 is the least suicidal day in a year also in Australia.

The European Journal of Public health: Nothing like Christmas—suicides during Christmas and other holidays in Austria

It is obvious that several factors are concerned to the suicide rate. In Christmas season, many employees get extra salary. Meanwhile, the expenditure is increasing, for Christmas presents, dinners, travels, and so forth. Thus, economic circulation gets activated. It may affect humans emotion positively, at least temporarily. In a broad view, Christmas is the happiest day.

In this article, Monday is risky for suicide. It is consistent to previous reports. Many people have troubles with work. Also interestingly, the New Year's Day was the peak of the suicide rate. I am not sure to the reason. Also in Japan, suicide rate is increased in New Year's holidays.

I am sorry to write an ironic entry today. Anyway, Merry Christmas to everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Amiodarone against Ebola, what to do

Ebola outbreak is still ongoing in Africa.

In a treatment center in Sierra Leone, amiodarone, an anti-arrhythmic drug was newly introduced as a remedy against Ebola virus. However, some British doctors opposed to its use because clinical trials to evaluate its effectiveness had not been done, led to their strike. The Emergency, an Italian NGO participating the treatment has stopped its usage, accepting the request from British Department for International Development.

The Guardian: Untested Ebola drug given to patients in Sierra Leone causes UK walkout

It is common for physicians to test a conventional drug which has not fully proven to be effective on a particular disease. For example, many antipsychotics and antidepressants are given to patients with personality disorders or developmental disorders. They know FDA or other authorities have not permitted to prescribe such drugs to whom with other than indicated illnesses. Nonetheless, they can be a solution, or at least a temporary rescue, through mitigating their frustration, agony, and aggression. It is extremely difficult to prove the effect on them with clinical trials. Only medical practitioners and patients feel good at these means.

Ebola and amiodarone is different in the situation. First, amiodarone is targeting the heart directly. Thus its risk for fatality should be estimated more strictly than psychotropics. I can understand the hesitation of opposing doctors.

Second, however, it is obvious that the patients suffering from Ebola have no time to wait for the completion of clinical trials. In general, such patients are prioritized as a candidate of participants of the clinical trial. Yet, clinical trials regulate strict induction criteria. Many patients will be excluded from the subjects. Amiodarone is not a novel drug, but developed more than a half century ago. It should not be deemed as unethical to prescribe it to patients who want to take it.

The problem is that, we cannot explain whether it is truly beneficial.

I think it is inevitable to make some trial-and-errors in this extraordinary situation. Failure as a result should not be blamed, although needless to say that the victims are poor. Gathering clinical data is essential. Perhaps some innovative treatment will be born in the reckless attempts. It seems not sophisticated, but a real figure in the war against Ebola.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sony Pictures abandon publishing Kim Jong-un movie

Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary company of Sony, decided to cancel the release of a film titled "The Interview."

This firm is a satirical comedy describing an assassination of Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea. After Sony published the planning of the release, it had targeted of cyber attacks by crackers.

The Blaze: Sony Pictures Cancels December 25th Theatrical Release of ‘The Interview’ (UPDATE: No Further Release Plans)

BBC: Sony cancels The Interview release amid threats

Furthermore, an announcement of attacking cinemas was released via the internet. Film providers got hesitated to publish the movie, worrying about terrorism. It seems to lead to the decision of cancelling.

ArsTechnica: Sony Pictures hackers make terrorist threat against opening of “The Interview”

President Obama expressed a rage against the coercers and disappointment to Sony's decision. Having the report of CIA that it was highly likely that North Korean government was involved in this case, he implied the retaliation of the US to North Korea.

Security week: Obama Warns North Korea Over Sony Hack: 'We Will Respond'

Some people criticize Sony Pictures for bowing to terrorists. To respond them, Michael Lynton, the CEO of Sony Pictures said that he had no choice but pulling because most movie theaters would not screen the film being threatened.

Reuters: Sony Pictures CEO says had no choice but to pull 'The Interview'

It is natural that many people are disappointed that Sony Pictures was defeated by terrorists. But it seems difficult for Sony to release the film as planned. Few theaters would be willing to collaborate. If terror becomes real, Sony would suffers a huge loss. The risk is not matching the benefit at all.

On the other hand, terrorists have become more arrogant as expected. They demand Sony not to publish the film in any other routes. Sony is now planning to make use of a video on demand to let customers watch the movie. It is still unclear whether the film will be released.

