JIN-487 -- "Always look on the bright side of life" and other things the BOJ didn't say

J@pan Inc Newsletter
The 'JIN' J@pan Inc Newsletter
A weekly opinion piece on social, economic and political trends
in Japan.
Issue No. 487 Wednesday October 22, 2008, Tokyo

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On Monday, the Bank of Japan released a report that essentially
cemented the fact that the country's longest postwar expansion phase
has come to an end. The BOJ downgraded its assessment of all nine
regions citing increases in raw commodities and energy costs combined
with the slowdown in the global economy as the factors behind the
report's findings.
Since the BOJ began releasing these reports in April 2005, this was
the first time that they had downgraded the assessment of all of
Japan's regions at once. BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa was quoted by
Kyodo News as saying that Japan's economy was very likely to remain
"sluggish for the time being as it becomes clear that the world's
economy is slowing."
The news followed a survey by the central bank that stated business
sentiment at large manufacturers had fallen to its lowest level in
more than five years. Lately commodities prices have dropped but that
still won't be enough to improve sentiment - fears of what the global
financial crisis has in store over the next few months put an end to
any positivity the dip would have brought.
Shirakawa didn't exactly paint an optimistic picture of where the
economy was headed either. The BOJ chief said corporate and household
spending could slow further due to the prolonged effects of high oil
prices and other commodity prices. Shirakawa added that the flood of
recent bankruptcies has meant that credit conditions would not be
conducive to smaller firms gaining capital.
Most of the report that the BOJ released related to the pre-credit
collapse problems. It was a picture of Japan being hurt by the
increase in commodities prices. While oil prices have dipped and a
drop in demand for raw materials, particularly from China, means some
of that pressure will be alleviated, manufacturers face the duel
problems of a drop in spending overseas, certainly in the US, and a
stronger yen.
Also, despite Japan's money markets remaining fairly stable despite
all the credit problems in the United States and Europe in particular,
Shirakawa warned that the global financial crisis could still spread
further. Continued bankruptcies, particularly within the real estate
and construction industries, are making credit harder to get a hold
of, while the wider crunch is adding to the general unease.
The composite index (CI), a key gauge of the degree and pace of change
in each of the leading economic indicators, was revised slightly
downward from 100.7 (compared to 100 for the base year of 2000) to
100.6 for August. This was slightly good news but the BOJ still kept
its basic assessment of the economy for August as "worsening."
Shirakawa's report has cemented a lot of what was largely being felt
as the case. The economy has now officially halted. Some believe that
it is already in recession.
And the outlook isn't fantastic. Things will tighten up – credit will
be harder to get, as it will everywhere globally. Some of the
indicators on Tuesday were at least showing that things were looking
up. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 413 points,
or 4.7 percent. Things may be thawing out. It's not all bad. When
reading the newspapers, it's easy to get the feeling that Armageddon
is coming, maybe even come. But let's remain optimistic we're talking
about Japan here – not the US.

Michael Condon

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In the seven years since its unholy birth, Metropolis'
'Glitterball' has mutated into the monster it is today:
Japan's largest and most rockin' Halloween party!

The no-holds-barred celebration boasts a frighteningly fun
atmosphere thanks to 2,000 revelers decked out in all manner of
scary, sexy and crazy costumes.
With its signature open bar, food buffet and free-for-all
dance floor, the Metropolis Halloween Glitterball is a
must attend event for any self-respecting beauty or beast
in Tokyo. Get your Freak ON!

Wear a costume to win great prizes!

WHAT: Metropolis Halloween Glitterball
- All-you-can drink, eat, meet and dance!

WHERE: Club Womb, Shibuya
WHEN: Thursday, October 31st
TIME: 19:00 - 24:00
FEE: 2,500yen (Tickets available online, at Lawson ticket
and at participating outlets)




Start a Company in Japan

Entrepreneur's Handbook Seminar 25th of Oct, 2008

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This is an ideal opportunity to find out what is involved,
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Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo Seminar-Tuesday, November 4th

Speaker: Mr. Ricco DeBlank, General Manager of
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Seminar Title: 'Passion to Serve'

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If so, then don't miss EA-Tokyo's November seminar with
Ritz-Carlton's service expert, Ricco DeBlank.

Hailing from the Netherlands, DeBlank joined The Ritz-Carlton
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He served as the General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton,
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Date/Time: Tuesday, November 4th 7:00 pm
Location: Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan
Language: English
Website: http://www.ea-tokyo.com


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