Japan Chemical Trading Blog

The latest chemical trading industry insights from Japan, Asia and the world, reported by the President of Daishin Corporation, Masa Oguchi.


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Masa Oguchi
President, Daishin Corporation
Born in Nara Prefecture, Japan, in 1973. Currently lives in Osaka.

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GDP Gap and Business Confidence in Japan

It was reported in this weblog on May 23 that the GDP gap for the Q1 2014 had dropped to -0.3%, leading to a reduction in the negative gap.
However, on August 22, the Cabinet Office of Japan announced that the negative gap had widened again, to 2.2% for the Q2 2014. There has been a backlash against the last-minute demand before the consumption tax increase.

The announcement made by the Bank of Japan on October 8 also showed a similar trend.
The Bank of Japan expects that the GDP gap will further widen in Q4 2014. The economies of Asian countries, including Japan, have been experiencing obvious declines from around July and August, and none of our customers in Japan seems to be enjoying a boom.
It is hard to imagine that demand will increase in the 3 months from now.

GDP Gap and Business Confidence in Japan

It was reported in this weblog on May 23 that the GDP gap for the Q1 2014 had dropped to -0.3%, leading to a reduction in the negative gap.
However, on August 22, the Cabinet Office of Japan announced that the negative gap had widened again, to 2.2% for the Q2 2014. There has been a backlash against the last-minute demand before the consumption tax increase.

The announcement made by the Bank of Japan on October 8 also showed a similar trend.
The Bank of Japan expects that the GDP gap will further widen in Q4 2014. The economies of Asian countries, including Japan, have been experiencing obvious declines from around July and August, and none of our customers in Japan seems to be enjoying a boom.
It is hard to imagine that demand will increase in the 3 months from now.

A Japanese Student Who Wants to Join the Islamic State

Sources recently revealed that a male student (26 years old) at Hokkaido University was planning to travel to Syria with the purpose of joining the Islamic State as a combatant and that the Public Safety Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department had searched his house on suspicion of preparing terrorist-related activities.
It appeared that he had already purchased an air ticket to a neighboring country of Syria.

I cannot imagine how someone who is living in present-day Japan would want to fight as a combatant in the Islamic State.
It is also strange that a bookstore in the Tokyo Metropolitan area was advertising a job opening in Syria.

Since the said person is reportedly telling a journalist he has no interest in Islam or in Syria, it may be just that he happened to find the place while searching for an outlet for his frustration in life.
It is surprising to know that many young people from around the world are heading to the Islamic State.
I suppose this shows how the world is loaded with contradictions.
I hope that by the day I die there will be less contradictions in this world than there were on the day I was born.

A Japanese Student Who Wants to Join the Islamic State

Sources recently revealed that a male student (26 years old) at Hokkaido University was planning to travel to Syria with the purpose of joining the Islamic State as a combatant and that the Public Safety Bureau of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department had searched his house on suspicion of preparing terrorist-related activities.
It appeared that he had already purchased an air ticket to a neighboring country of Syria.

I cannot imagine how someone who is living in present-day Japan would want to fight as a combatant in the Islamic State.
It is also strange that a bookstore in the Tokyo Metropolitan area was advertising a job opening in Syria.

Since the said person is reportedly telling a journalist he has no interest in Islam or in Syria, it may be just that he happened to find the place while searching for an outlet for his frustration in life.
It is surprising to know that many young people from around the world are heading to the Islamic State.
I suppose this shows how the world is loaded with contradictions.
I hope that by the day I die there will be less contradictions in this world than there were on the day I was born.

Unchanged Chronic Deficit State of Sony

On September 17, Sony made a downward revision of its previous prospects, announcing that the final result for this quarter will be a deficit of 230 billion Japanese yen.
Looking at their recent quarterly results, the last 5 consecutive quarters ended with a deficit (although March 2013 looks like it is in the black, deducting an extra income from the real estate disposal, it is substantially deficit).
The enormous legacy established by great predecessors such as Masaru Ibuka, Akio Morita, Norio Oga has been eaten away.
The main cause of this time’s downward revision is a slump of the smartphone business.
Looking at their way of doing this business as an outsider, it is like they just do it without any tactics and just get defeated.

If this quarter is in the red again, that makes 3-quarter consecutive deficits since Mr. Hirai took the president position.
From the common sense of the business world, he should be replaced.

Unchanged Chronic Deficit State of Sony

On September 17, Sony made a downward revision of its previous prospects, announcing that the final result for this quarter will be a deficit of 230 billion Japanese yen.
Looking at their recent quarterly results, the last 5 consecutive quarters ended with a deficit (although March 2013 looks like it is in the black, deducting an extra income from the real estate disposal, it is substantially deficit).
The enormous legacy established by great predecessors such as Masaru Ibuka, Akio Morita, Norio Oga has been eaten away.
The main cause of this time’s downward revision is a slump of the smartphone business.
Looking at their way of doing this business as an outsider, it is like they just do it without any tactics and just get defeated.

