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Not made in Japan

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JAPANESE TREND / Japanese Society (55) / Japanese Society (57)

Taking up herewith Japanese Economic Trend News of the past week by Media.
Recent Economic Trend in Japan will be read via these News.
Aug 02 Health Care Reform Series: The Japanese health care system (examiner.com)
 According to McKinsey Quarterly, "Japan's citizens are historically among the world's healthiest, living longer than those of any other country. Infant mortality rates are low, and Japan scores well on public-health metrics while consistently spending less on health care than most other developed countries do." Japan's health care spending consumes about 8 percent of GDP. Despite these successes, the Japanese system is riddled with problems - some of which have no easy solution.
Aug 01 Household spending up 0.2% (Japan Times)
 Average Japanese monthly household spending rose an inflation-adjusted 0.2 percent in June from a year earlier to 277,237 yen for the second straight month of increase due partly to a rise in expenditures on eco-friendly cars using government subsidies, the government said Friday.
Jul 31 Industrial output climbs 2.4% as surge enters fourth month (Japan Times)
 Factory output rose for the fourth straight month in June as hopeful manufacturers boosted production to meet an uptick in global demand from depressed levels, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Thursday in a closely watched monthly report.
Jul 31 BOJ should stay the course: Noda (Japan Times)
 The Bank of Japan shouldn't end its emergency credit programs prematurely because that could stymie a recovery, BOJ Policy Board member Tadao Noda said Thursday.
Jul 31 Unemployment in Japan at six-year high, CPI in record fall (The Australian)
 Japan's core consumer price index fell at its fastest pace on record in June, as the monthly jobless rate hit a six-year high. The CPI result represented the second consecutive record fall, and represented how low energy prices pushed utility costs down, while prices for consumer goods fell amid the lingering recession.
Jul 30 Japan factory output logs sharpest rise in 56 yrs (AFP)
 Japan's factories ramped up their production at the fastest pace in 56 years in the second quarter, data showed Thursday, boosting hopes the world's number two economy has returned to positive growth. Japanese industrial output plunged last year in the midst of a brutal global economic downturn, pushing Asia's biggest economy into its worst recession since World War II, but analysts say the worst appears to be over.
Jul 30 Worker excess worrisome (Japan Times)
 The government's fiscal 2009 white paper on the economy has drawn a gloomy picture with regard to the employment situation, although the report does credit the government's four economic stimulus measures for starting to exert a positive effect.
Jul 29 IMF begins borrowing from Japan, Canada, Norway (nasdaq.com)
 The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday it has begun drawing on loans offered to it by the governments of Japan, Canada and Norway. The move marks the first time the Fund has borrowed from member countries using bilateral borrowing agreements.
Jul 28 Ratio of vacancies to all houses in Japan hits record 13.1% (Mainichi)
 The ratio of vacant houses to all the dwellings in Japan hit an all-time high of 13.1 percent as of last Oct. 1, surpassing the previous record of 12.2 percent in 2003, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a preliminary report released Tuesday. This means nearly one out of every eight houses in Japan is vacant.
Jul 28 Bonuses for Japan national servants to be cut further (Mainichi)
 Japan's national civil servants are expected to see their bonuses cut further for the current fiscal year to next March after a reduction in their summer bonuses, sources at the National Personnel Authority said Tuesday. The authority is making the latest move after slashing summer bonuses for civil servants by 0.2 month worth of salary based on a May proposal made as the country's economy has been mired in recession.
Jul 28 No change in minimum wage in regions with no livelihood assistance gap (Mainichi)
 The Minimum Wage Council, an advisory body to the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare, said that the minimum wage will be "maintained at its current level" in 35 prefectures where there is no gap between public livelihood assistance and the minimum wage.
Jul 28 Japan-Switzerland FTA to take effect Sept. 1 (AP)
 A free trade agreement between Japan and Switzerland will take effect Sept. 1 with a goal of eliminating tariffs on more than 99 percent of the value of goods traded between the two countries within 10 years, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. The bilateral trade liberalization pact is the first one between Japan and a European country as all of Japan's previous nine FTAs that have come into effect were concluded with Southeast Asian and Latin American nations.
Jul 28 Japan deeper into deflation (The Star)
 Japanese core consumer prices are expected to have fallen 1.7% in June from a year earlier, a Reuters poll showed, as the country sinks deeper into deflation due to falling oil costs and weak domestic demand. That would be the biggest fall under current calculation methods dating from 1970. The unemployment rate is thought to have approached a post-war high in June as companies saddled with excess labour trimmed jobs to lower costs.
Jul 26 Not made in Japan (The Peninsula)
 Economists long warned that domineering exporters and a relatively puny domestic services sector left Japan dependent on foreign demand, exposed to the whims of the currency market and vulnerable to low-cost Asian rivals. The global recession appears to have proved them right, raising the question: do factories such as Fujisawa have a future? In a country where monozukuri, or making things, is part of the national identity, hand-wringing about the state of manufacturing is not new.
Jul 25 Economists see unemployment rate topping record-worst 5.5% this year (AP)
 could surpass the current worst level on record at 5.5 percent in October to December, according to a survey by an institute under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet Office. The Economic Planning Association's survey on 40 economists from June 25 to July 2, of whom 36 responded, showed their predicted unemployment rate from October to December averaged 5.56 percent.
Jul 25 6 million workers said 'excessive' (Asahi)
 An estimated 6 million employees at companies in Japan are considered surplus workers in the wake of the economic slowdown, a government white paper said Friday. The number of excess employees reached a maximum of 6.07 million in the January-March period, the highest since comparable statistics became available in 1980.
Jul 25 Japan sends U.S. letter on "Buy American" worries (Reuters)
 Japan has sent a letter of concern to the United States on a bill recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, which contains a provision similar to "Buy American", an official at Japan's foreign ministry said. The letter, sent earlier this week from Japan to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, comes as the United States says the "Buy American" provisions are in line with World Trade Organisation commitments.
Jul 25 Why Japan's aging, shrinking population is bad for the United States (foreignpolicy.com)
 Japan's relationship with the United States over the past half-century has been one of remarkable resilience, even through the end of the Cold War and the emergence of new security threats in Northeast Asia. During his February meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, U.S. President Barack Obama emphasized the importance of the alliance by declaring it "the cornerstone of security in East Asia." But a change is occurring in Japan that could rock the foundation of this happy partnership, something far more dangerous for the United States than the prospect of an opposition victory in the upcoming general election: Japan is getting old.
Jul 25 Economic white paper short on specifics (Yomiuri)
 The theme of the fiscal 2009 Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance was 'overcoming crisis and the outlook for sustainable recovery.'
Jul 25 Surplus staff topped 6 mil. in 1st qtr '09 (Yomiuri)
 The government estimates the number of workers surplus to requirements at companies in the period from January to March 2009 jumped to 6.07 million, its highest ever recorded, according to the fiscal 2009 Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance.
By J.S. on Aug 3, 2009



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