Tokyo Streets From a bd-1

Good morning, Kyushu, as Sakurajima volcano comes to life in a spectacular way

With all the earthquake activity in Kyushu with something over 1,000 tremors since April 17, Sakurajima volcano in Kyushu, located 50 kilometers from the Sendai nuclear plant, resumed activity from April 29, erupting multiple times and spewing ash sky high. Cameras in the area recorded volcanic explosions of ash rising more than 3,500 meters above the crater.

‘Silent’ volcano spectacularly awakens after Japanese earthquake, blasts ash high into air

Time to write Japan Inc. off as they pass up one good opportunity after another

This is becoming interesting watching Japan’s economy crumble with no domestic demand, an aging population, a completely disenfranchised youth who more and more aren’t even bothering to get their drivers licenses, an aging population and massive social welfare benefits. The aging population are now so heavy sided that people are dying faster than they can be cremated and are being placed in cold storage until a cremation date can be secured. Watch the pundits come out in full force to offer their respective comments about the Nikkei, FX trading and the Japanese economy about how it can be corrected and it’s only temporarily, and that Japan will recover. With this economic news on Japan the threshold has been reached for me, so it’s time to begin to seriously think about punching out of Japan. Let me give an example of how arrogant Japan’s corporations are that are in serious need of reform.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 3.38.14 PMIt’s the same with fire extinguishers manufactured in Japan. Almost everywhere else in the world fire extinguisher manufacturers have their products approved by UL standards. UL is the American worldwide safety consulting and certification company headquartered in Illinois. UL maintains offices in 46 countries. When I tried selling fire extinguishers manufactured in Japan in Qatar last year, the Japanese manufacturer who I went to visit with at their corporate headquarters here in Tokyo, didn’t get the UL rating. There are other standard testing companies as well, not just UL in the U.S.. The Japanese fire extinguisher manufacturer I tried working with didn’t get any of these standard tests done for safety. Once the rating standards for safety are met, products including fire extinguishers, can be sold in almost every country that accepts the UL testing standards including in Qatar. When I presented the fire extinguisher in Qatar on several business trips, the first place I was taken to was the Ministry of the Interior, and after some decent Arabian tea, they asked for the UL certification. We were up shit creek without a paddle in dry Qatar.

This prevented us from selling the fire extinguishers in Qatar. The Japanese have their own standards and their thinking is, and because of their arrogance, their manufactured products are some of the best in the world, so they won’t submit to outside testing. So what the Japanese do, is get into countries in Asia that don’t use those standards and create there own manufacturing base and sales in those countries for their fire extinguishers for example. The market in Qatar for fire extinguishers is just astonishing with 50 hotels expected to be built over the next ten years and Japan lost that market. I could have gotten it for them, or at least a good percentage as well as facilitating a manufacturing plant in Qatar for fire extinguishers, but they refused to work with me by getting the UL standard or equivalent safety testing done.

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Source: Bloomberg

Japan Shares Sink With Yen Near 18-Month High; Oil, Copper Drop

Japan led a sell off in Asian stocks as the yen held near an 18-month high, while crude oil and copper declined. European equity index futures advanced before manufacturing data.

The Topix index slid for a fifth day as trading resumed after a break on Friday, during which the yen capped its steepest back-to-back gains since the global financial crisis. Australian banks declined after Westpac Banking Corp.’s earnings missed estimates. Copper fell in New York, after the biggest monthly jump in a year. Oil retreated, following a 20 percent surge in April, as near-record Iraqi output added to anxiety over a global glut. U.S. Treasuries advanced and Japan’s 20-year bond yield sank to a record. Many financial markets are shut for holidays, including those of China, Hong Kong and the U.K.

The yen soared almost 5 percent on the final two trading days of last month as the Bank of Japan unexpectedly refrained from boosting stimulus amid fading prospects for a U.S. interest-rate increase in June or July. While a weakening dollar helped boost commodities prices in April by the most since 2010, global stocks’ rebound from a three-year low in February is stumbling as economic data and corporate earnings do little to lift investor sentiment.

“We expect short-term share market volatility to remain high,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at Sydney-based AMP Capital Investors Ltd., which oversees about $120 billion. “Failure by the BOJ to do more soon risks unwinding all the progress on inflation expectations seen.”

