Japan

Abenomics Tries To Make Sure Japan Is Going Down Swinging

Anecdotal evidence has been piling up. Lamborghini sales hit the highest level in 14 years. Ferrari sales jumped 40%. Luxury retailers forecast fat profits. They ascribed it to Abenomics. “The sudden improvement in the stock market led to a big rise in sales at our department stores for luxury brands,” one of them said. But there is a price to pay.

Potential Cost Of A Nuclear Accident? So High It’s A Secret!

Catastrophic nuclear accidents, like Chernobyl or Fukushima, are very rare, we’re told incessantly. But when they occur, they’re costly. So costly that the French government, when it came up with estimates, kept them secret. But the report was leaked: an accident at a single reactor in a thinly populated part of France could cost over three times France’s GDP.

What the Japanese Trade Deficit Says About the Fraying Fabric In China And Europe

European talking heads are reassuring us on an hourly basis, lest we forget, that the worst of the debt crisis is over. The Japanese trade deficit, a measure of reality, not words, tells a different story about the crisis in Europe. And about troubles coming to a boil in China. But neither can be cured by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to decapitate the yen.

The Currency Wars: Now US Automakers Are Squealing

Japan’s LDP went all out last year to re-grab power. Its platform: print and borrow with utter abandon to create asset bubbles and inflation, and to demolish the yen. Phenomenally successful! So far. But now, US automakers are squealing; they want President Obama to fight back—though the US has been printing and borrowing with utter abandon for years.

Corruption At “Decontaminating” Radioactive Towns In Japan

On Friday, the mayor of Futaba, a ghost town of once upon a time 7,000 souls near Fukushima No. 1, told his staff that evacuees might not be able to return for 30 years. Or never, for the older generation. He spoke in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture, where the town’s government has settled. It was the first estimate of a timeframe. But it all depends on successful decontamination. And that has turned into a vicious corruption scandal.

Japan’s Export Debacle: Revenge In China, A Crash In Europe, Offshoring All Around

One of the pillars of the Japanese economy has been its exports. That pillar has been crumbling for years, but the deterioration this year has progressed at a phenomenal pace. At fault: China and Europe. But beyond the noise, Japanese companies have been investing their valuable yen overseas, and it’s making the deficit structural. An ugly combination.

Japan’s NO EXIT Strategy

At a yearend Bonenkai party, an official from the Ministry of Finance, the most powerful entity at the core of Japan Inc., let slip that the Bank of Japan wasn’t doing its job; it was just giving money to the banks which bought Japanese government bonds instead of channeling it into the economy. “That’s why the Ministry of Finance is trying to gain control over the Bank of Japan,” he said.

Japanese Prime Ministers Ugly Popularity Contest

Can your approval rating drop to zero? That must have been the question Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was brooding over as he digested two polls taken over the weekend: his approval rating had plunged 15 points from a month ago, to 19%, his lowest rating yet. Clearly, the yakuza scandal didn’t help.

Political Violence Scares Japanese Investors, Acrimony Flows Instead Of Money, But It Doesn’t Stop Japan Inc.

Softbank’s announcement to buy 70% of Sprint for $20.1 billion caused its stock to plunge 17% in Japan that day. Investors had been through it before: a company paying way too much to accomplish a CEO’s megalomaniac goals, only to get mired in a corporate culture clash and other nightmares overseas. Japanese acquirers have a “terrible” track record.

The Pauperization Of Japan

 “Pauperization,” the word, became infamous when three executives of huge consumer products companies voiced it as the new challenge in Europe. To market their products successfully, they changed strategies and applied what worked in poor countries. In Japan, a similar process has hounded the economy, but for much longer. And nothing shows this better than the plight of the ubiquitous but hapless salaryman.