01 March 2016

Tsunami Shock Doctrine

Before the tsunami, Japan had the largest debt load in the industrialized world and continues to have a skewed ageing population. Within a few days after this catastrophe, Japan’s government injected billions of dollars into the financial markets in an attempt to stave off the inevitable, and continues to do so, which has yet to be played out. Only thing missing is the tipping point.

11 Mar 2011 - Japan Tsunami

22 Mar 2011 - Warren Buffett, Investor
Frequently something out of the blue like this, an extraordinary event, really creates a buying opportunity. I've seen that happen in the United States, I've seen that happen around the world, and I don't think Japan will be an exception.

Sir Nathan Rothschild, 1815
The time to buy is when there's blood in the streets.
Napoleon Bonaparte
Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.
Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, 2007
An economic system that requires constant growth generates a steady stream of disasters all on its own, whether military, ecological, or financial.

Before the Tsunami
Japan GDP figures show sharp slowing of economic growth
15 Aug 2010
Economic growth in Japan weakened significantly in the last financial quarter, official figures show. Between April and June this year gross domestic product - the sum of the nation's goods and services - grew 0.1%, much lower than expected. Prime Minister Naoto Kan recently said Japan was "at risk of collapse" under its huge debts. The country's central bank has already announced a scheme to offer 3tn yen in low-interest loans in an effort to spur economic growth.
Japan eyes demographic time bomb
19 Nov 2007
Japan is about to experience demographic change on an unprecedented scale. The birth rate has been falling steeply for half a century. In the early 1970s it passed the replacement level of 2.1 births per woman and in 2005 hit a record low of 1.26. Japan has the world's highest proportion of elderly people. More than 20% of the population are now over the age of 65. By 2050, that figure is expected to rise to about 40%. As the number of retirees goes up that same government will be facing increasing pension and healthcare costs.

After the Tsunami

Japan population shrinks by one million census confirms
26 Feb 2016
 New census figures in Japan show the population has shrunk by nearly one million in the past five years, in the first decline registered since 1920. As of October last year the country has 127.1 million people, 0.7% fewer than in the last census. Demographers have long predicted a drop, citing Japan's falling birth rate and a lack of immigration. The rapidly ageing population has contributed to a stagnating economy and worries of increasing health costs. Researchers are predicting a sharp drop-off in the working population and a simultaneous rise in the number of elderly in coming decades. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it a priority to boost the birthrate from 1.4 children to 1.8 children per woman. Advanced economies usually require a rate of at least 2.1 for a stable population.

Japan's exports fall for fourth consecutive month
18 Feb 2016
Japan's latest trade figures have shown exports falling for a fourth straight month. The country's value of exports fell by 12.9% in January from a year earlier, supporting concerns that the slowdown in China - one of the country's most important trading partners - is continuing to hurt demand. Imports, meanwhile, fell by 18%. "Japan's January trade figures were woeful [and] this is more fodder for those who think Japan's economy is a disaster waiting to happen," said Chris Weston from IG Markets.

Japan's economy contracts in fourth quarter
15 Feb 2016

Japan's economy contracted in the final three months of 2015, adding to a string of setbacks for the government's economic reform policy. Between October and December, it shrank by 0.4% compared with the previous quarter. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's plan to revive the economy - dubbed Abenomics - was introduced after his December 2013 election win. The Bank of Japan's vast money printing project has been described as a "money-spewing bazooka". But growth has remained a concern. Its population is ageing and shrinking so fewer people are contributing to the economy.

Off target: Is it the end of 'Abenomics' in Japan?
15 Feb 2016
In the last two weeks we've seen the country's central bank, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) cross in to uncharted territory, pushing interest rates below zero for the first time ever. In just two days last week the Japanese stock market tumbled nearly 8%, erasing most of the gains of the last two years. The latest GDP figures show the Japanese economy is shrinking again. There is no growth engine left in Japan. The reason is simple. Japan's population is growing old and shrinking. By 2020 it will be losing around 600,000 people a year. Getting growth from of an ageing, shrinking society is extremely hard.

