Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Sequels in September 2015

A month has passed since I returned to Japan. Though not so wide as those in England, there are many beautiful gardens also in Japan.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

With reading some more articles on this matter, I wonder this amendment will be beneficial for Japan. I do not think Japan will be likely to be involved in the war due to the new legislation. However, Japan will be difficult to refuse the request of the US for sending troops. Japan has lost an excuse for postponing the military collaboration with the US, even if the result will be the same.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Amazon Prime video also launched. Unfortunately, the list of movies available for free did not excite me. Nonetheless, I am happy to watch some old films on my Kindle Fire HD.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The iPhone6S is now available in Japan. The iPad Pro will be on sale in November. I do not hear any fascinating rumors about Apple products. I am afraid Apple has failed to attract public attention in this time.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The also US declared to accept thousands of refugees in some years. It is an admirable decision, because the US is responsible for the burst of refugees. If the US had not bombed the Islamic State, there would have been fewer refugees, even if the situation would have been much worse.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I enjoy my new Kindle Paperwhite. It is superior to the old one in the volume of storage, the response, and the resolution. I can easily read my PDF files made from scanned books on the new Kindle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

You must not use Pepper for sexual purpose

Pepper, produced by SoftBank, is the first robot with emotion for consumers. It reacts to users with voice, face, and arms. It looks so attractive that all Peppers offered have been sold out immediately after the beginning of sales.

SoftBank: Pepper (in Japanese)

In its user agreement form, there is an interesting sentence. The matters prohibited to the owners of Pepper include any sexual act or other indecent behaviors.

International Business Times: Do not have sex with our robots, Japanese firm warns users

This article ignited the concern of geeks. Obviously, Pepper has no sex organ. Did the provider imagine the scene in which the user make use of Pepper for his or her sexual activity?

According to Japanese media, SoftBank simply intends to forbid the utilization of Pepper for illegal or indecent purposes. It is difficult for me now to imagine how to use Pepper for improper activity. But someone will invent abusive usage of Pepper soon. It is natural that SoftBank never permits improper utilization of Pepper.

J Cast: [Sexual activity as a forbidden matter: What kind of situation?] (in Japanese)

By the way, robots for sexual usage are also under consideration. Some people, for example, physically challenged or astronauts, may have a need for their help. On the other hand, some people are opposing to the development of sexual robots because they will destroy the sexual relationship between people. Actually, robots will be able to supply better ecstasy physically than the human partner. In addition, there are no risks for venereal diseases.

I guess robots will be popular in the sex industry in the near future. It may lead to the lowered birth rate. I am not sure the future will be a happier era in this sense.

Monday, September 28, 2015

All we are slaves

In Japan, there is a word "shachiku" in fashion recent years. It is an artificial word being combined with "sha (company)" and "ka-chiku (livestock)." So, shachiku is a word to mock a person who belongs to a corporation and depend on it so that he or she devotes all to it.

I think Shachiku, so-called company-slave is an idea which is hardly understood in foreign countries. In the US, most employees frequently change their job for a better salary. In some European countries, the rights of laborers are strictly protected by the legislation and unions. Why should I sacrifice myself for the organization I belong to temporarily? Ridiculous!

In contrast, you have a difficulty to change jobs in Japan. Many companies hesitate to employ the persons who had belonged to a competitor previously. Unemployment insurance is not adequately supplied in Japan compared to other developed countries. In addition, unemployed persons are often discriminated in the society.

Therefore, many Japanese employees are fearful of losing their job. Actually, dismissing an employee is quite difficult in Japanese legislation. Instead, some companies encourage the employees who do not contribute to the sales to leave their jobs spontaneously. There have some cases in which employees were harassed systematically in the office. Only a few employees rely on the court, labor standard bureau, or other authorities, to keep their position. I guess a considerable amount of workers has no choice other than quitting against their desire.

Otherwise, they have to attract their boss continuously, not to be listed up to the subjects of such treatment. They accept all requests of the boss and the company they belong to, even if their activity is not appropriate. I have to say that it looks like a behavior of a slave.

In Japan, many people commit suicide, as I wrote repeatedly. One of the reason is the financial problem, as well as interpersonal stresses. I think the inflexible employment may attribute the background of the suicide.

Considering this situation, some people insist the importance of financial independence. Most of the people who like to use the word "shachiku" have an experience of leaving a company based on their own will. They encourage employees to quit the job and become an entrepreneur. Some of their words are agitating, as if everyone should be free from slavery.

I approve their stance. Belonging to an organization is somehow annoying. On the other hand, I am doubtful if they are entirely free.

Indeed, you can be independent immediately after quitting the company. But, you have to deal with customers after launching your own business. There are many annoying customers, as well as bosses. You can kill the relationship with arrogant customers if you would like, but your income would be damaged. In this sense, you would be a slave of such customers.

Also, you cannot escape from the environment. For example, I am a psychiatrist. I can launch my own clinic if I would like. I would never have to bow to my ex-boss. However, the consultation fee in the health insurance system is strictly regulated in Japan. I will always keep an eye on the movement of the regulation if I am independent. The government easily lowers the income of clinics. It means that I would be a slave of the government, doesn't it?

You perhaps would like to gain a political power. If you were a president of the nation, you would have been completely independent. Sure? Never! Barack Obama is always negotiating with the lawmakers to proceed the policy he would like to achieve. Candidates for his successor are struggling to gain the support of the citizens. All we have to depend on other persons' will, unless you are the dictator. Finally, a dictator will be betrayed soon.

In conclusion, all we are slaves. It is not shameful at all. The matter is which you choose to devote yourself.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Volkswagen emission scandal

Volkswagen was sued for the settlement of defeat devices which could disguise the amount of harmful emission of the vehicles.

Defeat device can modulate the emission when the diesel vehicle entered the examining area so that the vehicle can pass the test. The device could identify the testing status with monitoring the position of the steering wheel, vehicle speed, the duration of the engine's operation, and barometric pressure. It was quite sophisticated to trick the examiner.

The vehicles attaching the device produced 10 ti 40 times the legal amount of the emission on the road. There are 11 millions cars which has been cheating the emission test all over the world.

CNBC: What you need to know about the Volkswagen scandal

It had been suspected for one year that Volkswagen in the US equipped the defeat devices. Formerly it denied the existence of any tricks, but finally admitted the installing of defeat devices.

Martin Winterkorn, the CEO of Volkswagen had to resign, and Matthias Mueller, the chief executive of Porsche, succeed the seat.

Actually, the suspicion of the fraud had emerged since a research team at West Virginia University investigated the emission performance of Volkswagen cars. But it took some years before the whole figure of this trick was published.

The Atlantic: The Academic Paper That Broke the Volkswagen Scandal

Volkswagen lost 30% of its stock value due to this scandal. In addition, it will face lots of lawsuit alleged by the owners. It is unlikely that Volkswagen will bankrupt immediately.

