Tag Archives: Myanmar

Abenomics and Abe Shinzo: the new relationship

Abe Shinzo (安倍晋三) is the man saving Japan. The Bank of Japan recently stated that Japan’s economy was ‘recovering,’ a better outlook than its previous, ‘the economy has been picking up.’ Abe’s policies, dubbed Abenomics, rely on strong approaches to the Japanese economy than his former predecessors took on by easing  the Yen’s price, which is currently trading at $1 to 100円, to encourage foreign investment and greater exports from Japan.

Investors are more or less weary about Japan’s current bond repurchases and interest payments, but has not raised alarms unlike the market’s reaction to China’s regulation of money lending between its banks to discourage “bad” or robust loans. The country’s current hurdle, among others, is its declining rapid birth rates. As the older population reaches retirement the pool of new workers is shrinking, which is a disadvantage considering the workforce China can dip into.

In his latest interview with Foreign Affairs Magazine, Abe revealed that his 3 main concepts for Japan are openness,challenge, and innovation. Abe’s strategies, luckily, are rewarding both his party the Liberal Democratic Party and Japan. Recent election results show that the new seats will give the Liberal Democrats control of the Upper and Lower house in parliament, creating a monopoly Abe can use to pass policies quicker without much interference from other parties. This election demonstrates the mounting public support for Abe’s plans that has set Japan on a tentative recovery after receding into the background for two decades. However, Abe faces obstacles, most notably his public remarks on comfort women for Japanese soldiers during its South Korea and China invasion. He has played down his critic’s accusations of wanting to rewrite history to portray Japan in a better light during its invasion. Abe argued that each country depicts its history differently. The United States, for instance, sees its Manifest Destiny history a progressive necessity, but American-Indians still view it an unjustified forced takeover of their lands and homes.

In part to the new policies, Japan has been aggressively pushing its influence alongside other Asian countries in to former Myanmmar (Burma) after the United States lifted trade embargos on the country. Abe met with president Thein Sein in June to unveil a charitable financial and investment package to demonstrate to the newly democratic country that Japan wants a consolidated economic relationship between the two countries. Japan has pledged to Burma $51 billion Yen ($498.5 billion dollars) along with $176 billion in debt forgiveness that doesn’t include the $300 million yen write off from April. Japan will also build a cheap labor industrial force in Thilawa, a port city on the Indian Ocean, to facilitate both Burma and Japanese exports, adopting China’s direction.

China is also entering Burma, or has been for some years, because Burma offers up untapped precious natural resources, an outlet for the country’s exports and a growing middle class tourist industry. China has criticized Tokyo for its expansion into the region, which it feels is a joint plan with the United States to hinder Beijing’s economic growth. Abe has boosted monetary policies, heavy government spending in forms of stimulus packages, and pro-growth movements. Now it remains if they will yield economic development for Japan or falter. Whatever the outcome Abe Shinzo is on a roll.

Thailand and Myanmar want Japan in Dawei Port Project

Thailand and Myanmar yesterday proposed involving a third party – possibly Japan – in joint development of the Dawei Special Economic Zone, construction of which Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said was due to start in the first quarter of next year.

Yingluck led a Thai delegation to meet President Thein Sein and jointly inspected the site in Taninthayi region. The Thai premier and the delegation arrived in Dawei early yesterday, while the Myanmar president travelled via Mawlamyine.

It was the fourth meeting between the two leaders on the project this year. The last meeting was held in Phnom Penh on the sidelines of the Asean summit last month, when they agreed to complete the multi-billion project by 2015, coinciding with the birth of the Asean community.

A joint coordination committee is working on all details of the project including technical issues and financial arrangements. The JCC will conclude the study by February and submit it to high-level joint committee co-chaired by Thai Deputy Prime Minister Kittirat Na Ranong and Myanmar’s Vice President Nyan Htun to draft a framework agreement by March next year.

Read the rest of the story: Countries want Japan in Dawei port project.

Japan plans to jointly develop rare earth metals with Myanmar

Japan plans to jointly develop rare earth metals and other natural resources with Myanmar as it attempts to diversify its supply chain for the minerals, which are used in a slew high-tech goods, sources close to the matter said Sunday.

The move was prompted by China, which virtually has a monopoly over rare earth metals but reportedly stopped shipments to Japan last year during an escalating diplomatic spat.

Japan is informally sounding out Myanmar about sending Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin to Japan later this year to advance the plan, the sources said.

Read the rest of the story: Japan eyes rare earth deal with Myanmar.