financializer news A weblog highlighting financial topics making news in the international media.

japan china: In July, some of his former students myself included and colleagues got together for an online party to celebrate his 90th birthday, according to The Japan Times. The late scholar talked about his life, showing us many old family photos that included his Jewish immigrant parents. There are many scholars who are well-versed in matters related to Japan and China, but Vogel was simply in his own league in terms of his academic work, and his contributions were immeasurable in facilitating a better understanding of the two Asian giants for scholars and laypersons alike. We were all amazed how such a radiant boy from the small town of Delaware, Ohio, could rise from such humble beginnings to navigate this world using his intellect and hard work to become the most celebrated expert on both Japan and China. ; Vogel was full of energy and passion about his book project on Hu Yaobang, who was a close collaborator of Deng Xiaoping and very close to Japanese leaders such as Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone. We parted by promising to meet again on his 100th birthday. He also had words of advice on future U.S.-China policy for Joe Biden who he hoped would win and his administration in addition to being enthusiastic about his personal memoirs, as evidenced by the photo tour of his life. ( As reported in the news.

mark zuckerberg: The more Mark Zuckerberg tried to reassure politicians by talking up financial inclusion and innovation, the more he came across like a tobacco boss denying cigarettes are addictive, according to The Japan Times. He even acknowledged the problem I get that I'm not the ideal messenger for this. Governments and regulators linked arms to repel a perceived threat to monetary sovereignty, financial stability and data privacy. That hasn't deterred him. There's no more talk of rewards for members in the form of investment tokens. Given Zuckerberg's tendency to issue half-hearted apologies before going back to breaking things, it's not surprising that he's gearing up for a second attempt to launch Libra next year. ; There have been a few changes Libra is now called Diem as in Carpe and its membership council is headed by Stuart Levey, whose stints at the U.S. Treasury and HSBC Holdings Plc make him a blend of Beltway and banking. ( As reported in the news.

support suga: To divest from fossil fuels, shift to renewable energy and eliminate carbon emissions should not be seen as a restriction of economic activity, but as an opportunity to take advantage of inevitable change, a trade ministry official told reporters Thursday, according to The Japan Times. The central government will stand behind the private sector in leading the shift to a carbon free society. The report which calls for strong government spending to subsidize and incentivize emissions reduction, and innovation in more than a dozen industries details the potential economic growth that can be expected if the country reaches net zero carbon emissions. ; Not only does the plan provide a tentative framework to support Suga's vow in October to achieve decarbonization within three decades, it represents a major shift in the central government's attitude in treating renewable energy not as a barrier to economic growth but as a catalyst. The report designates 14 industries in which significant growth and investment are key to achieve decarbonization. According to the trade ministry's outline, the government aims to raise offshore wind energy output to 45 million kilowatt-hours by 2040, hydrogen power consumption to 20 million tons by 2050, promote nuclear energy abroad but halt domestic projects, decarbonize the agriculture industry and reduce coal-fired power consumption to the point where carbon recycling technology can be developed to nullify the remaining harmful emissions. These include offshore wind, ammonia fuel, hydrogen, nuclear energy, cars, shipping, airlines, semiconductors, logistics, agriculture, carbon recycling, housing, energy recycling and the lifestyles of individual people. ( As reported in the news.

house members: The nearly 75 million people who voted for him, according to The Japan Times. All the while, he's looked past other staggering and more consequential figures The record numbers of coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations and new cases among the citizens of the nation he leads. ; On Friday, Trump's team blasted out a text with this strong, high-minded presidential message We will not bend. The 100-plus House members backing a lawsuit challenging his election loss. We will not break. We will never give up. We will never give in. ( As reported in the news.

month: Maybe it's insoluble, according to The Japan Times. More and more Japanese women seem to feel it is. It's strange that, in an age that can create virtual reality, self-driving cars and intelligent machines, the world's third-largest economy can't solve the problem of human misery. Female suicide is sharply rising. National Police Agency statistics tell the tale, as far as numbers can tell it 651 women are known to have taken their own lives that month, up from 400-500 a month typically. July was a watershed. ( As reported in the news.

new-to-japan residents: If the local supermarket doesn't stock it, there's a good chance it can be found and ordered online, according to The Japan Times. Because it's become so easy to find these things, maybe the closing of Foreign Buyers' Club FBC on Dec. 5 didn't hit the international community quite as hard as it once might have. Today, non-Japanese ingredients are available at most supermarkets, and peanut butter is sitting right there on the shelf. Many new-to-Japan residents might never have heard of a company that, for decades, was the only way to get Honey Nut Cheerios, Kraft Mac & Cheese and many other staples of a life left behind. ; Food and family Chuck right and Kelly Grafft, the founders of Foreign Buyers' Club COURTESY OF CHUCK GRAFFT In 1988, an American couple in Kobe, Chuck and Kelly Grafft, began looking for a better way to import their favorites from home. As Chuck says, we never sold things, we were buyers for our friends and family. Friends caught wind of their efforts, asking to join, and FBC was born. ( As reported in the news.

