Posts Tagged Nikkei

Kyle Bass gives Japan just 18 months to live

Kyle Bass (click here for my blog posts where I mention Kyle) gives Japan just 18 months to live, in this interview in the Nikkei:

日本国債バブル「18カ月以内に崩壊する」米サブプライム危機を予見した男、「日本売り」公言

via 日本国債バブル「18カ月以内に崩壊する」  :日本経済新聞.

His final words of advice: don’t trust the State; think for yourself:

 「世の中で正しいと思われていることを、そのまま受け入れないということです。自分の力で考えて、常に論理的であろうとすること。我々はこれまで、中央銀行の バンカーたちが提示する世界観を受け入れるよう求められてきました。まるで彼らだけが真実の箱の中身が何かを知っているかのように。その彼らは今、無制限 にお金を刷り、経済の安定を何とか保とうと躍起になっています。しかし、この経済政策に限界が来ているのは明らかです。もはや、国家を信用することはでき ません。自らの力で考え、生き残っていかなければならない時代が来ているのです」

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Budget Plan Goes Easy On Spending Cuts |Nikkei

Who’d have guessed, eh? Oh, you would?

TOKYO (Nikkei)–On its surface, the fiscal 2012 budget plan will adhere to fiscal discipline, but a deeper look reveals unrestrained spending.

With 90.3 trillion yen in general-account spending, the plan to be finalized by the government on Saturday will mark the first year-on-year decline in initial-budget expenditures in six years. Yet despite its slimmed-down look, it will essentially weigh in as the biggest budget ever.

But Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and his cabinet have failed to put a leash on expenditures in key areas. One is the government’s share of the cost of the basic pension. Since fiscal 2009, the government has had to dip into special accounts to maintain its annual contribution to the pension program. This “buried treasure” has run out.

When it comes to local tax grants, the government appears to have largely conceded to pressure for more money.

The budget plan will also call for about 3.8 trillion yen for a new special account for post-disaster reconstruction. This spending will be managed separately from the general account because it will have its own revenue sources. If it were included in the general-account budget, however, total spending would rise to about 94 trillion yen, topping initial-budget figures for both fiscal 2010 and 2011. That hardly comes across as progress on fiscal discipline.

via 2011/12/23 04:19 – Budget Plan Goes Easy On Spending Cuts.

See also 2011/12/24 11:40 – Japan’s Reliance On Debt May Have Reached Limit: Azumi “”I think that Japan’s budget-making processes and its reliance on public debt have reached their limits,” Jun Azumi said at a news conference after the government approved a main budget for the next fiscal year, which starts in April.”

What is a “limit”? By what criteria? Is it the % of GDP?

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Initiative – entrepreneurs in Tohoku

There’s still a lot of gloom-and-doom, finger-pointing and anxiety-spreading “news” out there (some of it on this very blog no less), but I’m getting tired of that. Aren’t you? What I find interesting these days is initiatives like this one.

Japan’s major convenience store operator Family Mart is this month launching a newly-developed fleet of mobile convenience store trucks to provide services across the northeast Tohoku region.

With their bright neon lights and open-all-hours policy, convenience stores – known as “konbini” in Japan – have long been a key fixture in Japanese communities, both rural and urban.

In the aftermath of the March 11 disaster, a number of major Japanese convenience store operators toured the region in makeshift trucks to provide essentials to displaced victims.

However, the new Family Mart mobile trucks are a specifically designed project which the company was planning even before the March 11 disaster, with a view to gaining access to the most remote regions in the country.

via Shops-on-wheels to launch across tsunami-hit Japan – Telegraph.

Then there’s “social entrepreneurs”. Say, what? The Nikkei explains: Read the rest of this entry »

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2011/09/07 12:27 – OPINION: Noda Must Work To Regain Business Trust

Japanese companies, from carmakers to food processors, are scrambling to buy land for factories elsewhere in Asia. They are shifting production out of Japan to get around the yen’s extraordinary strength and power shortages at home.

Another problem is visible in the auto industry, the backbone of Japan’s industrial might. Carmakers are in a serious bind because of the steep rise of the yen.

“Japanese car exports may fall to zero in five years,” warned a senior executive at a major carmaker. If auto production in Japan were to fall by half, gross domestic product would shrink by about 3%, causing over 1 million job losses, according to estimates by Mizuho Corporate Bank. Such a sharp fall in domestic car production would also deliver a serious blow to steelmakers and others, harming Japan’s current account balance.

But instead of taking steps to reverse this trend, the past two Democratic Party of Japan administrations have raised the cost of doing business even more by tightening labor regulations, for example, and promising a sharp reduction in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

via 2011/09/07 12:27 – OPINION: Noda Must Work To Regain Business Trust.

