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Abe's approval rating sags amid talk of snap election

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National broadcaster NHK surveyed 1,527 people and found support for Abe’s government had fallen 8 percentage points from last month to 44%, the lowest since Abe’s government began two years ago.

That's a pretty big drop. I see "intestinal problems" in Abe's not-too-distant future.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

@jerseyboy

It's not the fault of Abe. The downturn in the polls are results of increase in sales tax, significant utility cost increase due to closure of many power plants, and especially imported foods, You have to remember that Japan imports 60 percent of her food needs. The result is that gap between rich and middle class is widening. The salaries are not going up, and the basic needs are becoming much more expensive. You see the frustration from the poll.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

"The result is that gap between rich and middle class is widening. The salaries are not going up, and the basic needs are becoming much more expensive."

This is a description of the effects of trickle-down, er, sorry, "Abenomics." People are associating the failing eponymic policies with the man.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

That's a pretty big drop.

Not really. A 'pretty big drop' would be Hatoyama going from 72% to 21% in 9 months.

-9 ( +3 / -11 )

Abe hasn't done much right, has he?

Add to the list "failed Japan - China talks" and I agree with jerseyboy. The time for "tummywobbles" is fast approaching.

Time to say bye bye to Abe.

And hello to the next puppet.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

and those results are from NHK to-boot as you know they must have phrased the questions in the most favorable way as possible for Abe-san! Seriously, the questions and answer choices given to respondents to NHK polls in general look like they were drafted up by jr. high-schoolers not to mention the fact that NHK is for all intensive purposes a state sponsored loudspeaker, sorry, news organization for the LDP.

But not looking good for Abe-san, can see a bad case of montezuma's revenge developing after his return from China. Might just need a snap election after all.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Abe has a problem with the foreign policy. Southeast Asian countries have complained about the slow pace at which Abe’s promises are being implemented. Abe admitted delays in delivering JCG patrol ships to Vietnam and the Philippines. In Myanmar, Japanese government has been so slow in executing ODA programs. Southeast Asian countries will continue to rely on aid from China and they are accustomed to quick decision making and prompt implementation of policies to the country. They are dissatisfied with the slow pace of work by Japan. Unless this gap is closed, it will be difficult for Japan to become a wedge between the Southeast Asian nations and China.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

sfjp330-"It's not the fault of Abe."

Nonsense and other comments. It is the fault of Abe. It's his fault for never implementing, or even starting to implement, the all important "third arrow" of his reform policy.

It is his fault for intentionally devaluing the yen by roughly 15-20%, without understanding the ripple effects on food import costs, energy import costs, etc.

It is his fault for, instead of actually leading, engaging in petty cronyism, appointing people for political reasons instead of actually if they can get the job done. For nominating people to his cabinet for cheap political tricks, only to have them blow up in his face as they resign in shame.

It is his fault for engaging in petty nationalistic squabbles instead of being a statesman.

You want to adjust some of the things you mention? Fine. Break the Mafia-esque monopoly of the power companies and their love affair with nuke power, letting in the rise of renewable sources (which the Denki Mafia is trying to strangle).

You want to change the food importation issue? Break the power of JA-Zensho, which keeps a stranglehold on farmers, all to the purpose of keeping the status quo rather than having farmers modernize and upgrade their techniques and systems so as to actually become productive, competitive food producers.

In the long term, instead of cutting funding for schools and upping the class sizes to roughly 40, actually invest in schools. Instead of getting into pissing contests over which social studies textbook is used by which village, and spending money on "moral education" that smacks of indoctrination, spend money on better school buildings and better teacher training systems.

I could go on, but there are some areas that Abe could do something..... and hasn't.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

and those results are from NHK to-boot as you know they must have phrased the questions in the most favorable way as possible for Abe-san! Seriously, the questions and answer choices given to respondents to NHK polls in general look like they were drafted up by jr. high-schoolers not to mention the fact that NHK is for all intensive purposes a state sponsored loudspeaker, sorry, news organization for the LDP.

