Welcome to JASGP’s weekly news round-up. We’re trying something a little different this week where we’ll be running through major (and minor) events in a more narrative structure. Click the links if you want to read the full stories.
We’ll be covering some serious stories first and wrapping up with a couple interesting tidbits of a more amusing nature. Forewarning: If you’re adverse to bad news or bored by economics or politics, you may want to skip down to the “On the Lighter Side” section. This week’s news hits some pretty low lows.
The big news out of Japan this week almost all ties into the grim third quarter economic reports. Between July and September, Japan’s economy shrank at an annualized rate of 3.5%, its worst performance since the 3/11/11 earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. With sharp declines in exports, consumption, and business investment, fears of a recession are already headline news.
One of the contributing factors to the worsening economic conditions is the fallout over the disputed Senkaku (Daioyu) islands. Following the violent outbursts over ownership of the uninhabited islands, Japanese investment in China has dropped and threatens to be a continuing trend. The dispute has also led Japan to look to divisify its sources of rare earth metals with hopes of getting more than half of it’s supply outside of China by next year.
The ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is close to a deal on legislation on deficit bonds with its two main opposition parties. With pressure building on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to hold an election “soon” as he promised in August, the DPJ is hoping that their support for the Trans Pacific Partnership will help them hold onto power. The US led agreement is forcefully opposed by Japanese farmers who fear that a flood of cheap imports will destroy their small-scale operations.
On the Lighter Side…
Pepsi Japan is planning a launch of Pepsi Special which will contain a fat-blocking fiber called dexatrin. Details on the release are still forthcoming, but don’t bother looking for the product in the US as the FDA prohibits sodas from being fortified with nutrients.
Hello Kitty is also in the news with a line-up of characters to supplement her superhero identity. After unveiling Hello Kitty’s Ichigoman identity last year, she’s going to be joined by Darkgrapeman and Honeymomo. Words really can’t do the images justice.