Mirror: Sony Pictures may release The Interview online

I wonder what is the purpose of the coercers. Their action simply means that North Korea cannot accept the film as a fiction. If North Korean government is really involved in this case, it seems stupid in terms of diplomacy.

However, it is not easy for the US to take an immediate reaction, because serious conflict against North Korea will bring few benefits to the US. If North Korea collapse, many refugees would emerge to immigrant to South Korea and other developed countries. The US will have to aid them. It would be a tough and consuming task. After all, the US do not want North Korea to perish. Considering this situation, the intention of the coercers is perhaps merely a provocative game. Annoying.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Nut rage case in Korean Air

There is a flaming around Korean Air.

It was Dec. 5. Cho Hyun-ah, the eldest daughter of the chairman of Korean Air Lines Co, forced an attendant to get off the airplane just before the taking off because the manner of the attendant to serve a pack of nuts in the first class had annoyed her. The airplane had to delay the departure for 20 minutes due to this trouble. The passengers was not informed about the reason of delay.

The Economist: Korean Air and flight delays Nuts!

At first, this incident had not been published. But some employees began to make a comment on the intranet of the company. Meanwhile, passengers seated near to the first class described the situation. In spite of some conflicts of each evidence, it has been revealed that Cho's questionable behavior did damage to the regular operation of this airplane.

After the whole figure of the incident was published, broad criticism rose both inside and outside of the South Korea. Many people deemed the behavior of Cho as problematic. The Minister of transportation would like to prosecute the Korean Air for violating the aviation safety. Cho resigned the post of vice-president of Korean Air. The Korean government seems annoyed to be misunderstood as if Korean Air is a national company.

CNN: Nut scandal executive may face legal action

USA Today: Korean Air to be sanctioned for 'nut rage' cover-up

Such cases is not so rare in Korean Air, or other companies governed by the owners family. In Japan, a grandchildren of the founder of Daio-Paper wasted $140M of its fund for private gambling. He was sentenced to imprisonment for malfeasance.

BBC News: Ex-chair of Japanese Daio Paper arrested for gambling

They grow up in the center of a big company. Some of them become a great successor of the founder. However, some become arrogant in the circumstance in which their desires never fail.

I have heard none of the Third can maintain the dictating position. Whether or not, Korean Air is challenging to recover their reputation.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Obesity can be a disability, EU court says

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that severe obesity can constitute a disability.

In the case, a Danish man who lost his job was pursuing for the cancellation of the dismissal. The ECJ determined that if obesity hinders full and effective participation at work then it could be a disability. Based on this decision, Danish court has to assess his case.

The Guardian: Obesity can be a disability, EU court rules

TIME: European Court Rules That Obesity Could Be a Disability

If obesity has to be treated as a disability, every companies should prepare adequate equipment for them, such as larger chairs. Needless to say, they have to offer some encouragement for obese employees to lose their body weight. It will be a huge burden on business, some authorities say.

Both in the Europe and the US, obesity has become a big problem. Approximately one-fourth of the UK citizens are obese. In the US, this percentage is one-third. Some aggressive solutions such as plastic surgery are proposed, yet it remains problematic.

My past entry: Ultimate slimming method in Venezuela

Obese people are likely to be discriminated. There is a myth that who are obese or smoking cannot become an executive in the US because they have no power to control their own habits. I guess cases similar to the Danish frequently occurs.

Although we are responsible for our own health, inherent factor is highly influential to determine the body weight. Some people are difficult to become slim in spite of continuous efforts. From the scientific point of view, it is rational to deem obesity as a disability to some extent.

However, it is doubtful for most people to accept this concept. At least, the US will not follow this movement.

Friday, December 19, 2014

China ban foreign technology from the government

China government is planning to purge most foreign technologies from its official sectors.

According to the media, China is to replace Microsoft Windows to NeoKylin, a domestic operating system, in bank computers. Intel, IBM, and Cisco are also subject to be exiled.

Bloomberg: China is Planning to Purge Foreign Technology and Replace With Homegrown Suppliers

This policy reminds me the Edo era in Japan, in which Japanese government was purging foreigners and rejecting almost all imports. The purpose was to protect Japanese order and culture mainly from Christian ideology. It led to the serious delay of industrial development, although Japanese culture remained unique.

