Terrie's Take 593 -- Economics of Not Having a Korean War, e-biz news from Japan
terrie at mailman.japaninc.com
terrie at mailman.japaninc.com
Sun Dec 5 22:11:34 JST 2010
* * * * * * * * * T E R R I E 'S T A K E * * * * * * *
A weekly roundup of news & information from Terrie Lloyd.
General Edition Sunday, December 05, 2010, Issue No. 593
- What's New
- Short Takes
- Candidate Roundup/Vacancies
- Upcoming Events
- News Credits
SUBSCRIBE to, UNSUBSCRIBE from Terrie's Take at:
----------------- PBXL WILL BUY YOUR PBX ------------------
Is your PBX vendor requiring you to purchase a new PBX
because THE VENDOR decided would not support YOU, THE
CUSTOMER, any more?
PBXL has the solution for you! For any new CUSTOMER, PBXL
will purchase and dispose of your old, unsupported PBX and
provide you with state of the art Cisco telephony in both
cloud and managed services offerings.
Give us a call at 03-4550-2557, shoot us an email at
terriestake at pbxl.jp or visit
Offer expires 15 Dec 2010.
------------ PBXL is BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS --------------
+++ WHAT'S NEW
On November 24th, the Nikkei dropped 170 points when the
markets opened, mostly because of the shocking news that
North Korea had just bombarded South Korea's Yeonpyeong
Island. The island, home to 1,700 civilians and a South
Korean military base, was caught completely by surprise.
Four people were killed, 18 injured, and once again the
region was reminded just how irrational and dangerous the
North Korean state can be.
The Nikkei quickly recovered later in the day, and South
Korea to its credit chose not to retaliate other than
lobbing a few shells of its own at the North Korean coast
line, where the North Korea batteries are. The then-Defense
Minister, Kim Tae-young, defended his nation's low-level
of response by saying that the government feared overt
retaliation might start an all-out war. Actually it also
came out later that many of the South Korean shells fired
in return in any case landed in the sea due the fact that
the artillery team on the island needs training.
The subsequent political fall-out of the weak response to
the North's second major attack in just a few months (the
first being the sinking of the 1,200-ton corvette, the
Cheonan not far from Yeonpyeong Island) has polarized the
South Korean parliament and has led to the rise of the
hawks. Most notable is the new Defense Minister, Kim
Kwan-jin, who announced today that if North Korea attacks
again, something that the South Korean intelligence agency
expects, then South Korea will use fighter jets to strike
And not long after that we might expect a war to start
right on Japan's doorstep.
Analysts say that Seoul would come off very badly in the
event of a war, since the capital is easily within the
reach of almost 10,000 artillery pieces and tanks in the
North, many of which are hidden in caves or well-built
bunkers. Supplementing the artillery and armor are at
least 5,200 240mm multiple rocket launchers which have a
range of 60km and which can fire up to 1 rocket a minute
each. Then of course there are the rogue nation's low-grade
but nonetheless fearful nukes.
--------------- HSBC Premier Mortgage Loans ---------------
Purchase Residential Property in Japan
HSBC Premier has launched a new mortgage offering for
purchasing property in Japan. The mortgage is available for
Alien Registration card holders. Permanent residency is not
required. Competitive daily floating rates and fixed rates
are available. English language service is available
throughout the mortgage process.
Home and investment mortgages available.
The product outline is available in branches and on our
For general information about HSBC Premier in Japan,
please visit www.hsbcpremier.jp and click on 'English'.
For more information on HSBC Premier Mortgages/general HSBC
Premier services: Call 0120-89-2028 (24hours/365days, toll
Email: mortgage at hsbc.co.jp
What this incident has done is to reinforce to South Korea
and Japan just who their friends are, and just how much
they need each other and the USA. Starting with the USA,
both South Korea and Japan have recently embarked on
separate military exercises designed to send a message to
both North Korea and China that the recent events cannot be
allowed to continue.
For the first time we can remember, we received a press
release from the US military, announcing the commencement
of the "Keen Sword 2010" military exercise on Friday
December 3rd. Keen Sword brings together 34,000 Japanese
troops and 10,000 US troops, 430 aircraft, 60 ships, and
other air, land, and sea operations. Significantly, a
number of South Korean officers have been invited to
participate as observers, the first such time this has
North Korea should not underestimate the likelihood of
South Korea and Japan creating closer military ties.
We started this commentary by observing the impact of the
bombardment on the Nikkei Index -- there was almost none.