guaido: He is recognized as the legitimate ruler of Venezuela by the U.S. and dozens of its allies, but that's based on his status as head of congress, which he is about to lose, according to The Japan Times. Guaido and his allies are boycotting the election, citing the absence of international monitors, while a minority segment of the opposition is taking part. His almost-inevitable landslide will cement his grip on the last major institution in the country that has democratic legitimacy. ; A win for Maduro will further weaken the position of opposition leader Juan Guaido. Turnout is expected to be between 25% and 36%, according to Venezuelan pollsters. Fewer people will turn out this time because the election is not perceived as credible, said Luis Vicente Leon, director of Caracas firm Datanalisis. In the last congressional vote held in 2015, participation was 76%. Polls are open from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., with results expected Sunday evening. ( As reported in the news.

inflation target: The first is the Average Inflation Targeting AIT which the U.S. Federal Reserve initiated in August 2020 a departure from the conventional framework of inflation-targeting, according to The Japan Times. The Fed set a 2% long-term inflation target in 2012, but actual inflation has remained disappointingly below the target and long-term inflation expectations have been sluggish over the past two years. ; Theoretically, the new framework should be more powerful in terms of raising inflation, since the duration of the current monetary easing measures of a virtually zero-interest rate policy will surely be extended, given that the underperforming period of the previous policy will be added to the future period of maintaining the low interest rate course. The two new policies are different in nature, but both are a departure from past practices something that may eventually put the two central banks' credibility at stake. Under the new framework, the Fed intends to offset periods that undershot the 2% target with periods that overshot the target rate. As individuals, companies and markets fully understand this and begin to expect future inflation to be higher and stabilize at around 2%, these changes will immediately lead to a higher actual inflation rate and long-term inflation expectation. For example, if an inflation rate of 1.5% continued for the past three years, the current low interest rate policy will be maintained until an inflation rate of around 2.5% is achieved from now on for the next three years or longer, which would average out to the 2% target. ( As reported in the news.

weapons programs: Bearing names like Godiva, Viper and Super Kukla, the reactors never fed electricity grids, according to The Japan Times. Instead, they produced research useful to nuclear weapons programs and eventually utilities. Those units built more than a half century ago in the U.S. and Europe generated bursts of heat within fractions of a second so that scientists could gauge nuclear reactions, sometimes with deadly consequences. Modern reactors are gigantic by comparison, able to power more than 1.5 million homes each. ; Today, the nuclear industry once again is thinking small, spurred on by politicians including U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Half of the world's energy goes into making heat, and that produces two-fifths of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. They're looking to solve the next climate change challenge how to feed pollution-free heat to industries that make steel, cement, glass and chemicals. ( As reported in the news.

automobile industry: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will shortly hold a meeting with experts and representatives from automakers for discussions on a policy of reducing the use of gasoline vehicles and other issues related to the industry, the sources said, adding that the government will consider including the new target in a carbon neutrality action plan that it hopes to draw up by the end of this year, according to The Japan Times. Japan has worked out a target of increasing the share of eco-friendly automobiles, such as hybrid and electric vehicles, to between 50% and 70% by 2030. The government aims to accelerate decarbonization in the automobile industry in a bid to realize Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's goal of reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions effectively to zero by 2050, sources said. ; The government plans to work harder to promote electric vehicles as well as hybrid vehicles, an area in which Japanese automakers have shown leadership. But the target is less ambitious than goals set by other countries. While Toyota Motor Corp. popularized hybrid vehicles with the Prius and the country's automakers are among the world's top producers in the segment, the domestic market for electrified vehicles has plateaued in recent years. A new vehicle market consisting of only hybrid and electric automobiles would be a significant shift, given they currently only make up about 29% of the country's 5.2 million new motor vehicle registrations, according to the Automobile Manufacturers Association. ( As reported in the news.

