SUNSTAR Japan Focus, November 2016 No 7

This is the monthly Japan edition of Global news, giving greater emphasis on news about Japan. As of next month we hope to be able to have past editions available on our website to make it easier for you to refer back.
Thank you also to the many of you who have sent me comments and feedback. This has been most helpful.

With my best wishes

Giampi Alhadeff
Editor

In this week’s digest
1 Trump Defies the Polls to Become 45th USA President
2 Japan Reacts to Donald trump’s Victory
3 Brexit gets messy
4 Aung San Suu Kyi in Japan
5 Philippino President Duterte in Tokyo Talk
6 Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins in Vietnam
7 Ramen Chain Yamagoya Opens Restaurant in London
8 Japan to Conduct Unprecedented Racism Survey
9 So the Mexicans do not work harder than the Japanese?
10 Japan News in the UK in Brief

 

1 Trump Defies the Polls to Become USA 45th President.

Donald Trump has defied all predictions by beating Hillary Clinton to become the USA’s 45th President. Opinion polls and exit polls got the shock result very wrong. Trump pulled off, in his own words, “BrexitX10”. After a most acrimonious campaign, which plumbed new depths in dirty politics and in spite of the various scandals and gaffes which beset him Trump won the Electoral College vote, though Clinton was just ahead in the popular vote. It is too early to tell what this upset will mean for global peace, stability and prosperity, but the signs are not good. BBC Report on the Election Result.

Two articles well worth reading in the Financial Times. Donald Trump’s Victory Challenges the Western Democratic Model Please google Trump victory challenges Western Democratic Model.
Also worth reading 7 Trump Policies that Could Change the US. Once again please Google the title of the article.
2 Japan Reacts to Trump’s Victory

During his campaign, Donald Trump painted Japan as a trade rival to the United States, called the Japan-U.S. security treaty unfair and expressed opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, which Prime Minister Abe has pushed to ratify as soon as possible.

Shortly before Trump declared victory, the Japanese government’s top spokesman said Tokyo would continue to work to bring the TPP into force. Japan, the United States and 10 other Pacific Rim nations agreed the deal in February but are yet to ratify it. PM Shinzo Abe then sent a message of congratulations to Donald Trump stressing the importance of the links between the two countries. Shinzo Abe’s Statement in full.

 

3 Brexit Gets Messy

It started with a simple truth that without any certainty regarding the trading relationship between the UK and the EU. Nissan, now the UK’s largest car manufacturer (488K cars 55% going to the EU) was not going to build the new Qashqai car in one of the UK’s poorest regions. The UK government gave assurances that Nissan would not be disadvantaged by Brexit. Other manufacturers are now asking for similar terms. What is at stake is unfettered access to Europe’s Single Market. No customs, no barriers and no tariffs. Without it UK exports will suffer. Why Brexit is so Important to Nissan.

Theresa May had hidden behind the motto “Brexit means Brexit” and saying that she would not disclose her negotiating hand or give a running commentary on the negotiations. Parliament was not having it and before long the Government agreed that they would allow it to scrutinise the Brexit deal and to vote on it. Then a legal case brought by ordinary citizens went to the UK’s High Court that ruled that Parliament would have to vote on the start of negotiations with the EU. The Government has challenged the ruling and the UK’s Supreme Court is due to give its verdict in early December. It is all looking a lot less straightforward than on June 24th. Many of the UK’s newspapers reacted to the Judges’ decision with fury, with one paper, The Daily Mail headlining the judges as the “enemies of the people.” Guardian on Reactions to the High court Ruling.

 

4 Aung San Suu Kyi the Myamar Leader in Japan

Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Japan on Tuesday to court investment and aid, as an upsurge in violence against a persecuted Muslim minority at home posed the worst crisis of her six months in power and brought U.S. criticism.

