Tagged: Japan

Japan Reviews Military Policy, Focus Shifts to China

Japan revealed its intentions to make substantial changes to its defence policies on the pretext of China’s increasing military might and North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Japan has maritime border with China. Japan’s new national defence policy has acquired importance in the wake of recent rise of tensions between China and Japan when a Chinese trawler hit a Japanese petrol boars near disputed chain coral islands on which both countries have ownership claims.

China has been strengthening its military utilising its trade surplus and foreign currency reservesWeather Map :AP AM NC 1-24 WEATHER MAP due to which its neighbours such as India with which it has border disputes, Japan with which it has disputes on ownership over coral islands in South China Sea, and Taiwan on which it has ownership claim have rising concerns. The US is also worried with China’s military build-up as it feels China is threatening the US’ interests in South Asia and East Asia regions. The secretary of state for the US Ms Hillary Clinton expressed openly her concerns that China was ascertaining its domination in the region.

Recently, the US conducted military drill with South Korea in Yellow Sea after North Korea fired artillery shells on a disputed South Korea’s island near maritime border. Though, the US said the military drills were part of regular exercises, its main aim was to issue veiled warning to Chinese military, which has been ascertaining its position in the region. The US accused China for not reigning in North Korea’s behaviour during recent tensions in Korean peninsula. It has 50,000 troops stationed in a Japanese island Okinawa and 28,500 troops in South Korea.

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Stocks, Metals Decline After China Curbs Lending; Yen Weakens

Bloomberg | January 7, 2010 | 09:33 EST

Stocks fell around the world, with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index falling the most in three weeks, and metals dropped as China moved to curb lending. The yen slid after Japan’s finance minister said he would welcome a weaker currency, while a rising dollar extended losses in commodities. The MSCI emerging markets gauge declined 0.8 percent at 9:32 a.m. in New York, led by China as the Shanghai Composite Index plunged 1.9 percent, the biggest decrease among major benchmark indexes tracked by Bloomberg. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 0.3 percent, retreating from its highest level since October 2008. Copper declined from a 16-month high and oil snapped its longest rally since 1996. The yen weakened against all of the 16 most-traded currencies, while the dollar climbed against 14 of 16.

Central bankers in China, the engine of the global economic recovery, sold three-month bills at a higher interest rate for the first time in 19 weeks after saying their 2010 focus is controlling record loan growth. The Federal Reserve said in the minutes of its latest meeting that the U.S. economic recovery might require additional stimulus measures to be sustained. “Growth will probably slow this year as tight credit will damp the demand side,” said Zhang Ling, who helps oversee $7.2 billion at ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management Co. in Beijing. “That will dash investors’ hope of another year of fast growth.” The MSCI World Index of 23 developed nations’ stocks slipped 0.2 percent. European and Asian stocks declined from the highest levels in more than 15 months.     Continue reading

Japan factory output jumps, momentum in doubt

Reuters | TOKYO | Mon Dec 28, 2009 | 12:38pm IST

Japan’s industrial output rose for the ninth consecutive month in November, driven by strong exports and domestic subsidies, but swelling inventories and falling wages threaten to end the longest climb in more than 12 years. Demand from the United States and Asia contributed much to last month’s 2.6 percent rise, government data showed on Monday, supporting the Bank of Japan’s view that the world’s second-largest economy will continue its moderate recovery next year. Economists say overseas demand should prevent a return to recession next year. However, declining wages and weak labour market may outweigh the effect of government subsidies on energy efficient goods, forcing manufacturers to curb output and start selling down inventories built up in anticipation of better sales.

“The latest data shows that Japanese makers of automobiles and home electrical appliances are still hiking their output thanks to the continuing effect of government stimulus as well as strong exports to Asia,” said Seiji Shiraishi, chief economist at HSBC Securities in Tokyo. “But a slowdown is still expected early next year as the effect of stimulus will likely fade.” Japan’s wages fell for the 18th consecutive month in November from a year earlier, in a sign that deflation, or persistently falling prices and incomes, was entrenched. This exposes the central bank to more pressure from the government to ease monetary policy further.     Continue reading

Japan admits secret pact -reports

Democratic Under Ground | November 22, 2009 | 3:49PM

A Japanese government team has found documents on an alleged secret pact with the United States to transport nuclear weapons through its territory, after decades of official denial, reports said on Sunday. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s centre-left government launched a probe into the alleged nuclear pact and other secret agreements with the United States days after it took office in September. The probe team reported to Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada on Friday that it had discovered documents linked to the pact from among thousands of files at the foreign ministry, the Mainichi Shimbun and Yomiuri Shimbun newspapers reported, citing unnamed ministry sources. “Foreign minister admits ‘nuclear secret pact'” declared the headline in the Mainichi Shimbun, while the Yomiuri Shimbun echoed: “Government view likely to change – ‘nuclear secret pact’.”

