The Great Debate UK

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Why political gridlock works for the U.S. economy, but not for Japan or EU

By Anatole Kaletsky
November 7, 2014

U.S. President Obama hosts a luncheon for bi-partisan Congressional leaders in the Old Family Dining Room at the White House in Washington

Is gridlocked government a betrayal of democracy? Or does it allow citizens to get on with their lives and businesses, unencumbered by meddlesome politicians?

from Nicholas Wapshott:

Nothing pacific about it: Japan pushes back on China

By Nicholas Wapshott
July 15, 2014

Members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces' airborne troops stand at attention during the annual SDF troop review ceremony at Asaka Base in Asaka

China is on the march. Or, to be precise, China has made a strong push, militarily and otherwise, into seas nearby, setting off alarms among its neighbors. Now Japan has pushed back, announcing it will “reinterpret” its pacifist constitution so it can be more militarily aggressive in responding to China’s persistent territorial expansionism.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Japan as the crisis next time

By Anatole Kaletsky
March 14, 2014

Which major economy is most likely to disappoint expectations this year, and perhaps even cause a financial crisis big enough to break the momentum of global economic recovery? The usual suspects are China and southern Europe. But in my view the most likely culprit will be Japan.

The QE billions should go direct to consumers

October 12, 2011

By Mark Hillary. The opinions expressed are his own.

In 1998, the Japanese government was ridiculed for giving away almost $6bn (at 1998 value) of shopping vouchers. The plan was that consumers would spend more of this ‘free money’ and help lift Japan out of the seemingly endless malaise it suffered in the nineties – as many other developed economies were enjoying a roaring decade.

What message is the CDS market sending us?

August 24, 2011

By Laurence Copeland. The opinions expressed are his own.

Not many people seem to have noticed, but something almost unthinkable has happened in the Credit Default Swap (CDS) market recently. It is now one point cheaper to insure against a default by Her Majesty’s Government than by the Federal Republic of Germany. Given that only a few months ago, Markit was quoting twice as much to insure against a default on gilts as on bunds, this is a major change – but what is it telling us?

from Breakingviews:

Japan’s widow-maker bond trade still looks lethal

June 6, 2011

By Wayne Arnold
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

from Global News Journal:

Hope and Fear at the World Bank

May 17, 2011

It was early March and Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner of International Cooperation Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, was traveling in Asia. Her plan was to attend a 7.5 magnitude earthquake simulation that would hit Indonesia and generate a tsunami. A few things, however, changed in her itinerary: The destination turned out to be Japan, the earthquake was 9.0 and it not only generated a huge tsunami, but also a nuclear catastrophe. Plus, it was real.

from Reuters Investigates:

Japanese quake cost bad, but far from the worst

April 5, 2011

By Ben Berkowitz

INSURANCE/JAPANThe March 11 Great Tohoku Earthquake in Japan was a tragic disaster of historic proportions -- but from a purely financial standpoint it pales in comparison. (For a special report on insurers, click here.)

The safest form of power: Everything in moderation

By Morven McCulloch
April 5, 2011

By Morven McCulloch

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in north-eastern Japan, seriously damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami, has led to anti-nuclear protests in several countries and forced governments to rethink their energy policies.