On the other hand, I wonder other car companies is using defeat devices as well. The Volkswagen cars excreted dozens amount of emission beyond the environmental standard. It means that Volkswagen hardly created the diesel cars matching the standard by itself, or even if it is possible, they could not be monetized. This situation can correspond to competitors. Therefore, it is possible many car companies use some cheating more or less.

In addition, since condition regulating software is protected by the copyright, it is difficult for third persons to investigate the content of the software in detail.

Mother Jones: The VW Scandal Is Just the Beginning

I am afraid that other car makers will also be accused in the same way of Volkswagen soon.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

An idol girl ordered to compensate for dating

A 17-year-old girl was ordered by the court to pay 650,000 JPY (5420 USD) for violating the contract not to date with a man.

The Asahi Shimbun: Court strikes sour note against female idol who broke no-dating rule

The issued girl belonged to "dokidoki," an idol group established just in July 2013. She was 15-year-old when she went to a hotel with her boyfriend. The fact was revealed soon, and the management company decided to disband dokidoki in October.

The management company had made a contract with the members of dokidoki in which the members were restricted from making an intimate relationship with a particular person. This type of contract is common in Japan, not to break the dream of the fans. In this case, the girl's behavior violating the contract did damage to the reputation of dokidoki leading to the disbanding, according to the company.

The court acknowledged that a prohibition on dating was necessary to obtain support from male fans, and approved the claim of the company partially. The girl and her parents were forced to compensate the damage.

This case includes some point of discussion.

Firstly, is it legal to prohibit falling in love? Of course, not. Loving someone is a human right. However, what is disputed is that the fact the girl was dating was publicized. If she had continued a sexual relationship secretly to the public, the company would have not been damaged at all. She was responsible for the damage to the company because the dating was revealed.

Secondly, the contract of prohibiting love can be substantially invalid. Many other companies also demand the idols not to make an intimate. But few adhere the regulation. The girl insisted that this contract was broadly ignored in the idol industry.

I think the contract is the contract. Therefore, the claim of the girl is irrational. On the other hand, there are many other regulations hardly to adhere in Japan. The authority can easily interpret some regulations arbitrarily. It is an issue normalized in Japan.

The third issue about this court decision is that the girl is under 18. Is it feasible to make a nonage person to understand the meaning of this contract and adhere it? In this case, her parents were also sued. They should be responsible for this incident she caused. On the other hand, if she had been an adult, she would have needed to read the content of the contract carefully, and perhaps reject it.

Finally, not limited in this case, Japanese idols are often deemed as a symbol of virginity. It is long lasting culture. To be honest, I am indifferent to the behavior of idol girls. But juvenile people tend to act a reckless behavior. It should be permitted to some extent, because it was the way we walked through. I think some people want the fantastic pureness in the idols. It may be the core of this issue.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Risperidone companies accused of hiding side effects

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company was charged with concealing the adverse effects of risperidone, a popular antipsychotic drug.

Risperidone is one of the major drugs that block dopamine D2 receptor in the brain. Excessive releasing of endogenic dopamine can cause hallucination, delusion, and pathological excitement. It has been deemed as a primary pathological action in the brain of the patients with schizophrenia. Therefore, risperidone is considered to be a strong solution for schizophrenic patients.

In addition, risperidone has been approved for a medical indication for other diseases, such as bipolar disorder and autism spectral disorders, in the US.

However, blocking of dopamine function cause some side effects. For example, muscle rigidity and tremor emerge due to exhaustion of dopamine in the nigrostriatal pathway.

Also, risperidone can enhance the release of prolactin, a hormone related to milk generation. Some people taking risperidone, or some other antipsychotics, will suffer from enlarged breast and undesired milk release.

It is well known that risperidone can elevate the prolactin level. To avoid this adverse effect, we sometimes measure the prolactin level of the patients taking risperidone. The issue is, however, the data regarding this side effect in children had been concealed from clinicians.

Forbes: Janssen Pharmaceuticals Accused of Hiding Risperdal's Breast Effects In Boys

Risperidone was approved to be prescribed to autistic children who have uncontrollable impulsiveness by the Food and Drug Administration in the US in 2006. However, the document about drug information published at the approval for children with autism lacked the warning about the continuous elevation of the prolactin level, although it had already been suggested in a clinical trial.

Through some cases in which serious adverse effects were observed, the suspicion that Janssen deliberately concealed the side effect was indicated. Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Janssen pleaded guilty, and had to pay more than 2 billion USD in penalties and settlements. Furthermore, several lawsuits are expected to break out all over the world.

Drug Watch: What You Can Do About J&J’s Illegal Promotion of Risperdal

The New York Times: When Crime Pays: J&J’s Drug Risperdal

Johnson & Johnson was also accused of illegal promotion to be forced to pay 2200 million USD in 2013. It was one of the biggest amounts of penalty for a pharmaceutical company.

If this case is a fraud Janssen intentionally conducted, I can never forgive Janssen. On the other hand, an elevated level of prolactin is an adverse effect easily predictable in children as well as adults. Even if the drug information lacks the description of this risk, the clinician should be cautious in prescribing risperidone to children. I am doubtful the medical practitioners who continued to prescribe risperidone to the children who were suffering from their breast growing are entirely innocent.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Japanese military policy amended

Last week, the parliament of Japan was shaken due to an argument of a historically controversial issue.

The House of Councillors approved the amendment of the legislation related to Self Defense Force. The main purpose of the amendment is to let Self-Defense Force to participate in the battle abroad when Japan or its allies are seriously threatened.

The Atlantic: Japan Curtails Its Pacifist Stance

All Japanese know that Japanese constitution prohibits Japan from possessing military force. Therefore, Self Defense Force has been interpreted as not an army. Albeit it sounds ridiculous, but it is an official commitment.

My past entry: Self Defense Force and Constitution
My past entry: The only reason I am afraid that Japan can hardly improve (1)

The current situation of international relationship is quite complicated. Most nations are forced to choose their allies instead of keeping neutral such as Switzerland. Collective self-defense is based on the concept that nations have a difficulty in protecting themselves alone. In contrast, citizens of Switzerland accept mandatory serving in the military to defend the nation by themselves, though only a few Japanese know the fact.

The content of amended bills is not so extraordinary. The BBC describes the figure of the new legislation with an exact sense. This change is even historic, but not so astonishing or irrational.

BBC: Japan to allow military role overseas in historic move

Opposing Democratic Party of Japan performed several tactics to prevent the establishment of the bills. They made a barricade composed of female politicians to shut the law makers out from the vote hall. And they blamed the behavior of the politicians pushing the women out as a "Sexual harassment." Furthermore, when female guards were summoned to deal with the human barricade, they shouted that ruling politicians would make use of women inappropriately. I think their claim is entirely meaningless and shameful.

On the other hand, Abe administration has made a crucial mistake. Not a few Japanese opposed the bills related to this amendment. Actually, the majority of Japanese does not accept the explanation of the government. I disagree with some emotional opinions agitating the risk that Japan would be involved in of the war. But I guess many people feel uncomfortable with this situation, which means that Self Defense Force, being not identified as an army, is going to the battlefield.