U.S. consumer spending rose less than economists forecast in March, a report showed Friday, wrapping up the weakest quarter in a year for the biggest part of the nation’s economy. China released an official manufacturing gauge over the weekend that added to evidence its economy is stabilizing, and comparable measures are due Monday for the U.S. and the euro area.

Three business trips to Qatar and the country’s campuses go full Islamic radical

I'm in the back seat of a GMC truck being taken to the airport by one of the son's if the Emir of Qatar.

I’m in the back seat of a GMC truck being taken to the airport by one of the son’s of the Emir of Qatar.

Last year went to Qatar on three separate business trips to represent corporations from Japan to sell Japanese manufactured products like fire extinguishers, scaffolding, heavy equipment, Kobe beef, high tech freezers and resin used to manufacture large aquarium museums. The Japanese man I partnered with turned out to be a talker representing himself way beyond his actual ability after he met one of the sons of the Emir of Qatar by coincidence on a visit to Qatar. This son turned out to be the black sheep of the family, and although extremely wealthy, wasn’t capable of facilitating for us the required introductions to begin sales of Japanese manufactured products in Qatar.

Planning business meetings for the day over breakfast looking down over Doha, Qatar.

Planning business meetings for the day over breakfast looking down over Doha, Qatar.

On my third trip to Qatar, ended up going on cold calls on the streets of Doha to generate business because the Japanese man who represented himself as well connected and capable of facilitating business turned out to be a bullshit charlatan. It turns out, if you don’t have the backing of Japan Inc. to conduct business in Qatar for Japan, you won’t get anywhere. After three trips I was not impressed with Qatar at all having been stopped at an intersection for 30 minutes in 47C heat while waiting for the royal gas fuck of Qatar to pass through the intersection in his motorcade. The following article I found interesting because of my experiences in Qatar having sat in on business meetings with some powerful people in Qatar. As it turns out, a friend of mine who is a direct descendent of Benjamin Franklin, had the same experience as I had in Qatar and tried to warn me off but it was too late. It will be interesting to observe how much Japan tolerates Qatar considering Qatar is where Japan receives most of its LNG from. Basically, it’s a kiss ass arrangement for the cheap energy source.
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Source: The World Post

April 29, 2016

Hate Preachers on Qatar Campus: Obama Gives Qatar Undeserved A+ on Fighting Incitement

“Kill the infidels… Count them in number and do not spare one.” Blatant religious incitement of this sort feels like such a caricature of radical Islam that it borders on the implausible. Yet it is happening right under the noses of six prestigious American universities on their satellite campuses in Qatar.

Although this incitement violates a prominent pledge by Qatar’s government to the U.S. administration, President Obama gave Qatar’s Emir Tamim a free pass on the issue after they met in Riyadh on Thursday. Their one-on-one meeting was on the sidelines of a U.S.-Gulf summit, following which the President signed onto a joint communique that said America “commended” the Gulf states for their efforts to combat terrorism. Among these, it praised “actions by Gulf partners to counter ISIL’s hateful ideology and message, and more broadly to counter violent extremism.”

Yet there can be no more pivotal component to the Islamic State’s hateful ideology than its call to murder infidels. Thus, even if President Obama has chosen to give the Qatari regime an undeserved A+ report card on combating religious incitement, legislators who represent these public and private American schools must urgently speak out. Similarly, conscientious students, faculty, and other community members at these schools should spread the word and stand up in opposition to this dangerous new development on campus.

Japan Inc. has been eating its pride recently losing a huge submarine contract to the French

Japan Inc. has been taking a hammering recently and my bet they are having to eat their pride. Several large Japanese corporations including Mitsubishi, had a contract to build submarines for Australia, but because of something related to labor issues and Japan negotiators unable make clear what exactly they wanted to accomplish, lost this huge contract to the French. This contract to build submarines was worth US$40 billion. That has to be painful. Based on my experience in Qatar with Japan’s corporations and how they operate, it couldn’t have happened to a better group of corporations. Earlier this year, Japan Inc. also lost out on a contract to China to build a high speed train in Indonesia.

