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Yen weakness likely to mute impact of Japan's reopening for airlines

42 Comments
By Yuki Yamaguchi

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I hear that fruit picking jobs are going begging in Oz for 2000 yen an hour plus overtime plus lodging-imagine earning much more there in a blue collar job than doing a white collar job in Japan!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yen to hold its value, the Japanese government to do better, the finance minister and ministry specializes in currency security, if the current finance minister doesn't have the solution for yen deflation, I suggest prime minister Kishida or even the emperor Narahito to replace him with a more able person to perform better in favor of the people of Japan, this yen deflation needs to stop first, and even better if yen starts to inflate again.

I hope for the better future Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Finally we thought we could see family in Japan but flight prices are so high we can't it is devastating.....................

0 ( +1 / -1 )

On the currency issue, I think you have to question how long the US can keep interest rates high. Yes, rates were much higher in the 1970s or early 80s following the Iranian Revolution and second oil shock, but the crucial factor is that house prices as a multiple of income were far lower. Houses cost three or four times one income. Not five times two incomes like now. People with higher debt relative to their incomes cannot withstand the 10% plus rates of old, and I doubt the banks, hedge funds etc. will have been regulated to the extent that they can withstand people defaulting en masse. If there is money in it, all that private debt will have been securitized in the same way as caused the GFC. If rate rises cause folks to start defaulting, all those derivatives and credit swaps start blowing up again.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I’m confused. According to yesterday’s puff piece tourists were flocking to Japan in droves.

The one thing I will predict with full confidence is that we will see lots of sensationalist and melodramatic use of words like "flocking" "hordes", "crowds", "overtourism"..... :(

0 ( +1 / -1 )

terrified what will happen if interest rates rise here.

Yeah. Interest rates around 4% in the US.

What would 4% of a quadrillion yen’s worth of debt be?

40 trillion yen?

Tax revenues are 65 trillion… spending is above 100 trillion each year…

25 trillion yen for spending, 75 trillion yen of new debt to find an owner?

Print more money?

Looking forward to see what the central planners come up with. Good luck!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I’m confused. According to yesterday’s puff piece tourists were flocking to Japan in droves.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Congratulations to the yen , today at yet another 24 year low at 146.3. Great for the flood of tourists, not great for the ordinary people here as prices continue to soar with no wage rises in sight. I think the Japanese people will resent the tourists with their massive spending power whilst they suffer massive inflation.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I am rather down on the yen’s prospects, and while oil is priced in US dollars, recently in trying to be objective I have to note that versus other currencies the yen hasn’t been so weak as it has been versus the US dollar.

So while oil prices are high and prices in US dollars, Japanese travelers may still have a decent number of other places they might want to visit, where their yen will go a bit further.

On the other hand, the global economy does look to be falling into a rut, and this will likely dampen traveling spirits as impacts are felt in Japan. The governments subsidies can’t hide us from economic realities forever.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

As of 2022, the Japanese public debt is estimated to be approximately US$12.20 trillion US Dollars (1.4 quadrillion yen), or 266% of GDP, and is the highest of any developed nation. 45% of this debt is held by the Bank of Japan. Japan is still handing out free money in the form of business relief and the new travel program.

And they wonder why the Yen has collapsed. This is just the beginning.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

the Mario Kart gokart tours, was a startup that would not have cost much money to get going. Regardless of the safety issue, you have to admire whoever set that up as an entrepreneur.Compared to say car manufacturing or machine tools, tourism is much more democratic.

Interesting comment and yes MarioKart tours is a good example.

First shut down by Nintendo copyright issues, then the J.Gov LDP traffic regulations and then the pandemic.

A great example of the state of capitalism today and the Japanese economic situation.

https://time.com/6219423/chokepoint-capitalism-doctorow-giblin/

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Who benefited from the masses of tourist spending before the pandemic?

