JeffLee comments

Posted in: Japan's 10-day break to fete new emperor may breathe life into economy See in context

If the economy is in such bad shape, why do we have a labour shortage?

The economy is pretty good. But workers are in bad shape. That's due to the recent shift toward shareholder capitalism, whereby employers are achieving their record-high earnings by suppressing wage rises and capital expenditure.

This is the corporate "reform" process that everyone (except me) was demanding. The problem is they didn't understand the consequences.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Posted in: About 70 Japanese lawmakers visit Yasukuni Shrine See in context


Absolutely nothing wrong with people honoring the war dead of their nation.

You're absolutely right. And if they chose a secular monument like Chidori ga Fuchi, everyone would be happy. But Yasukuni is different. Imbued with sanctity including by today's nationalists, it glorifies Japan's invasion of every single one of its neighbors that killed around 20 million innocent people.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Posted in: U.S. may allow commercial use of Yokota base during 2020 Olympics See in context

"Nothing has been decided yet"?

They'd better hurry up, I imagine there's plethora of complex security and safety issues that need to be ironed out.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan focus of next talks: Taliban See in context

US get out. How much should we be expected to care whether Afghan girls get an education? Compassion fatigue in the West should have set in ages ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese firms less willing to increase graduate intake in FY2020 See in context

 "....due to concerns over the economic outlook."

There is never a time when the corporations DON'T say this.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Amazon, Google agree to allow each other's streaming apps See in context


Amazon has a history of being a dick...

The Kindle Fire HD is an amazing device at the price of around 9,000 yen(!). I use mine every day for streaming live TV news, watching TV programs, reading news, tracking financial data and listening to radio through its dual stereo speakers.

I'd prefer it used a pure Android OS, but I'm willing to overlook that for what I'm getting.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Posted in: 5 travel rewards myths that could cost you See in context


Just go to your local nenkin office and tell them you want to pay by CC. That's what I did after seeing a pamphlet announcing the option. They'll give you a form to fill out, which takes about a month to process.

Tell your landlord as well you want to pay by CC. Then you'll really rack up the airline points.

I'm hoping the health insurance office will one day follow suit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: 5 travel rewards myths that could cost you See in context

The writer should have mentioned ways of maximizing the use of your credit card. I use mine to pay my rent, my pension contributions and contributions to an investment fund, among the usual things like shopping.

That gives me around 3,000 to 5,000 miles a month, easily a free international flight a year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Aso quells speculation sales tax hike may be delayed See in context

The govt has often pointed out that the fragility in consumption is the main factor holding back a sustainable and recovery. And now they're going ahead with a measure that will -- specifically hurt consumption. Yeah, that makes sense.

If govt debt yields were going thru the roof or other ominous volatility, then maybe there'd be a rationale. But they aren't. In fact, the 10 year JGB is negative, last time I checked. Crazy.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: How do you feel about convenience stores curtailing their hours of business amid the current labor shortage? See in context

The main symptom of a true "labor shortage" is upward wage pressure. This isn't really happening. So it's the labor shortage is a myth.

The combini, for example, could operate 24/7 if they decided to share more of their profits by paying entry level workers 1,500 to 2000 yen an hour.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: BOJ ready to deploy monetary policy tools to stabilize Japan banking system, if needed See in context

"...we kept monetary policy easy even as the economy continued to expand..."

Not the point. Policy was easy as asset inflation went thru the roof. Japan today sees moderate growth with no inflation risk, either in assets or prices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Fukuoka man arrested for stealing used tennis rackets because he liked their smell See in context

I love the smell of tennis balls, especially fresh out of the can. The old rackets, made of wood and with leather grips, smelt a lot better than the new ones, like the interior of a vintage British sports car.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Why does politics divide a country into "us" versus "them" (using the U.S. as an example)? Why can't people on both sides come together on issues to unify their country instead of dividing it? See in context

There is a silent majority, which is normally non-political with conventional views, and a vociferous minority with radical views. The latter continually antagonizes the former by railroading unpopular policies and agendas until the former feels it can no longer remain silent.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: OECD says Japan's consumption tax rate should be more than doubled See in context

Japan's fiscal health has remained the worst....

Who writes this stuff? Japan's has one of the world's best fiscal positions. If it didn't, the yen wouldnt be the world's top safe-haven currency, interest rates would be sky high, inflation rampant, and it would be heavily indebted to foreigners.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

Posted in: Global car makers face bumpy road as China hosts auto show See in context

China has been the golden goose upon which the global automotive industry has staked its future.

That's an insane assumption. China's target is to have no foreign cars in the future, rather it wants to make its own cars for its own people, in addition to exports. Aka, the Japanese model.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: China, Japan tout 'recovered' ties amid global uncertainty See in context

I'm waiting for the day the boffins and journalists use the phrase "global certainty."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Ariana Grande, reigning teen pop idol with a defiant edge See in context

"It's not easy for young women artists to be taken seriously....

Aretha, Dionne Warwick, Amy Winehouse, Madonna, Tina Turner, Lourde, Kate Bush, Souxie. I don't get this narrative that women artists struggle to be "taken seriously."

