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…

Xi Jinping Rewrites WW2 History

Xi Jinping Rewrites WW2 HistoryMassive ceremonies focused on military display are planned by China on Sept. 3 to mark the defeat of Japan in World War II. This is yet another step in the re-writing of history that ignores most of the rest of Asia. The facts of history are that Japan lost a war with the United States,…

Will the Waters of the East China Sea Start to Boil?

Will the Waters of the East China Sea Start to Boil?As the world’s attention has been focused on China’s provocative land reclamation projects in the South China Sea and their implications for potential conflict, the situation in the East China Sea has been relatively quiet so far this year, which may be a comfortable delusion. The last major provocation was in November, 2013, when China…

China, India, Japan, US in Indian Ocean Great Game

China, India, Japan, US in Indian Ocean Great GameAlthough India and China are expected to become each other’s largest trading partners, the prospects of an Indian Ocean conflict between them are also increasing, with an emerging Great Game for influence. Of important developments taking place during the past year or so, one of the most recent is Japan’s decision to join India and…

Japan’s Security Pact: Long Hot Summer

Japan’s Security Pact: Long Hot SummerDuring his spring visit to the United States, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stood in the well of the House of Representatives and promised: “I will pass national security legislation by the end of summer.” He was referring to a new law and amendments to nearly a dozen other laws relating to the deployment of…