Tourism is a low-paid sector for sure, but the price of entry can be very low. Any idiot can make a website, memorize an old guidebook, and start doing "walking tours of Kyoto". You don't need much money to buy a wreck of a house and put it on Airbnb. Or buy a food truck, park it up somewhere and start selling overpriced toasties or other cafe food. Probably the most controversial of inbound tourist businesses, the Mario Kart gokart tours, was a startup that would not have cost much money to get going. Regardless of the safety issue, you have to admire whoever set that up as an entrepreneur.

Compared to say car manufacturing or machine tools, tourism is much more democratic. Yes, the airlines, big hotels (now mostly franchises for buildings owned by venture capital), JTB, Mega Donki next to Shinjuku Station, etc. will coin it in, but there are lots of gaps left for we little people to fill.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

ANA and JAL…..Ramping up flights…….how about ramping down prices….which have inflated to ridiculous prices.

Nothings changed. Tweedle dum and Tweedle dee have always been the most expensive carriers to use for flights to/from Japan.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

It's precisely because of the weak economy that it's necessary to reopen.

The articles since yesterday the 11th when Japan had its Grand Reopening have focused on this supposed bonanza.

Or about masks and vaccine requirements. Very few comments on the concerns of Japanese working people.

Who benefited from the masses of tourist spending before the pandemic?

And what happened to the Japanese workers when this abruptly stopped during the pandemic?

What will change about that with reopening?

I expected more from the English speaking commentariat if they live in Japan.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

For flights from Japan to Europe, the prices of tickets were often about 50% higher than going the other way on the exact same flights.

This is the problem. What's the excuse when the flights are with the same airline?

I wouldn't mind having so few holidays over here if it wasn't so expensive to fly overseas. Feels like such a waste of money spending so much only to escape for 3-4 days.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Keeping Japanese "yen captives" inside the country is something for this government to celebrate and encourage, not become dismayed over. The domestic economy is stuck in idle, or worse, for the foreseeable future, so any domestic spending is a plus. "Go To Japan" they inelegantly market to the locals, while "Yokoso Japan" has lost more than a bit of its cheerful meaning for foreign tourists now widely thought of as little more than economic cattle that Japanese can, indeed, must, exploit. Feel the "love", foreigners! lol. Roll up, roll up!

Still, I found an 800 USD flight to the US just before XMAS. The cheapest it's been in years for that season, contradicting some of what this article claims. However yes, once in the West, my yen won't buy nearly as much (though one can say the same thing for the locals in the West and their domestically weaker-purchasing-powered dollars, euros or pounds.) It is what it is...

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

So they expect to have a lot more people traveling into Japan from abroad but not much demand from Japanese wanting to travel out? Well, maybe if they stopped price gouging Japanese customers all the time - For flights from Japan to Europe, the prices of tickets were often about 50% higher than going the other way on the exact same flights.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

ANA and JAL kept afloat by taxpayers’ money and now sticking it to them again by inflating fares!

What a double punch!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

oops, I greyed out my first paragraph

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Top of my head numbers, but peak inbound demand in mid 2019 was about 3.2 million a month. The number of Japanese travelling overseas is about 16-17 million annually. With the Japanese Boomers (who've got most of the money) hitting 75+, this number is as likely to fall as increase any more.

So 2/3 of flight-to-Japan demand is inbound and half? of that is Chinese, who are locked in their country. I would guess that at least 30% of the Japanese travelling overseas are so rich they do not care what the exchange rate is or what anything costs. So that leaves 70% of the Japanese one third of flight demand as sensitive to the yen exchange rate. That's only 20% of all flight demand. All inbound people gain from the yen being weak.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Otherworldly: "Japan is the most overrated country for tourism. A money pit island. "

Clearly you don't know what you're talking about, or you don't have a clue how to travel in Japan. "Japan is expensive" is so 1995. There's been little to no inflation in 20 years, meanwhile, the value of our other currencies has grown. Combine this with the dollar currently kicking the $#!t out of the yen (if you're American), and you have a pretty inexpensive vacation.