Of course, Chinese policy is not so extreme than national isolation. Its concern seems risk for the leak of national secrets. After Edward Snowden revealed the spying activity of NAS in the US, most countries became unease to use foreign technologies. Microsoft and some famous companies has been proven to be offering the customer data to the US government. Worry of China is rational to some extent.

My past entry: Mr. Snowden, a spy or other?

On the other hand, there is cases that spywares are included in Chinese software. Baidu IME, a popular input method editor was suspected to send the information regarding the content the user inputs in detail. Japan government ordered to uninstall Baidu IME from all of the official computers.

Ultimate protection from cyber risks is absolute isolation. However, it causes serious adversity. Compatibility to private sectors will be hindered in China government. International communication will also be difficult. Foreign officers will be annoyed to be accustomed to the new system. As a result, productivity will be sacrificed considerably.

By the way, I wonder whether this policy will profit domestic companies. In short term, they will be rewarded with delivering products to the government. But in longstanding ways, it perhaps get rid of competitiveness from them.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

US and Cuba is approaching

The US is seeking to restore the relationship with Cuba.

Obama administration is planning to open an embassy to Cuba, after 50 years of sanction. This historic rapprochement seemed to be brokered with Pope Francis and Canada.

Financial Times: US moves to restore relations with Cuba

This movement is welcomed by many countries. However some politicians including immigrant from Cuba criticize the attitude of Obama as a betrayal, or merely making a legacy of current administration.

BBC: US-Cuba relations: Global praise for normalisation of ties

Cuba is a nation with Marxist-Leninist single-party state, long governed by Fidel Castro. After he got ill, his younger brother , Raúl Castro has become to the president. Historically, Cuba was suffering from the US for its political and economical power. Fidel Castro defeated the previous government on the side of the US, to control Cuba. Some Americans cannot accept Cuba as it is a communist state.  But Cuba partially introduced capitalism. Now it imports a large amount of goods from the US.

Fortunately, Japan has relatively good relationship with Cuba. One of the reasons is that there is no geopolitical risk between Japan and Cuba. it is interesting that Canada is also friendly to Cuba.

Republican Party is strongly opposing to the decision by Obama. So, it is unlikely the bill regarding the new diplomatic policy would pass the Diet easily. However, I think the US no more wants to be hostile to Cuba so seriously, neither emotionally or politically. The relaxation between the two countries will be proceed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Three patterns of night dreams frequently I have

In the past I wrote that there is no meaning of dream. But actually, I have some patterns of dreams very frequently. Perhaps, they are associated with unconscious concern of mine.

My past entry: Your dream means nothing

(1) National examination of physician licence

This is the most frequent dream I have. More than 100 times I have this theme of the dream for several years.

I am a medical student, or even high school student in the dream. It is January or December, and I have to prepare myself for upcoming examination. I upset because I have not completed to read some textbook. Mathematics is also annoying me. Of course, math is not the subject of national examination of physician licence in real.

Indeed, I had tough time in preparing the exam. For last a few months, I looked through several textbook every day. Every day I repeated, otherwise I would forget the knowledge. I could no more acquire new knowledge in that stage. So I hoped the day of the examination would some soon.

Is it a traumatic experience? I do not think so. But I have sometimes a dream of this theme, even more than a decade has passed.

(2) Making document of report for successor in the government

Several years ago, I belonged to the Government to be engaged in enforcement of a new legislation of forensic mental health. It was a couple of years with excitement. I could encounter various experiences, some of which were very interesting, others were troublesome.

In the end of the term of contract, I had to success my works to the next officer. It was quite tired task. I investigated a large amount of document I wrote, and describe the summary of them. It took a couple of months. I felt the completion of the task would never come.

After I quit the job, I had the dream of this stressful task some times. I guess I was so exhausted to do. Fortunately, I have no more the same dream now.

(3) Temporary return to Japan

The last dream is ongoing. I had a dream in which I return to Japan almost every day just after I come to the UK. Recently, the frequency is approximately every a few days.

In the dream, I am going to eat Yakiniku. Yakiniku is originated from Korean food. But Japanese style Yakiniku is quite unique and so delicious.

Actually, I do not miss Japan now. I dare not to want to return to Japan soon. But I miss Japanese cuisine: Yakiniku, Sushi, and Tonkotsu Ramen.

I can feel taste completely in my dream. So I wish to eat Yakiniku in my dreams. Unfortunately, I wake up every time I try to eat them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

HIV become mild

According to researchers, Human Immunodeficiency Virus is transmuting to milder species.