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2011/09/03 02:57 – EDITORIAL: All Together Now

“All Together Now” seems to be the slogan of the day:

TOKYO Nikkei–Party unity is important for what it accomplishes. We hope Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government sets clear goals and, unlike the two before it, moves in lock step against the country’s problems.

via 2011/09/03 02:57 – EDITORIAL: All Together Now.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sAKRpjmZj0′]

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda aims to take a more focused approach than his predecessors in crafting economic policies, creating a national strategy council and bringing everyone on board. Noda’s vision is to pool the talents of politicians, bureaucrats, business executives and private-sector individuals at the council, a departure from the previous Democratic Party of Japan government’s efforts to minimize bureaucrats’ involvement in policy formulation.

via Noda Envisions More Streamlined Economic Policymaking | Nikkei.com Read the rest of this entry »

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Moody’s Downgrades Japan Debt Rating To Aa3: Nikkei

Moodys downgrades Japanese bonds to Aa3, due to huge and increasing amount of public debt and large budget deficits.

米格付け会社ムーディーズ・インベスターズ・サービスは24日、日本国債の格付けを「Aa2」から「Aa3」(ダブルAマイナスに相当)へ1段階引き下げたと発表した。同社による日本国債の格下げは約9年ぶり。今後の見通しは安定的とした。格下げの理由は「多額の財政赤字と、2009年の世界的な景気後退以降の政府債務の増加を受けたものだ」と指摘した。

via ムーディーズ、日本国債を格下げ 1段階低い「Aa3」  :日本経済新聞.

Moody’s said it was cutting Japan’s government bond rating to Aa3 from Aa2, citing “large budget deficits and the build-up in Japanese government debt since the 2009 global recession.” It said the outlook was stable. The action puts Moody’s rating on a par with other major ratings companies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, both of which rate Japan’s sovereign debt at AA- with a negative outlook.

The yen fell briefly on the news, with the dollar spiking to Y76.78

Like the U.S., Japan is facing increasing criticism over its financial condition, bringing action from the ratings companies. But its finances are in far worse shape with nearly half of the annual central government budget financed by bond issuance and the country’s gross debt now equal to more then 200% of annual GDP. That compares with a U.S. debt load at an estimated 75% of GDP.

via Moody’s Downgrades Japan Debt Rating To Aa3: Nikkei

Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda declined to comment on the Moody’s move, but he defended the creditworthiness of Japanese sovereign debt. “The smooth sales of Japanese government bonds at recent auctions show that confidence remains unshaken,” Noda told reporters after the downgrade.

Readers may wish to compare this completely unbiased and objective view with this one from economic analyst Mish regarding a bond auction in early August:

Please note that was not a failed auction. Indeed it was oversubscribed. However, nearly all of that demand is internal. Internal demand is a double-edged sword. Right now it is still sufficient. However, when (not if), Japan ever needs foreign buyers for its bond market, rates will not be 2.3% on 40-year bonds.

Related articles:

  1. 2011/08/23 17:32 – ‘Bond Vigilantes’ Sizing Up Prime Minister Hopefuls

  2. Japanese debt now 7,380,000 per person 「国の借金」最大の943兆円 6月末、1人あたり738万円  :日本経済新聞 
  3. Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis: Worst Demand on Record for Japanese 40-Year Bonds; Can Japan Service its Debt? How?

  4. Markets Hope For Follow-Through On Taxes, Yen From New Govt
  5. DPJ Contest To Be Fought Over Rebuilding, Tax Hikes

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英FTは大震災をどう報じているか  :日本経済新聞

The Nikkei has collected links to FT (Financial Times) articles about the Japan disaster. (My translation: “The worst disaster to hit Japan since the war. How has it been reported in the foreign press? What is the state of Japan at present, and what kind of future can Japan look forward to? Here’s a list of links to FT articles on this subject.”

戦後最大となる深刻な被害を日本にもたらした東日本大震災。海外では被災をどう報じ、日本の現状と今後をどう見ているのか。英フィナンシャル・タイムズが掲載した震災に関する記事を集めた。

via 英FTは大震災をどう報じているか  :日本経済新聞.

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福島原発、専門家ら「3つの懸念」 燃料棒激しく損傷  :日本経済新聞

福島原発、専門家ら「3つの懸念」 燃料棒激しく損傷 (1/3ページ) 2011/3/30 6:21

via 福島原発、専門家ら「3つの懸念」 燃料棒激しく損傷  :日本経済新聞.

From the Nikkei: 3 causes for concern at Fukushima (my rough translation).

  1. Insufficient water in the No. 1 reactor, both now and in the early stages of the crisis has probably led to melting of the fuel rods. Pressure readings from the reactor suggest that there is very little probability of radiation leak from the pressure vessel, however.
  2. No. 2 reactor: “We cannot rule out the possibility that more than half of the fuel rods have melted”. Pressure seems to be low and it is possible that the pressure-meters are not functioning properly, making data-gathering difficult. The temperature of the pressure vessel also rose to 200 degrees C on March 29. The situation is still unstable. No. 3 reactor. Damage to the fuel rods in this reactor is thought to be less than in reactors 1 and 2, and the temperature is stable. However, contaminated water has been found in the turbine building, with a reading of 750 mSv/hr.
  3. Contaminated water in the lower (underground) part of the turbine buildings must urgently be removed. Until this is done, workers cannot get close to the pumps and the electrical wiring to restart the cooling system. See the image here of plans to move the contaminated water.