Myanmar needs Japanese investment and robust bilateral ties as a counterweight to China, its largest trading partner. Japan, for its part, is eager to seek opportunities in meeting Myanmar’s extensive infrastructure and development needs, a Japanese foreign ministry official told reporters.

Nearly 50 years of economic mismanagement by the military dictatorship has left the country’s roads, airports and electricity supply shattered. Japan never imposed trade and financial sanctions against the country. As a result, Japan already has a significant presence, centred around the Japan-led Thilawa Special Economic Zone.

In the fiscal year ending in March 2015, Japanese direct investment in Myanmar totalled $86 million, according to the Foreign Ministry. Exports from Myanmar were worth $513 million, mainly clothing and agricultural products, while Myanmar imports from Japan were worth $1.3 billion, largely cars and machinery. Reuters report of the visit.

 

5 Philippino President Duterte in Tokyo

Rodrigo’s Duterte, the Philippines shoot-from-the-hip President who was upsetting the US by cozying up to China, was at it again upon arrival in Tokyo. Before meeting PM Shinzo Abe he told a meeting of business men that he intended to get rid of US troops from his country within two years. His tone somewhat softened after meeting PM Shinzo Abe, who must have impressed on him the importance of keeping Chinese territorial ambitions in the South China Seas in check. NY Times Report on the Visit.

 

6 Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins in Vietnam

Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins has expressed strong support for a peaceful solution using international law to growing tensions in the South China Sea. Vietnam and China are in dispute over the resources-rich area known as the Paracels archipelago. The area is a great cause of tension between China and its neighbours. The Irish Times.

 

7 Ramen Chain Yamagoya Opens in London

The famous Kyushu ramen chain Yamagoya, founded in Fukuoka in 1969, has opened a restaurant in London’s Shaftesbury Avenue, just off China Town. The restaurant will be serving its signature dish of handmade noodles in tonkotsu broth, pork belly, marinated bamboo shoots, nori seaweed and egg. Japanese food has become one of the most popular cuisines in the UK capital. Evening Standard.

 

8 Japan to Conduct Unprecedented Racism Survey

Japan is to ask thousands of foreigners about their encounters with racism as the country adapts to a record number of non-Japanese residents and tourists.

In an unprecedented survey, the justice ministry will ask 18,500 foreign residents aged over 17 to describe their experiences of being discriminated against in the workplace or in their free time, and how they would like the government to respond, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported. They will also be asked if they have witnessed racist incidents.

The number of foreign residents in Japan stands at about 2.3 million – or 2% of the population – and a record 20 million foreign tourists have visited the country so far this year.

International pressure on Japan to take racism more seriously has grown amid a rise in reports of hate speech in the past three years, mostly targeting members of its large ethnic Korean population. The Guardian.

 

9 So the Mexicans do not work harder than the Japanese?

Many thanks to Nagayuki Miyabayashi-san, from Sunstar Etoy, who sent me a most useful comment on my report of the OECD findings showing that Mexicans work more than the Japanese. He tells me that the problem is that the OECD statistics include part-time workers and that this has a huge impact on their statistics.

Part-time workers (mainly women) and the decrease of average working hours among part-timers is hugely impacting on the data. The figures are also affected by variations in retirement age, length of time in study, and public holidays. When all this is taken into account Japanese men have the longest daily working time of the OECD countries.

 

10 Japan News In the UK in Brief

1 The Financial Times has the best coverage of serious news about Japan, however other papers cover some of the lighter stories. This week the Fukuoka sink hole received coverage in most UK media. BBC on Fukuoka Sink Hole.

2 Another story concerns Neko Atsume cat collecting phone game is being made into a live-action movie. Film version of wildly popular and notoriously addictive ‘kitty collector’ app will star Japanese actor Atsushi Ito. Neko the Cat

3 The popular girl band Keyakizaka46 performed in outfits that have similarities with uniforms of Waffen-SS officers. This sparked outrage condemnations. The band’s producer issued an apology as did Sony the group’s label. Keyakizaka46

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