BBC: HIV evolving 'into milder form'

In Botswana there was a pandemic of HIV, its replication was found lower than the past. Antiretroviral therapy access may influence to attenuating the HIV.

PNAS: Impact of HLA-driven HIV adaptation on virulence in populations of high HIV seroprevalence

The transformation into milder form results from the effort of HIV to survive. In general, lethal micro bacteria can no more survive the environment with highly sophisticated hygiene. This is not only such bacteria is eradicated by sterilization, but also some species select to alter their forms into attenuated one for symbiosis with their hosts. This phenomenon is commonly seen.

In the near future, perhaps HIV infection will be recognized as a common chronic fatigue disease. On the other hand, it is possible that chronic fatigue syndrome, a distinctive illness whose cause still unidentified, may had been a lethal viral infection in the past.

Anyway, weakened HIV results from the continuous efforts of the biologists. I admire their contribution.

Monday, December 15, 2014

ALEX, an astonishing crime novel

Today I finished reading Alex by Pierre Lemaitre via KINDLE. ALEX (KINDLE edition)

To be honest, I misidentified it as an American novel. Actually, this is a French mystery. It has been translated into Japanese, and it won a high fame also in Japan.

Alex is the heroine of this novel. At the beginning, she was abducted by a man. Not knowing the reason, she was told by the kidnapper that he would like to watch her die. She was made naked, locked in a crate, and tortured.

Meanwhile,, Camille Verhoeven, a police officer who has a bitter memory being killed his wife, was to be engaged in this kidnap case. He cooperates his colleagues to identify Alex and the kidnapper. But the investigation hardly proceeds. Time passing, Alex becomes exhausted.

This novel is composed of three departments. Readers will firstly consider this novel as a kidnap thriller, and sympathies Alex. however, the end of the latter part of the first department, the truth regarding Alex is revealed. She has a certain reason of being kidnapped, regardless of her own awareness.

The second department of the novel continues to shed the light to Alex and Camille. But it tastes rather a psycho thriller. I could not understand the thought of Alex in spite of her struggling for survival. Then, there is an astonishing scene in the last chapter of the second department.

The last and shortest department focuses mainly on the relatives and friends of Alex. Whether you are on the side of Alex depends on your ideology. Some more desperate truths are revealed. Finally, you will know the true meaning of the title "Alex." The last sentence said by Camille and the court judge implies a hidden fact regarding the whole incident. Whether you admire Camille or not is also your choice.

There are several grotesque description in this novel. I do not recommend this for persons who hate crime scenes.

By the way, I think this story is very suitable to film. Surprising story line is attractive. Two hours is adequate to tell the whole story. And hesitate to say, violence and sexual scenes will be sensational. Indeed, there was a plan to adopt this work into film. Unfortunately, I have no information afterwards. There are a couple of films named Alex not related to this novel. Interestingly, each of them shares similar atmosphere.

Pierre Lemaitre’s Alex to be adapted for cinema

Irreversible (Japanese title: Alex)

About ALEX

Sunday, December 14, 2014

General election 2014 in Japan

Today, the election of the lower house was conducted in Japan. As expected, ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is winning the majority, according the media report.

It is no doubt that Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, was confident to win the vote, because he had determined to resolve the lower house last month. It is promised that LDP will continue to govern Japan for some years.

As I wrote in the past, this election has almost no meaning. No parties could oppose to raising consumption tax. Opposite parties could not suggest issues to debate against LDP. Thus, voters had no choice but LDP in this situation.

My past entry: Consumption tax election by Abe is absurd

The voting rate will be lower than that in the previous one. Citizens seem not so much concerned about the result, not surprising.

My past entry: Why do we vote?

Not living in Japan, I could not vote. If I had been able to, I would have voted to Japan Restoration Party. Yet, its policy did not attract me so much. It is merely a process of elimination.

By the way, some politicians visited Japan to study about general election in Japan. According to the media, some lawmakers from Cambodia, Nepal, and Pakistan were invited to Japan for some days by the government. They looked surprised to the calm atmosphere on the voting day.

Yomiuri Online: Foreign lawmakers investigate Japanese election (in Japan)

The system of election in Japan has several challenges. Electric voting has not been equipped. Advertisement is strictly regulated, and many politicians are arrested for minimal violation of the procedure. Nonetheless, it is pleased that there have been almost no chaotic phases such as terror or coup by force in the general election.