My family got back from our annual 2 weeks there earlier this month, and when I checked my credit card balance at the end of the vacation, I've never been happier. Dirt cheap. Hotels in great locations in Tokyo for $50 bucks a night. Fat meals for a family under $40 bucks. Money pit my big American buns.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I always find it interesting to check how much a return flight would cost from the destination to Japan. It is always considerably cheaper even if the airline and the flight length/time/day is too. More profiteering under the guise of en'yasu.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

ANA and JAL…..Ramping up flights…….how about ramping down prices….which have inflated to ridiculous prices.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

In the face of rising prices of goods, ordinary people simply can't afford to go traveling abroad right now,

yeah and you were not saying that two months ago were you. You were saying open the borders! Everyone know that economics case for the border opening was very weak. The Japanese people were lied to.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Japan is the most overrated country for tourism. A money pit island. Your much better off going to Thailand, Singapore or Philippines.

Not if it's Japan you wanna visit

4 ( +11 / -7 )

It's funny because I feel Japan has been assuming that opening borders means intant success and a "boom" in travel and the economy.

What I think many have failed to realized is that, people aren't exactly loaded with cash. For example, Australians cost of living has exploded recently and I know many people who want to come to Japan but just cannot justify the insanely high cost of fights at the moment.

There is also the fact that when tourists do arrive, the cost of things for people in hospitality has increased, alcohol, electricity costs for hotels etc so less profit is to be had.

Opening borders a year ago would've proved much more lucrative. Japan is opening at pretty bad time.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Japan is the most overrated country for tourism. A money pit island. Your much better off going to Thailand, Singapore or Philippines.

-15 ( +12 / -27 )

I don't understand the premise of the article

I think it's written for Japanese readers, ie beat around the bushes, hoping the point is understood, like offering more tea to visitors.

The gist of it is, airlines operate globally, weak yen is not a winner, like domestic tourism is. On top of all this, all the currency hedging, labor shortages etc. is probably hurting global airlines profitability.

On top of all this still, is US interest rate settings, it's cutting off global spending at the knees. We have a long way to go....

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I have a friend, who travelled to Europe last month for a short vacation, and they are planning, or should I say WERE planning to return for the Christmas and New Year holidays, but the increase in ticket prices, just over a month or so make it almost impossible for them to go.

The ticket prices increased something like 30% over the span of roughly 2 months.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

I don't understand the premise of the article. The vast majority of travelers book round trips. So if the numbers of people arriving surge, then the numbers of departures should surge by the same measure.

Hardly anyone one comes here as immigrants or refugees. 99 percent must leave not long after they arrive.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Abolish the trainee programs and accept foreign workers as full-time

Implement foreign investor-friendly laws as the UK did

Allow foreigners to freely buy and trade assets within Japan without the fear of being Ghosn'd

Lower tax barrier for foreign investments and incentivize foreign permanent residency to do businesses

Accomplishing all 4 of these suggestions, then the permanent weak Yen can be resolved. This was something that Shinzo Abe attempted but it could have been much better for Japan if it wasn't for COVID-19 and Japan's xenophobic elites in regional politics.

-8 ( +11 / -19 )

Japan's long-awaited lifting of border restrictions 

When is this due to happen? Current restrictions are 3 x experimental vaccination or a pre departure negative pcr test within 72 hours of departure. Unless I missed something.

-10 ( +13 / -23 )

they only just noticed this?

also, since the dollar is strong against, well, everywhere.... people will be keen to travel to other places besides Japan.... seems to me.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

Japan is a wonderful place to visit, and I feel very fortunate that it is a part of my life and will be forever due to family ties. I look forward to nothing as much as our regular trips there.

I am therefore very happy for all of the people who have been wishing to visit for several years and couldn't, but who now can. Hopefully without the tour group clause, they will take advantage of the ability to get off the beaten trail and see some remote onsen towns and other places the guided tours wouldn't have taken them. One of my customers and his buddies have been longing for this day since the pandemic started, and I've been enjoying helping them plan their trip.

I hope that for many of you living there, your parents, siblings and friends who've been unable to come are now able to visit you to enjoy some intimate views of that lovely country, some good meals and drink with you!.

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

Yen weakness likely to mute impact of Japan's reopening for airlines

It's precisely because of the weak economy that it's necessary to reopen.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

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