Japan

Deflation In Japan and its Chances in the US

Deflation phobia broke out again. Fed governor Bullard grumbled about inflation expectations being too low and threatened to print more money, while deflationistas paint the Japanese “deflation spiral” as sheer horror. So here is my experience with that horror.

Alas, in one category, deflation has hounded us for 10 years.

Tokyo Tidbit: Pandemic Honesty At The Street Level

A worker was sorting garbage at a garbage disposal facility, when he found a bag with 10,000-yen bills. He promptly took it to the police. When they got through counting, they had about ¥10,000,000 ($131,000) stacked in front of them. Alas, the honest worker won’t ever get any of it.

How Long Can Japan Play The Endgame?

The Japanese quagmire has been getting deeper for years, but now the unique factors that supported its catastrophic indebtedness have reversed. And the endgame has started.

Country of the Setting Sun.

US Housing Hangover Or 20-Year Japanese Nightmare

In its schizophrenic manner, the media lamented the ugly housing-starts number. But for the market to heal, that number should be near zero. In Japan, 20 years after the housing bubble burst, land prices are still declining, and even the Yakuza, who’re heavily invested in the construction trade, are complaining.

Tokyo Tidbit: Oldest Nation Sets New Record

Today is a national holiday in Japan: “Respect for the Aged Day.” That’s why the Ministry of Health released a slew of age-related statistics. Most astounding: the huge number of centenarians. And just how healthy they still are.

Tokyo Tidbit: Still Doing That? But Not Only Japan

Many Japanese don’t understand why it’s still being done when most of the world opposes it. Yet it’s still being done: Japanese whalers caught 195 whales under a “research” program. But other countries do it, too. Yup, even us.

Don’t Try This At Home

A couple in Nagasaki, Japan, made sashimi out of a fugu he’d caught in a nearby bay. An hour after eating it, her lips and limbs got numb. He also developed symptoms. The neurotoxin in the otherwise comical fish was beginning to paralyze them.

Tokyo Tidbit: New Prime Minister Embarks on his Descent

All Japanese prime ministers since Koizumi slither down a steep slope for 8 – 15 months. When their popularity drops into the teens, they’re axed. The latest new guy is Yoshihiko Noda. His popularity during the first round of polls is still high. But oh no! His new ministers are talking.

Tokyo Tidbit: Yakuza Undergarments

The undergarment of the guys in the photo of “Yakuza: We Have to Evolve Our Business Model” (below) is a fundoshi, the traditional Japanese undergarment for men. Nowadays, it’s mainly used during festivals to show off machismo—to gird their loins for….

Yakuza: ‘We Have To Evolve Our Business Model’

“And we have to improve our image,” said Masatoshi Kumagai, one of the bosses of the Japanese yakuza, in an interview with French reporters. Yakuza are on decline, he said, and if they don’t change their business model, they might cease to exist.