The existence of the agreement has been denied for decades by previous conservative administrations, even though US documents declassified last month showed US officials believed they had an understanding with Japan when the allies signed a new security treaty in 1960. “The question of black or white will become clear in January. We will clear the burden of previous administrations which had insisted there was no secret pact,” Okada said Saturday, the newspapers reported. Okada will set up a committee of experts to examine the documents before announcing the government’s final judgments in January whether the secret pact did indeed exist, they said.         Continue reading

Japan’s economy continues growing

BBC NEWS |2009/11/16 | 06:48:02 GMT

Figures released by the Japanese government show that the country’s economy has grown for a second successive quarter. The world’s second biggest economy grew by 1.2% in the three months from July to September – faster than economists had predicted. However, analysts say overall growth is likely to be sluggish for years. The global downturn had plunged Japan into its worst recession since World War II. Japan’s Trade Minister, Masayuki Naoshima, apologised for disclosing the market sensitive third-quarter GDP figures to oil industry executives ahead of its official release. It was the first GDP data released after Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s new government took power in mid-September.

Stimulating

Most economists say there is little chance of Japan’s economy returning to recession, given the latest figures. Stimulus measures were credited with lifting consumer spending and capital spending rose, but analysts say growth will slow as wages stay low. Even though subsidies and tax breaks enacted by the previous government will remain in place until next year, an expected fall in year-end bonuses and a scarcity of jobs mean households will have less to spend. “With weakness ahead in private consumption or public spending, a slowdown is unavoidable in the January-March and April-June quarters,” Kyohei Morita, chief economist at Barclays Capital in Tokyo, told Reuters. “The one bright spot is that capital spending turned positive. However, while this signals that capital spending is starting to rise from the bottom, the size is still not enough to promise the kind of speed that would be required to prevent a slowdown in the first half of 2010,” the economist added.       Continue reading

Consumer Prices Fall Sharply in Japan

30/11/2009 | 11:24pm GMT +5:30 | nvs

Financial Times reported today that the consumer prices continued to fall in September 2009. It adds that it signals building further pressure for the central bank ‘Bank of Japan’ to take action to curb the fall. Statistics Bureau of Japan is quoted as reporting core consumer prices excluding fresh food dropped 2.3 per cent last month from a year ago, slightly lower than the record 2.4 per cent fall in August. Comparing with the previous month August 2009 the decline in so-called “core-core” consumer prices, which exclude fresh food and energy prices, accelerated to 1 per cent in September, from 0.9 per cent in the previous month. It indicates that year-on-year change is in quite contradiction with month to month change. What does this mean? Does it indicates something or nothing? Can anybody explain?

Two important features of the report released by Statistics Bureau are:

  • Unemployment rate for September was 5.3% down from August’s 5.5%. The figure is also less than the economists’ forecast of 5.6%.
  • Industrial production rose for a 7th consecutive month in Sept. as demand from China and worldwide govts stimulus spending spurred exports.

There is one interesting fact that can be derived from the above news. Financial Times states that continuing fall of consumer prices builds pressure for the BoJ to take action to curb the fall. Declining consumer prices actually encourage consumer spending as the phenomenon is pro-consumers and hence pro-people. But it is equally fact that the same phenomenon is against to the interests of businesses, industries’ owners, and to the country’s economy itself. So those features which are pro-people are proved be anti-economy. This clearly states that the interests of the country’s economy are quite against to the interests of the common people. So the economy and the Government are not in the hands of people but in the hands of the big banks, industries, business houses and so on. But what for elections are conducted? Simple. To say that the country is actually democratic one. Hence present so called democracies are not actually democratic towards common people but towards upper strata of the society.

Yen falls from eight-month highs

BBC NEWS | 2009/09/29 07:25:33 GMT

The yen has weakened from Monday’s eight-month highs against the US dollar following comments from Japanese Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii. It hit 88.23 to the dollar on Monday after Mr. Fujii made comments taken to mean that he was comfortable with the yen’s strength. But on Tuesday, he said the government might intervene in the currency markets if exchange rates made irregular moves. The yen gave up most of Monday’s gains, returning to about 90 to the dollar.

‘National interest’

“If [exchange rates] move abnormally, we could take appropriate measures for our national interest,” Mr. Fujii told a news conference. Mr. Fujii became finance minister last month after the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ended more than 50 years of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party. “Perhaps [Mr.] Fujii didn’t realise how much the market would move on his comments after he became finance minister. But now he realises that this isn’t such a good thing,” said Tokichi Ito at Trust & Custody Services Bank in Tokyo. Japan has not intervened in the currency markets since March 2004.