Japan's trade deficit quadruples in March
20 Apr 2014
Japan's trade deficit quadrupled in March as export growth slowed and energy imports continued to rise. A weak Japanese currency, which pushed up the cost of imports, also contributed to the widening gap. Japan's energy imports have been rising after it shut all its nuclear reactors in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Imports of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) rose more than 8% in March, compared to the same month last year. Japan is having to pay more for those imports after a series of aggressive policy moves aimed at spurring economic growth - including a huge boost to the country's money supply - have weakened the yen sharply.

Japan reports record annual trade deficit
26 Jan 2014
Japan has reported a record annual trade deficit after the weak yen pushed up the cost of energy imports. Its deficit rose to 11.5 trillion yen ($112bn; £68bn) in 2013 - a 65% jump from a year ago. Japan has seen its energy imports rise in recent years after it shut all of its nuclear reactors in the aftermath of the tsunami and earthquake in 2011. It is having to pay more for those imports after a series of aggressive policy moves weakened the yen sharply. The Japanese currency fell more than 20% against the US dollar between January and December last year. A weak currency bodes well for Japan's exports, a key driver of its growth. However, the weak currency has also made imports more expensive and affected the country's trade balance.

Japanese growth slower than expected in second quarter
11 Aug 2013
Japan's economy expanded at a slower pace than most analysts expected in the second quarter. Gross domestic product grew 0.6% in the April to June period, indicating an annualized increase of 2.6%. That is down from the 4.1% annual rate in the first three months of the year. Analysts were expecting growth of 3.6%. Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has been trying to revive the economy after years of stagnation. His policies, known as Abenomics, include boosting the supply of money in the economy and raising government spending.

Japanese stocks enter bear market as yen strengthens
13 Jun 2013
Japanese shares have tumbled after the yen hit a 10-week high against the US dollar, triggering concerns of a drop in exporters' profits. The Nikkei 225 index fell 6.5% on Thursday. The drop put the market in bear territory, often defined as a 20% fall from a stock index's recent peak. The index has fallen 22% since hitting a five-and-a-half-year high in May. Investor sentiment has also been hurt by the Bank of Japan's decision earlier this week to hold back on expanding its stimulus program.

Japan's Nikkei falls to six-week low amid growth fears
03 Jun 2013
Japanese shares fell further in Monday, hurt by weak manufacturing data from China and fears over the US scaling back a key stimulus measure. The worries are that a slowdown in the US bond buying program and weakness in China, two of Japan's biggest export markets, may hurt its recovery. There have also been concerns over whether Japan's recent policy moves will be sustainable in the long run. The Nikkei 225 index fell 3.7% on Monday, to a six-week low of 13,261.82.

Bank of Japan's Haruhiko Kuroda in aggressive growth move
04 Apr 2013
Japan's central bank has surprised markets with the size of its latest stimulus package, as it tries to spur growth and end years of falling prices. The move was seen as a clear signal by the bank's new boss, Haruhiko Kuroda, that he was willing to spend heavily to achieve an inflation target of 2%. The bank said it would increase its purchase of government bonds by 50 trillion yen ($520bn; £350bn) per year. That is the equivalent of almost 10% of Japan's annual gross domestic product. This will have the effect of further weakening the value of the yen. That is good for Japanese exporters. But Tokyo is already under fire in the US, accused by some of currency manipulation. The last thing Mr Kuroda wants is to set off a currency war. Some observers have expressed concern that this new strategy may leave Japan, which already has the largest debt pile of any industrialized nation, even more in the red.

Haruhiko Kuroda says Japan's debts are not sustainable
28 Mar 2013
The Bank of Japan's new governor, Haruhiko Kuroda, has warned that Japan's debt levels are unsustainable. His comments follow calls by Japan's new government for aggressive stimulus measures to help revive the country's sluggish economy. Earlier this year, it approved a 10.3tn yen ($116bn; £72bn) stimulus package. There have been fears that such moves will further increase Japan's public debt, which is already the highest among industrialized countries. Japan's public debt stands at about 230% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Japan retail sales fall more than forecast in February
27 Mar 2013

Retail sales in Japan fell by more than forecast in February; underlining the challenge the new government faces to stoke inflation and consumer demand.

