Tag Archive for economy

Photo of the week: Japanese 2000 yen note

The Japanese yen has bounced around quite a bit recently. Actually, Japanese companies have been taking a battering, as the US dollar drops in value, and the Euro discovers it’s got nothing propping it up, so the Yen is the next best safe haven if you can’t or for some other reason, won’t get gold. In truth, Japan is deep in debt, and needs customers (the US) to buy. If Americans don’t buy, then the whole country will whither or remain stagnant. So one could say that Japan needs to economise, why print a 2,000yen note, when you could just keep a restricted production run of 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen notes?

Note that “Nippon Ginko” means “Bank of Japan” (the central bank for Japan).

Eco-points scam

The Hatoyama Government has made a very public pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 25%. Ambitious, but possible. However, this was made amid a very serious economic downturn, and still the Japanese economy is fragile, and many tens of thousands factory workers are still unemployed. To maintain the economy, keeping money floating and changing hands, the ordinary people are not being asked to pay out so much. Public education is set to become free (a bill will be submitted later this month to parliament), but two important points are being made public in Japanese media. National highway tolls will be cut to just one-thousand yen per section, and “eco-points” (ie: government cashback offers) for all new “ecologically friendly” televisions and other appliances bought.

In previous holidays, we saw that with a decrease to one-thousand yen highway tolls, that there was a significant increase in traffic. Meeting the 25% carbon reduction appears more difficult to attain. However, can eco-points assist in this? Perhaps not. The offer ends on March 31st, 2010.

Our previous television used about 190 watts per hour, and it was an older, 36″ cathode-ray type. The new “eco-friendly” television, at 40″, bought second hand (ex-shop display) uses 170 watts per hour. Hardly a reduction at all. But we do get twenty-thousand yen back from the government, which should cover the electricity bill for the times when I accidentally leave a 40 watt desk lamp on while watching my environmentally friendly television.

Why offer cheaper highway tolls, cash back on electronic products, and free education? Not really to keep the economy turning (at least artificially), but because there’s an upper house election later this year. But a High Definition LCD TV is so much nicer than the previous cathode ray tube.