Seems as though Japan Inc. is getting gate crashed with these lost contracts. Japan Inc. really does need some corporate governance reform in a bad way and some creative inspirational ideas for the future. And it doesn’t end either with all this bad news for Japan Inc. Japan Inc. just lost a their Hitomi satellite. The satellite was launched on February 17, 2016 to observe X-rays coming from black holes and disappeared. Scratch US$273 million when the satellite on March 26 disappeared. Its disappearance sparked a scramble by Japanese scientists to find out what had happened to it. And by the way, black holes don’t exist, so scratch that supposition as well.
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Source: Reuters

How France sank Japan’s $40 billion Australian submarine dream

By Tim Kelly, Cyril Altmeyer and Colin Packham

TOKYO/PARIS/SYDNEY (Reuters) – In 2014, a blossoming friendship between Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe looked to have all but sewn up a $40 billion submarine deal. Then French naval contractor DCNS hatched a bold and seemingly hopeless plan to gatecrash the party.

Almost 18 months later, France this week secured a remarkable come-from-behind victory on one of the world’s most lucrative defense deals. The result: Tokyo’s dream of fast-tracking a revival of its arms export industry is left in disarray.

Interviews with more than a dozen Japanese, French, Australian and German government and industry officials show how a series of missteps by a disparate Japanese group of ministry officials, corporate executives and diplomats badly undermined their bid.

In particular, Japan misread the changing political landscape in Australia as Abbott fell from favor. The Japanese group, which included Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) (7011.T) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), (7012.T) also failed to clearly commit to providing skilled shipbuilding jobs in Australia. And Tokyo realized far too late its bid was being outflanked by the Germans and particularly the French, the sources involved in the bid said.

France, on the other hand, mobilized its vast and experienced military-industrial complex and hired a powerful Australian submarine industry insider, Sean Costello, who led it to an unexpected victory.

Japan’s loss represents a major setback for Abe’s push to develop an arms export industry as part of a more muscular security agenda after decades of pacifism.

“We put our utmost effort into the bid,” the head of the Ministry of Defense’s procurement agency Hideaki Watanabe said after the result was announced on Tuesday. “We will do a thorough analysis of what impact the result will have on our defense industry.”

By the end of 2014, Japan was still comfortably in the driving seat thanks to the relationship between Abe and Abbott, which had begun soon after Abbott’s 2013 election and strengthened quickly.

Japan and Australia – key allies of the United States – had wanted to cement security ties to counter to China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea and beyond.

FRENCH OVERTURES

Still, France saw an opportunity to get into the game. In November 2014, DCNS CEO Herve Guillou prevailed on French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to visit Australia and start the pitch for France.

Le Drian traveled to Albany in the country’s remote southwest, where officials had gathered to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the first sailing of Australian soldiers to fight on France’s Western Front during World War One.

The poignant shared history opened the door to discussions about the submarine contract, a source close to the French Ministry of Defense told Reuters.

“The French minister wished to be there for this important event. There, he held talks with his Australian counterpart David Johnston and with … Abbott,” said the source, who along with other officials asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

FIGHTING FOR JOBS

Soon after, however, Australia’s political instability would erode Japan’s advantage with the old guard.

In December 2014, Johnston, the Australian defense minister, was forced to resign after disparaging the skills of Australian shipbuilders.

The central banking holy grail of interest rates and the “soaring” Yen

Any level below ¥117 and Japan’s corporations begin risking export reduction and that seems to be the threshold on the Yen. Within one day of trading, the Nikkei dropped 3.6 percent yesterday and the Yen “soared” to ¥107 from ¥111 from just two days ago. The Yen’s movement can be tracked real time here: DAILYFX. To understand the central banking holy grail critical theory on interest rates, which is bullshit, and anyone who views this documentary I posted yesterday on Japan’s central bank will see this, be sure to view this documentary based on Richard Werner’s book Princes of the Yen. The only aspect about the documentary though that wasn’t presented, is the fact that Japan’s central bankers answer to the World Bank, the BIS and the European Central Bank (ECB).
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Source: BBC

Nikkei falls and yen surges as Japan holds interest rates

28 April 2016

Japanese shares fell and the yen surged after the Bank of Japan decided against any extra monetary easing.

The Bank of Japan kept interest rates unchanged despite coming under pressure to take further action.

It had introduced negative rates in January but this failed to provide a much needed boost for the economy.

