Week of October 26, 2015
- This weekend the trilateral talks between Japan, China and South Korea take place - for the first time since three years, with as participants PM Abe, PM Li Keqiang of China and South Korean President Park Geun Hye, who hosts this meeting in Seoul. Why it matters? The three countries' economies represent 70% of the Asian economy and 20% of the world's. The sum of foreign reserves held by the three nations accounts for 47% of the worldwide total. This article in Bloomberg also mentions other subjects such as North Korea, free trade but also how to cope with potential natural disasters … it is all on the menu. Public sentiment is less favourable; according to a recent poll by Genron NPO of Japan and China International Publishing Group, 88.8% of Japanese respondents said they view China as "unfavourable," while 78.3% of the Chinese said they share the sentiment.
- But still, as tensions with China are rising, the Japanese government sees relations with China’s hinterland as very important. So next year Japanese navel ships are planning to visit Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay (familiar name to those above 40, article from Japan Times).
- According to the Japan Times, the Japanese government expressed concerns over the close ties between Great Britain and China now that Chinese President Xi has become England's "best friend” (quote David Cameron).
- Big Read in the Financial Times on the status quo of the Japanese economy: credibility on the line. What is up and what is down 2.5 years after Bank of Japan’s governor Kuroda stepped in and started his annual JPY 80 trillion = EUR 600 billion money printing bazooka.
- However, the opinion on the results of this massive QE is shifting. No 2% inflation indeed, which was the ultimate goal. However, with strong headwinds from China with its economy in faltering, a rapidly ageing society in Japan and emerging markets in decline, Mr. Kuroda’s policy might actually work. There starts to be some appreciation (Financial Times).
- Japan's Industrial Production was stronger than anticipated and rose 1% compared to August (Bloomberg).
- Sony is back into the black after many years of red ink. Sales of PlayStation 4 games contributed a lot, while it movie business will profit from the success of Spectre, the new James Bond movie (Financial Times).
- And M&A is back in Japan, and here the ranking of the main M&A players for Japanese companies. Goldman and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley are the top 2 advisors (Nikkei).
- Japan Post is going public and here 7 key facts (Bloomberg).
- Go short on condoms! China’s one-child policy is over, and condom maker Okamoto, reportedly making the thinnest rubbers, lost upon this news immediately 10% of its value (Financial Times).
- Dutch UN envoy Maud de Boer-Buquicchio called on Japan to ban extreme child porn in manga, according to this article rampant in Japan. Child prostitution has declined in Japan, but materials featuring the abuse of children have proliferated online, the envoy said, as she pointed to poverty, a lack of gender equality, social tolerance and few prosecutions. Interesting remark in this article: while Japan is a relatively wealthy country, about 16.3% of children aged 17 or under are living in poverty according to 2012 data (Japan Today).
- And to finish this news digest, a picture featuring Japanese ambassador to the Netherlands Tsuji with the mayor of Dordrecht commemorating the commissioning in 1865 of Japan’s first war ship, the Kaiyo Maru, the biggest wooden ship ever built in The Netherlands (text partly scrambled in this Japan Times article).