Abe administration should have amended the Constitution first. Since legalizing the dispatch of Self-Defense Force to the battlefield without amending the constitution, Abe lost a great opportunity to call for national discussion about the necessity of the amendment of the constitution.

Japan is still on the long distant way to amend the constitution. I think this amendment itself will not have a great influence on Japanese daily life. However, I am afraid that the contradiction created by the government and opposing polemicists will hurt Japan later.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Netflix has been launched in Japan, Amazon Prime video will soon

On September 2nd, Netflix, an internet video streaming service started in Japan.

Nowadays, video streaming services with a fixed monthly cost are common. Hulu has been available in Japan since 2011. People with Amazon Japan Prime Membership will be able to access Amazon Prime Video from the end of this month.

This kind of services has an advantage that users can enjoy movies anywhere if online connection is alive. You can watch your favorite video using your smartphone. In Japan, many businesspersons take a train for commute. YouTube is their strong ally to kill the time on the train. Prepaid video streaming will join as an alternative.

One of the merits of Netflix Japan is that it offers some movies with 4K resolution. They consist around 4000*2000 pixels in each picture. It will be extremely beautiful, and match latest TV monitors.

Unfortunately, Netflix provides only a few items with 4K resolution. To utilize 4K products, users have to pay more money by month (1480 JPN vs. 980 JPN). I think there will be few people being willing to make a contract for 4K products unless more videos are provided.

I have tried Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video in Japan or England. A shared weak point of them is the difficulty in offering new films. Excepting few attractive contents, most of the movies they offer were created before a decade ago. If they offered latest films, streaming services and DVD/BD selling would cannibalize with each other. As a result, only people loving old movies are willing to continue the monthly contract after consuming some flagship contents.

Another problem is the difficulty of searching programs. In this kind of services, you will see some products that are recommended by the system based on your watching history. You can easily find some interesting film. On the other hand, it is difficult to grab the whole contents provided in the service. You can miss some contents of worth to watch unless you spontaneously input the search word.

I am not sure if Netflix will be successful in Japan. Japanese TV makers are considering to add the "Netflix" button on the TV remote controller. I hope it will not be out of service soon.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to overcome jet lag

I was suffering from jet lag when I came to Japan in August.

Jet lag is a kind of dysfunction of the circadian rhythm. You equip a time clock in the body. When you encounter the time difference due to an international airplane trip, your body will be confused by the gap between your instinct and the environment. You may have insomnia at night and sleepiness in the daytime.

Jet lag was not seen in the ancient era because of the lack of fast transportation. Nowadays, many business persons and tourists are annoyed by jet lag. To avoid the jet lag, several methods have been proposed.

5 Ways to Beat Jet Lag

In summary, how do you do in the airplane is crucial. As a standard, you have to be awake strategically. You should be aware of the time in your destination after riding the jet. In addition, setting your flight can influence the condition after landing. But it is often difficult for you to select your favorite flight. It will be busy and costly.

In contrast, you have something to consider after the arrival. The general principle is making your behaviors adaptive to the new time zone. It means ignoring your physiological signs. Even if you feel sleepy, you should not take a nap until the proper time. Going out and taking an exercise at daytime are recommended.

The best ways to beat jet lag

Finally, there is a medicine to modify your circadian rhythm. You can take some Melatonin tablets before going bed. Melatonin is available in some countries as an over-counter drug. Otherwise, you can get it at the hospital.

There are other several solutions introduced in these articles. Each of them I think as reasonable. In my case, however, I had truly suffered from jet lag for some days after returning home. I had severe insomnia and woke up at midnight. And I fell asleep deeply at noon.

I have become vulnerable to jet lag in these years. Perhaps it is due to aging. Until some years ago, I could take part in my job immediately after returning to Japan. Now, it takes some days for me to get recovered. Time is the strongest solution against the jet lag.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Time Bomb, a simple and excellent card game of suspicion

Today, I attended a Mensans' local meeting. In this visit, we enjoyed some card games.

Mensa is an association whose members are gifted. To belong to Mensa you have to pass an examination to prove his or her intelligence level is extraordinarily high. In spite of the image from this description, Mensans' meeting is quite cheerful and sometimes crazy.

My past entry: Mensa and the goal of life

Today, I played some games: Dragon's Gold, Texas Hold'em, Cockroach poker, and so on. Among them, I was impressed by "Time Bomb."

Time Bomb is a card game created by Yusuke Sato, who is a Mensan. It has quite simple rules, but is very attractive. We were so fascinated by it that we played it several times successively. I will introduce the core rule of this game.

Koenji zero-minute Sugorokuya: Time Bomb (in Japanese)

When there are six players, four players play a role of SWAT, and the other two players are terrorists. Which role you will play is determined by the card delivered to you. You cannot show your role card to any other players.

Each player are given five fuse cards. In the six-players game, there are six "Success" cards, one "Bomb" cards, and other twenty-three "Safe" cards. You can see the component you were given, but showing them to other players is not permitted.

The game starts with the first player's challenge. The first player has to choose one other player to open one fuse card he holds. If the "Bomb" card is opened, the game will end immediately with the victory of the terrorists. Otherwise, the player whose card was opened will be the second player to challenge the choice.

When a total of six opening is completed, the first round is finished. Any fuse cards which have not been opened are returned to be shuffled. All opened cards are discarded. The second turn will start after delivering all remained fuse cards (Each player will be given four fuse cards). The first player is the last player whose fuse card was opened in the previous round.

The game will end by the victory of SWAT in the case all six "Success" cards is opened. Otherwise, the terrorists will win when the fourth round ends.

That's all, extremely simple.

In this game, the SWAT players have to find all "Success" cards. Therefore, they have to exchange the information about the components of the fuse card each player hold. For example, one player can declare "I have two Success and three Safe." If his saying is reliable, it is reasonable to open his card because you have 40% opportunity to open a "Success" card without the risk of hitting the "Bomb" card. However, if he is actually a terrorist holding the "Bomb" card? You can ask other players about the contents of the fuse cards they hold. The total number of "Success" cards is fixed. If he is lying, the total number would be paradoxical. However, you have to remember that there are two terrorists. They can support each other with lying consistently. Confused?

Usually, SWAT players are honest and the terrorists are liars. Consider this case. If you are a SWAT with the "Bomb" card, you will say the truth, to prevent other SWAT players from opening your "Bomb." OK? However, if you declares so, it helps the terrorists to open your "Bomb" card! It is often wise to make a lie to deceive not only opponents but also allies, especially about the existence of the "Bomb" card.

There are many other situations you can choose the tactics. It is quite a cool and sophisticated game. I would like to play it again.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weekend effect in hospital

In Japan, we are in the "silver week." The five sequential days from 19 to 23 are holidays. It is enjoyable for me, but may be a nightmare for patients.

Gigazine described the "weekend effect" in hospitals. It means that mortality rate in hospitals is raised in a weekend.

