Abe heads south, bloodied but unbowed

Following in the wake of last month's APEC summit in Hanoi, Asian leaders are gathering in Manila for the second annual East Asian Summit.Prime Minister Abe has departed, but he leaves behind a sticky political situation at home. He is facing declining popularity (his cabinet is polling below fifty percent for the first time since …

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Asia changes — will Japan change with it?

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to India this week supposedly signifies a shift in Asia, as Hu's visit indicates that the region's two emerging giants are drawing closer to one another. This conventional wisdom perhaps contains not a small amount of wishful thinking, because, as this article in the FT suggests, major differences remain between …

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The Susanoo boom?

Once again David Pilling, the FT's Tokyo correspondent, has a superb analytic piece on Japan, in this case the Japanese economic recovery (unfortunately subscription only). He reports that forthcoming statistics are expected to confirm that the economic recovery that began in 2001 will surpass the fifty-eight-month "Izanagi" boom that lasted from 1965 to 1970.He cautions …

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Takenaka criticizes Fukui (and the Abe cabinet?)

With the Bank of Japan sending signals that it will raise Japan's interest rates soon, Takenaka Heizo, former Prime Minister Koizumi's point man on the economy and structural reform, has criticized the BoJ (and implicitly its president) for prematurely tightening monetary policy, reports the FT.For a high-ranking "Koizumian" to criticize Japan's monetary policy -- which …

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A mountain of debt, 1,400 times higher than Mt. Fuji

That would be the height of Japan's debt if converted into ¥10,000 notes, according to a Japanese Ministry of Finance (MoF) budget report cited by FT columnist Guy de Jonquières, in his column, "No need to panic about Japan's debt mountain" (sorry, subscription required).No need to panic, maybe, but certainly need for concern -- and …

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