It's the same survey and organization that gave 15% approval rating and 74% dissaproval rating to Aso back in 2009.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Not really. A 'pretty big drop' would be Hatoyama going from 72% to 21% in 9 months.

nigelboy -- me thinks you may want to re-think what you said. If Hatoyama dropped 51 points in 9 months, he lost an average of 5.7 points a month. So, an 8% drop in one month does certainly qualify as "a pretty big drop", even by your standards. But don't let facts stand in the way of your argument.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

David VarnesNov. 11, 2014 - 08:32AM JST It is his fault for intentionally devaluing the yen by roughly 15-20%, without understanding the ripple effects on food import costs, energy import costs, etc.

It's manageable. Eventually, the weak yen will benefits the economy by increasing corporate profits, capital spending, employment and tax revenues. The yen’s weakness will benefit manufacturers while raising the cost of imported goods.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The yen’s weakness will benefit manufacturers while raising the cost of imported goods.

sfjp330 -- but that is the whole problem with this form of "trickle-down" approach. The average citizen is taking it in the shorts, and has been for months, due to rises in fuel and food costs, along with the tax increase. Meanwhile, these "increasing corporate profits" have yet to show up in any meaningfull pay raises or large employment gains, except more part-timers. And that is why Abe's numbers are dropping.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

jerseyboyNov. 11, 2014 - 08:52AM JST but that is the whole problem with this form of "trickle-down" approach. The average citizen is taking it in the shorts, and has been for months, due to rises in fuel and food costs,

The strong yen makes Japan's products less competitive overseas compared with China and South Korea. The corporate profits made abroad are worth less when they are brought back to Japan. If the goverment didn't intervene, over time, Japan's economy could be hollowed out. More than half of the leading Japanese firms are already considering moving some factories and offices overseas. If the yen stays below 80 to the dollar, it would substantially depress sales and profits. Only few companies would be able to withstand the yen dropping below 75 to the dollar and maintain their workforces in Japan. Abe doesn't have much choice.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

"It's manageable. Eventually, the weak yen will benefits the economy by increasing corporate profits, capital spending, employment and tax revenues. The yen’s weakness will benefit manufacturers while raising the cost of imported goods."

You are assuming, as Abe does, that 1) Japan is still an export favorable economy. This is hardly the case, as on a national level for quite a while now, Japan has been running a rather large trade deficit. Sure, you might export another 10 million yen of widgets, but when you have to import 15 million yen of products to be able to do so, you lose in the end.

Second, why should the entire economic policy depend on only one section of the economy? Great, so big manufacturing is supposedly getting help. The problem is, there are systemic issues that means that big manufacturing cannot be the linchpin of the Japanese economy it used to be. Sure, during the Showa era Japan could do it. The rest of east Asia was a total mess, as well as South America. Nowadays, the sort of cheap exports that got Japan back on an economic footing are more cheaply made in Indonesia, in Vietnam, in Mexico, in China, and in the Phillipines. The technological advantage that Japan boasted about for years has been negated, and some would say, even surpassed by Korean, German, and American competitors. Even the Japanese car makers, once the money makers of Japan, have outsourced their plants. Hondas, Nissans, and others are now produced in North America as much as they are in Japan. That money isn't going into Japanese workers pockets.

Meanwhile, while hollowed out stuck in the past big manufacturers are supposedly benefiting (while not passing the money on to their workers, unless you could a raise of 2000 yen a year as a big raise), the rest of the economy, that which is domestic in nature, is taking a beating of criminal proportions.

So no, the artificial manipulation of the yen by the BOJ and Abe has not helped Japan. Until the systemic flaws are fixed, it's just pumping hot air into a leaky balloon, and calling it a rocket.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

@David Varnes

What is the benefit of having exchange rate below 80 yen for Japan?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

David Varnes is exactly right. Anyone who has an indepth knowledge of the Japanese economy will know that.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

"What is the benefit of having exchange rate below 80 yen for Japan?"

