As the initial proposer and a behind-the-scenes advisor on Japan’s Corporate Governance Code, I am naturally pleased with the progress that the country has made in the past two years. This is of course relative to the rather low bar that was set by the previous fifteen years in which we governance advocates made comparatively little progress, against enormous resistance from the industrial lobby.
Japan-watchers got very excited because core private machinery orders in October were up 10% on a month-on-month basis, However, the monthly movements in orders have very large gyrations, even though the most volatile elements are removed from core orders. Bottom line: core orders could be a genuine “green shoot,” or one month’s surprising number may be misleading us.
Despite the claimed economic gains for Japan from TPP (more on that in another Alert), many in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) fear it could be a political loss: particularly in the 32 mostly rural single-seat districts that have tipped the balance in the last three Upper House elections.
Richard Katz's September issue of TOE includes reports on How to Raise Wages, For Now, Abe Polls Bounce, Abe Opens Door with Statement on War, Abe’s Careful Speech, Economy Watch, an interview with Nicholas Lardy on China's stock market and an interview with Tokyo University assistant professor Matthew Brummer, an expert on innovation, to understand Japan’s status as a “tech power.”