Gigazine: Weekend effect (in Japanese)

It has been well known not only empirically but also statistically. You can imagine that limited provision of healthcare at weekends affects the quality of case for patients. In most hospitals, there are only a few doctors as well as nurses staying on duty at the weekend. Several medical devices are not available at the weekend due to deficiency of staffs and needs for rest. In addition, accidents are likely to occur because many people go out at the weekend. This trend is universal.

The BMJ: Analysis Increased mortality associated with weekend hospital admission: a case for expanded seven day services?

Mail Online: Patients more likely to die at the weekend: Global study reveals higher mortality rates among people who go under the knife on a Saturday afternoon

The NHS in England estimated that 11,000 patients were victimized by the weekend effect in a year. These cases are deemed as avoidable death. On the other hand, NHS seems to hesitate to commit this issue. The reason is obvious. Medical practitioners cannot be provided infinitely. If it wants to enrich the capacity of hospitals at the weekend, medical staffs at weekdays should be reduced, which is meaningless in the sense for preventing avoidable deaths.

The BBC: NHS Weekend: Action demanded over death risk

The situation is quite the same in Japan. Doctors on duty at the weekend are forced to sacrifice their holidays. In most hospitals, alternative holidays are not offered. When medical staffs are exhausted due to excessive work, the prevalence of medical incidents is increased. Substantially, the medical resource is limited.

Similarly, "September effect" is believed by medical practitioners. In September, new doctors just finished medical training enter the hospital. They are not familiar with the real medicine, and sometimes careless, unskilled, and lack experience. Skilled doctors should take care of them for a considerable amount of time, of course, it is necessary investment. Therefore, patients cannot be looked after enough.

In Japan, the academic year begins in April. And in my impression, medical incidents are likely to occur in April. You should avoid entering the hospital at the beginning of the academic year, if it is possible.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mike Tyson's Bitcoin ATM

Mike Tyson, a legendary ex-boxing fighter was named as one of Bitcoin promoter. Bitcoin ATM has been introduced in Las Vegas owing to his financial support.

Motherboard: Behold, the Mike Tyson Bitcoin ATM

There are some Bitcoin ATMs with which you can easily buy Bitcoin in the US. But this is the first time for Bitcoin ATM to make a partnership with a celebrity. Rising of Tyson ATM will aid the spread of Bitcoin.

CoinDesk: Bitcoin ATM map

In addition, Las Vegas is well known as a city of gamble. Some shops accept Bitcoin for the payment. Bitcoin's volatile price may attract gamblers' attention. I think it was clever for Tyson to choose Las Vegas as the place to throw Bitcoin ATM.

However, there is a rumor that Tyson was deceived. Bitcoin Brands, which is connected to this project, has quite less value than Tyson expected, said Duncan Riley.

International Business Times: Mike Tyson Bitcoin cash machines coming to Las Vegas

I am not sure about the truth. It is certain that Bitcoin is sometimes utilized by antisocial agencies. There are several fraud cases regarding Bitcoin.

My past entry: Bitcoin fraud case in New Jersey

Compared to the past, the price of Bitcoin has been stabilized. Ironically, the more Bitcoin is trusted as a currency, the less it looks attractive as an item for speculation.

I think Bitcoin will infiltrate into our daily life gradually, but it is difficult for Bitcoin to threaten the conventional financial system, at least for a while. When Bitcoin has overwhelmed the usual currencies in the future, the concept of nations would ultimately change.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Facebook will equip "dislike" button

Facebook seems really considering to introduce a "dislike" button.

The Atlantic: Facebook Says It's Introducing a 'Dislike' Button

This anecdote has been told several times as an April Fool joke. But Mark Zuckerberg is seriously planning this simple but drastic change. He told that many users were waiting for the appearance of a dislike button. Indeed, "unlike" button to cancel your "like" has already disappeared, perhaps to avoid being confused.

Of course, the new dislike button will not be prepared for disgracing a post. Its use is to express empathy or sorry. For example, you would not "like" your friend's post in which he reported an accident. In this case, you can push dislike button to let him know you feel regretful about this tragedy.

Indeed, we sometimes wonder how to respond to bad news on Facebook. However, it is quite unsure whether the dislike button will work as Zuckerberg estimates. Many users may push dislike button to express their opposition to the post.

I think that Facebook has made significant efforts not to clarify the users' hatred. For example, you are notified when your friend request is approved, but you are never notified if your request is rejected. Similarly, you cannot know the fact your friendship was dismissed by the partner's decision immediately.

Social Network Service (SNS) can easily visualize your emotion to other people on the screen. If Facebook equipped some ways to express your negative emotion, every timeline would be filled with a considerable amount of grudge. Zuckerberg, whose goal is to make everything clarified, must be wise enough to know the negative aspect of SNS.

I think the introduction of "dislike" button is quite a risky attempt. As the author of the article I refer above, alternative icon, such as a heart mark, will be desirable. In this case, however, users will wonder which button is preferred when they see an agreeable post.

SNS is now an infrastructure. In my opinion, simpler interface is admirable.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

North Korea is ready to nuclear attack?

Subsequent to the tension with South Korea in last month, North Korea made a threatening statement again.

Pyongyang declared being ready to use nuclear weapons. It would be willing to revenge the US against its "anachronistic hostile policy."

International Business Times: North Korea threatens US with nuclear weapon attack after uranium enrichment plant restart

Nuclear production at Yongbyon had been shut down since 2007. However, Kim Jong-un implied the restart of its operation in 2013. It is not surprising that nuclear armament is ongoing in North Korea.

It is not sure how much the plan of North Korea is proceeding and whether the nuclear attack is technically feasible. Besides the concentration of radioactive substance, the development of intercontinental flying missiles is also challenging. North Korea has failed to launching satellites several times. In addition, the financial situation in North Korea is very poor. Expanding the budget for military seems wasting of money so that it is no more able to continue the research of weapons.

Even if North Korea has already developed the technique to attack Washington or New York completely, stabbing the US is not a wise idea at all. The US would revenge it immediately, leading the elimination of North Korean government.

Obviously, Kim can predict the result. Therefore, I do not think the threatening of North Korea is a real risk of war. The most worrying matter is the possibility for Kim to underestimate the response of the US. In the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein prospected that the US would not intervene the invasion of Iraq into Kuwait. It was a wrong estimation, and Iraq army was defeated by the multi-nation alliance led by the US very soon.

The US and other Western countries including Japan should continue to send the message to North Korea that, the use nuclear weapons is never permitted, otherwise it will be countered by the entire revenge. North Korea is likely to offer a barter between the abandonment of nuclear weapons and financial aids from Western countries. It will rather affordable, because continuous communication, even if it is filled with tension and disguise, is effective to construct mutual relationship, leading the lesser risk of war.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Diagnosing psychopathy early

Psychopathy is a trait characterized by callus-unemotional tendency, lack of empathy, and adherence to prosocial norms. People with psychopathic trait tend to harm others without remorse. Psychopaths have been a center of forensic mental health research because of some horrible crimes they committed.