Japan trade deficit hits record as yen weakens
19 Feb 2013
Japan's monthly trade deficit hit a record in January after its recent aggressive monetary policy stance weakened its currency sharply. Japan's deficit has also been impacted by an increase in fuel imports. The world's third-largest economy has seen a rise in fuel imports, as most of Japan's nuclear reactors continue to remain closed. Demand from the eurozone, one of Japan's biggest markets, has been hurt by the region's ongoing debt crisis. A territorial dispute with China has hit sales of Japanese goods to the country, Japan's biggest trading partner, over the past few months. The yen has dipped nearly 15% against the US dollar since November.

Japanese economy contracts for third straight quarter
14 Feb 2013
Japan's economy contracted for the third straight quarter in the three months to end of December, underlining the challenges the new government faces in reviving growth. That is equivalent to an annualized dip of 0.4% in gross domestic product. Japan has been fighting deflation, or falling prices, for best part of the past decade. Japan's central bank expanded its asset purchase program in January, which is expected to pump billions of yen into the economy. A weak currency bodes well for Japanese exporters.

Japan posts record high trade deficit in 2012
23 Jan 2013
Japan has posted a record high trade deficit for 2012, as exports to Europe and China continued their plunge. The trade gap rose to 6.9tn yen ($78bn; £49bn) for the full year, the ministry of finance said. Japanese exporters have also been hit by sluggish demand from debt-laden Europe, as well as a territorial dispute with China, which prompted a boycott of Japanese products, such as cars, on the mainland. Along with falling exports, Japan is struggling with rising imports, as it looks to meet its energy requirements. Japan has had to import fuels from abroad after its nuclear power plants were taken offline following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Japan agrees 2% inflation target and asset purchases
22 Jan 2012
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has agreed to double its inflation target to 2% and ease monetary policy, meeting key demands of Japan's new government. The BOJ measures are expected to pump billions of yen into the economy. Japan has been caught in almost two decades of on-and-off deflation, or falling prices. The central bank's plan to pump money into the economy is seen as weakening the yen as well as stoking inflation - and hopefully growth. The currency had already fallen against the US dollar and other currencies ahead of Tuesday's announcement. In the last two months, the yen has dropped 13% against the US dollar.

Japanese government approves $116bn stimulus package
10 Jan 2012
The Japanese government has approved a fresh 10.3 trillion yen ($116bn; £72bn) stimulus package in an attempt to spur a revival in its economy. The package will include infrastructure spending, as well as incentives for businesses to boost investment. Japan's economy has been hurt by a dip in exports amid slowing global demand and subdued domestic consumption. The world's third-largest economy is currently in a recession, having contracted for two quarters in a row.

Japan economy: Latest data underlines weakness
27 Dec 2012
Japan has reported weak economic data, underlining the challenges the new government faces in reviving growth in the world's third-largest economy. Industrial output fell in November as demand for exports continued to slow. Consumer prices also dipped, indicating that deflation continues to remain a hurdle in boosting domestic demand.

Bank of Japan boosts stimulus to help revive growth
20 Dec 2012
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has boosted its key stimulus measure in an attempt to revive growth in the world's third-largest economy. It has extended its asset purchase program, aimed at keeping borrowing costs down, by 10 trillion yen ($119bn; £73bn). The central bank also left interest rates unchanged between zero and 0.1%. The BOJ has been facing increasing pressure to take steps to help revive the Japanese economy. Japan has been battling years of sluggish growth. However, some analysts said the size of the latest stimulus boost was not enough to make a big impact on the economy.

Japan exports decline for sixth consecutive month
18 Dec 2012
Japan's exports have fallen for a sixth straight month, underlining the issues faced by the incoming government set to take charge in the coming days. Shipments fell 4.1% in November, from a year earlier. Exports to China declined 14.5% and to the European Union by 20%.

Japan economic data revision suggests recession
10 Dec 2012
Revised growth figures for Japan have suggested that the world's third-largest economy is in recession. The economy shrank by 0.9% in the July-September quarter, while the April-June quarter was revised from 0.1% growth to show a contraction of 0.03%. That means that Japan is technically in recession, having contracted for two quarters in a row. During the third quarter, Japan shrank by the equivalent to an annualized drop in gross domestic product (GDP) of 3.5%.

