Week of October 5, 2015
- Approval ratings for PM Shinzo Abe are up after a cabinet reshuffle and the signing of the TPP, the de-facto trade agreement between the USA and Japan. Now the public wants him to focus on economic topics (Nikkei).
- A new battle ground between Japan and China is Indonesia, where companies from both countries are proposing large infrastructure projects. From this article we see that Chin has the upper hand when it comes to port-infrastructure (Financial Times).
- Interesting read on why Japan’s defense budgets should be increased by Arthur Herman, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and expert on the post war US-Japan relations. “Japan’s big sleep is over ant the prod that has finally snapped the world's third-largest economy out of 70 years of hibernation on the international scene has been China's increasingly aggressive moves in the East and South China seas, including threatening Japan's own territory in the Senkaku Islands (Nikkei).
- "From examining various data, I think the state of deflation is over but we are still a half way as far as our 2 percent target is concerned,” Governor of the Bank of Japan Kuroda told this week at a press conference. “The inflation trend is surely improving.” The core of Kuroda’s stimulus program is the central bank’s purchases of Japanese government bonds, which is the main tool to expand the monetary base at an annual pace of about 80 trillion yen (EUR 635 billion).
- Under the TPP agreement, Japan is to phase out duties on a wide range of agricultural products and see in the article the reductions on some of these tariffs Great opportunities I would say for Dutch exporters for agriculture products to Japan. PM Abe vows to turn farming from a defensive into an offensive sector (Japan Today).
- The Financial Times made a Tokyo promotion: "Tokyo, a hive of ideas.”. There is a new acronym on Venture Capital in Japan that I did not see before: Very Conservative.
- BlackRock, the US asset management company, is roaming Japan to win a slice of 317.4 trillion yen (EUR 2.3 trillion) in savings spread across more than 100 far-flung regional banks (Bloomberg).
- Toyota and VW are ((were?) vying for the top position, and this is also true for Uniqlo and H&M, but Uniqlo’s advance in the USA isn’t going as smooth as planned (Financial Times).
- Mitsubishi Rayon is to start a greenfield operation in Bavaria, Germany for reinforced carbon fiber for the automotive industry. Its group company Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, will supply material (Nikkei).
- Developing solar plants in Japan has been a popular activity, but now, with feed-in tariffs decreasing, some of the projects are for sale: so Mitsubishi UFJ Leasing is establishing a company to buy solar plants (Nikkei).
- How to improve a simple pencil sharpener? Look to what Nakajima Jukyudo did, knives as samurai swords (and it illustrates my point that Japan is above all a country of craftsmen; Ignition).
- The Japanese are massively piling up toilet paper. “ So why is toilet paper use going up when the number of people using it is supposedly going down?" the Yomiuri Shimbun asks, pointing to the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake in which toilet paper disappeared from the shelves of shops for the answer. The temporary shortage led to the government to urge people to hold at least one month's supply in their homes, with one housewife telling the paper that she had enough toilet paper in her home to stretch 3.9km (BBC).
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