Category Archives: BUSINESS

FOR SALE: Traditional machiya in Tsukiji, Tokyo

Price: ¥138,000,000 (approx. 1.24 million USD)

A traditional machiya for sale in central Tokyo? In the middle of Tsukiji? And a 4 minute walk to a subway line? Yes, yes and yes. Up for grabs is a 3-storey merchant house near the former Tsukiji Fish Market and just behind Hongan-ji Temple.

The sale is for the land only, with the structure included ‘as-is’. Essentially you are only paying for the land, as it is expected that a buyer would demolish the old building. As such there are no details on the building (layout, size or age). The machiya is featured on the Chuo City website as being a ‘uniquely machiya-type office’, and suggests it may date from the 1930s, about the same time that the fish market relocated from Nihonbashi to Tsukiji.

Is this a rare find? According to the Tokyo metropolitan government, only 1.3% of all existing housing across Tokyo was built before 1950.

Tsukiji was largely reduced to rubble and burnt fields following the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake, and the area’s neighbourhoods underwent a large re-shuffle. Despite being in central Tokyo, the district largely avoided the major developments that sprung up around the city during the period of rapid economic growth following WWII and the asset bubble in the 1980s.

However, this is starting to change rapidly as the Tsukiji area undergoes gentrification or, as is more likely, blandification. Some of the older and original merchant houses have managed to survive WWII air raids and land redevelopment, but are growing fewer and fewer in number. The owners of some of the remaining old properties have …continue reading

    

Double dissolution election on the cards in Japan

Author: Rikki Kersten, Murdoch University

In November this year, Shinzo Abe will become the longest-serving prime minister in Japanese history after being re-elected as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in September 2018. With several notable achievements under his belt and an appetite for more, it may seem odd that speculation is rife about the possibility of a mid-year double dissolution election. Ironically, it is blowback against his apparent successes that may force his hand.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his policy speech at the lower house of parliament in Tokyo, Japan, 28 January 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Issei Kato).

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Burdened by the demographic double whammy of a negative birth rate and a rapidly ageing society, Abe’s success in raising the consumption tax in measured stages is an important symbolic step towards addressing a declining tax base. The second phase of the consumption tax increase from 8 to 10 per cent, already deferred twice owing to voter and industry concerns over stubborn deflation, is scheduled to occur in October 2019. Having touted the success of Abenomics in his January 2019 policy speech, Abe’s credibility will be dented if he tries to defer this increase again. But the domestic landscape this year may put Abe between a rock and a hard place.

In April 2019, Japan will undertake nation-wide local government elections. This will serve as a barometer for the …continue reading

    

Notes from Book of Value (The Fine Art of Investing Wisely)

The post Notes from Book of Value (The Fine Art of Investing Wisely) appeared first on Active Investing.

Book of Value: The Fine Art of Investing Wisely (2016, Columbia Business School Publishing) by Anurag Sharma is a must-read and keeper for value investors. I took far more notes than are written below, but I think you’ll get a sense of the value the book offers from these notes. In addition, where appropriate I tried…

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Japan’s economy hits longest expansion phase since WWII

Japan is currently believed to be experiencing the longest consecutive economic expansion since the end of WWII. The Japanese government’s monthly economic report issued on January 29 noted economic expansion has continued for the past 74 months, starting in December 2012, beating a previous record of 73 months seen between 2002 and 2008.

Real-term gross domestic product has seen a 1.2% annualized growth rate since 2012, down slightly from the 1.6% rate seen between 2002 and 2008. During the highly speculative bubble years from 1986 to 1991 the rate was 5.3%. During the ‘Golden Sixties’ it was as high as 11.5%.

With an unprecedented labour shortage, companies are aggressively strengthening their employment activities while also pursuing automation and labour-saving measures. Despite a shrinking population, there has been an increase of 3,750,000 employed persons during the current streak of economic expansion, beating the number of 970,000 seen in the early 2000s. This is due in part to more participation by women and elderly in the labour force.

Global economic conditions are, of course, something that the government is keeping a watchful eye on as trade wars, a deceleration in China and emerging economies can affect the local market in Japan.

Sources:
The Nikkei Shimbun, January 29, 2019.
The Mainichi Shimbun, January 29, 2019.
The Sankei Shimbun, December 21, 2018.

…continue reading

    

Media ethics betrayed in Japan

Author: Jeff Kingston, Temple University Japan

Imagine that the editorial page of The New York Times suddenly shifted dramatically rightward and columnists critical of US President Donald Trump were ousted and replaced by sycophantic pundits. Then a tape emerges of the editor justifying these changes as intended to counter accusations that the newspaper is anti-American and the sacking of Trump debunkers as designed to boost government ad revenue and snag an interview with Trump. This is essentially what recently happened at The Japan Times.

Evening editions of newspapers are piled up at a kiosk in Tokyo, Japan, 2 May 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai).

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In June 2017, public relations firm News2u purchased The Japan Times, Japan’s oldest and most circulated English-language newspaper. The new management jettisoned the newspaper’s previous critical editorial stance in favour of lauding Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies. The Japan Times now embraces Abe’s revisionist history, which promotes a vindicating and exonerating narrative of Japan’s wartime past.

Based on information from an insider’s tape, on 25 January 2019 Reuters reported that Executive Editor Hiroyasu Mizuno insinuated during a staff meeting that criticising Abe’s policies and revisionist views on history conveyed an anti-Japanese bias. He said, ‘I want to get rid of criticism that Japan Times is anti-Japanese’ — akin to arguing that criticising Trump makes The New York Times anti-American. According to that logic, much of the Japanese population must be anti-Japanese since polls suggest support for Abe’s …continue reading