fuel supply: Instead, countries are planning an average annual increase of 2%, which by 2030 would result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5 C limit, the report said, according to The Japan Times. Between 2020 and 2030, global coal, oil, and gas production would have to fall annually by 11%, 4%, and 3% respectively to be consistent with a 1.5 C pathway. Some of the largest fossil fuel producers in the world, including Australia, China, Canada and the United States, are among those pursuing major expansions in fossil fuel supply. ; Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations have committed to a long-term goal of limiting average temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it even further to 1.5 C. The 1.5 C target requires fossil fuel production to decrease by around 6% per year between 2020 and 2030. But government plans indicate an average 2% annual increase for each fuel. The report was produced by the United Nations Environment Program as well as experts from the Stockholm Environment Institute, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Overseas Development Institute, think tank E3G and universities. This gap is large, with countries aiming to produce 120% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5C, the report said. ( As reported in the news.

pcl: That portfolio, as confirmed by recent public records, has put the monarchy in business with many of Thailand's tycoons, affirming the king's position at the apex of power. ; What's new is the level of public discourse about it, fed by disquiet over legal changes in 2017 and 2018 that were approved by a military-appointed parliament without public debate, according to The Japan Times. Now the issue has become one of the rallying cries for protesters who march regularly through Bangkok's streets, numbering at times in the tens of thousands. Thailand's royal family has long been the biggest shareholder in two of the country's most valuable companies, Siam Commercial Bank PCL and Siam Cement PCL, as well as vast plots of land in central Bangkok that house luxury shopping malls, high-end hotels and towering office buildings. Those legal changes gave King Maha Vajiralongkorn the power to put his name on the assets of the Crown Property Bureau an agency that managed them for the palace no matter who sat on the throne. The changes made clear the king was one of Asia's wealthiest men, and that he had final say on the holdings. They were the first adjustments to the crown property law in roughly 70 years. ( As reported in the news.

cause effect: It's also not a hedge against stock market crashes, as we discovered in March, according to The Japan Times. Gold is a hedge on government authorities making poor economic choices. Many erroneously believe gold is some sort of inflation hedge, because of our experience in the 1970s. Inflation is usually the result of those poor decisions, but people confuse cause and effect here. Gold has significantly outperformed stocks this century, gaining about 555% versus 79% for the MSCI All-Country World Index of stocks and 146% for the S&P 500 Index. Gold is a hedge on policy makers screwing up, and there has been a lot of screwing up in the last 20 years. ( As reported in the news.

investment funds: The incentives will be included in the tax reform package for fiscal 2021 to be compiled by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito, according to The Japan Times. The Cabinet is expected to approve the changes by the end of the year, with related bills to be submitted to the Diet early next year, according to the sources. Under the current system, Japan imposes an inheritance tax on foreign nationals' overseas assets if they live in the country for more than 10 years, but the special measure to be introduced will make them exempt from the imposition, according to the sources. ; The government also plans to allow unlisted firms, including investment funds, to add remuneration of executives to business expenses to help reduce their corporate taxes, the sources said. RELATED STORIES Japan to pitch Kansai and Fukuoka as post-pandemic financial hubs Exchange outage latest blow to Tokyo's financial hub dreams After Hong Kong crackdown, Japan cities wrestle for Asian financial hub status Financial Services Agency to set up one-stop center for foreign financiers Behind the introduction of the new tax breaks is the fact that many highly skilled financial professionals from abroad leave Japan within 10 years partly due to the current taxation system, a ruling party source said. The tax incentive will deliver a message that we want them to live longer and work longer in Japan, the source said. Foreign nationals who have resided here for 10 years or less only pay taxes on domestic property. ( As reported in the news.

japanese government: Governments will implement a bold fiscal policy, and central banks will significantly expand its funding. ; That's exactly what governments around the world have been doing, and the Japanese government is no exception, according to The Japan Times. Under the Abe Cabinet, it issued additional government bonds to the order of 60 trillion that is, more than 10% of GDP along with the implementation of other policies. As the last line of defense, governments and central banks do whatever it takes and inject capital in the markets. Despite having little room left to maneuver after years of unconventional monetary policies, the Bank of Japan has made it clear that it will work side by side with the government to prevent the economy from crashing. Recently, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has made organizational changes to pursue new policies. There's still no end in sight for the pandemic crisis, but as Japan's economy averts a worst-case scenario and makes a modest recovery, how to revitalize its industries is becoming a major issue. ( As reported in the news.

american troops: It's tempting to view the development with a sense of relief, according to The Japan Times. A full withdrawal from Afghanistan, or for that matter Iraq, would have been a humiliation for the U.S. on the world stage and a likely prelude to the collapse of two elected governments for which America has invested significant blood and treasure. ; That said, avoiding calamity is not the same as wise statecraft. Instead of withdrawing all American troops from Afghanistan by Christmas, as he boasted in a tweet in October, he will be leaving behind a small counterterrorism force. Trump's final military act is reckless, particularly in Afghanistan. Some 500 of the 3,000 Americans in Iraq will also come home. Officially, the U.S. will be reducing from around 4,500 U.S. troops to 2,500. ( As reported in the news.

