The Japanese economy grew with a faster clip as a government in the last quarter …

The Japanese economy grew with a faster clip as a government in the last quarter …


The Japanese economy was expanding at a faster pace than initially expected in the previous quarter, ahead of the record surge in virus cases that contributed to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s resignation decision.

Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in the three months to June, supported by increased government spending, corporate investment and personal consumption, according to a revised report by the Cabinet Office.

Economists expected growth of 1.6% compared to the government’s initial estimate of 1.3%.

The revised figures confirm that Japan avoided a recession despite returning to a state of emergency and had more momentum before the recent wave of infection and activity restrictions. It shows the greater indomitable spirit that underlies the economy, but Suga, who couldn’t stop the surge in infectious diseases due to the loss of public support for his premiership, is ultimately more important. Proved to be.

“This was primarily a recovery from the contraction in the first quarter, and the economy has not yet recovered its losses since then,” said Yoshiki Shinie, chief economist at Daiichi Seimei Keizai Kenkyusho. “Therefore, this report does not turn the economy into a rosy one. Given the emergency, the economy is resilient and has led to an increase in infectious diseases.”

Aside from the government’s surge in spending on health care, the results were largely in line with expectations.

High spending by businesses suggests that the corporate world is already seeing growth beyond the pandemic, but consumer spending has improved significantly due to technological factors that do not speak of strong growth. Inflation rate corrections have effectively boosted spending.

Yuki Masushima, an economist at Bloomberg Economics, said, “The outlook for the quarter has been decisively weakened as emergencies have expanded and expanded in major cities as a result of the failure to control the infection.”

Looking at this quarter, the surge in Japan’s Olympic Summer Olympics could have had a significant impact on corporate and shopper spending. It’s not yet clear who will replace Suga, but economists expect the new prime minister to announce stimulus to support the recovery as he heads for the general election this fall.

“The economy is still fragile and politicians will continue to look for large spending packages before entering national elections, especially given the high risk this quarter due to the spread of the virus,” Shinke said. Stated.

When asked by Bloomberg about the potential economic package of becoming prime minister, Fumio Kishida, a candidate for prime minister, quoted a past government report that the output gap was about 30 trillion yen ($ 272 billion). ..

Suga’s replacement needs to do a better job of keeping COVID-19 under control and balancing the goals of protecting the economy and paving the way for normalization of activity through vaccination and lifting restrictions. there is.

Given that prices are falling, today’s numbers do not move the Bank of Japan’s monetary stimulus. Bank of Japan board members recently pointed out that the economic recovery has been delayed and that easing must continue.

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Softbank acquires 4.5% stake in Deutsche Telekom

Softbank acquires 4.5% stake in Deutsche Telekom


SoftBank Group said Tuesday that it would acquire a 4.5% stake in Deutsche Telekom AG, which the two companies called a strategic partnership, allowing the Japanese technology conglomerate to expand its telecommunications business to Europe.

The transaction, which makes SoftBank the second largest shareholder of German telecommunications giants, will give SoftBank’s more than 300 portfolio companies access to approximately 240 million Deutsche Telekom customers across Europe and the United States.

SoftBank Corp. announced that it will acquire 225 million new shares of Deutsche Telekom while maintaining its “meaningful exposure” to German company T-Mobile US Inc.

In exchange, Deutsche Telekom will receive approximately 45 million T-Mobile US shares from SoftBank, approaching its goal of directly controlling US carriers.

Marcelo Claure, Chief Operating Officer of SoftBank Group, said:

The transaction was made by Sprint Corp, a US carrier SoftBank that was acquired in 2013. Following the merger of T-Mobile in 2020.

SoftBank Group owned 304.6 million shares of T-Mobile US, or about 24%. However, between June and August last year, it sold 198.31 million shares to strengthen its finances.

Deutsche Telekom planned to purchase an additional 101.49 million shares of T-Mobile US.

