Week of September 7, 2015
- The Financial Times evaluated Abenomics, 2.5 year after PM Abe took office and coined his own reform program “Abenomics". High scores for Abe’s reform of the agri-sector as well as his drive to have better corporate governance for Japanese companies. Low grades for corporate tax restructuring, immigration and labor reform.
- Japan has a different view on immigration than Ms. Merkel. Last year Japan granted only 11 asylum seekers visa to stay in the country. 11 on a population of apr. 125 mln … and there is no sign whatsoever that the government is planning to change its position on immigration (Reuters).
- "The future of our children is the future of Japan itself," Abe said in a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy last week. He directed ministers to study a policy package including stable revenue sources to create an environment conducive to having kids. Specifically, the prime minister mentioned support for single-parent households and families with three or more children (Nikkei).
- Last year the Abe government raised Japan's VAT from 5% > 8% (still an increase by 60%), and the question is now if VAT should rise to 10% - or even 15% as the IMF proposed. Komeito, the junior coalition partner, opposes (The Japan News / Yomiuri).
- The Nikkei 225 made its biggest one-day gain in 7 years, a 7.7 jump early on Wednesday Sept. 9, but lost part of its steam in the last part of the week (Financial Times) and closed 18,264 which is well below the magical 20,000 threshold.
- Foreigners own about 30% of Japanese equities, but the trading value is >70%. HFT or High Frequency Trading is partly responsible for the high volatility of the Japanese stock market (Nikkei).
- “The Big Whale is going to make a big splash”, or: Japan Post, one of the largest IPO's in the world, has finally announced what it is looking for: to raise on November 4, 2015 an amount of JPY 1.39 tln = apr. EUR 10 bln. Half the size of Alibaba and less than FaceBook, but a big splash anyhow. The success of the listing has become increasingly critical to the administration of Shinzo Abe as the prime minister battles to convince the public that his Abenomics growth policies are both sustainable and robust enough to withstand a slowdown in China. Earlier this year, Japanese bankers conducted pre-IPO meetings with institutional investors in the UK and US - and returned to Japan “extremely concerned” at the low level of enthusiasm.
- Interesting view on Japan’s attempts to boost its corporate governance reforms. They still hold the promise of real change, says Arthur M Mitchell, a Tokyo based banker.
- Less Japanese M&A deals, but they are bigger in size. Japanese insurance companies are very active buying abroad (Financial Times)
- One in 6 Japanese children lives in poverty, the highest level since records began in 1985, according to the latest government figures. That ratio rises to 55 percent among children in single- parent families — among the worst for countries in the OECD. Main reason: the high cost of education in Japan. (Japan Times).
- Skilled foreign workers’ visa should be prolonged, is a proposal by top government advisors. The maximum stay in Japan changed in 2012 from 3 to 5 years - and now the plan is to make it 8 years (Nikkei).
- Japan was hit last week by unprecedented torrential rains. 15 people missing (latest count), thousands of people in refugee centers … Perhaps Dutch skilled workers from Dutch engineering firms like Royal Haskoning and Arcadis could emigrate to Japan and stay there for 8 years?