Japan Real Time Charts and Data

Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Japan related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Japan data charts with short updates on a Storify dedicated page Is Japan Once More Back in Deflation?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Bernanke Choppers make an appearance...in Japan

The facetious title of this piece refers of course to US Federal Reserve chairman Benjamin Bernanke's well known reference to dropping bundles of cash from helicopters as a last resort to fight deflation.

Edward Hugh noted in the previous post here that "The government...have begun distributing 12,000 yen ($125) to each resident in March to encourage spending." I've found a few reactions to this monetary action by the Japanese authorities:

How to Claim your 12,000 yen and Highway Holiday Discount

12,000 yen cash handout - vast majority would rather see it spent elsewhere...WhatJapanThinks.com

Paul Krugman visits Japan...Japan Economy News

Japan clears cash hand-out bill...BBC

Mr. Aso's Cynical 'Stimulus'...Far Eastern Economic Review

Such a measly sum(per individual) seems to me to be merely a token gesture. Of course, this seems to be what Bernanke in the US has been threatening for a while; to simply print cash and hand it out to the citizenry. The Japanese action is certainly not of the scale one might imagine when thinking of the Bernanke scenario. For that reason, it seems likely to be a non-event as far as the soundness of the yen as a currency is concerned.

But given the length of time that Japan's monetary authorities have been using all the tools at their disposal to bring the country out of near deflation/outright deflation, one has to wonder whether the yen will be unmasked as having been debased to an extreme degree.