Raw Japan

Slices of Japanese business, politics and life

Fun and games keeping a finance minister awake

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Do you play games on your mobile phone, as millions of Japanese do? Here’s one for you.

A software company has launched a mobile phone game that pokes fun at former Japanese finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa, who resigned earlier this month after nearly dozing off at a news conference in Rome.240ss00

He denied he was drunk, saying he was on cold medicine, but was forced to quit when videotape of his performance at a news conference after the Group of Seven finance ministers meeting triggered an uproar in Japan.

The game, created by Liveware Inc and called “Exhausted Minister Dozing at a News Conference”, challenges the player to keep the minister awake when a reporter asks a question during a spoof press conference.

The allure of free money

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People say there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But in theory, a government can have one, some economists and Japanese politicians say, if it wishes to save the economy from deflation and recession. It should just print money and then spend it.

In the past few weeks, some members of Japan’s ruling coalition as well as economists have proposed such a move as the spectre of deflation looms in Japan, now amid what is likely to be its longest economic contraction in modern times.

Japan PM finds reading a political headache

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Foreigners who’ve spent years trying to learn how to read the thousands of ‘kanji’ ideograms used to write the Japanese language might well sympathise with Prime Minister Taro Aso, who has come under fire in the media for his public bloopers in misreading the written word.

The 68-year-old Japanese leader, whose popularity has slid due to policy flip-flops and other gaffes, has been ridiculed in the media for misreading kanji, first imported from China in the 6th century or before and adapted to write Japanese.

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