On the other hand, many countries are struggling for a fair election as a symbol of democracy. We should be aware to this fact.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Murder case by caregiver

Today, I saw tragic news via the internet. It is a murder case by the mother.

The victim is her son who were unable to get up due to an illness for years. The mother was exhausted to take care of her son, according to the media.

Asahi Digital: 72 years old mother arrested for killing bedridden son (in Japanese) 

It is unsure the mother is prosecuted. I have some experiences involved in similar cases. Such killers are often severely depressed, feeling hopelessness, and sometimes have some obsessive thought that they should terminate the agony of the victim until they pass away leaving the victim. Nonetheless, they are likely prosecuted and sentenced to several years imprisonment, unless having psychiatric history in advance.

Murder cases by a caregiver is not limited in Japan. But there are some cases rather with a definite malice of the killer reported by foreign media. Killing a disabled with excessive sense of responsibility may be unique in Japan.

Call: Caregiver found guilty of murdering disabled man Jury deliberations begin in caregiver murder case Murder charge for caregiver in elderly woman's neglect death

This matter originates from traditional sense of family in Japan. Historically, it was deemed for Japanese people to look after their family members as mandatory. It meant the strength of the family bond in Japan. On the other hand, the concept of social welfare has not be common in Japanese society. Recently, some popular artists were blamed for the reason that their relatives had been getting livelihood protection from the government. Thus, citizens thought they had to take care of their relatives regardless of the mutual relationship of them.

In Japan, aging is growing and unstoppable. I am afraid that murder cases by the caregiver will happen more frequently in the future. It seems a dystopia.

My past entry: The worst thing in our lives

It is urgent problem to fulfill the nursing staff for elder people. Decreasing population is promised in Japan. At last, Japan will have to accept immigrants, I think.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Oil price falling

Crude oil price is falling. Now it has dropped down to less than $60 per barrel. It is for a decade encountering such low price of oil except the fall in 2008.

There may be several reasons for the decline. The major contributor is shale gas excavated in the US. If the extraction of shale gas becomes more common and stable, oil will no more be dominant as an energy source.

Financial Times: Oil falls further as IEA cuts 2015 forecast

Some media also report the failure of cooperation in oil supplying nations. In the situation of reduced demand, they should restrict the amount of mining to maintain the market price of oil. However, some countries pursued the transient profit, selling oil with lowered price. Perhaps, they could not stand waiting for another opportunity, because oil money dysfunction immediately means a default.

I am not sure whether shale gas brings a revolution. Energy supply and saving is essential to sustain today's world. Sooner or later, the oil will be exhausted. Gradual conversion into other resources is indispensable, both for buyers and suppliers.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Torture by CIA published

Recently, the Senate intelligence committee published a report regarding the torture performed by CIA in the era of George Bush administration in the US. Its content ignited broad criticism from foreign countries.

The Verge: Senate report details heinous torture methods used by the CIA after 9/11

After the 9.11 terrorism destroyed the World Trade Center, the US government became much keen to control over terror inflicted by Al-Qaeda or other forces. Continuity of Operations Plan was carried out for the first time since it was enacted. Concern to the risk of terrorism was elevated, leading to strengthened security checking at the airports. Some of the responses were proven as excessive to minimize the cost-effectiveness.

My past entry: Cognitive bias and risk control

According the the published report, several suspects were tortured by the CIA. It utilized even inhuman methods to get the information of terrorism from the subjects, calling it "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Financial Times: IA torture report: The key findings

Furthermore, such techniques looked not so efficacious to make the terrorists, even if true, confess the right information. After all, forced confession by torture has been only effective in a crime novel.

Whether George Bush was involved in this plan is not clarified. The report denied the awareness of him to the conduct. But it is doubtful that the president of the US did not know about the activity of the CIA. Dick Cheney, former vice president said that the permission of the president was necessary to carry out the program. He also insisted that this program was justifiable for protection of the US citizens from terror.

NBC News: Dick Cheney Says Report Faulting CIA Interrogation Is 'Full of Crap'

More or less, there may be injustice in national espionage. Nevertheless, such tortures cannot be accepted. Using such cruel ways, the US would lose the validity of its own ideology of respecting liberty and fairness.

The only thing to be admired is the fact that the report was published by the US people. It is pleased that they were no longer concealed, even if it was done by political games.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Skymark seek also ANA for collaboration

Skymark Airlines continues to struggle for managing budget. It seems to ask for help to All Nippon Airways (ANA), the second largest airline company in Japan.