Nowadays, psychopathy is deemed not as a personality formed by their parents and environment surround the person, but a congenital pathology in the brain, although there is broad controversy. Psychopathic persons have a difficulty of imagining the agony of others. They also tend not to learn from negative feedback (punishment) resulting from their inappropriate behaviors. Such tendencies are considered as a systemic dysfunction of the frontal lobe.

The callous-unemotional (CU) trait is a predictive factor of psychopathy. Adolescents with CU trait is highly likely to develop psychopathic tendency. Therefore, early detection of CU trait of children is crucial.

A recent study suggested that a tool set applies to three years old children for measuring CU trait.

The Independent: Is your child a psychopath? Study reveals the warning signs and how early you can spot them

In this study, 214 preschool children were examined. And 10% of the participants showed CU trait. This percentage is consistent with the prevalence rate of psychopathy. The researchers are confident of the quality of the toolset they developed.

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology: Can Callous-Unemotional Traits be Reliably Measured in Preschoolers?

This result is interesting, but a prospective cohort study should be conducted to prove that this tool set is accurately predicted the onset of the psychopathy. On the other hand, participants showed a warning sign may have to be protected and treated so that they can improve social skills.

Whether psychopathy is one unit of psychopathology is also doubtful. Another study indicated that six-weeks old children preferred seeing a human face to a circle object, unless they had CU trait.

Biological Psychiatry: Reduced Face Preference in Infancy: A Developmental Precursor to Callous-Unemotional Traits?

If this result is reliable, the root of psychopathy is developed in the stage of an infant. However, as the authors admitted, a tendency not to chase a human face is also seen in children with autistic disorders. It is highly suggested that autistic disorder is relevant to psychopathic tendency. Thus, it is uncertain whether we can detect the seed of psychopathy or only autism using this kind of examination.

Social function is a complicated concept. We have many things to investigate to clarify what is psychopathy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kimishima succeeds Nintendo

After the sudden death of Satoru Iwata, the former president of Nintendo, who would succeed him had been concerned. In spite I suggested two candidates, Tatsumi Kimishima was appointed to be the next president.

Tatsumi Kimishima was a banker previous to belong to Nintendo. He worked as the president for Nintendo America and thereafter a managing director of Nintendo. It is no doubt that he is expected to achieve an excellent management of Nintendo.

Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda will be the fellows, which was firstly established in this time. The both were also thought to be the next president. Kimishima seems to make a troika administration with them.

I think Nintendo's decision is conservative but safe. Miyamoto and Takeda are rather designers than administrators. Although they will make marvelous works, it is uncertain that a good designer will be a good administrator. Nintendo is a big company. The primary task of the president is to manage any branches in it. Kimishima will be more skillful in this kind of work than Miyamoto or Takeda.

Nintendo is planning to enter the battlefield of a smartphone. And the next-generation console is under developing. I hope Kimishima will achieve a good performance.

Monday, September 14, 2015

RNA sampling predict your future health: A research

Aging is a fate of human being. But the speed of aging varies in individual. Some people look younger and energetic while others have several diseases in middle-age.

Is it possible to predict the onset of diseases which occur in the late stage of life? What does distinguish the persons who will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease from healthy elders? To answer these questions, many studies has been conducted. So far, whereas early detection of a particular disease is possible in some ways, there are no decisive ways to make an exact prediction of most of diseases.

Recently, a research team composed of Kings College London, XRGenomics Ltd, Karolinska University Hospital, and other several organizations, published a paper in which investigating a set of RNA was possible to forecast the later health status of the subjects.

Genome Biology: A novel multi-tissue RNA diagnostic of healthy ageing relates to cognitive health status

In this study, the researchers hypothesized that some human RNAs are representative to express the health status. They calculated the score from combination of the result of investigation in over one-hundred RNAs. The participants were prospectively observed for twelve years. As a result, participants with lower score were likely to be mortal or have an Alzheimer’s disease.

Since only the blood sample is required to examine the “gene age,” this procedure will easily to be adopted to group health examination, when the issue of cost is resolved. In the future, we will be able to imagine our life of a decade after now. Early intervention and preparation are beneficial to not only the potential patient but also their family members.

Gene examination has been utilized in some areas. In Japan, you can let your gene assessed easily. It will cost hundreds USD. The results you can see include the possibility of future onset of some kind of diseases such as diabetes. However, the preciseness of the predictability is still uncertain. Some physicians warn that patients would be anxious excessively about the result.

I am sure that more precise prediction will be enabled at least in some specific diseases in the near future. The issue is that how to utilize the result. It is worried that health insurance companies would reject persons from entering the service if they are diagnosed as risky. In this case, gene diagnosing is rather disadvantageous for the person. Protecting the potential patients is essential before the gene examination is publicly spread.

Some people may become depressive when they know the future risk. Bad news makes us anxious, especially it has uncertainty. Afterward counselling will be needed to the subjects as well.

Future is substantially unpredictable. We are eager to know the future, even if it could bring us regret. We have to have the power to know , accept, and alter the future.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Watching baseball game

This weekend, I visited Tokyo Dome to see the baseball game.

I seldom watch baseball because I am not so interested in watching sports. This time, I got a ticket for a good seat by chance, so I went to Tokyo.

In the game, Yomiuri Giants and Yokohama DeNA Baystars were fighting. The former is one of the oldest team in Japanese professional baseball, whereas the latter was established because DeNA bought the stock of Yokohama Baystars in 2011.

In the beginning, DeNA gained two points, but in the middle Giants overcame DeNA with two home-runs. Finally, Giants won the game with 6-3. If the final batter of DeNA had made a home-run, the result of the game would have been uncertain.

Japanese like baseball very much. A professional baseball player is one of the popular dreams of boys at elementary school. Although soccer is also popular in Japan, professional baseball games seem to attract the public attention of Japanese more. For example, more than 22 million people visit a stadium to see the baseball game in a year, while 5 million to soccer.

This difference is due to the history of both sports in Japan. J-league, the professional succor league began 30 years ago. In contrast, professional baseball league has been continuing for 80 years. Especially elder people love to see baseball more than soccer.

I think, however, younger people are fond of playing soccer. In the world view, soccer is more global sport compared to baseball. More than 200 countries participate in the soccer World Cup while only less than 30 countries took part in the World Baseball Classic. In the UK, soccer is quite popular, but baseball is not well known, in spite that some people are fascinated in cricket.

I prospect soccer will be more popular in Japan. On the other hand, baseball has a unique character that there is a definite distinction between the offense and defense. This rule makes baseball strategic and fun.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

9/11 Memorial day

Yesterday was the day just fourteen years after the 9/11 terrorism in the US. In New York, several events were performed to remember the day and respect the victims.

International Business Times: 9/11 anniversary: New York remembers victims 14 years after terror attacks

On September 11 in 2001, four planes were hijacked, to conduct a suicidal attack charging into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The buildings were surrounded by fire and collapsed. More than 3,000 people including all passengers in the compromised airplanes were victimized. Obviously, it is the most tragic event occurred in the history of modern US.

