Category Archives: BUSINESS

Amazon happenings that Japanese can relate to

Danbo Was Once Lost but He Has Now Seen The Light

I’m not a big Amazon user, but I can still empathise with many on this list of Amazon happenings.

Last night I saw a news item on the dark side of Amazon and other net shopping; many areas that had already lost local shops to superstores were now losing the remaining shops to Amazon and similar services, so older folks who are either not comfortable with (or even capable of) net shopping or prefer the human touch now had few places to shop, and in particular fresh vegetables were difficult to come by.

I’m sure that I could save about 20 minutes a day by doing net shopping, but I still don’t trust the quality of fresh vegetables that one might get, and I like the physical experience of browsing the salad and side dish corner to see what looks nice or is on discount each day.

As for Amazon Prime Video (or NetFlix, etc), I just don’t have any urge to watch!

Here’s Danbo, Amazon Japan’s mascot character, looking rather sad:

Ranking results

Q: Which of the following common Amazon happenings can you empathise with? (Sample size=500)

Rank Votes
1 The box is far too big for the contents 107
2 Even though I don’t choose express delivery, it arrives quickly 75
3 I don’t buy before reading all the reviews 62
4= I get tired trying and failing to search for items 61
4= If I find something nice in a physical store I check the price on Amazon 61
6 I feel I could live exclusively on mail order 59
7 I get interested in items with both extremely positive and negative reviews 53
8 Sometimes I feel the actual items slightly differ from how I thought they would be 42
9 I’m an Amazon Prime member, but I haven’t a clue what I can use it for 38
10 I recommend at work stuff I’ve searched for 34
11 Cardboard recycle day is nothing but Amazon boxes 31
12 I rapidly respond to Prime Sales 25

…continue reading

    

Japan and India challenging China in Africa

Author: Purnendra Jain, University of Adelaide

Japan and India’s strong bilateral networks are being channelled into Africa, where both countries are actively involved economically, politically and strategically. But the two are facing increasing challenges from their rival neighbour China, whose fat purse and growing influence in Africa are difficult to match individually.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shares a moment with African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina during the inauguration ceremony of the Annual General Meeting of AfDB bank in Gandhinagar, India 23 May 2017. (Photo: Reuters/Amit Dave).

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The 52nd annual African Development Bank meeting held in May 2017 in the Indian state of Gujarat — Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state — was a landmark event, as it was the first time India had hosted the conference since it joined the Bank in 1983. An important development proposed was the establishment of an Asia–Africa Growth Corridor in which India and Japan would partner in African development. A vision document unveiled at the meeting was prepared by Japanese and Indian think tanks in consultation with African think tanks.

This document had been commissioned after the Modi–Abe summit meeting in Tokyo in November 2016, where the two leaders stressed the need to improve …continue reading

    

Where will the trillions of dollars from Fed shrinkage go?

Source: ijapicap.com

The US Federal Reserve intends to shrink its balance sheet by not reinvesting in government debt the repayments of principal it will receive as its current holdings of such paper mature, according to an addendum to the central bank’s decision to raise the Federal funds rate by 0.255 to 1.25%.

This is very similar to the route taken by the Government Pension Investment Fund in reallocating its assets away from Japan Government Bonds which it has done by waiting until the paper matures and then reinvesting the proceeds in domestic stocks and foreign markets.

Glaringly absent from the Fed’s announcement is any indication of what it will do with the proceeds from its redemptions. These will initially be capped at US$6 billion per month for Treasury securities, later rising to a monthly maximum of $30bn, and $4bn per month for agency debt and mortgage-backed securities, later rising to a monthly maximum of $20bn.

The size of the balance sheet which the Fed is seeking to ‘normalize’ (it does not say ‘shrink’) has grown from US$870,261mn on 30 July 2007, before the financial crises, to $4,476,108mn on 5 June 2017, as it has fought to stave off a recession.

Will the billions resulting from what the Fed receives for maturing paper be somehow funneled back to the coffers of the entities which issued it — perhaps by them simply not paying the amount due on redemption? Whatever the mechanism does it amount to cancelling the debt?

Will the Bank of Japan take the same route when the time comes for it get back to ‘normal’? If the Fed does it, almost certainly.

© 2017 Japan Pensions Industry Database/Jo McBride. Reporting on, and analysis of, the secretive business of Japanese institutional investment takes big commitments of money and time. This blog is one of the products …continue reading

    

Inside Job: Talking about The Intricacies of Investing in Japanese

Source: Gaijin Pot
Inside Job: Talking about The Intricacies of Investing in Japanese

As if the world of investment and finances isn’t intimidating enough in our own language, it can be especially baffling in Japanese. The Japanese language seems to have an overwhelming number of words for investing that make even talking about our finances in the most basic terms intimidating — let alone actually taking the risk of investing your hard earned wages.

Take the simple act of talking about your bank account. In Japan, there are countless different words for the many kinds of accounts that people have. The basic term for a bank account is a 口座(こうざ) (standard account) and to this suffix, you then add a prefix depending on the type of account that you have.

The most common types of account are the 当座預金(とうざよきん)口座 (checking account), 法人(ほうじん)口座 (corporate account), 個人(こじん)口座 (individual account) and 普通預金(ふつうよきん)口座 (regular savings account).

If some of these words can be a little tricky to remember, luckily the influence of English has started to move into the banking sector, making things a little easier. The Japanese habit of taking English words and changing them into Japanese has resulted in such hodgepodges of Japanese and English as a チェッキング口座 (“checking” account) and a セービング口座 (“savings” account).

For people willing to take the next step and try their hand at investment, these learners should be aware that in Japanese, the world of investment has some very tricky vocabulary even at the most rudimentary level.

In Japanese, the world of investment has some very tricky vocabulary even at the most rudimentary level.

Similar to the many different words for accounts mentioned above, there are a lot of different ways to say the same thing in finance. Even simply talking about an “investment” can be difficult as — limiting myself to the common words only — there are 出資(しゅっし) (one’s investment in a company) and …continue reading

    

Life cos’s allocations steady as they take wait-and-see stance

Source: ijapicap.com

Japan’s life insurance companies closed the financial year on 31 March with their investment portfolios in a holding pattern that has them opting to ride out market movements and resistant to the usual end-of-term window dressing.

Figures just released by the Life Insurance Association of Japan give context to the remarks of its chairman last week when he asked that the Bank of Japan make clear its strategy for ending the distortions in the Japan Government Bond market (see posting immediately below).

Given the country’s underdeveloped corporate bond market, and Japanese companies’ lack of any need to borrow, government debt is one of the few ways life cos can match the duration and currency of their liabilities to their assets.

But BoJ’s massive purchases have distorted valuations and removed much of the previous certainly from the market.

At year-end the sector’s combined holding of JGBs accounted 39.5% of portfolios, much the same as at the close of the previous quarter, though this is much less when Japan Post Insurance in removed from the picture (see archive 20 March 2017 Life cos (-Post Insurance) now have 30% of their money abroad). Text continues below table.

When asked by Reuters in October last year about their asset allocation intentions for the half year to March 2017 (see archive 7 November 2016 Life cos invest overseas as need for yield becomes paramount) their answers were on the way to being as mixed as they became by six months later (see archive 26 May 2016 Life cos’ portfolios move more diversely than usually depicted).

Vendors of infrastructure-based products are already knocking on the doors of more than just Nippon Life is known to have established an allocation for …continue reading