EthanWilber comments

Posted in: China wins support for Asia-Pacific trade proposal See in context

For people who try to dis the US for any conceivable reasons, please don’t forget one of the facts, It’s the US which protects the Japan after WWII from spending a fortune for its defense regime, as a direct result , providing a stable foundation for 70 years of peace and prosperity. And it's still accounting as we are spealing.

The world is changing constantly, good, bad or ugly, the US like any country on the face of the earth has to adapt and embrace the changes in order to be the leader for the tomorrow.

If history can provide a guild to mankind: the one that is not able to change with time will be left behind, it does not matterif it’s a person or a country.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Media speculation mounts over Abe's election, tax hike plans See in context

“A general election at this time is tactically right for ruling bloc lawmakers but may not be right for the management of the government,” he said.

Can anyone here tell me since when Japan’s ruling bloc cares about governing the country for benefiting the majority of its people?

It’s becoming apparent; Abe & co will do whatever needed to clinch the power in their hands.

There are plenty of reasons that Japan came to this point of steady decline from its hay day, but, lack of visionary leaders who really care about its own people and country’s future would be the major culprit, I suspect.

For the survivorship and party politics, Abe’s next move is clear as if one can see it through a crystal ball.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Momentum building for Abe to call early election See in context

Abe may win an early election, that doesn’t necessarily give him a mandate or add any credits for him to lead Japan out of the prolonged deflation era.

He failed the Japanese people, that is that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Abe's approval rating sags amid talk of snap election See in context

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 )

Posted in: Abe's approval rating sags amid talk of snap election See in context

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 )

Posted in: Abe's approval rating sags amid talk of snap election See in context

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 )

Posted in: Asia trip tests Obama's post-election global clout See in context

“Mr. Obama’s main commercial proposal for the Chinese will be a new bilateral investment treaty between the countries. Economists said it could be the most significant opening of the Chinese market for American companies since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.”

If President Obama can get his counterpart to buy his proposal of bilateral investment treaty between the countries, that would be great move for the American businesses.

Right now, China has flexed its economic muscle in Asia, competing directly against American business shares including American’s long-term allies. For example, right now China has 21 percent of South Korea’s two-way trade and 23 percent of Australia’s two-way trade, the figures show the China has surpass the US to become the largest trading partner for both of S.K and Australia. So, that is why Washington tries to push China to open more areas for Americans to do more business in China. In the meantime, Putin and Xi just signed anther agreement for the second gas line at the sideline of APEC.

Putting all of the activities together, Obama is working hard to make deals as well.

Let’s see how it play it out on Obama's trip.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: Xi tells Abe he hopes Japan will do more to enhance regional trust See in context

"“I believe that not only our Asian neighbors but many other countries have long hoped that Japan and China hold talks,” Abe said. “We finally lived up to their expectations and made a first step to improve our ties.”

Good Job Abe!, now, you are talking!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe arrives in Beijing, eyeing first summit with Xi See in context

The photo provided by AFP over this news report made shinzo Abe and Akie Abe look as if they were having something to hide (avoid eye contact).

Could AFP give a better photo of the couple ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Tomita denies stealing camera at Asian Games See in context

What amuses me most in JT’s forum is that it does not matter how scandalous and shameless Japanese nationals who violate the laws or commit fraud were, there are still some predictable people defending wrondoers blindly or use radicular excuses to make a case for them , regardless.

Here is the thing Tomita did something terrible wrong, he knew it ,and his attorney knew it. The time to spent for splitting hair won’t save his skin in the end. In hindsight, Obokata’s drama acts did not make any deference even though Japanophiles here tried every possible angles to guard her so called “innocence”.

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Posted in: Abe arrives in Beijing, eyeing first summit with Xi See in context

The world should give Abe some credits; he is trying at least.

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Posted in: Chinese, Japanese ministers meet after deal to curb tensions See in context

“We think that any steps that the two countries can take to improve the relationship and reduce the tensions is helpful not just to those two countries but it’s helpful to the region,” Kerry said.

Well-said, Mr. secretary of state!

With Washington's endorsement on the talks between Japan and China, relation could take a turn for a bit of improvement.