Japan cabinet approves $10.7bn second stimulus package
30 Nov 2012
Japanese lawmakers approved another stimulus package to revive growth, as the flagging economy becomes a key issue in the upcoming general election. The money, totaling 880bn yen ($10.7bn; £6.7bn), will be used mainly to create employment and support small businesses, the cabinet said.

Japan exports fall for fifth consecutive month
20 Nov 2012
Japan's exports have fallen for a fifth straight month after demand in China and the European Union (EU) weakened. Shipments fell 6.5% in October, from a year earlier. Exports to China declined 11.6% and were down 20% to the EU.

Japan economy contracts as global slowdown hits exports
11 Nov 2012
Japan's economy contracted in the July to September quarter, as a global economic slowdown and anti-Japan protests in China hurt its exports, while domestic consumption remained subdued. Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 3.5% from a year earlier. Compared with the previous three months, the economy contracted 0.9%. The weak data is likely to put pressure on the government to boost stimulus measures to spur growth. Japan's economy, the world's third-largest, has been trying to recover from last year's earthquake and tsunami, which caused widespread destruction in the country. 

Japan boosts stimulus measures to spur growth
30 Oct 2012
The Bank of Japan has boosted its key stimulus measure amid concerns that Japan's economic recovery may be running out of steam. It has extended its asset purchase program, under which it buys bonds to keep long-term borrowing costs down, by 11 trillion yen ($138bn; £86bn). It will also offer unlimited loans to banks to encourage lending and boost domestic demand.

Japanese exports to China fall amid territorial dispute
22 Oct 2012
Japanese exports to China tumbled in September compared to the previous year, as a territorial dispute between the two countries weighed on the economy. Exports from Japan declined at their sharpest pace since the aftermath of last year's earthquake and tsunami. Shipments to China fell 14.1% in September compared to the previous year. The month was marred by widespread protests in China against Japan over ownership of the islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. That has led some economists to forecast that growth will stall for the rest of the year and that Japan may slip back into recession.

Japan economy: Prime Minster Noda eyes stimulus boost
17 Oct 2012
Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has ordered his cabinet to draw up fresh stimulus measures in a bid to spur economic growth. Japan's growth has been hurt by falling demand for its exports amid a slowdown in key markets such as the US, eurozone and China. At the same time, domestic consumption in Japan continues to remains subdued.

Super Typhoon Jelawat batters Japan's Honshu island
30 Sep 2012
At least one person has died and more than 100 were injured after a powerful typhoon struck Japan's main island of Honshu. Typhoon Jelawat made landfall on Sunday, bringing torrential rain, shutting down transport and cutting off electricity supplies. Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to leave their homes. It is the second super typhoon to hit the region in two weeks.

Toyota and Nissan scale back production in China
26 Sep 2012
Japanese carmakers, including Nissan and Toyota, are cutting production of vehicles in China. It comes shortly after a wave of anti-Japanese protests across China that led to a halt in production for several days at many Japanese companies. The demonstrations were a result of a territorial dispute between the two countries over islands in the East China Sea. Nissan shares were down 3.2% in Tokyo trading, while Toyota fell 2.7%. Honda Motor, Japan's third largest car maker, dropped almost 5%. China is Japan's largest trading partner and a key market for its consumer goods. Japanese car makers were already facing a slowdown in their sales in China, as the growth of the country's economy eases.

Bank of Japan increases asset purchase program
19 Sep 2012
The Bank of Japan (BoJ) has extended its asset-purchasing program by 10 trillion yen ($126bn; £78bn), following similar moves by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. The move increases the overall size of the stimulus program to 80tn yen. Recent data showed that Japan's exports and industrial output both slumped in July. BoJ had downgraded Japan's economic view and decided to expand monetary easing because "overseas economies are slowing more than we anticipated". The market responded positively to the bank's move.