Wars in one's own backyard are fearful, but obviously so
far investors don't believe that North Korea is crazy
enough to go all the way. Some analysts in Seoul say that
the North shouldn't be viewed as rational, since its
citizens are reared to only respect absolute power --
even above the value of human life itself. So if a war
meant that many in the country would have to be
sacrificed, then much the same as islamists on a jihad,
the leadership and even the people themselves may see the
sacrifice as being acceptable.
Other analysts, however, insist that North Korea has only
focused on lightweight targets and is intentionally
ratcheting up the tension without going all the way. This
isn't an unreasonable assessment, and would repeat a
pattern established over previous years, when the North
successfully pushed foreign nations to supply it with fuel,
food, and other necessities in order to back down from
nuclear development. Of course they were proven to be
total liars, and now have more nuclear capability than
The best scenario would be if the North backed off, perhaps
in return for some aid, and that over the next few years,
it started to come apart politically. This is quite
possible as Kim Jong-Il hands over the reins to his rather
inexperienced son Kim Jong-Un. According to analysts, the
very fact that Jong-Il seems to need these minor military
"victories" for his son speaks to the fact that the younger
Kim's anointment is not without its critics.
Wikileaks has helped introduce a new dynamic into the
discussion, when it was revealed that younger Chinese
leaders had told the US that they would not be opposed to
a reunification of the two Koreas, under leadership of the
South. This would remove a big headache for China, as they
continually have to defend the rogue state, but on the
other hand, it would also remove a convenient thorn with
which to needle Japan -- which is probably why they haven't
encouraged removal of the Kim regime up until now.
If there was a reunification, and hopefully a peaceful one,
then that would spell a huge business opportunity to bring
the North up to modern levels in terms of infrastructure,
education, finance, and pretty much everything else. There
is an interesting analysis by Bloomberg's William Pesek, on
what reunification might actually cost.
You can get it here: http://bit.ly/eXaLnd.
In a nutshell, Pesek quotes a think tank in Washington that
reckons reunification would cost between US$2trn and
US$5trn over a period of 30 years. In South Korea the
estimate is a lot lower, at around US$322bn-US$2.1trn, but
as Pesek points out, the German reunification cost US$2trn
and is still counting -- and it was extremely well managed
between two desirous partners. Yes, East Germany was in
bad shape, but still infinitely better than North Korea is
today. Also, the East Germans may have been repressed and
socialist but they weren't crazy. In North Korea's case there
will be a much greater need to deprogram its citizens and
show them how a modern, free society should work.
If reunifying the North and South did cost US$5trn, this
is much more than South Korea with its US$833bn economy
could handle alone. Indeed, it would require the mother of
all bail-outs from other nations of the world. Pesek
points out that the number is twice China's entire foreign
currency reserves, six times more than Obama's US$787bn
fiscal stimulus last year, and 45 times what the EU is
spending to bail-out Ireland at the moment.
In other words, finding that kind of money might be very
difficult. Indeed, it might be sufficiently huge that it
provides incentive for the world to NOT seek reunification,
but instead leave North Korea in its deep, dark hole,
contained by a combination of military threats and
appeasement. This would certainly be the cheapest way out
for South Korea, although not spiritually pleasing.
If threats and appeasement are the name of the game, then
you can start buying stocks in military hardware companies
selling to both South Korea and Japan, because both of
these countries are going to become a lot more hawkish
over the next few months.
...The information janitors/
+++ SHORT TAKES
We recommend products and services that you might find
interesting or useful while living in Japan.
=> 1. HEART AND ARTERY HEALTH -- NATTOKINASE
Nattokinase is an enzyme derived from natto, that smelly
fermented soybean concoction that you either love or hate
(we love it). Nutritionally, there is plenty to like about
natto. firstly, nattokinase reduces blood pressure as well
as helping to recondition hardened and narrowed arteries
(heart attacks and strokes, anyone?). It also helps
dissolve fibrin and thus clotted blood, improving
circulation. Other benefits include augmenting bone
density, reducing exercise-induced joint pain, and even
alleviating migraine headaches.
* iherb.com referral code -- LOY499
* Pays us a small commission at no extra cost to you.
=> 2. ROMANTIC DINNER FOR TWO PRIZE in this week's MMC
Becoming a Metropolis Member is as simple as going to the
website and signing up for the weekly newsletter. No other
obligations required. http://blogs.metropolis.co.jp/club/
Next week's prize in the Metropolis Members Club is a
romantic dinner for two at the wonderful Australian-Asian
148 Hiroo restaurant, courtesy, of course, of 148 Hiroo.
This week's prize was a return air ticket to Taipei,
courtesy of your friendliest ISP and phone card provider in
town, JENET Corporation. Congratulations to Jacqueline
Paisner for her win.
