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Japan logs Y362.4 billion trade deficit in March

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One year later. Prime Minister (unknown)..."people of Japan, we must start the nuclear facilities as soon as possible to avoid the high cost of importing fossils fuels and gas. This was unforeseen".

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Indeed they will have to start up the nuclear power stations again. And weaker yen doesn't help. add this to record shrinking in population and is it possible that the Japanese economic miracle is finally going into sharp reverse?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

start up the plants....

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Abenomics are clearly working. NOT! One should note that, they keep blaming the high price of fuels, but this makes up a small percentage of the a tual deficit. They are only claiming this to try to get public support for restarting reactors, which just aint gonna happen. Abenomics have pushed the yen up very high and made Japanese goods too expensive. He has shot himself and the country's economy in the foot.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

No nuclear = no future.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Disillusioned

You just shot yourself in the foot with your logic! A higher yen makes the things Japan has to buy, more expensive, but you say that is a small percentage. A higher yen makes Japanese goods cheaper. Just restart the dam reactors and export, export, export.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Just import fresh fruit and vegies for for a change at reasonable prices, this will keep your health costs down! Worst fruit and veggies ever.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Disillusioned

"Abenomics have pushed the yen up very high and made Japanese goods too expensive"

Actually, it's the complete opposite. Abenomics has made the yen weaker, so it got cheaper to export Japanese goods.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not much is made in japan anyway, most of the Japanese Cos manufacture OS so what's left?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think disillusioned might mean that Japan has to import raw materials etc before it manufactures its goods as the country has no natural resources. So goods manufactured here face higher prices in the domestic economy due to the reliance on imported raw materials and fuel. Japan's economy is over 85% domestic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@ Disillusion @ Saxon Salute

What you both really meant was that Japan is importing other countries inflation in goods and raw material thereby directly and non directly increased its manufactured goods and thus has the tendency of increasing its domestic inflation as well as prices of goods for export. Correct me if I am wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Trade deficit combined with Trust deficit with neighbors will make Abenomics task very difficult.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Looks like Abenomics is doing its stuff!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Restart the nuclear plants, cut off on imports and wasteful spending, will be on track to recovery soon.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Before "firing up the nuclear plants", how about serious country-wide energy conservation?????????? The cost of one more Fukushima will outweigh all the import costs of fuel...as it may have well already accomplished. Think people, think, and don't forget the real cost of "clean, safe, and cheap" n.p.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I still don't understand why Japan, with a very small (about 15%) of its economy in the export sector needs a weak Yen.

Almost all other major economies have a greater dependence upon exports (the US, whose products are not all that popular or made in China, is an exception and has about the same 13% dependency). Germany's GDP is 50% exports. I don't see them clamouring for a weak Euro.

Many (though far far from all) of Japan's exports are essential in that other countries do not make what Japan makes, in the fields of industrial robotics and optics (high end cameras) and certain classes of cars.

Regarding imports too, Japan's economy depends upon imports almost as little (16% of GDP in 2011 according to World bank data) . This means that a strong yen is not all that important either but a little more important than a weak one perhaps.

Why oh why do the Japanese want a weak yen? Why does the strength and weakness of the yen dominate economic discussion? Why does the yen effect the stock market so much bearing in mind that the vast majority of economic endeavour is domestic? I can see the short term advantages of printing money for pork barrel stimulus reasons, or printing away the massive debt reasons, but why is it that Japan wants a weak yen?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In an attempt to answer my question....

I have read a book by Richard Katz (I recommend him and he has written several books) about the dual economy in Japan. He says that much of the Japanese economy is very inefficient (yeah!) and it is only the export economy, at least in the days when Sony/Panny were still cool, and perhaps still the car manufacturers, that is efficient.

So Japan has a large populace (40% of the US in a small island) and a large domestic economy, but the banks (and other financial institutions), farmers, educators, many of the retailers, and most of the service industry in general is inefficient. E.g. the cost of selling a car in Japan is very high. In the Japanese service industry has to develop interpersonal relationships etc. etc.