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福島原発の土壌からプルトニウム 東電発表「ごく微量」  :日本経済新聞

東京電力は28日、福島第1原子力発電所の敷地内の土壌5カ所でプルトニウムを検出したと発表した。このうち2カ所は原子炉から外部に漏れた可能性が高いという。検出されたのはごく微量としている。同社はこれとは別に2号機のタービン建屋の外で、高い放射線量を計測したと発表した。汚染水が屋外で見つかったのは初めて。同機の原子炉内の燃料棒に深刻な損傷が生じた結果とみられる。

 検出されたのはプルトニウム238、239、240の3種類の同位体。3月21、22日に敷地内の5カ所で土壌数百グラムを採取し、外部機関に分析を依頼した。5カ所すべてでプルトニウム239と240を土壌1キログラムあたり最大で約1.2ベクレル検出。このうち1~2号機から西北西500メートルにあるグラウンド付近と固体廃棄物貯蔵庫前の2カ所で238を最大0.54ベクレル程度検出した。

via 福島原発の土壌からプルトニウム 東電発表「ごく微量」  :日本経済新聞.

TOKYO (Kyodo)–Plutonium has been detected in soil at five locations at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Monday.

The operator of the nuclear complex said that the plutonium is believed to have been discharged from nuclear fuel at the plant, which was damaged by the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

While noting that the concentration level does not pose a risk to human health, the utility firm said it will strengthen monitoring on the environment in and around the nuclear plant.

Meanwhile, high levels of radiation exceeding 1,000 millisieverts per hour have been detected in water in a trench outside the No. 2 reactor’s building at the nuclear plant, with the contaminated water suspected to have come from the reactor’s core, where fuel rods have partially melted, authorities said Monday.

via Plutonium Detected In Soil At Fukushima Nuclear Plant (Tuesday, March 29, 2011, Japan time).

Related articles:

  1. Plutonium Outside Reactor Signals Worse-Than-Expected Leak
    1. Plutonium, produced as a result of uranium fission, does not disperse easily because of its weight. It was likely released outside during the string of hydrogen explosions and fires at the Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactors….
    2. Plutonium is far more toxic than uranium. Exposure to plutonium-238, which emits neutrons, is known to increase the risk of cancer.
  2. Plutonium detected in soil at Fukushima nuke plant
    1. the plutonium, the presence of which was confirmed for the first time in the ongoing nuclear emergency, could have been discharged from nuclear fuel at the plant hit by the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami, but does not pose a major risk to human health.
    2. Plutonium is more toxic than other radioactive substances such as iodine and cesium, but the levels confirmed from soil samples taken at the plant on March 21 and 22 were almost the same as those from the fallout detected in Japan following past nuclear tests by the United States and Russia, said the utility known as TEPCO.

The government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it remains unknown which reactor plutonium came from and that TEPCO and the science ministry will strengthen monitoring on the environment both in the plant and outside of a 20-kilometer exclusion zone set by the government

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2011/03/27 10:29 – Work To Restore Power, Inject Fresh Coolant Into Nuke Plant Continues

TOKYO Kyodo–Tokyo Electric Co. continued efforts Sunday to restore power and enhance cooling efficiency at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant as it prepared to turn on the lights in the control room for the plants No. 4 reactor and inject fresh water into four reactors.The utility, known as TEPCO, will inject fresh water into pools storing the spent nuclear fuel at the plants No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactors to prevent crystallized salt from seawater already injected from hampering the smooth circulation of water and thus diminishing the cooling effect.The company continued with the work to remove a pool of water containing highly concentrated radioactive substances that was detected in the turbine buildings of the No. 1 reactor at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, around 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo.

Read more via 2011/03/27 10:29 – Work To Restore Power, Inject Fresh Coolant Into Nuke Plant Continues.

And from the Japanese edition of Nikkei:

経済産業省の原子力安全・保安院は27日、福島第1原子力発電所2号機のタービン建屋でたまっていた水について、表面の放射線量が毎時1000ミリシーベルト以上を示したと発表した。健康被害の境界とされる目安の線量(100ミリシーベルト)の10倍に相当する。

 保安院は「核分裂反応に由来することは間違いなく、原子炉に由来するものと考えている」としながらも、「原子炉と使用済み核燃料プールのいずれが原因かはっきりしたことは分かっていない。中身をよく分析する」と説明している。

(My translation: According to the Economy, Trade & Industry Ministry’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), the water which has collected in the turbine building of the No. 2 reactor at Fukushima’s Dai-ichi nuclear power station registered more than 1000 mSv/hr. This is 10 times the normal safety limit of 100 mSv.

“This is clearly from a nuclear fission reaction and is possibly coming from the reactor”, NISA stated, adding, “we don’t know whether it is originating from the reactor or from the spent-fuel pool. We are analyzing the contents.”)

via 2号機建屋内の水、放射線量1000ミリシーベルト以上 : 福島原発 健康被害、目安の10倍 2011/3/27 12:18

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