However, it's too early to expect subtantial progresses to be made in near term. What we can expect is that those talls signaled some changes of positions in all parties involved, that may reshape geopolitical landscapes a bit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Chinese media claim victory after Japan agreement See in context

@CrazyJoe, sorry to break the news to you.

For Japan to claim those disputed rocks in East China Sea and extract the oil from the bottom sea of therea exclusively is almost impossible without starting an armed conflict, it does not how you slice it or dice it.

Please think some simple questions below:

Can Japan win a war w against China alone ? How much the US would be willing to let its servicemen’s blood flow for those remote rock far away from the American mainland ? Does ukraine theather teach some lessions to Japan? (please don't use the tready as your only defence, thing in that reagard can change when need arise)

Why not to work together to develop the oil-fields to benefit for both Japan and China since time is not on Japan side given its fast-grey population and low birth-rate (both problems are not easy to be solved in decades)

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Posted in: Chinese media claim victory after Japan agreement See in context

It seems that Japan's most read newpaper also in sync with Chinese one as well.

If anyonce can read Japanese ref:

Futhermore, if anyone who is not living in denial and delusion would be able to see how many envoys have been sent China to make the pleas, how many delegates do come from Japan's counterpart .

Concession or not aside, peace is more import in this region    Here is the thing:, no major economies in the world would be able afford to ignore China, that is the well-recognized fact not a fiction. Japan knows that and already paid huge prices on its mishaps. It's not too late to recup the loss.    BTW, next Wed, Obama may spend a whole day to talk with Xi, a Sunnylands-Estate in-California style. Why the US does that ? Opening your eyes to see the reality, please.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Tomita denies stealing camera at Asian Games See in context

Tomita sounds and acts like typical Japanese who are involved in scandals or commit wrongdoings, this is to deny, deny and deny.

The same method are used by from politicians to scientists. Anyone here still remember when Obokata’s "stem cell breakthrough" was first exposed, she did exact something as Tomita is doing right now – got an attorney and claimed she was a victim.

Classic !

8 ( +18 / -13 )

Posted in: Fresh monetary easing exposes cracks in Japan's growth blitz See in context

@Tina, " even some J companies outside may come back to Japan. Then more jobs in Japan." that may be true to some enxtent, but in terms of J-companies return to Japan to reestablish production bases in Japan, that is easy say than done. The costs to do such move are significant no to mention the time time consuming and front-end investment required.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Posted in: Fresh monetary easing exposes cracks in Japan's growth blitz See in context

Some posters think the steep depreciation of yen will cast little impacts on many Japanese who don’t travel abroad. Such assertion is incorrect. Here is why: Japan is a country as we know it that is lack of many essential natural resources, therefore, it has to import significant amount of stuffs around the world from food to raw commodities.

Now, since yen is devalued, as a direct result, that inevitably increases the costs of many imports; given time these extra costs will pass to goods and services that Japanese buy on daily basis. In other words, even majority of Japanese may forego their leisure of travel outside Japan, they will have to pay more gradually. for their purchaes at home.

BTW, that’s the logic and toolset that deployed by BOJ to jack up the inflation artificially through currency manipulation.

A group of Senators and House members (mostly from GOP side on the hill) have already expressed serious concerns about BOJ’s move of yen devaluation. In addition, Japan’s trade partners such as EU. S.K and China also watch BOJ’s move closely and evaluate their options in the meantime. Although it’s too early to say a currency war is looming large, there is decent chance that some countries may take counter measure as well. If that happens, Japanese people could get hurt more on thier wallets.

One more thing, Japan’s annual interesting payments resulted from its public debts agaist its tax revenues are unproportional if you take into accounts of Japan’s GDP growth, and productivity growth and population growth. The US also has high interesting payments of its public debts (which is awful too because of the wars carried out last decade ) but it may fare better than Japan in long run.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: Fresh monetary easing exposes cracks in Japan's growth blitz See in context

I feel really sorry for Japanese kids and the unborn too, when they join workforce in 10 and 20 years, they will be forced to pay off piled-up "overdue bills" left off by their deadbeat parents and grandparents who squandereed on unsubstantiated social programs.

