Japan’s New Monetary Policies to be Disastrous for U.S. Economy

In less than two weeks the Bank of Japan will consider extending its easy monetary policy for the second meeting in a row—something it hasn’t done since 2003.

Under pressure from Japan’s newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the BOJ is expected to expand its purchases of government bonds and double its inflation target to 2%. This move is expected to devalue the yen in an effort to boost exports and the broader Japanese economy.

Japan’s monetary policies will hurt Japan’s economy and the U.S. economy, says Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals.

“Japan doesn’t need more inflation,” he says. “They actually need a stronger yen, higher interest rates. They need to allow their economy to restructure…to shrink government. Instead they’re simply going to do more of what’s been failing for the past two decades.”

He tells The Daily Ticker that if inflation rises in Japan, Japanese citizens will likely unload low-yielding Japanese bonds in favor of higher yielding precious metals and other assets. That could force the BOJ to buy more Japanese government debt instead of U.S. government debt, says Schiff.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s Monetary Policies Are Disastrous for U.S. Economy.

Japan’s Shinzo Abe Congratulated by Obama on Election Win

President Barack Obama applauded former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on his conservative opposition’s electoral win Sunday, saying he looked forward to working with the next government.

Voters dumped Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda three years after his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) promised a change from more than half a century of almost unbroken rule by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

“I congratulate Liberal Democratic Party President Shinzo Abe on his party’s success in the elections in Japan today,” Obama said in a statement.

“The US-Japan Alliance serves as the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and I look forward to working closely with the next government and the people of Japan on a range of important bilateral, regional and global issues.”

Read the rest of the story: Obama congratulates Japan’s Abe on election win.


What’s in Store for Bank of Japan After Abe’s Win?

Japan’s central bank gets its first chance this week to respond to the challenge laid down by Shinzo Abe following his party’s landslide victory in a general election on Sunday. Investors are already betting it will flinch.

The Bank of Japan is due to hold its regular monthly policy meeting on December 19-20, giving investors and policymakers outside Japan their first glimpse into how the bank intends to stand up to Abe’s campaign pledge to push it into more radical economic stimulus measures, including a big increase in the kind of money-printing tactics already being employed by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The bank’s response could influence global financial markets next year, potentially adding the world’s third-largest economy to the growing number of nations experimenting with a policy akin to printing money to revive growth and ease government debt. It will also signal how much independence the central bank can retain under the new government.

Read the rest of the story: Watershed meeting for Bank of Japan this week after Abe’s win.

Japan polls show Liberal Democratic Party on its way to a sweeping victory

With just days to go before Japan’s lower house election determines the next government, local media polls showed Tuesday that the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party was on its way to a sweeping victory that could hand it and its smaller ally a two-thirds majority, allowing it to enact badly needed legislation that has been roadblocked for years.

Should the LDP and its ally, New Komeito, secure 320 or more lower-house seats, they could override any upper house veto, overcoming the gridlock of a “divided” parliament. Earlier this year, the passage of budget-related legislation was delayed by combined resistance by the opposition parties in the upper house.

The results of a survey by the Mainichi daily newspaper showed that the LDP appeared set to single-handedly win nearly 300 of 480 lower-house seats. Combined with those of New Komeito, the total could surpass 320.

The nationwide poll was conducted by telephone Saturday through Monday. The Mainichi said its projections were based on a survey of around 77,000 voters and additional reporting from its bureaus nationwide.

Polls released last week also projected a solid LDP majority. But the Mainichi survey is the first indicating that the former ruling combination of the LDP and New Komeito could secure a two-thirds majority.

The survey also projected Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s ruling Democratic Party of Japan is in for a crushing defeat, securing less than a third of its current 230 seats. That is a more dismal scenario than in earlier surveys projecting the DPJ losing over half its seats.

Shinzo Abe Facebook’s His Thoughts

You don’t have to like Liberal Democratic Party leader Shinzo Abe, but the veteran Japanese politician’s Facebook page is sure getting lots of attention.