So thus, perhaps, the reason why the yen is important is because while exports are a small part of the Japanese economy they are the only part that is profitable. The rest chugs on just about breaking even, or at a loss, perhaps.

Therefore I would like to know is there another statistic (is it the net domestic product NDP?) or Gross Domestic Profit (!?) that should show how important exports are to Japan. I.e. as a percentage of Japan's profits, are exports in fact high?

Where is this data? I can easily Google imports and exports against Gross Domestic Product, but I can't google a figure (NDP or Gross Domestic Profit) against exports, that would show the reason for the focus upon the value of the yen.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

With Captain Abe at the helm, I fear the good ship Japan is doomed... Giving Abe a second at the apple was clearly a desperate gambit by a moribund Japanese political system so completely out of new ideas that it reached deep into its back pocket and pulled out the ABC gum that is Abe. Seriously, is there really no one who can lead Japan forward? Do you mean to tell me that out of 128 million people (336 per square kilometer), there is not a single person who can lead the Japanese people into a new era of prosperity without falling back on bad 20th century economic policies that never really worked in the first place?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I hope I am wrong, but I am convinced that the hidden objective #1 of weakening the yen is to make the fossil fuel import cost prohibitive to justify the restart of the existing NPP monsters.

The roots of the japanese economy problem is societal and structural. And I see nothing to fix it!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Open Minded, you see nothing to fix it because there is nothing that can fix it. Japan's compliant media backs the government, and BOJ Kuroda keeps saying what Abe employed him to say, but where I come from, we refer to this economic condition as "undefukable".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yen was a cheap. Exports is recovering rapidly product of Japan. However, it is that of March or later. I have a lot of big orders and train plant. It's sales next year. It is more than 20 trillion in dollars and cents. It will take several more years until the surplus.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why oh why do the Japanese want a weak yen?

Because they still see themselves as a nation whose economy is based on exports of transistor radios to America. A stronger yen would lead to pressure for domestic structural reforms. And that would upset too many vested interests at home.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If it makes you guys feel better I did research to make sure the Zojirushi rice cooker I bought was made by Japan and not China. Took a little research and cost me a decent amount more,but I'd rather support our friends than our enemies. Plus I don't have to worry about toxic stuff in it...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@JeffLee Thank you. But...."Because they still see themselves as" I know that the Japanese see themselves as a nation of exporters, but the data that I have quoted above says that they are not. Japan is an isolated nation, with low imports (16%) and even lower exports (15%) both of which are among the lowest of any OECD country, and considerably lower in both directions than the UK. Is the Japanese self view wrong, or is it right? If it is right, where is the data to support it?

Kee777 sounds great. Congratulations.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is Abenomics at work. When the yen is worth less, everything imported costs more. As the yen is worth less, Japan has to export more to pay for essential imports and raw materials for manufacture or suffer a larger trade deficit.

Abe's principle seems to be that if Sony is cheaper than Samsung, people will buy Sony instead of Samsung. However, these days people do not buy Samsung because it is cheaper than Sony: they buy Samsung because it is better than Sony.

Reducing the price of cheaper of Japanese products overseas will make them seem cheaper, not just less expensive. "Cheap" implies low quality as well as low cost. It does not necessarily imply best value, which is why supermarkets have their "value" lines rather than "cheap" written all over their products. People often connect quality with price, so reducing the price of Japanese products, or any product sold on quality rather than price, may actually damage sales

Numbies makes an interesting point: "I'd rather support our friends than our enemies." Abe's aggressive stand against neighbouring countries making enemies in those countries, which results in lost sales.

Abe and his Abenomics are not helping the country.

That is not surprising. Abenomics is not designed to help the country. It is designed to print money to feed corruption and the coffers of the LDP.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@gaijintraveller

"Abe's principle seems to be that if Sony is cheaper than Samsung, people will buy Sony instead of Samsung. However, these days people do not buy Samsung because it is cheaper than Sony: they buy Samsung because it is better than Sony."

Everything you wrote is wrong so i don't know where to start but first of all, if Sony makes $1 profit in the US, that can be either 80 yen or 100 yen profit depending on the exchange rates, which of course helps Sony if it 's 100 yen = weak yen.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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