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Japan’s top business lobby allows for easy entry …

Japan’s top business lobby allows for easy entry …


Japan’s most powerful business lobby is urging the government to exempt vaccinated travelers from the country’s compulsory 14-day quarantine, as more countries relax immigration restrictions as vaccines roll out. increase.

The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) called on the Kan administration on Monday to ease restrictions on fully inoculated arrivals as part of a proposal to resume overseas travel and revive the country’s economy.

Keidanren also urged the government to reduce the quarantine period for unvaccinated travelers to 10 days, as other countries do. In France, vaccine passport holders are exempt from quarantine and coronavirus testing for 7 days upon arrival. Travelers to the UK need to be quarantined for 10 days, which can be reduced if the test is negative 5 days after arrival.

The move happens later this week as the government prepares to publish a draft plan to gradually open the economy. For example, over 70% of people in their 40s and 50s and 60% and people in their 20s are vaccinated.

When Keidanren’s chief Masakazu Tokura handed suggestion Mr. Yoshihide Suga said he accepted the idea of ​​easing measures “in stages”. Suga last week He will not run for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party presidential electionThat means he will resign as prime minister at the end of the month.

However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a regular press conference on Tuesday that the government needs to monitor how the pandemic progresses and how the risks associated with the spread of the coronavirus mutation develop.

“Currently, there are reports of new variants being imported from abroad,” he said.

The government is also concerned about so-called breakthrough infections that have been identified in people who have already been vaccinated, he said.

Currently, Japan has strict immigration restrictions and quarantine regulations. All persons arriving in the country, including those who have been vaccinated and those who have developed immunity after recovering from COVID-19, must be quarantined for 14 days after entry.

In addition, all participants are required to undergo a COVID-19 test before and upon arrival in Japan. Moreover, entry is restricted to Japanese residents and those who appear to be in exceptional circumstances. However, Keidanren’s proposal states that if a foreigner has a vaccination passport or other record that indicates that he / she is vaccinated, he / she must be admitted to the country.

Keidanren’s Prime Minister Masakazu Tokura (left) and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will meet in Tokyo in August. | POOL / VIA KYODO

Keidanren’s proposal also included encouraging domestic vaccination passports to travel, participate in large-scale events, and meet with inpatients and elderly relatives in nursing homes.

PCR tests and other COVID-19 tests need to be readily available in drug stores so that people can be tested without going through a public health center or clinic.

“It is important to consider and prepare for the necessary steps now so that social and economic activity can be resumed after the mortality rate and the proportion of patients with severe symptoms have fallen sufficiently,” he said. rice field.

Keidanren’s proposal was repeated on Tuesday by an international business group in Japan.

In a statement, Japan’s European Business Council expressed support for Keidanren’s proposal, saying that current border control policies are having a significant impact not only on foreign companies, but also on Japanese companies that work with foreign companies. Stated.

“I believe this is still safe under current health protocols, as returnees will be tested once before leaving for Japan and once again when entering Japan,” the group relaxed for arrival. Said about the quarantine measures that were taken.

In May, EBC, along with four other groups, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, ease quarantine and travel restrictions for people who have been fully vaccinated or who have fully recovered from COVID-19. I asked the government to do so.

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Japan will strengthen autonomous driving to revive and support rural areas …

Japan will strengthen autonomous driving to revive and support rural areas …


Japan is strengthening its self-driving ambitions with a new project officially introduced on Wednesday to expand the use of self-driving cars in more than 40 locations nationwide by 2025.

The “Road to the L4” project aims to popularize advanced mobility services, including Level 4 autonomous driving. This service allows you to drive a vehicle without the need for a person to drive. According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, it will include a demonstration of technology to promote acceptance and understanding. One of the goals is to help revitalize the community.

“People, including the elderly, have no way to travel to rural areas,” said Tatsuki Izawa, assistant manager of the ministry’s autonomous driving department. “If you have an autonomous bus that circulates in the city, you will be able to go shopping and go out.”