That’s because he used the social media site this week as an outlet to clarify his series of controversial statements on monetary policy.

Did he or did he not say the Bank of Japan should directly buy construction bonds? Check his Facebook page. Indeed, Mr. Abe took the unusual step of directing reporters to his wall of posts on Wednesday where he had posted the answer the previous night.

Read the rest of the story: Facebook Comes First for Japan PM Hopeful Abe.

Shizue Yamaguchi Dies

One of Japan’s first-generation female lawmakers Shizue Yamaguchi has died. She was 94 years old.

A company at which Yamaguchi served as president said on Wednesday that the former politician died on April 3rd of kidney failure.

The firm says, according to her wishes, the public announcement of the death was put off until October 31st, which would have been Yamaguchi’s 95th birthday.

Yamaguchi was born in Tokyo in 1917. She was elected to the Lower House of the Diet as a member of the now defunct Socialist Party in Japan’s first general election with women candidates in 1946.

Yamaguchi joined the Liberal Democratic Party in 1967. She served 13 terms as a Diet lawmaker and in key government posts including parliamentary vice minister.

She was awarded the U.N. Peace Medal in 1980 and the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1987.


Japan’s polictics shifting to the right

Japanese politics are shifting to the right, and the impact on regional security could be crucial.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s surprise victory to head Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) last week represents a second chance to lead the conservative party and, by early next year, very possibly all of Japan. His first stint as prime minister ended in 2007 with a whimper after just a year. A second go as Japan’s leader is apt to be accompanied by noisier ambitions.

Before one assumes this has something to do with major reforms within the LDP or Abe’s charisma (many Japanese are impressed by neither), Japan’s political currents are primarily driven by disappointment in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). Although Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda may be the best of three successive DPJ leaders since taking control of the country in 2009, he could feel the full brunt of electoral frustration at the next election, as early as November but no later than next summer.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s rightward shift.

Japan Opposition Party Candidates Vow to Protect Islands

Four lawmakers vying for leadership of Japan’s main opposition party have promised to protect Japan’s control of islands at the center of a territorial furor with China.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe blasted China at a press conference Wednesday after anti-Japanese riots flared across China. He says that if Beijing can’t protect Japanese living in China it “should not enjoy membership in the international society.”

The conservative Liberal Democratic Party chooses a leader Sept. 26. The winner may become prime minister if the LDP wins elections that the prime minister has said he will call soon.

Former defense chief Shigeru Ishiba says that “losing a piece of the territory eventually means losing the whole country.”

A fifth candidate, Nobutaka Machimura, was hospitalized Tuesday for exhaustion but remains in the race.

Read the rest of the story: Japan opposition candidates vow to protect islands.

Japan Arranging High-Level Talks With North Korea

Japan recently asked North Korea to hold high-level talks next Monday or even earlier, following their first intergovernmental talks in four years held last week, sources close to the matter said Saturday.

The move came after officials agreed during the Aug. 29-31 working level talks in Beijing to meet again soon, except with higher-level officials.

While North Korea has not responded to the request, Japan is seeking to make progress on the abduction issue before Sept. 17, which will mark the 10th anniversary of the Pyongyang Declaration, which called for efforts to normalize diplomatic ties between the two neighbors.

Read the rest of the story: Japan seeking to arrange talks with North Korea soon.


Noda Might Face No-Confidence Motion Over Consumption Tax

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is likely to face a no-confidence motion over his plan to raise the consumption tax.

Senior officials from three small opposition parties agreed Thursday to submit a no-confidence motion against the Noda cabinet to the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of parliament, in order to block the passage of bills to raise the tax.

The three parties–the Japanese Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party and Your Party–agreed that the no-confidence motion should be submitted before the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of parliament, votes on the bills. The Lower House approved the bills in June.Peoples Life First, a new political party set up by Ichiro Ozawa and his followers after they bolted from Nodas ruling Democratic Party of Japan in opposition to the tax increase, plans to join the three parties.

If the Lower House passes a non-confidence motion against a cabinet, the prime minister needs to resign or call a general election.