(This image is not relevant to the text.)

After the terrorism, President George W Bush declared the war against terrorism, concluding that it was committed by Al-Qaeda founded by Usāma bin Lādin. With overwhelming support of the people, Bush decided to attack Iraq, suspecting that it had supported Al-Qaeda and prepared weapons of mass destruction.

Later, Iraq was proven not to related to Al-Qaeda, and issued weapons were not found. Nonetheless, the US did not stop fighting. Finally, it killed Usāma bin Lādin in 2011.

However, the hatred of the US against Islamic extremists was not calmed down. The US wanted to democratize the Middle East nations in order to extinguish the foundation of terrorism. This movement was broadly criticized by many other nations. Even in the US, politicians with liberal ideology were opposing to the policy of expanding the American dogma to other cultures.

As far as looking at the current situation, this US decision seems not wise, unfortunately. The asymmetric battle between the US and terrorism is still ongoing. The US faced the resistance of conflicting nations and failed to conquer them. Gradually changing its policy, the Obama administration is trying to reconstruct the relationship with the countries that had been against the US, such as Cuba and Iran.

My past entry: Iran nuclear agreement
My past entry: US and Cuba is approaching

I hate terrorism, and anti-humanistic acts should never be approved regardless of the situation. On the other hand, defeating terrorists with power will not be the absolute solution. It is tested what we have learned from the history including many tragedies.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Apple unveils iPad Pro

Yesterday, Apple performed an event in which new products were introduced.

ITPortalPro: Apple launch roundup: iPhone 6S, iPad Pro and Apple TV

As many rumors had suggested previously, a new iPad with a 12.9-inch display was unveiled. The iPad Pro is the largest tablet Apple will release.

iPad has been utilized not only for the entertainment but also for business. Larger display will be advantageous in the person-to-person presentation. The new iPad equips enhanced CPU so that multi-task implementation is enabled. In addition, Apple will launch the original keyboard to be attached to iPad Pro correspondingly. The combination of a tablet computer and a portable keyboard reminds us the Microsoft Surface series. Apple seems to try to overwhelm Surface and the market of tablet PC for business use.

In the event, iPhone6S was also presented. It has a 3D touch panel, which can sense the degree of pressure by the user's finger. More detailed manipulation will be available with this panel. The CPU and the camera will also be strengthened.

For the Apple Watch, Apple will update the iOS. Also, Apple TV will be revised.

Several kinds of evolution were included in the next update. However, the stock price of Apple dropped by 2% immediately after the event.

It seems that investors expected that Apple would publish more innovative releases. Indeed, this event did not include any surprises. But I think it is a little overestimating Apple's power to imagine Apple will invent revolutionary products every time.

By the way, it is also interesting that Apple introduce a stylus for iPad Pro. The other day, Steve Jobs disgraced stylus as easy to be lost in the presentation of the first iPhone. Has Apple changed its stance? Actually, Apple, as well as Steve Jobs himself, frequently change the mind. Jobs had expected that e-books would never be spread. For the professional business usage, the stylus can be useful, it's true.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Divorce get easier in Catholics

Pope Francis unveiled the reformed procedure required in the case of divorce. It makes easier for the spouses to separate.

The Catholic doctrine forbids the adherents divorcing. They have to prove that the marriage has been invalid since its beginning if they would like to separate. The process of divorce is complex, and implies a large amount of money. Two Church tribunals had been needed to annul a marriage. The reform will reduce it to only one and dismiss the automatic appeal.

This reform is quite radical. Catholic has substantially kept strict principles about the familial relationship. Abortion is also argued frequently, for example in some states of the US. I guess there was a considerable magnitude of opposition against Pope Francis.

Recently, Pope Francis expresses his opinion more frequently than the past. He sometimes refers to the issue of refugees and climate change. I think it is for attracting public attention to Catholic society. Although Catholic has still had a power upon many regions, its influence is getting weaker gradually. Concerned persons seem afraid that the authority of religions would be lost in near future.

It may be regrettable that, the divorce rate is increasing in almost all areas, regardless of which religion is dominant. Some people think the relaxation of the standard will affect people's faith adversely. On the other hand, the too strict regulation would make many people outlaws, such as non-married spouses. In my opinion, creating a more flexible rule of divorce is unavoidable.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dangerous pillow fights at military school

Have you ever enjoyed a pillow fight? Beating an opponent with a pillow, or throwing pillows aiming at others is a popular way of mock fighting usually in children. Since a pillow is very soft as you know, there is a rare risk of injuring others in a pillow fight, in most cases.

However, it seems different in a military school.

At the United States Military Academy, a pillow battle resulted in serious trouble, recently. A total of 30 cadets were injured, because some students filled a helmet or other hard objects in a pillow case. Fortunately, all of the wounded recovered soon.

Yahoo News: Annual pillow fight turns bloody at West Point military academy

This pillow fight is an annual event in the first-grade students at the service academy in West Point, New York. The reason dangerous objects were introduced in the pillow battle, which was merely a casual game, is unclear. I guess that someone intended to enhance the power of the pillow as a joke at first, and others followed him without deep thought.

The students may include many adolescents, which often act recklessly. So, I understand their behavior. It is quite fortunate that no fatal cases occurred in this incident.

In Japan, pillow fight is also common in children. In a school excursion, most male students have fun to throw pillows at others (Makura-nage). In a Japanese traditional inn, they usually stay in a large room with tatami together. Futon (mattress and blanket) is offered instead of a bed. So, there are no obstacles or hard objects in the bedroom. It enables them to enjoy pillow fight with safety. I never joined because I had asthma.

In general, children's games have some dangerous elements. They frequently make a battle with each other. Mock wrestling is also a fun for young children. Usually, they are not so heavy or muscular to cause severe damage to the opponent. If adults make the same thing, the risk of injury would be much raised. I remember that we played dodgeball when we were 12 years old. Different from the memory of playing it at seven years old, I was so scared to the ball thrown at me. Guys could perform a vigorous shot. I realized that dodgeball was a dangerous game for teenagers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hacking a car experiment

Nowadays, cyber crimes commonly occur. The magnitude of damage depends on the matter being hacked. If it were a car you are driving, the result would be disastrous.

Recently, an experiment of hacking a car was conducted by a journalist and some hackers. Andy Greenberg, g a senior writer for Wired magazine, asked Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek to hack his car while driving it. They were successful in fulfilling his request. The car made unintentional move several times, and finally stopped.

Wired: Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It

The hackers utilized an entertainment system to invade the car computer. Once compromised, the car becomes out of control by the driver, meaning that there was a critical vulnerability in the car controlling system.

The hackers took their findings to the company, and Chrysler released a patch to address this issue. Furthermore, it issued a safety recall affecting 1.4 million vehicles in the US.

The BBC:Fiat Chrysler recalls 1.4 million cars after Jeep hack

Actually, Miller and Valasek were so gentle hackers that they let the company know this issue before the media reports are released. Otherwise, it was possible some real incidents would have occurred.