stock exchanges: That's undermining hopes that a change of U.S. president might lead to an easing in the technology cold war. ; The Securities and Exchange Commission's decision to push ahead with a plan that could lead to the delisting of Chinese companies from U.S. stock exchanges is just the latest salvo, according to The Japan Times. Last week, Trump issued an executive order barring investments in Chinese companies that are owned or controlled by the military. Giants from Huawei Technologies Co. to Tik Tok owner Byte Dance Ltd. can have no doubt left There will be no let-up in the Trump administration's efforts to entrench its China policy before leaving office. Since the Nov. 3 election, the State Department also slapped sanctions on more people accused of undermining Hong Kong's autonomy. Shifting the goalposts will make it harder for Joe Biden to move them back, assuming the president-elect even wants to. U.S. officials have made no secret of their strategy Future U.S. presidents will find it politically suicidal to reverse President Trump's historic actions, John Ullyot, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said this week. ( As reported in the news.

year plan: Fuel cells fool sells, the boss of the world's top electric-carmaker tweeted in June, according to The Japan Times. China, the world's biggest market for electric vehicles, isn't so quick to dismiss the alternative to batteries. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has spent years mocking the idea of using hydrogen fuel cells rather than electric batteries to power next-generation green vehicles. Officials are promoting the development of hydrogen-powered cars, trucks and buses, with Beijing offering to reward cities that achieve adoption targets. ; In a 15-year plan for new-energy vehicles released on Nov. 2, China's State Council said the country will focus on building the fuel-cell supply chain and developing hydrogen-powered trucks and buses. Hydrogen is expected to play a much more important role to drastically decrease the country's greenhouse gas emissions, Kevin Jianjun Tu, a nonresident fellow at the French think tank Ifri, wrote in a report published in October. President Xi Jinping in September set a 2030 deadline for China to begin reducing carbon emissions. ( As reported in the news.

eiji yatagawa: Walmart will retain a 15% minority interest. ; Rakuten and KKR will seek to shore up Seiyu's digital operations as demand for online retail grows in Japan amid the pandemic, according to The Japan Times. The new owners are retaining a previously announced plan to relist Seiyu in the future. Under the agreement, private equity fund KKR will become the majority owner with a 65% stake, while Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten takes 20%, the companies said in a statement Monday. An IPO is certainly a common goal for us, said Eiji Yatagawa, a partner at KKR. What's important is to build a business that can go public. In June last year, Walmart said it would seek to relist Seiyu, following years of speculation that it was seeking to sell the chain after years of poor performance. For a company to go public, you need to demonstrate a very attractive story to the market. ( As reported in the news.

recovery path: Economists had forecast an 18.9% expansion. ; The nation's biggest growth spurt in more than a half century shows the economy is back on a recovery path after three straight quarters of contraction that started with a sales tax hike last year before the collapse that came with COVID-19's first wave, according to The Japan Times. Still, the rapid expansion only managed to claw back about half of the growth lost since last year, less than some other major economies. Gross domestic product grew an annualized 21.4% in the three months through September from the previous quarter, expanding at the fastest clip since 1968, helped by government stimulus that fueled a sharp jump in consumer spending and a strong pickup in trade. With the virus's resurgence likely to keep a lid on further export and consumption gains, the government is already making plans to add to stimulus. Virus cases are rising at home and abroad and that will weigh on global demand and household sentiment. There is no way we can be optimistic about the outlook, said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute. ( As reported in the news.

zealand rcep: Under the deal, Japan will see tariffs eliminated on 86% of items exported to China, 81% to South Korea and 88% to the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia and New Zealand, according to The Japan Times. RCEP also sets common rules on e-commerce, intellectual property, customs and rules of origins. The signing is extremely significant toward realizing a free and open international economic order at a time when some countries are becoming inward-looking due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, said Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of Keidanren, Japan's largest business lobby. ; The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, covering some 46% of Japan's total trade, will be the country's first trade deal with both China, its largest trading partner, and South Korea, its third largest. Due to the rules and lowering of tariffs, supply chains established by Japanese companies in Asia will become more broad, effective and resilient, Akio Mimura, chairman of Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in a statement. We hope RCEP members will tenaciously encourage India's return to the pact, which will contribute to strengthening supply chains encompassing the region, said Ken Kobayashi, chairman of the Japan Foreign Trade Council. The 15 signatories to the deal said Sunday the pact remains open for India, which has skipped all negotiations since late last year due to concerns about opening up its market to China, and included provisions that would facilitate the Southern Asian country's smooth participation should it decide to return to the pact. ( As reported in the news.

