Japan has the same Prime Minister!
That is big news after having 5 different ones the past 4 years. With the last PM lasting just 9 months, word was Kan was going to challenge the record for shortest term after being forced into this election just 3 months after being elected the first time. When we talked about this yesterday, the race was considered “too close to call” but the incumbent Mr. Kan ended up winning 60% of the vote – kind of makes you wonder how far off our own pollsters are with their early election calls…
Now the stage is set for the Oct 4th meeting of the BOJ, where action must be taken to get the Yen under control. Ozawa was clearly better for the Dollar, as he favored strong intervention to bring the Yen down including a program of both QE and stimulus and they Yen blasted to 15-year highs on the result of this election, now at just 83 Yen to the Dollar, down from 120 in 2007 (30%) with a 15% move up since May. This is TERRIBLE for Japanese exporters, who get paid relatively less for everything they sell but it’s good news for commodity pushers, who get paid in devalued Dollars.
To what extent is Japan’s deflation simply a function of their currency appreciating an average of 10% a year? If their deflation rate is 2% then doesn’t that mean it’s really an 8% INflation rate masked by a too-strong currency? Perhaps that’s why the people of Japan, who get paid in Yen and shop with Yen, strongly preferred Kan, who was only really opposed, in the end, by Parliament, where he won 206 to 200 – the Japanese version of the US Senate. This means that, like Obama, it will be very difficult for Kan to get anything done despite his popular support and, also like our own Senate: “Having witnessed the shaky ground he stands on, opposition parties are licking their chops to begin their attacks on Mr. Kan,” said Koichi Nakano of Sophia University.
Doesn’t it make you feel good to know that, despite our cultural differences, politicians around the World are all the same – just a bunch of power-hungry, vindictive bastards who put their own interests ahead of the people who they are supposed to represent? Like Obama, Kan still faces difficulties navigating what the Japanese call a “twisted parliament,” where the DPJ has a minority in the upper house, following a drubbing—under his leadership—in July…
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