Hacking a car, as well as an airplane, is a nightmare because of its potential danger. Most hackers would not aim a particular car if they had a chance to do. But there are terrorists who are willing to do damage to the society. Some criminals may consider to kidnap a VIP with hacking a private vehicle. In near future, the risk of being hacked would be raised following the spread of auto-driving cars. Proper protection from such malicious acts is essential to be done by the vehicle providers.

My past entry: Google auto-driving car to launch
My past entry: Google car meet the first crash

Actually, there is substantially no difference between the bank account and the car controlling system in terms of the necessity of protection. The inappropriate procedure can cause fatal damage. Engineers are expected to achieve highly sophisticated works.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Taking a nap and reduce your blood pressure

Hypertension is one of the major cause of damaging your body in middle age. Along with hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and abdominal obesity, it is well known as an element of metabolic syndrome that is long lasting pathological condition resulting in a fatal outcome.

There are many ways to control your blood pressure. Medication and dieting are both useful. But the medication has some adverse effects, and it is not easy to change your diet style.

Recently, an interesting result of a study was presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual conference in London. Thus, a midday nap seems to reduce your blood pressure continuously.

The Independent: A nap a day could save your life

In this study, hundreds of people were examined about their lifestyle and medical condition. After adjusting for several factor potentially influencing blood pressure such as age, gender, obesity level, smoking, alcohol, salt and coffee intake, and habit of exercise, participants who take a nap in the midday had 5% reduced blood pressure, not only in the noon but also at night, compared to those without nap.

European Society of Cardiology: Midday naps associated with reduced blood pressure and fewer medications

The researchers think that the difference of 5mmHg between the both group is crucial because it deserves the reduced risk for the cardiac event by more than 10%. It seemed that one hour nap had the greatest effect to decrease blood pressure.

This study is cross-sectional, so it has not been proven whether a nap truly brings you lowered blood pressure. It is possible that people with low blood pressure like to sleep. In a theoretical thinking, I believe the hypothesis of the researchers, nonetheless.

It seems that siesta is beneficial to your life. If medication against hypertension is avoided to some extent in middle-aged people, the cost of general health care can be considerably reduced.

Then, should we consider to introduce a siesta, which has already been withdrawn in many regions because of the limited productivity in south Europe? Unfortunately, I do not think so.

There are several ways to control your blood pressure other than a nap. A meta-analysis shows that meditation is also beneficial in controlling the blood pressure, not to mention dieting and exercise. I guess the government is willing to introduce meditation rather than a nap to promote the health. If you already have a habit of a nap, I recommend you to keep it.

Pubmed: Investigating the effect of transcendental meditation on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Taxi in London and Japan

In general, using a taxi is a valuable option when you have to visit a complicated area. Its advantage is it brings you to the exact destination.

To be honest, however, I do not trust taxi drivers in Japan. They often misidentify the place I order to go, unfortunately. The other day, I had to take another taxi because the first one brought me to somewhere far distant from the destination. It was a so disappointing experience.

Furthermore, they frequently ask me how to reach the destination. They seem not to know the way to use the car navigating system. Some taxis do not equip the navigation, and I seldom see the driver utilizing navigating apps properly.

In most countries, the taxi driver is one of the primary jobs for immigrants, because it requires no particular talents or skills other than driving. As a result, the salary of taxi drivers is very low, compared to other technical jobs.

In Japan recently, however, the government established a legislation to protect taxi drivers' income through restricting competition regarding taxi fare. It is said that excessive competition led to threatened taxi drivers' daily life in the last decade based on capitalism, and taxi companies made an appeal that official regulation was necessary.

I think it is ridiculous. Lowered income is the result of their low quality of performance. I feel that taxi delivery service has got worse for a decade. Not a few drivers are quite unfamiliar to the road status. In addition, the taxi fee is raised.

In the global point of view, Uber has been a strong competitor of conventional taxi companies. Uber is a web service with which anyone can become a taxi driver. Many armature drivers earn money using Uber as a temporal driver in a region where Uber is available, and users can call a taxi with low cost. Conventional taxi drivers now have to face a strong opponent before Google car.

In England, black cabs offer sophisticated services of taxi driving. Black cab drivers have to learn many things about geography and relevant knowledge before being authorized. Its strict standard makes them qualified and trustworthy.

Of course, their taxing fee is extremely expensive. Indeed, I almost never used a black cab in my London life. Rather, black cabs would be a strong ally of travelers.

Even black cabs have no choice other than lowering the fee to match Uber. They decided to make a discount in off-peak time.

The Independent: London's black cabs take on Uber with off-peak fares

I think black cab drivers understand their status well. Whereas blaming Uber, they have made efforts to keep their value up. Nonetheless, taxi-driving service itself is approaching to the corner. I wonder what do Japanese taxi drivers, which are also protected from immigrated competitors, think about it.

My past entry: Tube strike again to delay night tube in London

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Death by illegal drug, in England and Japan

It seems that English people is involved in the problem of drug misuse.

Office of National Statistics published the data of fatal drug poisoning. According to the official statistics, 3,346 deaths (39.9 per million population) is the highest since records began in 1993.

International Business Times: Drug overdose deaths in England and Wales highest since records began

More than two-thirds of mortality were due to the illegal drug, not surprisingly. Raised fatality is partially attributed to cocaine purity by the users, according to the National Crime Agency.

On the other hand, antidepressants related deaths are also at highest since 1999. It suggests that some flaws about mental health care are relevant to this problem.

I am not sure about the reason of raised death, nor whether these data is statistically significant. But there are several factors contributing to lowered performance of mental health care, such as austerity policy and refugee crisis.

In my observation, offenders with mental disorders in England are frequently using illegal drugs. Cannabis is experienced by almost all offenders. Cocaine is also common. They are encouraged to attend local meetings in which peer counseling and behavioral therapy. However, their motivation to get out of illicit drugs is generally weak, and many members drop out.

The situation is similar in Japan. By contrast, methamphetamine is dominant as a substance in Japan, and most providers belong to the antisocial organization. This fact has been advantageous for the police to control the delivery of illegal drugs.

Recently, however, many new types of drugs were introduced. The government revised the legislation to regulate the whole harmful substance, calling them "dangerous drugs." They often include many uncertain additives, which sometimes cause fatal influence to the body of users. Besides the risk of the poisonous substance itself, some cases attracted public attention, in which a vehicle driver using drugs caused a fatal traffic accident.

Considering the current trend, I am worrying about the spread of harmful drugs also in Japan. The best way to protect potential users from exposure to such drugs is educational intervention in the early stage. I expect the government and school teachers to enlighten children in an appropriate way.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Refugee crisis in EU

Recently, I frequently watch news about refugees in Europe.

The issue of refugees has existed for several decades because there have been many disputes all over the world. However, as conflicts in the Middle East grows in addition to Africa, the number of refugees from the regions to Europe is steadily increasing. Hundred thousand people have entered Europe from three countries that are the heart of the chaos, thus Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea in this year.

