Japanese economy

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Japan Uses Disaster Budget to Fund Whaling Hunt

Official defends the controversial move

(Newser) - Of Japan's $230 billion in supplementary budgets meant for tsunami reconstruction, $29 million will be used for … a whaling hunt. An official confirmed the move today, and simultaneously defended it, noting that some whaling towns were hit badly by the March 11 tsunami, and the funding will help... More »

Noda Gain: Japan Gets 6th Leader in 5 Years

Former finance minister picked for country's top job

(Newser) - Yoshihiko Noda is Japan's new prime minister and he has some tough challenges ahead of him, not least of which is unifying his own bickering party. Noda, formerly the country's finance minister, was elected as leader today by the country's parliament, winning majorities both in the lower... More »

Japan's Credit Rating Cut

Moody's drops country to fourth-highest rating

(Newser) - Japan has joined the US on the list of countries to have its credit rating downgraded because of debt worries. But for the Japanese, the downgrade is just the latest in a long series of bad news. Moody's has cut Japan's rating by a notch to the fourth... More »

Quake Sent Japan Back Into Recession

Exports, domestic spending hit hard by disasters

(Newser) - More misery for Japan: The triple disasters that struck the country in March sent the country's economy sliding into its second recession in three years, according to the latest government figures. The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis disrupted production and caused a collapse in consumer spending, reports the BBC... More »

Buffett: Japan Presents 'Buying Opportunity'

Country's 'economic future' unchanged, says investing guru

(Newser) - There’s no need to panic about Japanese markets post-earthquake, says Warren Buffett: Such cataclysmic events often create a “buying opportunity,” he tells Reuters from South Korea. “It will take some time to rebuild,” but the market plunge “will not change the economic future of... More »

Suicides Cost Japan $32B

Depression, suicides exact huge toll on Japanese economy

(Newser) - Suicides and depression cost Japan the equivalent of $32 billion last year, according to government officials there. The staggeringly high figure was arrived at by calculating the cost of treatment and the lost earnings of the 32,000 people who killed themselves in Japan last year, the BBC reports. The... More »

Dow Up 137; Fed News Sparks Rally

Bernanke predicts US GDP growth in 2010

(Newser) - Stocks rallied today on news of strong third-quarter economic growth in Japan and reassurance from Ben Bernanke that the Fed will keep interest rates low, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The Dow rose 136.49 points to close at 10,406,96.
  • The Nasdaq gained 29.97, settling at 2,
... More »

Japan Loses Its Taste for Luxury

From food to handbags, high-cost items are suffering

(Newser) - Hundred-dollar melons and pricey designer handbags used to sell so well in Japan that companies considered luxury goods a mass-market sector. But while the Japanese kept on shopping through previous recessions, this one has produced a sea change. The luxury industry has been hard hit, and the change may be... More »

Fall-Back Job for Japanese Women: Flirting

Recession sends women into night clubs to sexily serve drinks

(Newser) - Jobs are scarce in Japan, so women are turning to a once-shunned profession: “hostessing.” They’re paid handsomely to serve drinks to, and, more importantly, lavish attention on, the patrons of gentlemen’s clubs, the New York Times reports. A good flirt can easily earn $100,000 a... More »

US Trading Partners See Huge GDP Falls

Mexico contracts 21.5% as American demand dries up

(Newser) - Yesterday Mexico became the latest country to disclose a sharp economic contraction as a result of the slowdown in US consumption of imported goods. Mexican GDP fell at an annualized rate of 21.5% in the first quarter, following Germany, down 14.4%, and Japan, 15.2%—its worst performance... More »

Japan May Buy Stocks to Rescue Tanking Market

Government prepares to act as indexes hit 26-year low

(Newser) - The Japanese government said today that it might intervene to prop up the stock market, as the country's two main indexes approached their lowest levels in 26 years. The continued decline of the Nikkei and Topix—down 18% this year alone—has endangered Japan's banks, which hold a substantial amount... More »

Japan Finance Minister Denies Being Drunk, Quits Anyway

Official mocked over slurred conference

(Newser) - Japan's finance chief has announced his resignation amid public ridicule over a news conference where he slurred his words and appeared drunk, Reuters reports. Shoichi Nakagawa, who seemed to fall asleep during the Rome conference of G-7 ministers, denies he was intoxicated and insists the few sips of wine he... More »

Japan Economy Shrinks by Most in 35 Years

4th-quarter contraction of 3.3% was 3 times worse than US

(Newser) - Japan's economy contracted by a shocking 3.3% in the fourth quarter of 2008, three times worse than the US and the worst performance in 35 years. The Financial Times reports that a sharp drop in exports contributed to the slump—the third straight quarter of negative growth. The figures... More »

Japan Throws $16.7B Lifeline

The bailout aims to help smaller business outside of banking or corporate sectors

(Newser) - Following in the footsteps of America and Europe, Japan is offering $16.7 billion to companies threatened by the financial crisis, moving outside the banking sector to take equity stakes in smaller companies that otherwise can't find financing, the Financial Times reports. The 1.5 trillion yen package aims to... More »

Forget the Deficit: Spend, Spend, Spend!

We need massive fiscal expansion, not budget restraint: Krugman

(Newser) - As the incoming administration prepares a massive fiscal stimulus to jolt America's floundering economy back to life, some are worrying about what billions in spending will do to the budget deficit. On the contrary, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times: Deficit spending now will help, not harm, the... More »

Japan Sinks Into Recession

Economic downturn could last a year

(Newser) - The financial crisis rippling through the global economy has claimed another casualty as Japan has slipped into its first recession in seven years, Reuters reports. Third quarter statistics reveal a 0.1% contraction in Japan's Gross Domestic Product. Japanese economists warn the nation could languish in recession for an entire... More »

Japan Struggles with Slacker Salarymen

Anti-ambitious young Japanese opt out of the career fast track

(Newser) - A new generation of Japanese salarymen is dropping out of the competition for raises, promotions, and managerial opportunities, the Wall Street Journal reports. Older Japanese are shocked at the attitudes of these ambition-shunning young workers who openly decline to climb the corporate ladder and switch jobs in pursuit of less-demanding... More »

Deflation Danger Looms as World Economy Slows

Falling prices could trigger long downward spiral

(Newser) - Fears of runaway inflation have been replaced by fears of its opposite as the world's economy starts seizing up, the New York Times reports. Economists see a potentially devastating deflation ahead as cash-strapped consumers create a glut of underpriced, unpurchased goods and services—in turn triggering mass layoffs at struggling... More »

Pass the Bailout, Or Else We'll Become Japan

Its decade of decline shows the risks of inaction: Kristof

(Newser) - Watching the House vote down the bailout package this week, Nicholas Kristof recalled a bad memory: Japanese politicians doing the same thing during the financial crisis of the 1990s. The New York Times columnist, who was then based in Tokyo, watched as a desire to punish "corrupt, profligate, and... More »

Managing Bailout Only Gets Trickier From Here

Government needs to move carefully, particularly on failing banks: experts

(Newser) - The Treasury’s bailout plan won’t end the economic crisis, Steven Lohr writes in the New York Times. It’s merely a first, costly step, and overseeing its workings will be a major undertaking for the next administration, as will assisting homeowners and crafting policies for a less credit-happy... More »

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