If this quarter is in the red again, that makes 3-quarter consecutive deficits since Mr. Hirai took the president position.
From the common sense of the business world, he should be replaced.

The Crybaby Politician Almost Never Took Any Business Trips

Ryutaro Nonomura, who served in the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly, quickly became an international sensation on YouTube.
According to a Nikkei Newspaper article dated September 18, “in response to the police investigation, he confessed that he almost never took any business trips”.
According to the statement for fiscal 2013, Mr. Nonomura had claimed approximately 3 million Japanees Yen (approx.USD 30,000) in expenses for 195 day-return business trips during 2013.

This is a ridiculous story in every way.
I hope to this will serve as a brake on the non-transparent ways of spending public money by politicians.

The Crybaby Politician Almost Never Took Any Business Trips

Ryutaro Nonomura, who served in the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly, quickly became an international sensation on YouTube.
According to a Nikkei Newspaper article dated September 18, “in response to the police investigation, he confessed that he almost never took any business trips”.
According to the statement for fiscal 2013, Mr. Nonomura had claimed approximately 3 million Japanees Yen (approx.USD 30,000) in expenses for 195 day-return business trips during 2013.

This is a ridiculous story in every way.
I hope to this will serve as a brake on the non-transparent ways of spending public money by politicians.

Asahi Newspaper

According to an Asahi Newspaper article dated September 14, an article on an interview with the president of Nintendo dated June 8, 2012 was compiled by citing his statements from the company website, so, in reality, no interview was conducted.
Asahi Newspaper published an article apologizing. We really shouldn’t believe everything newspapers say.

Recently, we have quite often heard news about false reports made by Asahi Newspaper.
Although I feel embarrassed as a Japanese person, I guess this shows the real capabilities of the present Japanese media.
If you introduce innovations combined with up-to-date technology into the world of mass media, you might unexpectedly, and easily, be able to rule the world.

Asahi Newspaper

According to an Asahi Newspaper article dated September 14, an article on an interview with the president of Nintendo dated June 8, 2012 was compiled by citing his statements from the company website, so, in reality, no interview was conducted.
Asahi Newspaper published an article apologizing. We really shouldn’t believe everything newspapers say.

Recently, we have quite often heard news about false reports made by Asahi Newspaper.
Although I feel embarrassed as a Japanese person, I guess this shows the real capabilities of the present Japanese media.
If you introduce innovations combined with up-to-date technology into the world of mass media, you might unexpectedly, and easily, be able to rule the world.

Where Is Abechronomics Going?

The Cabinet Office of Japan announced the revised GDP for the April-June period at the real annualized rate decreased by 7.1% compared with the previous quarter.
The flash report figure of 6.8% was revised downward and the negative gap is the widest seen since the global financial crisis triggered by the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy.
Unless the July-September period result shows a dramatic recovery, the clouds will begin to gather over the whereabouts of Abechronomics.

Recently, the depreciation of the JPY and higher stock prices have been ongoing day by day.
However, as an exporting company, our results are not benefiting, and judging from everyday business confidence, it is hard to believe that the July-September period result will show significant positive growth.
In no time, articles on an economic downturn may be out in newspapers. Unless things change for the better before that, Mr. Abe might be in trouble.

Where Is Abechronomics Going?

The Cabinet Office of Japan announced the revised GDP for the April-June period at the real annualized rate decreased by 7.1% compared with the previous quarter.
The flash report figure of 6.8% was revised downward and the negative gap is the widest seen since the global financial crisis triggered by the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy.
Unless the July-September period result shows a dramatic recovery, the clouds will begin to gather over the whereabouts of Abechronomics.

Recently, the depreciation of the JPY and higher stock prices have been ongoing day by day.
However, as an exporting company, our results are not benefiting, and judging from everyday business confidence, it is hard to believe that the July-September period result will show significant positive growth.
In no time, articles on an economic downturn may be out in newspapers. Unless things change for the better before that, Mr. Abe might be in trouble.

Three and a Half Years after the Earthquake Disaster

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, U.S.A., and 3 and a half years after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
At that exact moment, even we felt the shock in our office, which is located over 800 km from the earthquake epicenter.
The tragic situation caused by the tsunami that followed was reported worldwide.

Although the earliest possible reconstruction was expected, according to a report by the Nikkei Newspaper dated September 11, “rebuilding of houses has been delayed, and as of the end of July, only about 10% of the total public housing units for affected people planned to be constructed in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures have been built”.

I have the impression that the recovery process was faster after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which I experienced when I was a university student. Is this because of the difference between urban and rural areas?
I hope houses will be rebuilt as soon as possible in areas other than the coastal area where tsunami have hit so many times.

Three and a Half Years after the Earthquake Disaster

Today marks the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, U.S.A., and 3 and a half years after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
At that exact moment, even we felt the shock in our office, which is located over 800 km from the earthquake epicenter.
The tragic situation caused by the tsunami that followed was reported worldwide.

