A proposito del Giappone - Gzibordi
By: GZ on Giovedì 01 Novembre 2001 11:28
A proposito del Giappone ho letto ieri l'ultimo rapporto di "stratfor" il servizio di analisi strategiche e politiche che va per la maggiore
e devo dire che mi sta frenando un poco nell'idea che il Nikkei sia comprabile perlomeno nel medio periodo (a breve magari sì)
in sostanza giustamente gli analisti di stratfor notano che Koizumi ha continuato a parlare, ma nella realtà ha approfittato della crisi dell11 settembre per puntare sulla rimilitarizzazione del Giappone e ha lasciato perdere le riforme
Intanto il deficit pubblico è il 10 (dieci yes) % del PIL e assumono centinaia di migliaia di impiegati pubblici stile italia degli anni 70 anche questo mese
è un analisi di medio periodo e non di breve, ma mi sembrava valesse la pena di guardarla
----------------- da stratfor di ieri ------------
The Bank of Japan recently revised fiscal-year growth expectations from 0.8 percent to -1.2 percent. For Japan to achieve even that, its economy needs to perform far better in the next six months than it did in the last. But rather than focus on the economy, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is using the issue of remilitarization to distract the public following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.
The Japanese government revealed Oct. 30 that unemployment jumped from 5.0 percent to a record high of 5.3 percent in September, its sharpest one-month gain in 34 years. The rise highlights Japan's spreading economic cancer and the government's impotence in mitigating, much less treating, the problem.
Yet despite the situation, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is successfully using the events of Sept. 11, which are driving the economy from recession to depression, to bolster his own popularity. Koizumi's policy of delaying economic measures while focusing on the country's remilitarization will continue. And although Japan's neighbors will become even more distrustful of its intentions, Koizumi will only be boosted higher.
Heizo Takenaka, minister for economic and fiscal policy, also this week confirmed the Bank of Japan's previous call that the economy wouldn't see positive growth for at least two years. The bank now forecasts the economy will shrink 1.2 percent instead of growing 0.8 percent in the April 2001-to-March 2002 fiscal year.
Japan's Economy: What Went Wrong
The Japanese economy has been mismanaged for more than a generation. The government historically sanctioned near-free loans to Japanese industry to allow massive expansion regardless of profit. Ultra-low interest rates prevented banks from making money from lending, their traditional revenue stream, so they purchased stocks and used the dividends to support their profit margins.
Companies in turn used their property as collateral to back up additional loans. Property values surged because expansion was seen as a priority, allowing Japanese firms to leverage their extremely expensive land holdings into yet more loans and more expansion.
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Japanese Economy in Terminal Decline
-12 October 2001
Japan: Anti-Terror Support Will Fuel Neighbors' Fears
-2 October 2001
Although it is a more realistic forecast than those given in the past, it is still hopelessly optimistic. Japan contracted 0.8 percent in the April-to-June quarter from the previous quarter, and it was posed to shrink by even more before the Sept. 11 attacks hurled Tokyo's largest trading partner, the United States, into a virtual recession. To expect Japan to shrink "only" 0.4 percent over the next three quarters is ludicrous.
Meanwhile, Japan's more "traditional" problems continue unabated. Bank reform has yet to begin in any meaningful sense. Japan's deflationary spiral continues; consumer spending is down 1.3 percent from a year earlier, while the Bank of Japan pegged its new deflation forecast at -1.1 percent. As deflation continues apace, firms will have less money to invest in new products or to pay their employees, who will then have less to spend as well.
Finance Minister Masajuro Shiokawa enervated what little confidence investors had left in the government when he responded to a press question on banking reforms Oct. 29 by saying "this is not really my territory; it's not an area where I'm allowed to comment," Bloomberg news reported. Shiokawa was Koizumi's campaign manager and had no economic experience prior to his appointment as finance minister.
Most potential solutions to this mishmash of misery, such as bank bailouts, employment programs or corporate welfare, require cash. But cash is something Japan is finding hard to come by. As its debt spirals, credit agencies are slashing the country's rating, making borrowing more expensive.
That isn't bothering Japan's spendthrift ministers, whose requests for next years' budget total 85.7 trillion yen ($702 billion). If Japan is to avoid increasingly costly deficit spending, its federal budget will have to come in under 80 trillion yen ($656 billion). And that's assuming no supplementary budgets -- Japan will probably have two this year -- and a stable economy producing stable revenues, a scenario which is already ruled out.
The money the government does have certainly isn't being spent wisely. Its boldest response to rising employment has been a $3 billion program to hire 450,000 forestry workers, parking officers and teachers' aides, hardly the type of jobs that offset recessions. During the past decade, the government has spent over $1 trillion on equally pointless infrastructure development.
This would all herald the end of the government in most countries, but Japan is a different sort of animal.
Koizumi has successfully seized on nationalism to capture the Japanese imagination. As part of the post-WWII reconstruction, Japan was constitutionally barred from deploying troops abroad. Pacifism is a very real and deep political force in the country, yet there is a lingering resentment that Japan is denied the rights of a normal country.
Ever since taking the reins, Koizumi has chipped away at Japan's indoctrinated pacifism. On Oct. 29 he received parliamentary approval to deploy Japanese naval assets to the Indian Ocean to assist U.S. forces. This is the first time Japan has sent combat forces to potential combat areas since 1945, even though the forces are restricted to "non-combat" operations. Previous deployments were limited to minesweeping and peacekeeping.
The strategy is working and will continue to work. The prime minister's popularity rating remains in the 70 percent to 80 percent range, as the Japanese people seem genuinely thrilled that their country is regaining its full sovereignty over military affairs. The next logical stage in Koizumi's remilitarization plan would be a modest military buildup.
Such a step would not only bolster Japanese pride, but it would shift a portion of the wasteful stimulus spending into a sector that might actually alleviate some of the country's industrial decline.
The sight of Japan beefing up its military capabilities is not going down well in China and the Koreas, and the diplomatic fury continues. But Japan's animosities toward its Asian neighbors -- and vice versa -- run deep. The Asian protests have only made the Japanese more enthusiastic about their prime minister.
On occasion there will be a spate of particularly bad numbers, which will lead the public to call for some heads. But it will not be Koizumi who will fall. So long as Koizumi's Cabinet includes such unpopular figures as Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, or incompetent ones such as Shiokawa, Koizumi will have no shortage of scapegoats. Even as his ministers grind the country into the ground, Koizumi's popularity will soar