companies estimate: However, mass distribution, which needs regulatory approval, will not happen this year and several vaccines are seen as necessary to meet massive global needs. ; Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE said they had found no serious safety concerns yet and expected to seek U.S. emergency use authorization this month, raising the chance of a regulatory decision as soon as December, according to The Japan Times. If granted, the companies estimate they can roll out up to 50 million doses this year, enough to protect 25 million people, and then produce up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. Scientists, public health officials and investors welcomed the first successful interim data from a large-scale clinical test as a watershed moment that could help turn the tide of the pandemic if the full trial results pan out. Today is a great day for science and humanity, said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla, noting the data milestone comes with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen. This news made me smile from ear to ear. Experts said they wanted to see the full trial data, but the preliminary results looked encouraging. ( As reported in the news.

one-third stake: Soft Bank has poured about 20 billion into tech stocks and derivatives through a unit in which the billionaire personally holds a one-third stake. ; Several people on the call pointed to the structure as a corporate governance concern, the people said, asking to remain unnamed because the details of the discussion aren't public, according to The Japan Times. Son denied there is a conflict of interest and described it as remuneration for his investment expertise. Son faced a barrage of questions about the transactions on a late-evening call with analysts and fund managers after an earnings announcement Monday, according to people who took part in the briefing. Other fund managers charge fees, he said, according to one of the people. A representative for Soft Bank declined to comment. Son added that Soft Bank's board cleared the structure in a vote from which he recused himself, the person said. ( As reported in the news.

trade experts: This comes as a relief to Japan, which salvaged the original Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact from collapse after the United States left on Trump's initiative, hoping that Washington would eventually come back. ; Still, trade experts see no immediate return of the U.S. to what is now the 11-member TPP while Biden focuses on domestic issues such as containing the spread of COVID-19 and boosting the world's largest economy, although the 77-year-old Democrat backed the TPP as vice president under former President Barack Obama, according to The Japan Times. The chances of the United States piling pressure on trading partners like Japan to make bilateral deals a tactic pursued by Trump may decrease, though a Biden administration could still make strong demands of Japan over trade and environmental issues. Biden is seen as preferring a more multilateral approach to trade. Biden would emphasize partnerships to contain unilateral Chinese policymaking and he would seek a more active Asian policy than the benign neglect of the Obama era, said Martin Schulz, chief policy economist at Fujitsu Ltd. It needs to maintain its partnerships with the United States and China but show its partners in Southeast Asia an effective way to navigate trade, investment and, most importantly, digital policies, Schulz said. Japan, as a 'middle power,' would gain a more important role. ( As reported in the news.

questions answers: Here are some questions and answers about the venture ; Why hydrogen Japan has few fossil fuel resources and relies heavily on imported liquefied natural gas LNG coal and nuclear power, which has been curtailed since the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, according to The Japan Times. The mountainous, natural disaster-prone country is struggling to ramp up its renewable energy production, and is therefore investigating a variety of fuel alternatives. The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain HESC is a joint Japanese-Australian project intended to produce plentiful, affordable fuel for Japan. It has invested heavily in hydrogen, which produces only steam and no carbon dioxide when burnt, making it the focus of some interest. It uses it in microfuel cells for residential buildings, experimental power plants and fuel cell vehicles, but production domestically is limited and expensive. Japan currently produces hydrogen domestically, in liquid and compressed gas forms, mostly from natural gas and oil. ( As reported in the news.

small-dollar donations: It was a jarring outcome for Democrats who had devised an expanded political map, eager to provide a backstop against President Donald Trump and his party's grip on the Senate, according to The Japan Times. The races attracted an unprecedented outpouring of small-dollar donations from Americans apparently voting with their pocketbooks to propel long-shot campaigns. ; The voters' choices will force a rethinking of Democratic Party strategy, messaging and approach from the Trump era. Several races remained undecided into Wednesday and at least one headed to a runoff in January. While Democrats picked up must-win seats in Colorado and Arizona, they suffered a setback in Alabama, and Republicans held their own in one race after another in South Carolina, Iowa, Texas, Kansas and Montana, dramatically limiting the places where Democrats hoped to make inroads. Lindsey Graham in Columbia, South Carolina, after defeating Jamie Harrison, despite the Democrat's stunning 100 million haul for his upstart campaign. You wasted a lot of money, said White House ally Sen. ( As reported in the news.

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financializer news

A weblog highlighting financial topics making news in the international media.