The government has allocated about 6 billion yen ($ 55 million) to the development of autonomous driving services this year. This includes the L4 project, where many older people give up driving. According to the National Police Agency, about 300,000 people over the age of 75 will have their licenses returned in 2020. The previous year was even higher.

Companies such as Toyota and NEC are testing self-driving cars, which will be one of the first Level 4 government projects. One of its goals is to ensure that self-driving cars operate safely and effectively in the presence of other vehicles and humans.

Moving from 3 to level 4 is “a big challenge,” Izawa said. “We need to show through our experiments that safety is guaranteed when we are heading into technically difficult areas.”

Takashi Oguchi, a professor of transportation engineering at the University of Tokyo, who is participating in the project, said that there is no complete accident prevention technology and that a large amount of infrastructure investment is required even in a closed operating environment to realize an autonomous vehicle. Stated. “No one has found an answer,” he said, as to who would be responsible and compensated in the event of an accident.

In May, German parliamentarians agreed to allow Level 4 vehicles on public roads in 2022. Japan amended the law in 2019 to allow Level 3 vehicles that can drive autonomously under certain conditions on public roads.

Safety and consumer acceptance are the main barriers to self-driving cars, according to a recent study by researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Qatar University. At the Tokyo Paralympics, a collision between Toyota’s self-driving car and a visually impaired Japanese athlete prevented him from attending the event, raising safety concerns.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda said in a video on August 27 following the incident at the Paralympic Village that “self-driving cars are still unrealistic on ordinary roads.” There are still no rules for deciding whether a self-driving car or a safety operator will take responsibility, he said.

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The Bank of Japan needs realistic price targets to avoid endless irritation …

The Bank of Japan needs realistic price targets to avoid endless irritation …


According to the former vice-president, the Bank of Japan should set a more achievable inflation target to avoid being caught up in endless stimuli.

Hirohide Yamaguchi, who quit the bank in 2013 just before President Haruhiko Kuroda took command, said, “It’s time for the Bank of Japan to set a realistic price target rather than a strict target of 2%. “. “Inflation is unlikely to reach that level after more than eight years.”

Mr. Yamaguchi, the right-hand man of Mr. Masaaki Shirakawa, the predecessor of Mr. Kuroda, said that the central bank could instead accept the low inflation target, and even if the yen strengthened due to improved resilience between companies, it would stimulate the economy. He said he could discontinue the plan.

The statement by Chairman Yamaguchi of the Pension Reserve Management Committee will be made prior to the ruling party’s leadership contest to be held later this month, and will effectively determine the next prime minister of Japan. So far, Yoshihide Suga’s successor candidate has not called for significant changes in monetary policy or inflation targeting.

Still, the BOJ’s long-term stimulus topic precedes the September 29 vote, as other central banks around the world, including the Federal Reserve, are considering when to reduce support for the economy. Can be an issue. count.

“The Bank of Japan should not continue to super-easy, no matter how long it takes, just for price targets,” Yamaguchi said. “Banks need to maintain policy flexibility by considering goals at some point.”

He added that the central bank should also focus more on excessive liquidity and other negative side effects of its irritation, which can more justify the need to undo it.

Under the Kuroda administration, the Bank of Japan adheres to the 2% target, pointing out the need to secure room for policy measures and the need to stabilize the exchange rate, and often states that it is a global standard. Current Vice Governor Masazumi Wakatabe spent a significant portion of his speech last week explaining aspects of the currency.

The main reason why Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at that time called for aggressive monetary easing and set up Kuroda in a bank in 2013 was the strong yen. During the Shirakawa-Yamaguchi era, banks faced criticism that they were too few or too late. At some point, the currency soared above 76 yen against the dollar.

According to a Cabinet Office survey released in March, exporters say the break-even point is JPY 99.8 per dollar. The yen on Tuesday morning in Tokyo was about $ 109.8.

Mr Yamaguchi said it was doubtful that the appreciation of the yen would hurt Japanese companies in the wake of the global financial crisis.