Makes importation cheaper. As imports become a larger and larger percentage of the economy, being able to cheaply import things is vital. Including food, energy, and about 99% of what you will find in your local 100 yen shop.

It makes overseas investment easier and more attractive. Since Japan has a falling population, any economic plan that depends on a larger, increasing labor force is already doomed to failure (such as an export based manufacturing economy). On the other hand, being able to project "soft power" through the ability to acquire and control overseas companies and resources provides a steady, secure flow of goods and services back to Japan.
7 ( +8 / -1 )

nigelboy -- me thinks you may want to re-think what you said. If Hatoyama dropped 51 points in 9 months, he lost an average of 5.7 points a month. So, an 8% drop in one month does certainly qualify as "a pretty big drop", even by your standards. But don't let facts stand in the way of your argument.

Well, if you look at the historical numbers, it's not. Even Koizumi had a 26 point dip in a single month. So don't preach about facts when you don't even have the capacity to look these numbers up.

-10 ( +1 / -10 )

Its how to play the game, they release these press release numbers now so that they can show "support gaining" articles later and closer to the election and win it.... notice how the "policies the government should focus" is exactly what Abe's 3 arrow BS is about.... Polls can be made to look anyway they want.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Granted, approval rating does fluctuate, but the issue with Abe is that his sagging approval rating may not rebound any time soon given obstacles on his path ahead.

@jerseyboy, please don’t waste your time on @niceboy who seems having difficulty to differentiate reality and fantasy.

For those who are hardcore fans of Abe, keep it real, please.

5 ( +6 / -2 )

@jerseyboy, please don’t waste your time on @niceboy who seems having difficulty to differentiate reality and fantasy.

Interesting. Who, in particular, is calling for a snap election? Which party in particular don't want them in December?

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

The strong yen makes Japan's products less competitive overseas compared with China and South Korea. The corporate profits made abroad are worth less when they are brought back to Japan. If the goverment didn't intervene, over time, Japan's economy could be hollowed out. More than half of the leading Japanese firms are already considering moving some factories and offices overseas. If the yen stays below 80 to the dollar, it would substantially depress sales and profits. Only few companies would be able to withstand the yen dropping below 75 to the dollar and maintain their workforces in Japan. Abe doesn't have much choice.

sfjp330 -- huh? Do you really understand the dynamics of the Japanese economy? According to The World Bank, only 15% of Japan's 2012 GDP was contributed by exports, very similar to the U.S at 14%, but only about one-half of China's at 27%. So, conversely, 85% of the GDP is strictly domestic consumption. Abe is tinkering with the 15%, hoping that lowering the value of the yen will somehow magically spread to the other 85% -- and it is just not happening. Just the opposite, the rising costs of food, energy and the tax increase has hurt the domestic demand. Plus, the fact that Japanese firms are moving factories overseas is caused by many factors other than just the value of the yen -- like the high cost of producing in Japan, as well as the shrinking market.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

sfjp330 -- huh? Do you really understand the dynamics of the Japanese economy? According to The World Bank, only 15% of Japan's 2012 GDP was contributed by exports, very similar to the U.S at 14%, but only about one-half of China's at 27%. So, conversely, 85% of the GDP is strictly domestic consumption

That's not how you arrive at GDP figures. Perhaps you should learn that first before you go on about "dynamics of the economy"

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

David and Mike, in terms of exchange rates in next 6 months, it may float in the range between 110 and 120 . Why ? it is because beyond that, BOJ may have huge risk at its hand, maning: to trigger a currency war, which in turn will negate any affects BOJ wants to obtain in the first place.

BTW, BOJ don’t have much leverage outside Japan. and it runs against time so to speak at his juncture.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That's not how you arrive at GDP figures. Perhaps you should learn that first before you go on about "dynamics of the economy"

nigelboy -- really? Then simply Google "Japan GDP -- % exports", and tell me what I am missing.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

nigelboy -- really? Then simply Google "Japan GDP -- % exports", and tell me what I am missing.

A lot.

You can start with

. "So, conversely, 85% of the GDP is strictly domestic consumption".