* 35 prizes scheduled in the next 35 weeks.
* No charge to enter.
* Simply receive the MMC newsletter to stay in the draw.
--------- BIOS - Bilingual IT Systems and Support ---------
BiOS full-service IT solutions has a new service.
Working with our fully licenced temporary dispatch group,
we are now able to provide Japan in-country workers
for companies not yet registered in Japan.
This innovative service is available for companies needing
to hire staff for Japanese customers, but who are unable
to commit to the expense and infrastructure of maintaining
an office in Japan. We take care of all aspects of the
employment, contracting, and dispatch -- including
management of the employee.
For more information on this and other SI and IT services,
in English or Japanese:
Phone: 03-5773-3090, Email: solutions at biosjp.com
- Bird flu outbreak from wild bird infection?
- Government to start selling rental properties
- Only 9.2% of companies forecast improvement in 2011
- Zynga to put FarmVille game on Mixi
- Is USA headed for a lost decade like Japan?
-> Bird flu outbreak from wild bird infection?
We're going to have a lot more problems with N5N1 bird flu
if suspicions are correct that the latest outbreak of avian
influenza at a poultry farm in Yasugi, Shimane-ken, are
true. Apparently a "small, wild bird" was seen inside the
protective netting of the poultry farm prior to the virus
outbreak. Given that a wild duck in Hokkaido in October was
discovered to have the H5N1 virus in its droppings, this
means that any access to wild birds in the future could
decimate the Japanese poultry industry. ***Ed: Unless
authorities want to kill off all wild birds around poultry
farms, it seems obvious to us that the current factory
farming methods of raising poultry are rendering modern-day
birds much more susceptible to disease. Of course the
cat is out of the bag in terms of H5N1, so maybe poultry
will be one form of protein to disappear from the menu?**
(Source: TT commentary from japantimes.co.jp, Dec 4,
-> Government to start selling rental properties
In a prelude of bigger things to come, the Land Ministry's
rental agency to the poor will start selling off properties
that are fetching high-end rents [Ed: which makes you
wonder why they have those properties in the first place.].
Apparently 26,000 properties out of the Urban Renaissance
Agency's (URA) 760,000 properties are rented out for
JPY150,000/month or more. Indeed, about 6,000 fetch more
than JPY200,000/month. The Land Ministry will start selling
off the properties next year. ***Ed: This would explain why
the URA is starting to get aggressive with higher-end
tenants not paying their rents on time. Also, given that
the URA's rents are far below market rates, there will be
more than a few upset tenants over the coming months...**
(Source: TT commentary from e.nikkei.com, Dec 5, 2010)
-> Only 9.2% of companies forecast improvement in 2011
While a trading company organization called the Japan
Foreign Trade Council predicts that Japan's trade surplus
will swell by 21% in FY2011 to JPY9.77trn, clearly the
export riches are limited to just a few companies. For a
more accurate picture of the pessimism pervading corporate
Japan, a Teikoku Databank survey has found that in fact
only 9.2% of companies think that they will do better in
2011. The survey of almost 23,000 companies found that
33.9% said business will worsen, and 34.5% said it will
stay flat. ***Ed: For most the cause was the high yen.**
(Source: TT commentary from e.nikkei.co.jp, Dec 3, 2010)
-> Zynga to put FarmVille game on Mixi
Now here is something interesting... Zynga Game Network,
the big US online games operator that took over Unoh here
in Japan several months back, has said that it will
transplant its highly popular FarmVille game from Facebook
in the US, to Mixi here in Japan. This must be quite
irking for Facebook, which is still in stealth mode here
in Japan but will no doubt be ramping up its operations in
competition to Mixi next year. FarmVille has 50m users
abroad, so it will be interesting to see how it is received
here in Japan. Mixi has 14.5m subscribers. (Source: TT
commentary from bloomberg.com, Dec 1, 2010)
-> Is USA headed for a lost decade like Japan?
We came across this very interesting report on financial
site Benzinga.com, which provides a comparison of how
similar the financial meltdown and subsequent deflation in
Japan appears to be to the current US financial crisis. The
writer believes that the US is destined to have similar or
even worse deflation -- particularly for property and
stocks -- to that experienced in Japan since the early
1990's. He reckons that the bear market will probably last
for years. ***Ed: Time to rethink where you're investing
your money right now?** (Source: TT commentary from
benzinga.com, Dec 4, 2010)
NOTE: Broken links
Many online news sources remove their articles after just a
few days of posting them, thus breaking our links -- we
apologize for the inconvenience.
