Japan: A Normal Country

See my latest blogspot “Japan and Economics” post on Japan as “normal” in response to the “bond vigilante” claim that high-debt countries are bound to soon see high interest rates [and, typically, high inflation when these same people focus on monetary policy indicators]. Needless to say, anyone who’s actually made investments on the basis of these claims has lost their shirt. Somehow that doesn’t seem to get anyone to rethink their position.

Japan looks more and more ordinary across many dimensions. Continue reading

Japan’s new PM to pressure central bank on monetary stimulus

The Christian Science Monitor outlined newly-elected PM Shinzo Abe’s plans to put pressure on the BOJ to engage in even stronger monetary easing than the previously announced goal of 1% inflation. Along with this new effort, the new government hopes to initiate an unprecedented amount of economic stimulus spending, to the tune of some $119 billion. Continue reading

Only Immigrants Can Save Japan

In this article, [reference?] Michael Hoffman writes about Hidenori Sakanaka, the former Head of the ministry’s Tokyo Immigration Bureau and current Executive Director of the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, surprisingly push for immigration.  With its aging population and low fertility rates, Japan’s population and labor force are both shrinking.  At its peak, Japan’s population was at 128 million in 2004 and has been declining ever since.  The National Institute of Population and Social Policy Research predicts that 40% of Japanese people will be over 65 years old, and these people will be out of the labor force.  Diamond explains that “no nation, barring war or plague, has ever shrunk at such pace, and as for aging, there are no historical precedents of any kind”.  These stats and comparison to all other countries throughout civilization show the severity of the issue. Continue reading

Energy Shift Generates Hope, Anxiety

After the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the Japanese government vowed to eliminate allow atomic power by 2030.  Because of pressure from the rest of the world and the unknown fear of what the crisis could have led to, it is understandable that Japan made this vow.  However, after Japan call for a significant rise in renewable energy, people are no torn between being hopeful and anxious. Continue reading

EU-Japan Free Trade Negotiations

After longing preliminary talks, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht [EU statement] will now allow the member states of the European Union to start trade negotiations with Japan.  During the EU-Japan Summit in May of 2011, both Japan and the European Union agreed to start a “scoping exercise” to determine the content and the level of ambition of a possible Free Trade Agreement between the two sides.  This scoping exercised ended in May of this year. Continue reading

Alternate View on Abe

This http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/14/us-japan-election-china-idUSBRE8BD06F20121214” target=”_blank”>Reuter article is a counterpoint to the post I made on the potential effects of Abe’s rise to the Prime Ministerial seat. The popular press and general consensus appears to be that Abe is a hardliner and ardent nationalist, who will be incredibly confrontation with Japan. The risks involved are the future of Sino-Japanese trade, which Japan relies heavily on. Continue reading