Japan exports and imports fall raising growth concerns
19 Sep 2012
Japan's exports and imports dipped in August, raising fears about the impact of a global slowdown on its economy. Exports fell 5.8% from a year earlier, hurt by slowing demand from the European Union (EU) and China. Japan's economy relies heavily on exports for growth. Shipments to the EU have now fallen for 11 straight months. Economic expansion in China, the key driver of Japan's growth in recent years, has also slowed, further impacting Japan's export sector. "Japan is extremely vulnerable to the slowdown in China," said Dan Slater of the Economist Corporate Network in Tokyo. "And the slowdown in China is very serious in itself." Japan's trade with China, its biggest trading partner, may be hurt by the continuing territorial dispute between them.

China protests: Japanese firms suspend some operations
17 Sep 2012
Some of Japan's biggest firms have suspended operations at some factories in China as safety concerns grow amid violent anti-Japan protests. The violence followed Japan's purchase of islands in the East China Sea which China claims sovereignty over. Panasonic said its factory in Qingdao would remain shut until 18 September, while Canon has also temporarily suspended operations at three plants. Honda, Mazda and Nissan are stopping car production for two to four days.

Japan's financial services minister found dead
10 Sep 2012
Japan's financial services minister has been found dead at his home in Tokyo, in what police say may be suicide, local media report. Police gave no further details about the death of Tadahiro Matsushita, 73.

Japan revises down growth numbers for second quarter
09 Sep 2012
The government said that economy grew at an annual rate of 0.7% during the April to June period. That is down from its earlier estimate of 1.4%. Compared with the previous quarter, the economy grew by 0.2%, also lower than the previous figure of 0.3%. Slowing exports and subdued domestic demand have hurt Japan's growth. Martin Schulz of Fujitsu Research Institute told the BBC. "As a result, the economy is slowing much faster than expected. Japan's growth may even turn negative in the current quarter”.

Sharp downgraded to 'junk' by Standard & Poor's
31 Aug 2012
Sharp, the struggling Japanese consumer electronics giant, has had its credit rating cut to "junk" status by ratings agency Standard & Poor's. The move follows Sharp's announcement that it had lost about $1.76bn in the April to June quarter. Adding to Sharp's woes are reports that it has fallen behind in the mass-production of screens for Apple's new iPhone 5, expected to launch in September. 

Japan's industrial output falls on weak global demand
30 Aug 2012
Japan's industrial output unexpectedly dropped in July as a slowdown in global demand hurt exports. Trade ministry figures showed output was down 1.2% in July, a steep reversal from the 0.4% rise recorded in June and way out of line with analysts expectations of a 1.7% increase. Earlier this week the Japanese government downgraded its economic assessment for the country.

Japan's economic growth slows to 0.3% in second quarter
12 Aug 2012
Japan's economic growth slowed in the second quarter as the eurozone crisis hurt exports and domestic consumption remained subdued. Gross domestic product grew by 0.3% during the period from the previous three months. That is down from 1% growth in the first quarter. Analysts warned that Japan's growth may slow further in coming months amid an uncertain global economic climate. Analysts said the slowdown was likely to put pressure on policymakers to introduce fresh measures to spur growth. 

Fukushima plant operator Tepco suffers massive loss
01 Aug 2012
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, has posted a massive quarterly loss as it struggles to recover from last year's nuclear crisis. The group is now relying on fossil fuels to supply power to Tokyo. The utility was, in effect, nationalized on Tuesday after the government took a 50.11% stake in the group in exchange for a 1trn yen capital injection. Tepco forecast a worse-than-expected net loss of 160bn yen for the year ending next March.

Japanese industrial output in unexpected fall
30 Jul 2012
Industrial production in Japan unexpectedly fell for the third straight month, prompting renewed fears the economy is losing steam. Factory output dipped 0.1% in June, compared to the previous month. It follows a 3.4% decline in May. The fall was mainly due to decreased output in the machinery, iron and steel sectors, data showed.

Japan's exports slide in June hurt by global slowdown
24 Jul 2012
Japan's exports dipped in June, the first drop in four months, as slowdown in key markets including Europe and China, hurt demand. Exports dipped 2.3% from a year earlier, compared with a 10% jump in the previous month. Shipments to the European Union declined by 21.3%, while those to China were down by 7.3%. Japan relies heavily on exports for growth and there have been fears that a global slowdown may hurt its economy.