Technically speaking, BOJ is “legally” robbing this country for an arbitrarily and unproaved 2% inflation rate. This is just a rotten thing to do.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Posted in: Xinhua pours cold water on idea of Xi-Abe talks See in context

Let’s not jump to the conclusion too fast. As they say “it’s not over until it’s over.”

I still think there will be some format of “meeting” between Abe and Xi during the APEC, yet not necessarily as a summit. However, if it happens that way, then it’s still save faces for both sides to an extent.

As per Abe’s wish to mend the strained ties with Xi, it will be quite difficult at this point since Abe’s overall positions have been weakened a great deal both domestically and internationally, Xi might choose to a take wait-and-see approach for the time being before investing any political capitals on Abe.

Nevertheless, looking on the bright side, Abe will have a chance to meet his first-name based pal, Putin, at the sideline, so he won’t be empty handed in Beijing next week

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: Cheaper tomorrow? BOJ battles entrenched 'deflation mindset' See in context

"Unless Japanese people see real progress in solving fundamental problems, such as lack of wage growth, a shrinking manufacturing base, and an unsustainable welfare system, many might prefer the problem they know to the one Kuroda hopes will replace it."

Above paragraph nails it.

Plus, don't forget Japan is lack of growth in popuation and inovation right now not to mention an increasingly greyed demographics in the backdrop. I don't think that a flux of flow of cheap money can really solve the fundamentals in long run.

Mr. Kuroda's policy may give some fireworks on the marketsin short term, but the downside is that it mayadd more debt burdens to younger generations.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: U.S. general hopes China will avoid regional air encounters See in context

scipantheist, I disagree with your point respectfully. I think that already proved to some degrees , the US and China are able and ready to become mutually benefited geopolitical and business partners in the world stage when expectations and differences are managed realistically by two countries. In other words, the US and China are not enemies as many people want to believe.

Right now, China acts like a teenager, going through its identity crisis, but like any super powers before it, China will test the exsiting rules and even define its own rules if it sees fit (the US did the exact something many years ago) So there should be no surprise in that regards However, the US will be there to protect its best interests by give-and-take behind the close door, not through confrontation and bloodshed. Comparing with Russians, Chinese are much more flexible and decent at the negotiation tables if you don't know.

I’d suggest you pay some attentions to how Obama and Xi would interact with each other at the upcoming APEC meeting next week in Bejing. That might give you some clues about how relations between the US and China will be in long run.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: Author Murakami chides Japan over WWII, Fukushima responsibility See in context

@jerseyboy, well-said.

For 70 years decent voices and morality have been drawn by a nation that collectively and deliberately whitewashes its war crimes and glorifies its war criminals.

I have to say Mr. Murakami has conscious, and he deserves credits to speak for the truth.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

Posted in: Japanese single malt whisky named world's finest See in context

For people who may be not whisky lovers, some of Japanese single malt whiskies are really awesome, putting shames on many traditional European brands.

Japan should be proud of its accomplishments in an unlike field.

Two thumbs up!

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Posted in: U.S. general hopes China will avoid regional air encounters See in context

“While not ruling out the possibility of future encounters like the one in August, she said it was vital that Beijing and Washington work toward an understanding.”

Against many ultra-nationalists’ wish, the US sees no incentive( or is having a plan in place) to have an armed conflict with its largest trading partner. There are sufficient reasons that US wants to form a manageable alliance with China for years to come.

Hatred and dilution aside, Abe’s admin starting coming to grips with the reality, Japan is losing its influence and completive edges in Asia given its aging population and ailing economy, plus the national mentality .

The alarming part is that there is almost no cure for the time being. The best hope is that Japanese policy makers can make some sound decisions that may have short-term pain but provide long-term gain. So far such possibility is quite remote from my vantage point.

Here is the thing: right now Japan is like an elder gentleman (who had glory past) on the wheelchair, he still thinks he is the same guy in his prime time, but the reality is otherwise.

Many Japanese people I meet on daily basis think that Chinese people are a bunch of hillbillies, 10 years ago that may be true though, but today China’s youth are complete new breeds, they are well-educated, smart and savvy, knowing what is going on in the world not to mention their ability to compete in globalized talent pool.