-------- Essential Business Reference in English ----------
If you're a manager or director of a company in Japan, you
need these references with detailed explanations in
- Japan Staff Employment Law Guide - 1st Edition
Published June, 2010 (JPY 21,000)
- Japan Master Tax Guide 2010/11
Published July, 2010 (JPY 18,375)
- Japan Corporation Law Guide - 2nd Edition
Published November, 2010 (JPY 22,050)
*Above prices include tax
* As a limited time offer for readers of this newsletter,
orders received by November 30 will earn discounts:
1 title: 5% off, more than 2 titles: 10% off.
For more details: support at cch.co.jp, call 03-6234-3980.
+++ CANDIDATE ROUND UP/VACANCIES
=> BiOS, a Division of the LINC Media group, is actively
marketing the following positions for customers setting up
or expanding in Japan, as well as other employers of
** HIGHLIGHTED POSITION(S)
BiOS is currently looking for a team lead for the Algo and
Analytics Team within a leading investment bank, working
in either Tokyo or Hong Kong, to provide leadership and
direction in supporting the firm’s auto trading framework
and analytics application, and also work closely with quant
teams to bring new products and services to market, and to
constantly evolve the bank’s offerings. Other duties for
this position include working with key business figures and
stake holders on prioritization, formulating new
initiatives in line with strategic objectives and budget in
partnership with the business, and participation in the
full project life cycle including technical analysis &
design, data analysis & mapping, development and testing.
The ideal candidate is required to have deep experience in
mission critical, multi-threaded application development in
C++ and Java, a thorough understanding of platform and
network aspects, and knowledge of real time design aspects.
As well as this you will be an experienced communicator,
comfortable with dealing with high level decision makers
and demanding stake holders on a daily basis.
Remuneration is negotiable depending on your experience and
** POSITIONS VACANT
- Network Engineer, Okinawa, JPY5m – JPY7m
- Technical Support Analyst, SI'er JPY5m – JPY8m
- Snr Engineer, BiOS, JPY5m – JPY7m
- Web Director, online shopping, JPY10m – JPY15m
- IT Manager, IT Security Co., JPY8m – JPY10m
Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:
stuart.gibson at biosjp.com
** BiOS Job Mail
Every 2 weeks BiOS sends out a regular communication to its
job seeking candidates, called BiOS Job Mail. Every edition
carries a list of BiOS's current and most up-to-date
vacancies, with each entry featuring a short job
description and a direct link to the main entry on the BiOS
home page. Regardless of whether you are unemployed and
searching, thinking about a career change, or just curious
to know if there is something out there that might suit you
better, the BiOS Job Mail newsletter is an easy and
convenient way for you to stay informed. If you would like
to register for the BiOS Job Mail, or to find out more,
please email stuart.gibson at biosjp.com.
Interested individuals may e-mail resumes to:
stuart.gibson at biosjp.com
+++ UPCOMING EVENTS/ANNOUNCEMENTS
----------- Warcraft Enthusiasts and Charity! -------------
On Saturday December 11th , at Role & Roll in Akihabara, a
group of gamers will be gathering to play World of Warcraft
Trading Card Game in a globally sponsored event called
'Chase the Can'.
Competitors will bring cans of food, which will act as
payment for the event and will be used during the fun and
fights, and all of which will be given to Second Harvest
Charity at the end of the event.
Anyone wishing to attend and join in the fun, wanting to
see nerds in action, or simply wishing to donate to a great
cause, please visit World of Warcraft in Japan facebook
page for more information.
or contact Gary Stevenson: gary at essintl.com.
In this section we run comments and corrections submitted
by readers. We encourage you to spot our mistakes and
amplify our points, by email, to editors at terrie.com.
*** No comments or feedback this week.
SUBSCRIBERS: 8,779 members as of December 05, 2010
(We purge our list regularly.)
+++ ABOUT US
Written by: Terrie Lloyd (terrie.lloyd at japaninc.com)
HELP: E-mail Terrie-request at mailman.japaninc.com
with the word 'help' in the subject or body (don't include
the quotes), and you will get back a message with
Send letters (Feedback, Inquiries & Information) to the
editor to terrie.lloyd at japaninc.com.
For more information on advertising in this newsletter,
Contact ads at japaninc.com.
Get Terrie's Take by giving your name and email address at
http://www.japaninc.com/newsletters/free_sign_up, or go
straight to Mailman at:
Copyright 2010 Japan Inc. Communications Inc.
----------------- Japan Inc opens up Japan ----------------
J at pan Inc is Japan's only independently published English-
language business website. Authoritatively chronicling
online the business trends in Japan, each posting brings
you in-depth analysis of business, people and technology in
the world's second largest economy.
Visit www.japaninc.com for the best business insight on
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Terrie