Sep 03, 2014

The Financial Times has some amusing details in Japanese Economy Flounders After Sales Tax Rise

Consumer prices rose 3.4 per cent in July compared with a year earlier, including the added tax. Stripping out the tax effect as well as the impact of volatile fresh-food prices — the formula favoured by the Bank of Japan — showed underlying inflation was 1.3 per cent, a level unchanged from June.

The BoJ is facing a dilemma. The dramatic monetary expansion it embarked on in April last year has succeeded in reversing persistent consumer-price deflation, a goal the central bank had pursued fruitlessly for years.

But inflation is now both too high and too low: too high because wages have not kept pace with price rises, making the average worker worse off; but also too low, because the BoJ believes even larger price rises are needed to keep Japan out of deflation for good.

The bank has set a target for core inflation of 2 per cent but most private-sector economists believe that, unless demand in the economy picks up suddenly, more monetary stimulus will be needed to reach it. Yet simply printing more money could further widen the price-wage gap, in the short term if not the longer.

“It is important to recognise that the VAT hike has had a material impact on real income levels, suggesting that spending is now being held back mostly by a decline in real purchasing power,” said Hiromichi Shirakawa, chief Japan economist at Credit Suisse.


Sep 02, 2014

Abe must keep his project on track

Is Abenomics failing? Recent data from Japan are mixed at best. The core inflation rate, stripped of fresh food prices, fell slightly to 1.3 per cent in June. That is better than the deflation in which Japan was trapped for 15 years. But it is not enough to ensure the central bank reaches its target of 2 per cent inflation by next spring. Employment data are strong, but wages are not picking up much. Many of the jobs being created are low paid. Growth, which had a promising start when Abenomics was launched in December 2012, has tailed off. The economy raced upwards as consumers front-loaded spending before this April’s increase in consumption tax, but then headed down to earth just as fast in the subsequent quarter.
Even with the benefit of massive monetary stimulus, Japan’s economy has fared no better than Germany’s in the past six quarters in real terms. During the past 12 months it has barely grown at all. Still, in nominal terms, all important for the moment, the economy has had its best run in decades.


The export machine, however, has stalled. Despite the fact that the yen is 20 per cent weaker than 18 months ago, shipments have not budged. Companies have taken profits rather than building market share. Many have shifted production abroad. A persistent trade deficit has opened up as a post-Fukushima Japan imports more oil and gas.

Yet those who have written off Abenomics on the basis of these numbers have jumped the gun. If we confine the goal to reaching 2 per cent inflation and modestly increasing the economy’s potential growth rate, success is still not out of reach.

What should be done? Broadly, there are four areas that can make a difference. The first is monetary policy. Haruhiko Kuroda, the governor of the Bank of Japan, will need to do more. For the most part, he has put a brave face on the weak economic statistics. Yet sooner or later he will have to fire off another round of monetary stimulus, either by buying yet more government bonds or, preferably, by increasing the purchase of other assets such as equity and real estate funds.

Second, Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, should face down the finance ministry and postpone the next scheduled increase in consumption tax from 8 to 10 per cent. His decision to go ahead with April’s three-point rise to 8 per cent was brave. It may also have been foolhardy. Precious momentum has been lost. Japan will have to watch nervously over the next several months to see whether consumer sentiment recovers.

Third, the government should pursue structural reforms. More must be done to close the gap between permanent and casual workers, who now make up nearly 40 per cent of the labour force. It is not enough to make it easier for big companies to lay off workers, though this could conceivably encourage them to hire more full-time staff. The wages of part-time staff must be improved. Increasing the minimum wage might be one option. Women are pouring into the workforce, but too often they are taking part-time jobs. As a matter of urgency, the tax system should be altered so that married women are not penalised for working full-time.

Finally, Mr Abe needs to be keenly aware that Abenomics hangs in the balance. He must stick to policy and not get bogged down in politics. That means expending less political capital on pet projects, such as changing the interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution.

It also means resisting, as far as possible, factional infighting as he prepares for his first cabinet shuffle and a possible challenge for the party leadership next year. Abenomics was always going to be a risky business. The man who gave the bold policy its name cannot afford to be distracted now.

(The Financial Times Editorial August 28, 2014 Japan’s economic recovery hangs in the balance)


Sep 01, 2014

The New Doublespeak: No One Knows What Anyone's Saying Anymore

Intentionally deceiving language. Not an outright lie or a tactful euphemism, but systematic use of ambiguous, evasive words and sentence structures to say one thing but mean something else. Commonly associated with bureaucracy, military, and politics, it is often practiced in commerce also as a calculated attempt to (1) avoid or shift responsibility, (2) distort reality by making the bad, negative, or unpleasant look good, positive, or pleasant, and vice versa, and (3) confuse by using unfamiliar or concocted jargon. See collateral damage as an example. Also called doubletalk or doublethink.

Doublespeak is not a term with which everyone is familiar, although many people use this device in every day language.
In the case of phrases such as "using the facilities" and "curvy," the speaker is trying to not sound lewd or obnoxious. By using these other words, the speaker does not sound as offensive, even if the true meaning is still really known by the listeners.

Doublespeak is often used in business purposes, and it is often a blend of hiding negativity and being politically correct. Higher ups in companies want to be diplomatic as possible, so they can make situations such as money loss and firing employees not sound as terrible as they really are.


Aug 31, 2014

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Aug 29, 2014

JBA( Japan Basketball Association) Problems.

Can you blame them?

The sport here is in a state of perpetual chaos, fueled by dysfunction and petty squabbles among the old-boy network and various factions. And failed to develop a system that gives aspiring Japanese pros a realistic shot at reaching the NBA.

an IOC member, reportedly said that the game in Japan has not made progress since the nation hosted the 2006 FIBA World Championship. What’s more, he even stated that Japan’s national teams might not earn automatic berths for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a sign of FIBA’s growing frustrations with the JBA.

Japan, which used to be one of Asia’s top basketball nations, has had poor results in recent men’s international events. The men’s squad has finished eighth, 10th, seventh and ninth in the last four Asia Championships.But the Japan women’s team captured its first Asia Championship title in 43 years last month.

It’s all a sad, sorry state of affairs for Japan’s men’s basketball.Basketball in Japan is really a mess with ‘leadership’ like this from the JBA.

Perpetual problems plague Japan Basketball Association.


Aug 28, 2014

Can America change its cycle of outrage and blame after unarmed blacks are killed by police?

The script of death, outrage, spin and mourning that America follows when an unarmed black male is killed by police.The ritual began to take shape in the 1960s, when instances of police mistreatment of black people led to organized resistance in many places across America — and sometimes to violence. As the decades passed, a blueprint developed for how black advocates confronted cases of alleged police brutality: protest marches, news conferences, demands for federal intervention, and public pressure by sympathetic elected officials.


A backlash built against the protesters. There were complaints that the media had skewed the facts to create a false narrative about racist white police.
“Every time a black person does something, they automatically become a thug worthy of their own death,”
The media reported new versions of old stories. White flight has created poor black neighborhoods policed by white cops. Black people don’t trust the police. Black males are stereotyped as violent.

Soon after the unrest started, a voter registration booth went up on the corner of the hardest-hit street.


Aug 27, 2014

Take care of the golf balls first —

When things in your life seem, almost too much to handle,
When 24 Hours in a day is not enough,
Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.
They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.
They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor, as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.’

The golf balls are the important things - family, children, health, Friends, and Favorite passions –
Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.

The sand is everything else —The small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ He continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.’

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

So…

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play with your children.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.


«"Masuzoe tochiji demo." It seems that the major mainstream media did not cover this event at all