Tension Grows Between Japan and China over Islets

Tension Grows Between Japan and China over IsletsTokyo has delivered a humiliating public protest to China’s ambassador for the intrusion of a vast “fishing fleet” escorted by a dozen coast guard and other law-enforcement vessels in or near waters of the disputed Senkaku islands, known as the Daioyus to the Chinese. Such protests are common in the ongoing cat and mouse game…

Japan Enters South China Sea Dispute

Japan Enters South China Sea DisputeIn the coming months, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague is set to issue its judgment on the case brought by the Philippines that challenges China’s claims in the South China Sea. Beijing appears to be anticipating an unfavorable ruling and is reaffirming its stance on the illegitimacy of the UN tribunal. Beijing…

The consequences of Japan’s shrinking

The consequences of Japan’s shrinkingThe population of Japan peaked in 2008 at 128 million. With the fertility rate – births per woman – falling below 1.5 at the beginning of the 1990s and falling as low as 1.29 in 2004, the population is shrinking rapidly. Already Japan has one million people fewer than in 2008. The government aims to keep…

Obama to go to Hiroshima

Obama to go to HiroshimaFor years, even as wartime animosities were transformed into friendship, no US President has ever visited Hiroshima, site of the first atomic bombing (Jimmy Carter visited after he left the presidency).  They were deterred by what might be called the “Truman Question.” It goes like this: “Mr. President, if you had been president in 1945,…

Negative Interest Rates: Insidious Killers

Negative Interest Rates: Insidious KillersPlagued by a persistent lack of demand for loans in economies that refuse to respond to more conventional stimulus attempts, several of Europe’s central bankers have cut key interest rates below zero for more than a year. Japan now has caught the disease in an economy that has not responded to any of Abe’s arrows,…

Japan PM Abe’s Influence Grows Across ASEAN

Japan PM Abe’s Influence Grows Across ASEANIn Southeast Asia, Japan can be said to enjoy unrivaled popularity. According to the 2015 Pew Global Attitudes survey, an average of about 80 percent of respondents surveyed across four Southeast Asian countries said they hold a favorable view of Japan. While China’s expanding military footprint in the disputed South China Sea has a headline-grabbing…

Japan: Business Cycle Disappears

Japan: Business Cycle DisappearsJapan's politicians and the Bank of Japan appear unable or unwilling to get a grip on their economic problems despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s vaunted quiver of economic arrows, the most potent of which – restructuring – remains sheathed. In effect, the country has broken its Economic Clock®, with crazy investment implications. A broken clock…

Bonn Climate Protesters Take After Japan

Bonn Climate Protesters Take After JapanThe fourth day of negotiations on climate talks in Bonn, Germany, have got underway with protesters chanting "Sekitan, Yamato, stop coal finance," criticizing Japan as the world's largest provider of coal finance. The Bonn talks are the prelude to negotiate the final details of an agreement before the major United Nations-sponsored climate conference in Paris…

Some Japanese Manufacturers Exit China

Some Japanese Manufacturers Exit ChinaIn early 2015, Panasonic and Toshiba announced that they would stop producing television sets in China. As Japan continues to decrease its investment in China, the two multinational corporations’ partial exit seemed to underscore an overall trend of Japanese firms withdrawing from China. On Feb. 23, Nikkei News reported that Citizen Watch Company had suddenly closed…

Shinzo Abe Gets Fresh Wind in his Sails

Shinzo Abe Gets Fresh Wind in his SailsThis has been a tough summer for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. His public approval polling numbers took a dive as tens of thousands besieged parliament to protest passage of a pair of security bills allowing Japan to cooperate more fully with allies. His pet project, bringing the Olympics to Tokyo in 2020, took a…