According to the media, Skymark is planning to request for support from ANA. The negotiation has not begun yet.

Mainichi: Skymark plans to request support from ANA

Skymark is also negotiating with Japan Airlines (JAL) for collaborating selling. But, the government is reluctant to accept this contract because JAL has a history of bankrupt several years ago. In my past entry, I wondered why Skymark had not chosen ANA as a counterpart. The truth is that it was under discussion.

My past entry: Skymark seek to tie-up with JAL

ANA will not refuse Skymark at all, but it dislikes to give an advantage to JAL. Therefore, it wishes one-by-one collaboration with Skymark.

I think the idea of ANA reasonable. Skymark should choose rather ANA than JAL as an ally. It is strategically right for a weak legion to conspire with the second largest competitor because they can share the goal for beating the top.

Anyway, Skymark seems nearly in the dead end. It is probable for Nishikubo to be forced to sell it, unfortunately.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Is Judo dangerous in a school curriculum?

Judo is one of martial arts developed in Japan. It has been an event in Olympic. Many athletes of Judo (Judo-ka) make big impacts all over the world.

In Japan, Judo was taught in junior high school. Since 2012, every school children have to take a class of either Judo, Kendo, or Sumo. This discipline aims to make students familiar to Japanese traditional arts. Some of the students become fond of Judo, to belong to a Judo club out of mandated activity. Martial art teaching is deemed beneficial also to develop the faith and courage in their mind.

However, there were several case of fatality reported in Judo classes. According to the media, over 100 students died in the school settings in the past 30 years. Most of the reasons were head injury. In Judo match, it is common to throw the opponent dynamically. I was so scared when being thrown in my childhood. To avoid physical damage, players have to master a break-fall. But it is not easy for everybody.

Over 114 child Judo deaths in Japan in 30 years

In 2012, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology decided Judo as a selective mandatory subject. It ignited broad discussion among the media. Many tragic accident in Judo class were reported.

It is honorable that, there has been no fatal accident reported since 2012, according to Ryo Uchida, an educationalist.

Yahoo News: Judo zero fatality continues (in Japanese)

I believe that it is not a trick. Uchida said that All Japan Judo Federation investigated the nature of accidents occurred in Judo class in detail. Based on the results, they made many counters against accidents. As a result, Judo teachers became much aware to reduction of the fatal risk. In addition, they were collaborated with Japan Judo Accident Victims Association to extinct such tragedies.

Why fatal accidents reduced in Judo class? (in Japanese)

It is not clear whether the effort of the teachers was effective in the reduction of accidents or it is merely by chance because fatal accidents rarely occur. Nevertheless, I admire their endeavor. In Japan, I feel scientific approach is hardly adapted in some regions such as education. Mass media rarely report the fact of decreasing fatal injuries. The effect of enlightenment on preventing accident should be clarified, and published as well.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bitcoin is recognised, but not accepted in the UK

The Digital Currency Council published a report of a national survey in the UK regarding Bitcoin.

It conducted a questionnaire survey to gather the opinion about Bitcoin from 527 adults via the internet in 1st Oct 2014. The contents of the questionnaire included familiarity and reputation against Bitcoin.

Cointelegraph: UK Study: Bitcoin Familiar to 71% of Brits but Suffers from an Image Problem

Digital Currency Council: The Bitcoin Barometer: A Study of Sentiment in the UK Toward Bitcoin

As a result, Bitcoin was well known by the interviewees, yet its image was rather negative.

Approximately 70% of the respondents answered being aware to Bitcoin as a payment method. This percentage is following Paypal and Western Union, equal to Moneygram, and superior to Square. In contrast, more than one-fourth of the respondents expressed fair/very bad reputation against Bitcoin, whereas only one-sixth possessed very good/ excellent reputation.

It is an interesting survey, because Bitcoin has not ever been evaluated in terms of public recognition. Some enthusiasts admired the system of Bitcoin, meanwhile conservative people warned the risk of Bitcoin. Each opinion was biased.

The UK is one of the countries in which citizens are familiar to digital currency. It has ground basis of finance. The government is relatively open to such new technologies. Therefore, this result can represent the attitude of people against digital currency to some extent.

However, there is a limitation to validate the result of an online survey. The participants of such surveys are likely to be accustomed to information technology. Novelty seeking tendency can be common in such interviewees. Furthermore, I have not read about how the participants were recruited in this survey. Selection bias could not be negligible as a nature of social survey, especially on the internet.