Lol.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Abenomics have fallen apart because 80% of the people feel their purchasing power has decreased (this was on the Japanese news yesterday morning). When 4/5 of the people feel that they cannot buy as much, they won't buy as much. And when people stop buying, the economy slows/stops. Abenomics was based on trickle-down economics, which have never worked. It's a failure in logic.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I would think the real value of the yen is more like 350 jpy/usd given the real value of the goods produced by Japan's ecomony (and sorry Honda factories in Thailand do not count). Once all of the financial house of card moves finish its run and Japan can really start to rebuild its economy on firm foundations - not try to rebuild one from the 1950's heyday as it seems so addicted to doing - then we hit 350 as a reset to properly price the output and then take it from there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

nigelboy -- huh?

According to The Economy Watch:

Despite the historical significance of Japanese manufacturing, Services are the dominant component of the economy – contributing to 71.4 percent of the GDP in 2012. Major services in Japan include banking, insurance, retailing, transportation and telecommunications.

Which was my whole point in my comments to sfjp330. Services are by and large not effected at all by the manipulation of the yen brought on by Abenomics. Sure, if export-driven companies were having renewed growth, and they passed on those results in either the form or increased use of services, or wages to employees who would purchase more services, the impact would potentially be felt. But we have seen no evidence of that. All Abe did was pick the low-hanging fruit -- meaning it was easy to lower the yen and prime the pump with big new government spending programs -- and it showed a temporary bump as the exporters had improved results. But now that has gone about as far as it can, and since the "third arrow" has not appeared in any meaningful way, the population is getting restless, because they don't see any more income, but are seeing costs of imports rise.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Which was my whole point in my comments to sfjp330

Nope. Let's highlight the parts of your comment.

" According to The World Bank, only 15% of Japan's 2012 GDP was contributed by exports, very similar to the U.S at 14%, but only about one-half of China's at 27%. So, conversely, 85% of the GDP is strictly domestic consumption."

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Well, if you look at the historical numbers, it's not. Even Koizumi had a 26 point dip in a single month. So don't preach about facts when you don't even have the capacity to look these numbers up.

That's a huge drop. Doesn't change the fact that an 8% drop in one month is a pretty big drop.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

nigelboy: "Well, if you look at the historical numbers, it's not."

Well, if you look at the numbers YOU provided, and the 'logic', it IS. Always trying to backpedal. Reminds me of when you said "in your dreams" when pointed out Samsung was outselling Panasonic, and then you kept saying you meant that Japan had more companies in the top ten overall. But I know it hurts when Japan, especially ultra-right leaders like Abe, are seen for the hacks they are. Not surprising you deny that you said it was 'not a big drop'.

Anyway, Abe has really screwed himself (again) this time. The sad part is, he probably WILL call a snap election despite the BIG drop in popularity, win because there are no better choices, then after the snap election despite more than 75% of those polled being flat out against it, he'll say the win is proof that people support his policies (the 14% or so of voters that turn out because everyone is sick of voting) and will increase consumption tax and turn the NPPs back on despite the majority being against those as well.

He'll go down as one of the worst PMs this nation has seen -- one of, what? 8 in just over as many years? But wingers will continue to defend this moron and say it's not his fault, etc.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

That's a huge drop. Doesn't change the fact that an 8% drop in one month is a pretty big drop.

26='huge'. 8='pretty big'?? Nope. Better description is called for. I like the word used in the headline. "Sag"

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

26='huge'. 8='pretty big'?? Nope.

8 is pretty big, unless you're blinded by the right.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

He wouldn't call a snap election without a promise of the tax increase not being put off for a year or three,would he?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At last, the end isn't far off for Abe

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, if you look at the numbers YOU provided, and the 'logic', it IS. Always trying to backpedal. Reminds me of when you said "in your dreams" when pointed out Samsung was outselling Panasonic, and then you kept saying you meant that Japan had more companies in the top ten overall. But I know it hurts when Japan, especially ultra-right leaders like Abe, are seen for the hacks they are. Not surprising you deny that you said it was 'not a big drop'.