Energy imports hurt Japan's current account surplus
08 Jul 2012
The surplus fell by 62.6% from a year earlier to 215.1bn yen ($2.7bn; £1.7bn), the Ministry of Finance said. The current account measures trade in goods, services, tourism and investment. It looks at income from foreign sources against payments on foreign obligations. The figure has fuelled worries that weak global demand is hurting the recovery in Japanese exports after last year's earthquake and tsunami. The disaster resulted in the closure of almost all of Japan's nuclear reactors amid major anti-nuclear sentiment. That in turn meant power shortages and rolling blackouts in the summer. Japan has had to increase imports of energy from overseas to make up the shortfall.

Japan's exports surge 10% in May easing slowdown fears
19 Jun 2012
Japan's exports have risen the most in 17 months easing concerns about the impact of a global slowdown on the Japanese economy. Exports rose 10% in May from a year earlier, boosted by a 38% jump in deliveries to the US. Japan's exports have risen the most in 17 months easing concerns about the impact of a global slowdown on the Japanese economy. Japan's export-dependent economy relies heavily on demand from markets such as the US, Europe and China for growth.

Japan 'must restart' two nuclear reactors, Noda warns
08 Jun 2012
Japan must restart two nuclear reactors to protect the country's economy and livelihoods, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said in a televised broadcast. "Cheap and stable electricity is vital. If all the reactors that previously provided 30% of Japan's electricity supply are halted, or kept idle, Japanese society cannot survive," Mr Noda said. He added that some companies could possibly move production out of Japan, losing vital jobs as a result. "It is my decision that Ohi reactors No 3 and No 4 should be restarted to protect the people's livelihoods," he said. Japan is facing a summer of power shortages.

Factory output in Japan weaker than expected in April
31 May 2012
Japan's factory output was weaker than expected in April because of slower demand for electronics goods, especially in China. Output was 0.2% higher in April from March, the Trade and Industry Ministry said. Analysts had forecast a figure of 0.5%. The ministry said it expects output to fall in May, before rebounding in June. Analysts cited China's slowdown and a rising yen for the expected fall.

Japan's economy downgraded by Fitch on debt concerns
22 May 2012
Japan's credit rating has been downgraded by two levels by rating agency Fitch on concerns about the country's high levels of debt. Fitch cut Japan's rating to A+ from AA and warned that further downgrades were possible. Japan has by far the highest debt to GDP ratio of any major economy, although much of this debt is held by domestic investors. The government has spent huge amounts of money on trying to stimulate growth.

Japan urges citizens to cut down on electricity use
18 May 2012
Japan has urged businesses and households in parts of the country to cut electricity use by up to 15% to avoid possible blackouts. The country is facing power shortages this summer because its 50 nuclear reactors have been taken offline. Before the Fukushima meltdowns, nuclear energy powered up to 30% of the country's electricity. Surveys show that almost all big businesses expect their earnings to be affected, with some preparing to move more manufacturing abroad.

Japan to take control of Tepco in return for bailout
09 May 2012
The Japanese government will take a controlling stake in Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) in return for a one trillion yen ($12.5bn; £7.8bn) taxpayer bailout. Tepco faces huge clean-up and compensation costs from a disaster at one of its power plants after the earthquake and tsunami last year. The nationalization is to avoid a collapse of the company.

Bank of Japan announces fresh stimulus to boost growth
27 Apr 2012
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has increased its stimulus program for the second time in just over two months in a bid boost the country's economic growth. The central bank said it would expand its purchase of Japanese government bonds by 10tn yen ($123bn; £76bn). The move comes as Japan's economy continues to struggle amid a slowdown in key export markets such as the US and eurozone and weak domestic demand.

Unexpected fall in Japanese industrial output
29 Mar 2012
Japan's industrial output unexpectedly fell in February, due to lower overseas demand for cars and electronic goods, official figures have shown. Production last month declined by 1.2% compared with January, said the Trade Ministry. The ministry forecasts a recovery going forward.

