Tag: Japan

Bad Day at the Office

Japan has grounded its F-35 fleet after one of the aircraft crashed:

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force confirmed Wednesday morning local time that a missing F-35A has crashed, pointing to debris sighted and recovered Tuesday night by ships and helicopters searching for the aircraft.

The pilot remains missing. U.S. military assets have also joined the search, including a U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft on temporary duty in Japan.

The crashed aircraft, which the JASDF identified as serial number 79-8705, was the first of 13 Japanese F-35As assembled so far by Mitsubishi’s final assembly and check out facility in Nagoya. In addition to the 12 JASDF F-35As affected by the temporary Japanese grounding order, the 14th aircraft assembled, which is still at Nagoya and undergoing pre-delivery flight tests, has also been grounded.

Local media reported Tuesday that contact with the Lockheed Martin-made stealth fighter was lost just before 7:30 p.m. local time, with the aircraft’s last reported location identified over the Pacific Ocean about miles 85 miles east of Misawa city in Aomori prefecture, in the northern part of Japan’s main island of Honshu.

Japan’s national public broadcaster, NHK, quoting Japan Air Self-Defense Force officials, reported that the missing F-35A was one of four JASDF F-35As that had taken off from nearby Misawa Air Base for a training mission at 7:00 p.m. local time.

The squadron has been operating the JSF for only about a month.

 Not good.

Tweet of the Day

Actually, tweets of the day.

It’s a tweet storm on why Japan is the only industrialized nation to have two grids operating at two different frequencies:

Just learned a real-world example of the cost of “meh, we can refactor this later”:

Japan is the only modernized country in the world to run on two independent electricity grids, by historical accident. When the 2011 tsunami happened, half the country was knocked off-grid…

— Denise Yu (@deniseyu21) March 10, 2019

And the other half was unable to help out, because the two grids run on different frequencies.

How did this happen?!

In the 1800s, Tokyo entrepreneurs bought a 50 Hz generator from a German company that would later become AEG. Osaka bought one from the US that ran on 60Hz.

— Denise Yu (@deniseyu21) March 10, 2019

This design is a reflection of the political facts of the era: power was consolidated in the hands of local authorities. Centralization came later.

If this isn’t a perfect physical illustration of Conway’s Law I don’t know what is: https://t.co/yOUEErpUe2

— Denise Yu (@deniseyu21) March 10, 2019

In the world wars the Japanese government floated the idea of unifying the two grids, but ultimately the idea was dismissed because — you guessed it! — it was too expensive. Also, the cultural rivalry between Tokyo and Osaka didn’t help.

— Denise Yu (@deniseyu21) March 10, 2019

I suggest read the whole series of tweets.

They are a hoot.

Mixed Emotions

Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and former  Chairman at Nissan, has been released from jail after 108 days.

He has been charged with tax evasion and embezzlement.

I like the idea that a rich executive is being like the rest of us (good), but I have not doubt that if Ghosn were Japanese, he would have been released on bail about 107 days sooner: (bad)

The former motoring titan Carlos Ghosn extricated himself from custody Wednesday after 108 days in jail.

The Brazil-born former CEO of Renault and chairman of Nissan Motors paid one of the largest bail fees in the history of Japan — 1 billion yen, or $8.9 million — to leave jail in Tokyo.

Flanked by security figures, Ghosn emerged from the jail wearing blue workman’s clothes, a baseball cap, and a face mask as he headed to his new home, a court-approved house in Tokyo.


Ghosn’s experience has been a humiliating one for a former CEO who commanded immense respect in the auto world. Ghosn in November was accused of misreporting his salary and compensation having previously held top positions at the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Motors automotive alliance.


Prosecutors in Japan have alleged that the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance chairman and CEO earned a salary of about 10 billion yen, or $88.7 million, from 2011 to 2015 but reported only half of that. Ghosn could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to 10 million yen if found to have committed any wrongdoing.

The whole story is like watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your brand new car.

Can We Just Give the Whales Weapons and Let the Chips Fall Where They May?

On Wednesday, Japan announced that it was pulling out of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a step that will allow it to restart commercial whaling in the spring. The move comes after a failed attempt to get the IWC to set legal quotas for legal hunting by its members. For whales, the news is good and bad: the move with shift Japan’s hunting to its territorial waters, and away from the healthier populations in the Antarctic.

The plunge in whale populations in the 1970s ultimately resulted in an international moratorium on the commercial hunting of whales. The IWC allowed some exemptions for subsistence hunting among native populations, and left a loophole for killing whales in the course of scientific research. Japan exploited that loophole, sending large vessels to the Antarctic that killed hundreds of whales annually, with their meat ending up for sale in Japan.

But Australia, which has put whale sanctuaries in place to protect Antarctic populations, took Japan to the International Court of Justice and won a suit over the practice. The International Court determined that there was little to Japan’s claim that its whaling program was for science, as the country had never explored non-lethal alternatives or determined whether the number of whales it killed was appropriate to answer any scientific questions.

Japan has literally years of whale meat stored on ice, because even the Japanese don’t want to eat cetacean flesh any more.

This is a pissing contents engaged on the backs of aquatic mammals.

I’m hoping that someone blows up the whole f%$#ing fleet, but I’m a very bad person.

So Not Reassured

“Helicopter Destroyer,” my ass!

I read this yesterday, December 7, and for some reason, I was not reassured at reports that the Japanese Navy will be reconstituting its aircraft carrier fleet:

The Japanese government announced on Nov. 27, 2018 that it plans to modify its two Izumo-class helicopter carriers to support F-35B Lightning II stealth fighters.

The announcement follows years of speculation that began even before Izumo commissioned into service in 2015.