What is this Korean obsession with Samsung? And no. That's not what I said for you were basically clueless about the electronics industry stating that "Samsung outsells all J electronic companies combined". Lol.

Anyway, Abe has really screwed himself (again) this time. The sad part is, he probably WILL call a snap election despite the BIG drop in popularity, win because there are no better choices, then after the snap election despite more than 75% of those polled being flat out against it, he'll say the win is proof that people support his policies (the 14% or so of voters that turn out because everyone is sick of voting) and will increase consumption tax and turn the NPPs back on despite the majority being against those as well.

Why would he "screwed" himself then? I think you haven't the clue as to why he may call for a snap election. For one, he'll call for a December election only if he decides to forego the scheduled tax increase in October 2015. Do you not read the newspaper reports?

8 is pretty big, unless you're blinded by the right.

Only if it "drops".

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

8% would be big if it were an increase as well.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can't wait for this buffoon to be gone. Why can't Japan elect someone with some economic and international sense? This lack of concern in politics for the average Japanese is a bit concerning. There needs to be a larger pool of rational candidates with certain fields of expertise instead of a pool from the same political families and legislative systems. Just the same with US, enough with the Bush or Clintons. There's a need for new blood in the game that's not already corrupted and liable for paybacks and IOUs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

38% disapprove, but 76% don't feel strongly enough about it to call an election and vote him out?

That gives the opposition 24% of the vote. Going to have to step up their game....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That's the whole plan for Abe by calling a "snap election". He knows most people won't bother to vote and the ones that do - the elderly - will vote him back in office. Of course his party might decide to give him the chop - but I'm not holding my breath

1 ( +2 / -1 )

nigelboy: "What is this Korean obsession with Samsung?"

Typical. You are correctly pointed out as having been mistaken and you resort to suggesting that a) I am Korean, as you have been wrong about in the past, b) that that would be some sort of insult. Why the mods allow you to continue with this kind of behaviour is beyond me.

"And no. That's not what I said"

"In your dreams" is EXACTLY what you said, and the fact that you cannot admit that you were wrong is why I brought it up to point out that you were wrong in your initial statement towards Jerseyboy and, again, cannot admit it and instead backtrack.

"Why would he "screwed" himself then? "

Because yesterday he denied any talk about calling a snap election. But clearly you subscribe to the "I never said that... what I meant -- err, said was..." that so many politicians here live by and pray people quickly forget, so no surprise.

"Do you not read the newspaper reports?"

Obviously you don't. http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/markets/2014/11/09/japan-abe-denies-plans-for-snap-election-report/

That's just the first link of many to pop up. I can give you more if you feel like bothering to read the news.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

44% support is fine for Abe and will see him re-elected by a landslide through the skewed countryside vote. In some cases, one vote in a rural district is worth eight votes in the city. This voting differential was ruled unconstitutional, but nothing changed of course. On average it's around 2.5 city votes to match one rural vote and as young people desert the countryside and are increasingly too alienated and apathetic to vote, the power of the rural elderly to choose the government increases.

The truth is that Abe has no opposition anyway as the other parties are a complete joke. Who are we supposed to vote for? DPJ? Communist Party? Abe could only be replaced the way Tanigaki was replaced 6 weeks before the last election, which is by the LDP deciding to replace him internally. This is how Abe got the job of PM again when electoral victory was a certainty. He is not going to quit with the runs this time round.

As I see it, Abe's policies are a disaster for all those not connected to exports, bureaucracy and construction and are ruining the domestic economy, but it doesn't matter electorally. Abe could easily call a snap election, win it by a landslide with about 1 in 4 voters bothering to support him, and then use this re-election as his mandate for further tax increases and more of the same failed policies. It's typically Japanese to decide to do more of something that clearly doesn't work. This approach is ingrained in Japanese society and is part of the culture. If one tax increase doesn't work, Abe will try another one. If huge amounts of QQE damage the domestic economy, print more money. If one paperwork procedure in a company is useless, add more layers to it. If the educational approach is failing, add more hours to it and get the kids in on Saturdays. That's just how Japan is and that is how government policy is. Expect more of the same from Abe and the LDP.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Typical. You are correctly pointed out as having been mistaken and you resort to suggesting that a) I am Korean, as you have been wrong about in the past, b) that that would be some sort of insult. Why the mods allow you to continue with this kind of behaviour is beyond me.