Japan left with one nuclear reactor after shutdown
26 Mar 2012
Japan has shut down another nuclear power station, bringing it a step closer to suspending atomic energy, following the Fukushima disaster.  Only one of the 54 nuclear reactors remains in operation, and it is due to be switched off in May. In the meantime, Japan has increased its fossil fuel imports, with electricity companies pressing old power plants into service. But there could still be a shortfall of electricity in the summer. Last year, big companies ran factories at night and at weekends after the government ordered them to cut their electricity consumption by 15%. Manufacturers have also warned that more production may have to be moved abroad if the situation persists, which would damage Japan's economy.

Japan's trade deficit hits record high on fuel imports
20 Feb 2012
Japan's trade deficit surged to a record high in January as a strong yen hurt exports and its nuclear crisis resulted in increased fuel imports. Fuel imports went up because most of its 54 nuclear reactors were shut after the earthquake and tsunami last March. Japan has also been hurt by a slowdown in its key export markets such as the US and the eurozone.

Japan economy contracts amid strong yen and Thai floods
12 Feb 2012
Japan's economy contracted more than expected in the last three months of 2011 as a rising yen and floods in Thailand hurt businesses. Gross domestic product shrunk by 2.3% during the period from a year earlier, much worse than 1.4% contraction that analysts had forecast. Compared with the previous three months, the economy shrank by 0.6%.The numbers are a big blow to Japan's efforts to recover from the earthquake and tsunami last year.

Honda sees sharp drop in profit
31 Jan 2012
Japan's third biggest carmaker, Honda, has announced a 41% drop in quarterly profit, as it continues to feel the impact of Japan's March disasters, the floods in Thailand, and the high yen.

Japan's economy grows 1.5%, rebounding after quake
13 Nov 2011
Japan's economy rebounded in the third quarter, growing for the first time since a deadly earthquake in March. Gross domestic product grew by 1.5% in the three months to the end of September, compared with the previous three months. The gain comes after three quarters of contraction. However, some analysts said the strength of the yen and global economic problems may hurt further recovery. Problems include the strength of the yen, slowing global growth and the impact of the floods in Thailand on the supply chain of Japanese exporters.

Japan economy weaker than estimated in second quarter
09 Sep 2011
Japan's economy contracted more severely in the second quarter than was initially estimated, revised government data has shown. The economy shrank at an annual rate of 2.1% during the period, compared with the 1.3% drop reported previously. The decline came as companies cut back spending due to concerns about a slowing global economy and a rising yen. Japan's economy is currently in recession and has contracted for three quarters. Growth in the country was hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami early this year which caused widespread damage to infrastructure and the supply chain, resulting in many factories suspending or curbing production.

Moody's cuts Japan's debt rating on deficit concerns
23 Aug 2011
Rating agency Moody's has cut Japan's long-term sovereign debt rating, citing concerns about the size of the country's deficit and borrowing levels. The rating was cut to Aa3 from Aa2, though Moody's also said the country's outlook was stable. Japan, the world's third-largest economy, has the highest public-debt level amongst developed economies.

Fukushima plant owner Tepco reports $7.4bn loss
09 Aug 2011
Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the owner of the Fukushima nuclear plant damaged in March's earthquake and tsunami, has reported a quarterly loss of 571.8bn yen ($7.4bn; £4.5bn). The disaster has had a severe impact on local industries, contaminating farm produce including vegetables, dairy products, fish, mushrooms and green tea. Beef shipments were banned after cattle were found to have eaten contaminated rice straw. Tepco may have to pay compensation of up to $130bn over the incident.

Japan government and central bank intervene to cut yen
04 Aug 2011   
The Japanese government and central bank have intervened to weaken the yen to protect economic growth. Japan's economic growth has been stagnating and has been put under increased pressure by the cost of rebuilding following the deadly earthquake and tsunami in March.

Japan's car production plunges due to parts shortages
27 May 2011
Japanese car production plunged in April as manufacturers continued to face a shortfall in parts supply. Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, said its domestic production fell 74.5% compared with the same month last year. Honda's Japanese output plummeted 81%, while Nissan reported a 48.7% decline at its factories in Japan.

