Entries Categorised as 'Japan'
February 1st, 2013 · 1 Comment
With Japan’s stock market surging even before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled his plans for economic stimulus, we would have expected the usual anti-stimulus critics to be silent, at least for a while. But no. Already we hear the usual complaints — more printing of money, more public debt, more baramake (waste) and so on.
August 30th, 2012 · 9 Comments
Do Europe’s budget-cutting austerity-minded planners understand simple math? They say they have to embrace austerity policies to reduce excessive national debt. But those policies inevitably cut tax revenues more than they cut spending. National debt increases rather than decreases. Worse, recovery from the economic downturns they create then forces them to ease the original spending cuts. So the national debt situation gets even worse. Japan during its two decades of economic stagnation was the poster-child model for this economic folly in action.
May 16th, 2012 · No Comments
The better U.S. media now use fact-checkers and truth meters to debunk outrageous claims by politicians. Maybe Japan should do the same toward its critics. High on the truth-meter treatment list would be the never-ending claims that Japan is a racist society. One of the more egregious was the claim by the Dutch journalist, Karel van Wolferen, who once wrote that special schools existed to make sure that returnee children be “re-molded” into good, obedient Japanese.
January 11th, 2012 · 1 Comment
Scenes of Pyongyang citizens wailing the death of “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il remind us how easily dictatorships can manipulate public opinion. But are the rest of us so immune to similar manipulation?
October 26th, 2011 · 3 Comments
World attention focuses on the problems of the Greek economy — no doubt with a large helping of schadenfreude added: There, but for the grace of God, go the rest of us is the thought.
March 14th, 2011 · 12 Comments
Lives for all us living in Japan changed from the moment the first terrifying earthquake hit off the North East coast of Japan on Friday 11th March. We all live near fault lines and most of us live near the coast as well, therefore as the images of the disaster were shown on television I was simply lost for words – unable to process what I was seeing.
March 4th, 2011 · 9 Comments
With the Standard and Poor’s downgrading of Japan’s long-term credit rating from AA to AA minus, the focus even more is on how the economy can get out of its current deflationary quagmire.
January 18th, 2011 · 4 Comments
First a few personal facts. My involvement with China goes back to the early sixties as a diplomat in Hongkong where I was learning Mandarin. For a while I served as China desk officer in Canberra’s foreign affairs ministry. Then during Cultural Revolution days I finally got to China, by organizing an Australian pingpong team (over Canberra’s opposition).
September 24th, 2010 · 2 Comments
In the 1960’s the Japanese rightwing had a problem. The leftwing was arguing strongly that Japan’s postwar economy badly needed access to the markets and raw materials of China, North Korea and the Soviet Union if it was to survive (in prewar years it had depended heavily on China and the Korean peninsula for both).
May 27th, 2010 · 11 Comments
In Brazil they tell the story of the small-town TV crime reporter who gained fame and scoops by arranging crimes himself. He could then rush out and interview the victims well before rivals. But eventually his scoops caught up with him and he ended up in jail.
March 25th, 2010 · 4 Comments
The loud dispute over the future of the U.S. Marine Air Station at Futenma, Okinawa, is puzzling. Even U.S. officialdom agrees that this base causes enormous inconvenience to the residents of Ginowan city who are forced to live alongside. Plans to have it moved have been around for years. But to where?
March 1st, 2010 · 12 Comments
Toyota’s current recall woes have generated a range of articles about the Japanese economy as journalists rush to get some Japan flavoured content served up to their masters. But often these articles simply rehash the same tired cliches about Japan and it’s economy and don’t provide people outside Japan with a balanced view of what is really happening.
January 18th, 2010 · No Comments
The Japanese have a saying sandome no shojiki. Roughly translated it means that ‘after getting it wrong twice you finally get it right the third time.’ Two previous Japanese administrations – Hashimoto (1996-98) and Koizumi (2001-6) – have set out to revive the economy through promises to cut government borrowing and spending.
October 26th, 2009 · 5 Comments
This year’s Hiroshima atomic bombing anniversary saw more demands for the abolition of nuclear weapons. It is a worthy goal. But does it make sense? People genuinely keen to rid the world of nuclear weapons need first do something about the hawks and hardliners whose actions often make nuclear weapons inevitable. Japan would be a good place to start.
August 29th, 2009 · 2 Comments
Tomorrow Japan goes to the polls and there seems almost no chance that Taro Aso will be returned as Prime Minister. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is because the DPJ (Democratic Part of Japan) ran a great election campaign, put forward excellent policies or their leader Yukio Hatayama is hugely popular.
August 13th, 2009 · No Comments
Recessions are not only bad for an economy but they are also appear to create an environment where some of the worst financial reporting and commentary thrives. Suddenly journalists actually start to believe they know how the recession will unfold and many self titled market experts toss up the most bizarre predictions that cover everything from the end of the global financial system, to cunning plans being secretly developed by bankers to control the world.