Japan’s Abe Tries Painful Structural Reform

Japan’s Abe Tries Painful Structural ReformIn his 29 April speech to US Congress, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proudly referred to his administration’s “sweeping reforms to our agricultural cooperatives that have not changed in 60 long years.”  Those reforms ae a part of Abe’s crucial “third arrow” of structural reform, which has been stalled since he took office. But the draft bill presented to…

Grading Abenomics: It’s a C-

Grading Abenomics: It’s a C-Two years have passed since Shinzo Abe returned as prime minister of Japan and implemented a new economic policy that was quickly dubbed “Abenomics.” Enough time has passed to give a preliminary assessment of what Abenomics has accomplished. The answer? Not much. Abenomics consists of three parts, or “arrows:” a monetary policy of aggressive quantitative…

Oil Prices not Delivering Asia Boom

Oil Prices not Delivering Asia BoomThe best efforts of central bankers in the West and Japan to re-ignite inflation have thus far failed. The rest of Asia, which once seemed partly immune to the problems of aging and indebted societies, is now looking far more vulnerable to deflationary forces. Low and still-falling interest rates should in principle benefit these countries…

Womenomics in Japan

Womenomics in Japan“Womenomics” is a key pillar of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic growth strategy. In 2013, just 64 percent of Japanese women aged 15–64 were participating in the labor force — a low rate by OECD standards.  As Japan’s labor force is already in decline, it is wasteful that women, and particularly those with higher educations,…

Summits give Obama Venue to Address Asia Challenges

Summits give Obama Venue to Address Asia ChallengesShortly after the Nov. 4 congressional elections, President Barack Obama will head to Asia for a series of important summits at which he will have an opportunity to address some critical challenges facing the United States and the region.  First will be the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting at Yanqi Lake outside Beijing…

The Death of the TPP

The Death of the TPPPrime Minister Shinzo Abe’s speech at the opening of parliament last week contained a notable omission – any reference to Japan’s joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. That seems likely finally to doom the pact, which has been in negotiations with various governments since 2005. Japanese negotiators walked out on the negotiations only a…

Japan Joins the Great Arms Bazaar

Japan Joins the Great Arms BazaarThe Paris Eurosatory Land and Air-land Defense and Security Exhibition, one of the world’s largest arms trade fairs, had a few exhibitors this year that have not usually been seen on the weapons trade fair circuit. The mid-June trade show drew 13 exhibitors from Japan, including some major defense industry players as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries,…

Japan Faces Another Summer of Power Shortages

Japan Faces Another Summer of Power ShortagesFor the first time since the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi three years ago, Japan faces a summer without the prospect of electricity from nuclear power plants. This is despite the atomic regulator’s decision July 16 to affirm the safety of two reactors in the far western corner of the country. As was widely expected, the…

The Lessons of Japan’s Financial Crisis

The Lessons of Japan’s Financial CrisisSince the onset of the global financial crisis which originated in the subprime meltdown in the United States, “shadow banking” has attracted considerable attention. Shadow banking, unlike traditional banking, is not subject to strict regulations. It is believed that financial transactions carried out via shadow banking were one of the main causes of the crisis.…

Waving the Bloody Shirt in China and Japan

Waving the Bloody Shirt in China and JapanPresident Barack Obama’s reassurance to Japan that the US will abide by its commitment to help defend the country if China seizes a disputed group of islands underscores the longstanding tensions in Northeast Asia. It was immediately and predictably countered by a Chinese ministry spokesman’s riposte that nothing will change "the basic reality that the…
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