Perhaps you started with this Samsung nonsense so they may allowed me to respond.

"In your dreams" is EXACTLY what you said, and the fact that you cannot admit that you were wrong is why I brought it up to point out that you were wrong in your initial statement towards Jerseyboy and, again, cannot admit it and instead backtrack.

And "in your dreams" is my response. I countered. One could easily just look up the historical figures by NHK approval ratings to counter my argument but for some, they insist on bringing up Samsung.

Because yesterday he denied any talk about calling a snap election. But clearly you subscribe to the "I never said that... what I meant -- err, said was..." that so many politicians here live by and pray people quickly forget, so no surprise.

So he would be screwed if he decides to go ahead with it despite the original response to deny such action? Are you serious? Do you really believe that the public or the media or the opposition party are going to rant about what he stated on the 9th?

He has to deny because that would mean he would be making a premature decision based on GDP report that has not been issued yet. Therefore, his response was 全く考えてない. Appropriate and have room to change his mind.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I should qualify my earlier remark: if enough young people turned out to vote - then I might say the end would be near for Abe. But we know that isn't going to happen - thus the rural elderly will propel him back into power.

It's typically Japanese to decide to do more of something that clearly doesn't work

I couldn't agree more

3 ( +3 / -0 )

74% said next year’s sales tax increase to 10% from 8% should be delayed or scrapped altogether.

best quote of the day, but the last two words just seems to look shine among them all.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think the meeting with Xi who had been demanding prerequisites and hinting a snap election are the reasons that Abe's approval rating is sagging.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Tina, what you said might contain some truth in it, but Abe also has a lion share of blame himself. Case in point, his foreign policy faltered even after unprecedented number of trips made with Japanese tax payers’ money to sell his preaching to leaders in the world (yet, at recent APEC, he gains little respects from his peers if any) and his domestic economic policies are also falling apart.

In order to come back in third acts, Abe needs to be a doer not just a talker.

The bottom line is : Japan needs a visionary leader to transform Japan from a country of fading glory to a gentrifying one. the odds are not exactly on Japan's side.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

EthanWilber, Abe has been a doer. He did a lot. He raised tax, visited the shrine. The economy is much better now. Yen is cheaper, Nikkei is better. He met Xi because he thought that would help the economy not only Japan's but the world's. He made lots of trips to help improve the ties,etc.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Abe has been a doer. He did a lot.

Pity he hasn't really done much good.

The economy is much better now.

Who for? Are you any better off?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pity he hasn't really done much good.

He doesn't have to for your country. I'm sure that's what you don't like him about. Think why he still has high approval ratings. If it weren't for the opposition parties' hinderings, he would have done even better jobs.

Who for? Are you any better off?

Who wouldn't? Our household is definitly better off.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

He doesn't have to for your country. I'm sure that's what you don't like him about.

You're sure, are you? So which country am I from?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So which country am I from?

How should I care from which? You said "Pity he hasn't really done much good. " when in fact Abe has done lots of good. So, not from Japan.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How should I care from which?

You tell me, you're the one who mentioned my country.

You said "Pity he hasn't really done much good. " when in fact Abe has done lots of good.

Wages aren't going up, neither is domestic consumption, there is no sign of the "third arrow" reforms he said he would make, the vote value disparity has not been addressed, the birthrate remains low, public debt remains abnormally high and continues to grow as the government wastes money on bribes for its supporters disguised as stimulus measures. All the evidence you can cite of the good Abe has supposedly done is some vaguely positive sounding financial news. Oh, and you are personally better off - great, break out the champagne.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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