“Concerns about the appreciation of the yen are not as strong as they used to be,” he said. “There is no way a talented Japanese company has not been able to tackle this problem for such a long time.”

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Focusing on mobility, Toyota aims to lead the world …

Focusing on mobility, Toyota aims to lead the world …


Toyota Motor aims to become a world leader in smart city technology with an ambitious project to build a human-centered, fully connected city, Woven City, at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened the need to create technology that encourages people to move and rethink their way of life and support “happy and healthy” human life, Toyota’s chief digital officer said. James Cuffner said.

“Woven City doesn’t mean a technology bubble where technology stays within Woven City. It really is where we incubate, test, accelerate, and export it to the world. It means, “Cuffner said in a recent interview.

For a country like Japan, it is an urgent task to tackle the challenges posed by the aging of society, such as mobility and healthy living. In Woven City, autonomous buses transport people and smart homes with sensors check the health of residents.

Sustainability is another important theme as the world is struggling to decarbonize and net zero carbon dioxide emissions before or by 2050.

“If we can make something of value in places like Japan and cities in Japan, I think it’s worth it everywhere,” said Kafner, a former Google engineer who is CEO of Toyota’s Woven Planet Holdings. .. Subsidiary in charge of the project.

According to Toyota, under construction on 175 acres of the recently closed Toyota subsidiary factory in Shizuoka Prefecture, Toyota will function as a “living laboratory” for self-driving cars, delivery robots, smart homes and artificial intelligence. ..

Toyota Motor Corp. James Kuffner, Chief Digital Officer, spoke in an online interview last month. | Kyodo News

It is scheduled to open partially in 2024, and initially has about 360 residents including the elderly, families with children, and inventors, and is expected to increase to more than 2,000 including Toyota employees.

The project is open to partners, and as of June, Toyota has received more than 4,700 applications from companies and individuals in areas such as agriculture, medical and education.

According to Kafner, the project is unique in that people with innovative ideas can test new technologies “on a large scale” and get feedback from the public to improve them. kaizen, Or a core principle pioneered by Toyota in pursuit of continuous improvement, building a lean manufacturing system.

The world’s largest automakers are accelerating their transformation into mobility companies with a focus on software in the era of connected, autonomy, shared and electric (CASE) vehicles.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda personally invested in Woven Planet and emphasized the importance of partnerships and collaborations to achieve mobility for all. The smart city project is an integral part of the company’s driving force.

Prior to joining the Toyota Research Institute in 2016, Kuffner was part of Google’s first engineering team to develop US high-tech giant self-driving cars. He became a member of Toyota’s board of directors in 2020 in the automaker’s Software Push.

Artist's Impressions of Toyota's Woven City | Toyota Motor Corporation / Kyodo News
Artist’s Impressions of Toyota’s Woven City |
Toyota Motor Corp. / via Kyodo

Woven Planet is the autonomous driving division of Lyft Inc., a ride-hailing service company in the United States, and Carmera Inc., an automatic cartography company in the United States. Was acquired.

Toyota, a pioneer of fuel cell vehicles, plans to supply hydrogen to the entire woven city ecosystem, and with Japanese energy company Eneos, a hydrogen supply chain from production to delivery to actual use in the field. We have agreed to work towards the realization of.

Globally, leading technology companies such as Google LLC, Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. are also serious about developing smart cities.

Despite the smart city promise, skeptics have expressed concern about the vast amount of personal data collected and analyzed via sensors and other devices. Data security and privacy protection are considered hurdles to clear before establishing a community that employs smart city technology.

To ensure good privacy and security, Kafner said Woven City has a “very well-thought-out architecture,” adding that trust is closely linked to transparency.

“Toyota has a tradition of building products and services that people trust, and that’s what we want to do with this project,” said the Chief Digital Officer.

“Our dreams are big. We have a big gap between our present reality and our dreams,” he said. “But we are climbing a mountain and there is a beautiful Mt. Fuji that inspires us.”

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