Japan debt outlook cut to negative on rebuilding costs
27 Apr 2011
Japan's sovereign rating outlook has been cut to negative by Standard & Poor's (S&P) in the wake of the devastation caused by last month's earthquake and tsunami. The ratings agency said that reconstruction efforts are likely to further increase Japan's debt levels. Japan has the highest public debt among the industrialized countries. The Japanese government has said that it will make all efforts to get the economy back on track as soon as possible.

Japan's government downgrades its outlook for growth
13 Apr 2011
The Japanese government has downgraded its assessment of the economy in the wake of the devastation caused by last month's earthquake and tsunami. It said key areas of the economy would suffer, including industrial production and exports. The decision marks the first time in six months that the government has downgraded its assessment. On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its forecast for Japanese growth.

Bank of Japan warns economy under 'downward pressure'
07 Apr 2011
Japan's economy is "under strong downward pressure" due to the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) says. The bank said that the downward pressure largely stems from lost production and disrupted supply chains. As the full extent of damage caused by the quake and tsunami becomes clear, the bank is likely to issue a further warning of its impact on economic growth.

Bank of Japan injects $76bn into markets as yen rises
17 Mar 2011
The Bank of Japan (BoJ) has pumped 6 trillion yen ($76bn; £47bn) into the country's financial markets in a bid to stabilize them. The BoJ has now injected a total of 55.6tn yen into the markets after last Friday's earthquake and tsunami. The central bank is keen not only to ensure calm in the markets, but also to keep the value of its currency in check. The finance ministers of the G7 nations have called an emergency meeting.

The BOJ injects $43bn to shore up the financial markets
16 Mar 2011
The Bank of Japan has pumped an extra 3.5 trillion yen ($43bn; £27bn) into the financial markets on Wednesday. The injection comes after the central bank announced a cash input of 23tn yen ($284bn) on Monday and Tuesday. The Bank of Japan has been pumping cash into the banking sector to shore up consumer confidence and maintain liquidity.

Radiation fears after Japan blast
14 Mar 2011
Japanese shares have plunged on escalating fears of a radiation leak at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The Nikkei 225 Index shed 14% to 8,281.22 points. It had earlier been trading 6% lower. Stock markets across Asia also fell. "All focus is on the nuclear crisis," said Hideyuki Ishiguro of Okasan Securities in Tokyo. "In the situation where the crisis appears to be worsening, foreign investors, domestic fund operators, are pulling out from Japanese shares," he added.

BOJ pumps $183bn to calm markets as stocks tumble
14 Mar 2011
The Bank of Japan is to inject 15 trillion yen ($183bn; £114bn) into the banking system to stabilize financial markets. The amount is the largest ever in a single operation by the Japanese central bank. Japan is facing upheaval on a huge scale as it grapples with the massive clean-up operation, a potential nuclear meltdown, power shortages and huge disruption to the economy. Japan has the largest debt in the industrialized world and the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami is likely to take that figure higher. The nation's credit rating was recently downgraded on concerns that not enough is being done to address it.

Japan quake: Economy 'to rebound' after short-term pain
14 Mar 2011
Friday's earthquake and tsunami have left parts of Japan's economy "frozen". The country's global car giants are expected to be amongst the worst affected. The world's biggest carmaker, Toyota, have closed all of their plants in the country. Analysts at Nomura expect that loss of production to dent the economy during this quarter and the next. The electronics industry was also expected to be badly hit, with a report by Goldman Sachs saying there would be "extreme damage" across the electronics industry supply chain in the near term. Sony suspended production at eight plants in the affected region and said it was not sure when production would restart.

The Japanese economy, the third largest in the world, shrank at the end of last year and had been expected to return to growth in the second quarter of 2011. But they suggested growth would return in the third quarter. But further down the line, economists said the disaster could boost economic growth. The rebuilding effort will mean a huge boom in construction spending. Shares in many Japanese building companies have already gained sharply in anticipation of the work that will be heading their way.

Katsushika Hokusai’s ”The Great Wave off Kanagawa”

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