The Nikkei 225 finished 3.6% lower at 16,666.05. New economic data also showed a slip back into deflation while industrial production expanded.

Japan has for years been trying to boost its economy and end a period of stifling deflation.

One way to try to achieve this is by monetary policy, which is one of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s three key “Abenomics” policies to turn around the economy.

But even negative rates – meaning commercial banks will be charged if they deposit money with the central bank – have not trickled down to get banks to lend more and companies and people to invest or spend more.

The Bank of Japan’s decision to hold rates also sent the yen currency soaring, which is likely to have a negative affect on the crucial export sector.

The yen rose nearly 2% against the dollar, with one dollar worth 109.33 yen.

“This shows that too much expectation of further easing had been priced in and the BOJ has surprised the market by taking no action,” said market analyst Margaret Yang of CMC Markets.

“It is probable that the central bank is temporarily running out of tools to stimulate the economy, or they need more time to observe and assess the impact of negative interest rates.”

If video game commercials were honest – honest ads

This sarcastic video clip hit a nerve with me because I despise video gaming and the entire industry. As the comment suggests, “if anyone needs real talk, it’s the gamers.” Get your new video game system, gamers, and don’t forget your new Horton’s Reality Escaping Electric Brick.

Panama Papers fallout reveals Marubeni Corp. and Itochu Corp. ditching assets in Panama

As we learn more about the blow back from the Panama Papers, it has been revealed that Marubeni Corp. and Itochu Corp. (biggest trading house in Japan) were listed as “shareholders or directors of at least 270 entities in offshore tax havens, the so-called Panama Papers show”. Personally, there should be a genuine tax revolt in Japan to end this corporate domination of Japan Inc. Ditching assets in Panama are you Japan? The fallout here isn’t over and it will be worth noting what happens when all these entities identified in more than 200 countries and territories are exposed setting up front companies to avoid taxes. It astonishes me what the Japanese people are willing to tolerate.

Of course, none of this is entirely new either. Observers have known for years these corporations have offshore structures in which billions in assets are funneled. It’s just worth noting why now the “Panama Papers” revelations. Who are the winners and the losers in this “exposure?” Waiting now for the amount of assets placed in Panama with Mossack Fonseca & Co. by Marubeni and Itochu.
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Source: The Japan Times

Marubeni, Itochu, UCC chief among Japan stakeholders named in Panama Papers

Apr 27, 2016

Individuals and companies in Japan, including major trading firms Marubeni Corp. and Itochu Corp., were listed as shareholders or directors of at least 270 entities in offshore tax havens, the so-called Panama Papers show.

The names of some 400 individuals who live in Japan appear in the documents, including the chief of the country’s leading coffee company, UCC Holdings Co.

The people named live in 32 prefectures, mainly in major cities.

Both Marubeni and Itochu claimed their investment in the same offshore entity was for business purposes and “not for tax avoidance.”

UCC Holdings also denied the aim was dodging taxes, adding that the company was “disclosing information as needed at the request of Japan’s tax authorities and has been paying taxes in a lawful manner.”

The leaked internal files from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co. contain information regarding over 200,000 offshore entities connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories. The massive trove of files was obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, with which Kyodo News is in partnership.

On Tuesday, the ICIJ decided to release on its website on May 10 at 3 a.m. Japan time all the names of the offshore companies and people behind them that appear in the Panama Papers.

According to the Panama Papers, UCC Holdings Group Chief Executive Officer and President Gota Ueshima, 47, was referred to as the sole shareholder and director, as of November 2010, of two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The activities and business purposes of those two companies, set up in November 2000, are not clear.

The Panama Papers also said that Marubeni and Itochu gradually increased their investments in Renowned International Ltd., whose primary shareholder was a major Taiwanese company, from 1995 — two years after the company was set up in the Virgin Islands.

The two Japanese trading companies held a combined 14 percent stake in Renowned International from 2009 onward, according to the papers.

A unit of mobile communications giant SoftBank Group, it is shown to have owned a 35 percent stake in an entity set up in the Virgin Islands in 2006.

A SoftBank official said the entity was established by a Chinese information technology firm. SoftBank took a stake in the business because it was asked to do so, but it was no longer involved in it.
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Need a Panama Red….

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