Returning to Japan from my recent China’s trip, I realized something: That is: the world will not surprise that in 21st century , there could be many Chinese companies like Alibaba comingt to the markets but not from Japan, in which many college graduates even don’t speak decent English – the prevailing business language.

BTW, I DO NOT agree what Chinese regime did or does to its people and environments. In addition, as people here alreay know that I think peace is way better than war.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Posted in: Abe grapples with tax jinx after BOJ surprise See in context

“Now, wounded by cabinet scandals and growing doubts about his radical “Abenomics” prescription to revive an economy scarred by years of deflation, Abe must decide whether to roll the dice again.”

Does wounded Abe have any other better choice available beside of rolling the dice again ?

Someday when the dust settles, Abe would be remembered for the harms that he induced and inflicted on Japanese people.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Posted in: BOJ expands asset purchases to Y80 tril to spur recovery See in context

Two months ago, I predicted that BOJ will do anther fresh batch of quantitative easing to boost Japan's sagging growth , even though BOJ then kept saying to the public that there was no such need.

The markets are definitely like the flow of cheep money, but the wider implications for many areas will remain to be seen for months down the road.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe's agenda challenged as scandals mount See in context

For people who are not aware: Given current Japan’s economic data, it’s almost curtain that Japan’s 2% inflation rate will not happen on time.

As BOJ’s inflation target is going to be missed on the preset deadline, more misery will be added to Mr. Shinzo Abe’s already piled plate.

As a direct result, Abe will be become one of many unavoidable political casualties whom would be conveniently served as the sacrificial lambs since there are plenty of blames to go around.

A possible scenario might be that Abe could still hand in there for a while, but spend tons of his time to dodge the bullets fired from all the directions including members of his own party –LDP.

As usual, someone has to be “credited” for the failures in Japan’s political scene, who else would be better than the self-crowned Japanese number-one salesman ? The point is that Abe is already a damaged good at this point, the worse is that there is little he can do, it;s take-it or leave-it case.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Abe's agenda challenged as scandals mount See in context

“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s honeymoon with Japan’s voters is fading as scandals and a slowing economic recovery take a toll on his popularity and hinder progress on his policy agenda.”

Elaine Kurtenbach’s opening statement above really nailed it.

As the matter of fact, Abe’s trouble could be just beginning as the scandals surfaced with his highly-fly reshuffled cabinet are deepening while so promised “Japan-is-back” turn cold as old joke.

For people who still lives in a parallel universe in terms of Abe’s leadership, a piece of unsolicited advise: maybe it’s time to look at Abe in a different light for his nationalistic agenda and much hyped Abenomics.

I will not be surprised that in medium term, a new elected PM will eventually reverse the major parts of the policies imposed by Abe’s adm and undone some of the damages that caused by Abe Shinzo Abe’s years in the office.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Posted in: 2 more ministers acknowledge political fund improprieties See in context


" Sadly mistaken if you think the rest of world would be surprised, it's just a fact of life like doing bussiness politics is the same. These people aren't in it for the good will."

I do see your point and fully understand that politicians in Japan and anywhere else are hardly role models for the general public.

But please hear me out, in the US, the president’s transition team with FBI’s help would normally vet the candidates carefuuly for the top posts of the cabinet. In the past, there were plenty examples that some short-listed candidates failed because he or she could not pass the strident standards.

Now let’s be back to Abe’s case, his transition team apparently did a very poor job in terms of screening the candidates, and Abe himself also bears plenty of blame because he closes his eyes to the matter.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: 2 more ministers acknowledge political fund improprieties See in context

Not again, please!

It seems to me that these ministers who knowingly circumvented the laws have much less honor and integrity than the two resigned female counterparts in Abe’s admin weeks ago.

However, even those two moral-less guys are able to hang in there a bit longer, they are, in essence, damaged goods already not just themselves but also the whole country.

It looks like that Abe & co did not bother to vet his political friends and allies before putting them into second cabinet. This may beg the questions about Abe’s judgment as well as sloppiness.

The flood gate is open, there could be more to come in coming day or months, I am afraid that Abe may face the similar situation as he dud in his first stint of PM. Yes, He can hang in there this time around like these two disgraced minsters, but again, that may make him a much less effective leader for Japan than months ago, in the meantime dragging his reputation with him in the eyes of international community.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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