“Since we are equipped with such vessels, it is desirable that we will use them for various purposes,” Japanese defense minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters. “We would like to advance our research and studies on this.”


Japan’s post-war constitution forbids offensive military operations. For decades, the country’s leaders have interpreted the prohibition to mean the Japanese navy legally could not possess aircraft carriers.

The Japanese fleet sidestepped the carrier-ban by acquiring what it called “helicopter destroyers” — that is, surface warships with hangars and unusually large flight decks.

The Izumo class stretched the credibility of the “helicopter destroyer” moniker. The type lacks major weaponry. Its flight deck extends from stem to stern. It’s a carrier in everything but name. In practice, Izumo and sister ship Kaga, which commissioned in 2017, only have embarked helicopters.

Each 814 feet long and displacing 27,000 tons of water while fully loaded, Izumo and Kaga are small for carriers. The U.S. Navy’s supercarriers each are a thousand feet long and displace more than 100,000 tons. The Americans’ amphibious assault ships — which support helicopters, AV-8B Harrier jump jets and F-35s — are around 850 feet long and displace 41,000 tons.

Yep, nothing to see here, move along.

And This Is a Bad Thing Because???????

More real jobs, fewer contingent laborers, what’s not to love?

Higher wages too.

Various economists have noted just how disastrous it will be as advanced societies transition from population growth to population decline.

It appears that this catastrophe will involve improving working standards for ordinary people.

Oh the horror!  Who will be left to overpay economists?

Japan’s tightest labor market in decades shows signs of reversing a long shift toward the hiring of temporary workers.

The number of full-time, permanent workers is rising for the first time since the global financial crisis, outpacing growth in temporary jobs over the past two years.

“The labor shortage has become so bad that companies can’t fill openings only with part-timers,” said Junko Sakuyama, Tokyo-based senior economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

Japan’s 2.8 percent unemployment rate is the lowest since 1994 but most of the hiring over the past decade or so has been for temporary, often part-time positions, known as non-regular.

A shift back toward permanent hiring could help sluggish consumer spending pick up. Economists say a decades-long move toward non-regular jobs is partly to blame for weak consumer demand. Non-regular workers now make up more than a third of the workforce. Many work part time, and all on average receive less pay, few benefits, little training and no real job security.

It’s too early to declare a trend reversal, but the number of regular jobs grew by 260,000 in March from a year ago, while part-time, temporary and contract jobs rose by 170,000, the internal affairs ministry reported on Friday. Last year, 510,000 permanent jobs and 360,000 non-regular ones were added.

I’ve said it many times:  Economists who talk about population declines like they are the end of the world are completely unconnected to the real world.

The historical record, most notably the aftermath Black Death (1346-1353), which show that population declines are followed by increases in standards of living and productivity.

The people who don’t do better are (in the 1300s) the nobility or (today) the holders of capital, rentiers, and people who alibi the decrease in well being for the rest of us (economists) who find that they need to spend more to pay people to work for them.

My heart bleeds borscht for them.

Different Priorities

Blah, blah, blah!

Detail of Weapons Bay

The Japanese are working on their own stealth fighter, and they appear to be favoring a large weapons load over agility: (Paid subscription required)

With each published design iteration, Japan’s proposed indigenous fighter appears to be large, perhaps matching the size of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor.

Actually, it is even bigger.

Drawing up a concept that emphasizes weapon load and endurance over maneuverability, designers at the Japanese defense ministry have come up with an aircraft that is longer than the F-22 and has a considerably greater wingspan. It is low in profile, however, to minimize radar reflections from the side.


Official drawings of the proposed aircraft and the model used for weapon-ejection testing show that 26DMU has few differences from the previous iteration, 25DMU. Bulges under the wing roots have been given a revised shape, maybe for aerodynamic reasons. On the model the tips of the main plane are straight, compared with a slightly pointed design on 25DMU. But the major features are unchanged. The design still has two belly bays each holding three big missiles, side bays with one short-range missile each, a wide and shallow fuselage, heavily canted tail surfaces and a large wing of high aspect ratio for efficient cruise and loitering.


The miniature missiles in the left belly bay of the model, which had an opened door for the tests, were Meteors with cropped fins, presumably of the design developed by MBDA for internal stowage in the Lockheed Martin F-35. The bay was only just large enough to hold three Meteors, mounted side by side and slightly staggered for tighter lateral packing. If Japan were willing to accept a rocket-propelled air-to-air weapon, the bay could also accommodate three missiles using the airframe of the Mitsubishi Electric AAM-4. Based on the Raytheon AIM-7 Sparrow, the AAM-4 has about the same length as the Meteor, 3.7 m (12 ft.).

Note that the AAM-4 and AIM-7 Sparrow are larger than the AIM-120 AMRAAM, having a body diameter of roughly 200mm, as opposed the 175mm.

The superior range of the AIM-120 comes from two things: Improvements in propellant, which could apply to the larger missiles as well, and improvements in flight profile during flight (more the 2nd than the first. By way of example, by updating avionics, the range of the SM-2 Standard was doubled by avionics changes which allowed it to take an indirect path to the target).

I guess is that the Japanese expect to deal with an opponent **cough** China **cough** at a significant distance from base without tanker support, so they need to carry more fuel and carry more missiles, because of potential threats from both long range interceptors (J-20 and Flanker derivatives) as well as very long range surface to air missiles (one would assume something north of 300 km, as the Russian SA-21 [S-400] exceeds 400 km).

By contrast, the F-22 was designed to fly from bases in the UK , the Netherlands, and Germany to engage Warsaw Pact aircraft at or behind the East-West German border, so there is a greater priority on agility.  (Then again, the Raptor didn’t enter service until after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, which says something about how weapons procurement programs take on a life of their own.)