Japan

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Background Information
Japan, otherwise known as, The Land of Rising Sun, is located in Eastern Asia and is slightly smaller than California. With a population of 127,368,088 the majority of the population are Japanese. The people are 98.5% Japanese, .5% Korean, .4% Chinese, and .6% other. The average age of the people is 45.4 years, 0-14 years makes up 13.5% of the population, 62.6% 15-64, and 23.9% other. Much of the population practice both Shintoism and Buddhism religions, while about 9% follow other religions. Japan still has an emperor as a symbol of national unity, and there are also elected politicians that have decision-making power. After experiencing the strongest earthquake in March 2011, Japan’s economy was crippled. The electricity is still tight because the nuclear plants were shut down after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami. There were $235-$310 billion in damages and the GDP declined by .5%. The Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda has proposed to open service and agricultural service sectors to greater foreign competition and to boost exports by joining US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership. The United States has urged Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the last two years. In an effort to regain public support the Prime Minister will likely decide to join the pact. Farmers in Japan oppose joining the pact, but it is supported by consumers and industry groups. If Japan joins the free trade pact, immediately after Parliament would be dissolved for national elections (www.post-gazette.com). The major cities and populations are Tokyo 35.507 million, Osaka-Kobe 11.325 million, Nagoya 3.257 million, Fukuoka-Kitakyushu 2.809 million, and Sapporo 2.673 million. The ports are located in Chiba, Kawasaki, Kobe, Mizushima, Moji, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Tomakomai, and Yokohmam. There are over 175 airports throughout Japan (www.cia.gov). Japan’s major agriculture products are rice, sugar beets, vegetables, fruit, pork, poultry, dairy products, eggs, and fish. Japan has the largest fishing fleets that makes up 15% of the World’s global catch. Japan’s major industries are motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, and chemicals.

The Yen
After the earthquake and tsunami the yen strengthened. This may seem backwards because of all the expenses Japan had to cover because of the damage. This particular earthquake and tsunami have been recorded as the most costliest natural disaster ever. After the storm the yen reached a post World War II high of 76 yen to the dollar. There are a few reasons why the yen may have strengthened. There was thought to be a dramatic increase in the buying of Japanese equities because bargain hunters were looking for any value in the Japanese market. Many didn’t think that the disaster would effect the value of the stocks for long, and they return to market value shortly after. Another reason was that the market felt that the Japanese government might have had to liquidate part of their large non-yen denominated investment to fund relief. The Japanese government is the second largest foreign owner of United States Treasuries, with $886 billion, and the market felt that they might have to liquidate part of this. The Japanese government became concerned with how strong the yen was getting because the economy is based on exports and currency rate fluctuations. The change in the yen has also affected other countries because Japanese businesses don’t need as many exports from other countries. Thailand lost at least $1 billion in exports to Japan because of this. The automotive industry was the most affected by the strengthening of the yen. Japan has also increased imports of fossil fuels to make up for lost power output (www.investopedia.com).

Labor Service
Due to the earthquake and tsunami, Japan has a long road to economic and employment recovery. The labor...
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