Londoners were the most favorable to Bitcoin in this survey. It is consistent that London is the center of finance in the UK. On the other hand, it is interesting that Bitcoin is not accepted in Scotland compared to other regions. Scotland was involved in the national debate of independence from England a couple of months ago. Whether it could continue to use GBP after independence was one of the most decisive topics. I guess not a few people considered Bitcoin at that time to protect their estate from currency risk. Bitcoin seems to be advantageous when domestic currency is in a crisis, even if Bitcoin itself is volatile. Indeed, Bitcoin is paid attention in Ukraine. In the future, it is possible that Bitcoin will be a booster for some local ares to become independent.

Anyway, reliability is a critical point for the spread of Bitcoin. All currencies exist based on its trust, as currency itself has no value, regardless of bills, coins, or bank data. The more reputation Bitcoin gains, the more its value rises. So, who is responsible to the value of Bitcoin? All of the users, not a certain authority. Quite interesting.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

New guideline for eating disorder in Australia

Recently, a new clinical guideline regarding treatment for eating disorders was published.

This guideline was developed by the Clinical Practice Guideline working group in which several specialists were participated. It confirms to DSM-5, based on newest clinical evidence. You can read the full text of the guideline on the website.

Medscape Medical News: New Eating Disorder Guidelines Released

Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of eating disorders

Several elements are focused on this guideline. First, adult patients are distinguished from children, for there are many differences in the treatment strategy. In general, adult patients with eating disorders are difficult to treat than children. The evidence to direct proper way of treatment is limited. Instead, it is well known that family therapy is beneficial to child patients with eating disorders.

Second, the standard of admission for patients with anorexia nervosa is clearly defined. If Body Mass Index (BMI) becomes less than 14, the patient should be admitted to a psychiatric ward. When BMI > 12, medical admission is indicated. I agree with this suggestion, because low body weight is sometimes fatal. In addition, patients with low body weight are hardly responsive to psychotherapy, especially in an outpatient unit.

Least restrictive policy is emphasized in this guideline, although occasional necessity of involuntary treatment is also referred. Motivation enhancement is recommended, but its effectiveness has not entirely guaranteed. Compulsory treatment is a big issue to discuss the treatment for anorexia nervosa. I expected more definitive description about this matter.

In this guideline, description about avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is almost empty. It is a new disorder referred in DSM-5 for the first time. Indeed, there have been only few articles found studying this disease. I saw a couple of patients suspected to have such disorders, who were diagnosed as anorexia nervosa or obsessive compulsive disorder. Further research is needed to clarify the nature and management of ARFID.

I think this guideline is sophisticated and concise. Though cultural difference should be considered to utilize this guideline in foreign countries, it may be useful for many practitioners.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

US killing cases by police ignite anti-racism

In the US, demonstration against racism is flaming.

(This photo is not relevant to the content of this entry.)

It began originated in some tragic cases. One incident occurred in July 2014. Eric Garner was selling untaxed cigarettes on the street in New York. The police attempted to arrest him. According to the media, although he was neither unarmed or violent, officers knocked him down. Furthermore, he was chocked by the hands of cops, being likely to lead his death.

New York Post: Man dies after suffering heart attack during arrest

Even he had many criminal records, such deal looked excessively cruel. But, what ignited the fury of citizens was the decision not to charge the officer for making him dead by the grand jury. Thousands of protesters got together in Manhattan, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and so forth.

Mail Online: Protests in New York after officer escapes choking charge

Press TV: Demos condemn grand juries for not charging cops for killing blacks

The US government could not ignore the voice of citizens. Eric Holder. a US Attorney General declared to investigate the case in detail.

USA Today: Top U.S. justice official promises probe after NYC police chokehold death

Similar cases sometimes occur in the US. Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by shot on Aug. 9, 2014 by an officer. The shooter was also not charged.

The Guardian: Grand jury decline to charge Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown

Even after this, similar cases seem to recurrently happen.

The Daily Beast: The 14 Teens Killed by Cops Since Michael Brown

The police brutality has been deemed problematic in the US. Discrimination against black people is also an issue. However, there are some point to be clarified in the sequential cases.

First, are they the cases of racism? Or, the victims were black, and the shooters were white, by chance? I think the existence of racism behind the cases will never be proven with each trial. However, some statistics has shown the bias between white and black regarding criminal justice system. For example, the difference of death penalty rates in race is debated.