Although the earliest possible reconstruction was expected, according to a report by the Nikkei Newspaper dated September 11, “rebuilding of houses has been delayed, and as of the end of July, only about 10% of the total public housing units for affected people planned to be constructed in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures have been built”.

I have the impression that the recovery process was faster after the Great Hanshin Earthquake, which I experienced when I was a university student. Is this because of the difference between urban and rural areas?
I hope houses will be rebuilt as soon as possible in areas other than the coastal area where tsunami have hit so many times.

Record-High Budget Request at More Than 100 trillion Japanese Yen

A Nikkei Newspaper article dated August 29 says, “Japan’s government ministries are set to demand 101 trillion Japanese yen (about 1 trillion US doller), which is the highest in history, for the 2015 fiscal budget”.

I think this is ridiculous. With the national debt exceeding 1,000 trillion Japanese yen (about 10 trillion US doller) and still increasing, the passage of such a mega-budget will cause the risk of hyperinflation.
It is hard to imagine that a budget of 100 trillion Japanese yen is being planned while annual government revenue is only about half that amount.
Anything that is not covered by the annual government revenue will depend on a debt that will become a burden on future generations.

This tells us very clearly what politicians and bureaucrats are thinking of future generations.
The expenditure should be reduced as much as possible and issuance of deficit-covering bonds should be as limited as possible.

Record-High Budget Request at More Than 100 trillion Japanese Yen

A Nikkei Newspaper article dated August 29 says, “Japan’s government ministries are set to demand 101 trillion Japanese yen (about 1 trillion US doller), which is the highest in history, for the 2015 fiscal budget”.

I think this is ridiculous. With the national debt exceeding 1,000 trillion Japanese yen (about 10 trillion US doller) and still increasing, the passage of such a mega-budget will cause the risk of hyperinflation.
It is hard to imagine that a budget of 100 trillion Japanese yen is being planned while annual government revenue is only about half that amount.
Anything that is not covered by the annual government revenue will depend on a debt that will become a burden on future generations.

This tells us very clearly what politicians and bureaucrats are thinking of future generations.
The expenditure should be reduced as much as possible and issuance of deficit-covering bonds should be as limited as possible.

Medicine for Influenza Attracting Attention in the Ebola Virus Epidemic

According to the Nikkei Newspaper on August 25, “Mr. Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, announced in a press conference in the morning on that date that the Government, if WHO requests, is ready to provide medication that might be effective in the fight against Ebola hemorrhagic fever”.

The medication he was referring to was Favipiravir (product name: Avigan Tablet), which Toyama Pure Chemical Industries, Ltd., a subsidiary of Fujifilm approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on March 24, 2014, developed as a medicine for influenza.
The Ebola virus has a viral structure similar to that of influenza. The medicine was proved to be effective on the Ebola virus in an animal experiment in Germany.

Fujifilm says it currently has an inventory for 20 thousand people and has already prepared a system to continuously produce it.
I really hope it works.

Medicine for Influenza Attracting Attention in the Ebola Virus Epidemic

According to the Nikkei Newspaper on August 25, “Mr. Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, announced in a press conference in the morning on that date that the Government, if WHO requests, is ready to provide medication that might be effective in the fight against Ebola hemorrhagic fever”.

The medication he was referring to was Favipiravir (product name: Avigan Tablet), which Toyama Pure Chemical Industries, Ltd., a subsidiary of Fujifilm approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on March 24, 2014, developed as a medicine for influenza.
The Ebola virus has a viral structure similar to that of influenza. The medicine was proved to be effective on the Ebola virus in an animal experiment in Germany.

Fujifilm says it currently has an inventory for 20 thousand people and has already prepared a system to continuously produce it.
I really hope it works.

Sake Export reached a Record High

According to the Nikkei Newspaper on August 22, sake exports reached a record high.

Sake, or rice wine, is a brewed beverage made from rice and malted rice.
More than 1000 sake breweries all over Japan are competing with their unique tastes. Sake is a traditional part of Japan’s culture, and is one that Japan is proud of.

From time to time I have the opportunity to drink sake outside Japan. Frankly, sometimes, it is not that tasty and disappointing. This may be because it is often low-grade sake made of distilled alcohol and sugar along with rice and malted rice.

The price of exported sake per liter is said to have increased by 10%, which I appreciate because I would like foreign people to enjoy really delicious sake.

Sake Export reached a Record High

According to the Nikkei Newspaper on August 22, sake exports reached a record high.

Sake, or rice wine, is a brewed beverage made from rice and malted rice.
More than 1000 sake breweries all over Japan are competing with their unique tastes. Sake is a traditional part of Japan’s culture, and is one that Japan is proud of.

From time to time I have the opportunity to drink sake outside Japan. Frankly, sometimes, it is not that tasty and disappointing. This may be because it is often low-grade sake made of distilled alcohol and sugar along with rice and malted rice.

The price of exported sake per liter is said to have increased by 10%, which I appreciate because I would like foreign people to enjoy really delicious sake.


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