The EU keeps a tolerant policy for refugees, basically. The bitter memory of the WWII makes it sympathetic toward the victims of the conflict. However, it is also true that most EU nations feel irritated about this matter.

The substantial problem of the refugee crisis is that Europe has inadequate capacity to accept all immigrants. Several countries in EU have no physical obstacle that prevent refugees from entering. They began to build razor wire fences along its border.

The Hungary rushes to build fence to block migrant influx

Many refugees aim to visit Germany as the destination. It is because Germany is the most successful country in EU, and, therefore, they expect to gain a stable job there. Recently, a main train station in Budapest was temporally evacuated, and all the trains were suspended due to a swarm of refugees.

International Business Times: EU migrant crisis: Train chaos as refugees attempt travel from Hungary to Germany

Germany is expected to accept 800,000 refugees this year, fourfold of the number in the previous year. This issue is attracting attention replaced from the Greek financial crisis.

The Germany expecting 800,000 migrants in 2015, 4 times last year’s number

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, is eager to make a collaborative deal with other countries in EU. She asked for the settlement of mandatory acceptance of refugees in each country. But her proposal was dismissed by Hungary.

The Guardian: Migration crisis: bid for united EU response fraying over quota demands
The Stary: Angela Merkel urges European Union to share burden of exploding refugee crisis

On the other hand, Hungary is eager to block the refugees with restricting passport-free travel. This movement by the right-winged government was criticized by human right activists.

The Hungary blocks migrants from trains in test for passport-free EU

Totally, I respect European people being willing to accept refugees. In Japan, Immigration from other countries is quite strictly regulated in spite of decreasing population. It is strange that Japanese people are unfriendly to foreign people whereas many foreign culture have been introduced to Japan.

Refugee crisis will last at least for a couple of years, as the unstable situation in the Middle East and Africa will be continuous. I am afraid that the movement of rejecting immigration would be ignited in Europe.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bank transfer is outdated

During living in London, I had some troubles about sending money.

I opened a bank account in the UK in addition to the main bank in Japan. But international transfer from Japan to the UK was expensive. Furthermore, sending a large amount of money required an authorization, which means that I had to visit the bank in Japan on my own.

Also, I was involved in a trouble when I intended to send the money to the US bank for the payment of publication fee of an academic article. Although I asked the bank to proceed the transaction, the bank staff failed to carry it out. I had to confirm repeatedly if the transaction was finished. It took a couple of weeks.

For these episodes, I became to distrust the bank.

Sending money is no more complex procedure. You can minimize the transaction fee with some ways. Bitcoin is theoretically the cheapest way to make an international transfer. You have to pay only several cents for the transaction. However, it will also take costs to change Bitcoin into real currency to save them in the bank account.

Recently, PayPal launched a service in which you can easily send money to others. It takes no extra cost in an individual use.

The Independent: PayPal launches peer-to-peer payments service lets users send money using just a link

Nowadays, the money is almost no more than the digital record. Billionaires do not equip a wallet. They can use money as much as they want with a simple signature.

Regardless of the future for Bitcoin, I think that the cost for international transaction will be reduced. Also exchanging will not be needed in the near future. Then, the banks will be forced to reconsider their business.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Demonstration against security policy in Japan: Theory and practice

The argument regarding the security policy of Japan is approaching a corner.

On Aug 30, 2015, ten of thousands people gathered near Japan's parliament building to protest against the revision of security bills. The amount of the protesters reached 120,000, according to the organizer. This demonstration is one of the largest ones in Japan.

Reuters: Huge protest in Tokyo rails against PM Abe's security bills

The cabinet submitted the bills that would enable the self-defense force to set foot in the battlefield, which has been prohibited based on the current policy. This change is consistent with the approval of the collective self-defense.

Abe administration has interpreted the article nine of the constitution as permitting the use of the troop based on the collective self-defense. This revision of the bills is aiming at the improved collaboration with the US and other allies' army.

My past entry: Japan has right of collective self-defense

However, the protesters seem to be worrying about the risk of being involved in the war. Some people insist that Abe is considering to invade other countries similar to the WWII. Others are concerned about the raised risk that members of self-defense force will be endangered. There is also a claim that Abe's policy is breaching the spirit of the constitution.

Self-defense force is a very sophisticated army. But its legal basis is quite vague. The fact that Japanese constitution has never been revised makes the matter complicated.

My past entry: Self Defense Force and Constitution

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party has a strong will to establish the revised legislation regarding the security policy. But some politicians are hesitating to proceed the discussion, considering the strong hatred of the protesters against the bills.

I believe that the planners of this revision do not intend to begin a war at all. No Japanese want to be involved in the war. I partially understand the thoughts of people that expanding the activity of the self-defense force may cause international conflict. On the other hand, I am doubtful that we can keep the peace forever unless enhancing the activity of the national army.

To be honest, I would like to ask the protesters about two things.

(1) What has been keeping the peace of Japan since the WWII?
(2) What should we do to avoid from being involving in the war?

My answer to the question (1) is obvious: the alliance with the US. Some decades ago, many people were opposing to the revision of the security treaty between the US and Japan, similar to the present situation. But if the protesters' intention had been successful, Japan would have been invaded by Soviet, China, or North Korea, I think.

Therefore, I support this planning of the revision. However, It is difficult to answer the question (2). Nowadays, the US has no more absolute power to keep the peace of the world. It is uncertain that the alliance with the US is the best way. Nonetheless, it is no doubt that Japan has no opportunity to keep our lives alone such as Swiss. I will bet to the US, rather than the mid-east countries.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

New Kindle Paperwhite (2015) has come

I bought Kindle Paperwhite as a substitute of the broken one immediately after returning to Japan.

My past entry: Good bye to my KINDLE Paperwhite

This new model is splendid in spite of its unchanged figure from previous one at a glance. First, it has 300ppi resolution. It is enough to see beautiful letters on the display. The speed of refreshing is so fast that I did not feel stressful in reading an e-book. Battery life, storage volume, and the brightness of the front light are also terrific.

In summary, the new version of Kindle Paperwhite is not innovative, but has extreme performance.

Furthermore, was conducting a discount sale. Thus, I bought it for only 85 USD, discounted by 30% from the normal price. It is cheaper than American one, and far less expensive than British one. Kindle Paperwhite

To be honest, I hardly understand Amazon's marketing strategy. This Kindle is so awesome that I need not consider to choose Kindle Voyage, which I wanted to buy before the launch of the new Kindle Paperwhite. Kindle Voyage has almost same performance, while a little lighter, and twice as expensive as Kindle Paperwhite. Kindle Voyage will launch an unlimited video streaming service for Amazon Prime users this month. This kind of service has been already offered in the UK. The value of Amazon Prime is relatively low in Japan, because of generally good environment of distribution. seems to aim to enclose customers with offering new services. Kindle Unlimited will be soon introduced in Japan I think.

My past entry:Immature Kindle Unlimited