If a male singer were to behave and say the things Ariana has, he'd be heavily derided, too. As an aside, I make a point of staying away from the local donut shops when she's in town. LOL.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Posted in: Battles intensify around Libyan capital as thousands displaced See in context

Apparently every leader of country which has oil the US wants to steal does that.

The US doesn't have much need for foreign oil, thanks to its robust shale and other domestic supplies. The countries desperate for Libyan and other oil include Japan and China. Your narrative is grossly outdated and flawed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Retiring late: More Japanese opt to prolong employment See in context

Until employers end the practice of firing their workers en mass at age 60, the govt should do absolutely nothing to alleviate their supposed "labor shortage."

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan's working population drops further See in context

 When I was a kid in a the 1970s overpopulation was a real threat to humanity's future.

that's indeed how China saw it at the time. It instituted its one-child policy, a success, and now it's on track to be the world's most dominant economic power. I remember being told by our teachers and social scientists that reducing our population was key to our survival on this planet. I guess they've changed their minds. LOL.

The truth is that corporations make more money from overpopulation, as it creates bigger markets. A case where humanity's needs and corporate needs are at stark odds against each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. seeks quick deal on tariff cuts with Japan See in context


if we are forced to buy their GM and hormone laden dangerous foods...

Why would you be "forced"? The issue is about market access, not about dictating consumer behavior.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Posted in: Chances are 50-50 that Abe may delay the sales tax hike again. See in context

 So it probably doesn't matter at this point.

Yeah, it doesn't matter, when you own your own debt.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing cuts full-year outlook See in context

Their jeans selection used to be great, and now very limited. 90% are slim cut while "regular" was 10% when i was there this week.. Its choices seem a lot less inclusive as before.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: NHK reporter laughed at for asking black hole team for more on Japan’s contributions See in context

Not surprising. A huge portion of Japanese TV programming is dedicated to bragging about Japan and its people. It's a genre unto its own. My wife watches some of it and I find it really insufferable and leave the room after about 10 minutes. Like, insecurity, much?

If there's a tech story on NHK's News 7, count on it being some purely "Japanese innovation" by gambateiru nihonjin.

"I already get my fill of that being American."

I don't find that. Achievements by the likes of Apple, Google, NASA etc are rarely associated Americanism, rather they're portrayed as universal achievements.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Posted in: Ghosn, suffering from kidney failure, was arrested illegally: defense document See in context

Humble meals served in the detention center..

Japanese variety TV showed conditions in a jail recently. On the part about food, it showed the inmates digging in to deep fried items with boiled white rice. If that kind of trans fat and starch combo doesn't kill you, I'd like to know what would.

-5 ( +12 / -17 )

Posted in: Japan's telcos get 5G nod from regulators See in context

I dont understand why only those carriers got the spectrum. I thought spectrum is available to all, like the 2.4 ghz or 5 ghz bands, which everyone can use, regardless of who makes or manages the equipment.

And is there such a thing as "5g spectrum"? i thought 5g transmissions will be going on 5ghz. And what exactly were the bands or frequencies that were newly allocated?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan faces recession risks with dearth of ammunition See in context


Keynesian theory is what has been the impetus for the many poor economic policy decisions in Japan since at least the 1960's

Back when Japan's economy was the envy of the world? Um, OK. When Keynesian theory was in vogue in the postwar years, the West experienced a growing middle class, rising living standards, global economic dominance and no financial crises. That ended after the Reagan-Thatcher "revolution" of neo-classical, "free market" economics. Since then it's been hello, stagnation! Hello, rocketing private debt, Hello, Communist China as No. 1.! And middle class households that need 2 full time incomes just to tread water.


Maybe your situation is different but I don’t know many people getting financially healthier.

Take a look around, Housing, infrastructure and public services in Japan are way, way better now than when I first stepped foot here a couple of decades ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan faces recession risks with dearth of ammunition See in context

@Bugle Boy

It's nice to have 2 experts here on JT to hash things out for the rest of us.

You're welcome. I like to post here while taking a break from my job of writing about Japanese business and finance. Check the archive for more of my insights.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Japan faces recession risks with dearth of ammunition See in context

Face the facts; Abenomics is an abject failure because it is based on Keynesian tomfoolery. 

Fact: The Japanese economy is considerably better now than before Abenomics was launched. Remember when Japanese workers got year after year of wage and bonus cuts and negative GDP was common? Some people have short memories

"...using government spending as a primary policy tool to boost employment and spur inflation - an idea dubbed “Modern Monetary Theory” (MMT) ...are off the table for now..."

Why? Because it works?

The BOJ have no tools for anything.

That's what they said before negative int rates, before yield curve control, before massive bond purchases, and so on and so on. Every time the boffins say the BOJ cant do anything, it does something.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: What will imperial couple do in retirement? See in context

They could move to a condo in Thailand, where their Japanese pension cheques will go a lot further.

Yeah, tennis is completely out of the question at that age. I'm barely able to avoid side-lining injuries and am considerably younger than the emperor.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

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