Death Penalty Information Center

Second, brutal police can result from brutal crimes. The US marks high rate of crimes among developed countries. If police officers always feel unsafe and frightened, it would be no use to ask them to be polite. The worst fact is that any criminals in the US can equip a gun.

In contrast, Japanese police are extremely calm. It is derived not only from the character of Japanese, but also from the low rate of violent crimes.

Therefore, I think it is difficult to indict the shooters. Even if they are punished, other cops would not hesitate to use a gun to protect themselves. And it seems unrealistic to request the police to be fair, unless the cities become more secure, unfortunately.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Google tax in the UK

It seems to be heard several times taxing Google.

George Osborn, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, declared the introduction of a new tax legislation, named diverted-profit tax. It will tax maximum 25% of the profit from activity in Britain to multinational companies. The rate is higher than usual corporate tax (21%). Therefore, Osborn expected that any companies would stop the actions for evading usual taxation.

Wall Street Journal: Britain and the ‘Google Tax’

Britain is in a wave of prosperity. The government and ruling Conservative Party look bullish. This new regulation will be enforced in April 2015. However, the exact scheme has yet to be revealed.

Some media responded to the diverted-profit tax, naming it Google Tax. Google has made no comments yet.

The Wall Street Journal: U.K.’s ‘Google Tax’ Draws Skepticism

Besides their cynical attitudes, there are several arguments regarding this scheme. Multinational companies may have some weapons against taxation. It seems difficult to define the range of diverted-profit in legal context. Furthermore, if the tax becomes a considerable burden, the companies will retreat from the UK. It results in zero-tax. There is failing examples in the past.

My past entry: Taxing news aggregator seems reckless

In my opinion, taxation scheme itself is gradually becoming powerless in accordance with the globalization. It is reckless to think that higher tax rate always makes national revenue increase. Instead, abandoning imposing tax lets huge companies remain active in the land, leading to be beneficial to the daily life of citizens. Nowadays, some companies are more contributing than the government. Yet of course, there are some tasks not to be relied on other than the government.
Every countries should reconsider the relationship between the government and companies.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Three cheaper foods in the UK than in Japan

I always feel that the prices are high in the UK compared to Japan. If 1 GBP were 100 JPY, the prices would be matched. Actually, 1 GBP is rising, approaching to 200 JPY. So I feel as if prices are twice higher in the UK.

Explaining with Big Mac Index that I wrote in the past, Big Mac costs 2.79 GBP. It deserves about 530 JPY. Instead, it takes only 360 JPY in Japan. It means that the prices in London are higher than in Japan by 1.5 times.

Japan had encountered continuous deflation for several years until Abenomics began. Therefore, it is natural to feel prices high in foreign countries. In addition, I think European people are not eager to desire low prices. In Japan, some restaurant franchises were competing to lower the prices continuously in recent years. As a result, consumers could eat cheap food with low cost. However, some companies were criticized as forcing employees to work excessively. Now, many franchises including McDonald's have to change their sales strategy in Japan.

Also in the UK, some supermarkets offer low cost foods. I usually go to Morrison's. Although most foods are expensive compared to Japan, there are some exceptions.

(1) Rice

Rice is expensive in Japan, because the government regulates high rate of custom duties on rice to protect domestic farmers. Some brands of Japonica rices are extremely delicious, but it costs 2 GBP per kg or more.

Instead, I can get several types of rice in London, all of which are inexpensive. Pamella rice is similar to Japonica one. And Basmati rice is nice long-grain rice. I love it! Each one costs 1.1 GBP.

This is the cheapest one, only 40 pence per kg. Unfortunately, taste bad.

(2) Breads

The UK is a nation of breads. There are large variety of breads. Most of them are good.

This is a series of plain scone by Morrison's. Only 1 GBP. Surprisingly, taste great so that any luxury breads are questioned. Try it!

(3) Cooking sauces

The UK is a nation of stew cooking. You can see enormous kinds of cooking sauces. To be honest, I do not like British stew cuisine. Some sauces taste not so spicy. You can get one with 1-2 GBP.

This is Morrison's brand curry sauce. Only 20 pence! Usual curry sauce costs 1-2 GBP in Japan. It tastes a little weak. I add chili-pepper on it.

Minced beef with curry sauce, quite delicious.

The prices is highly associated with the culture. I will investigate the differences between the UK and Japan in other regions about prices.