In January of this year the Japanese government announced a budget of 96.3 trillion yen. If you think that sounds like a lot, you are right. According to today's exchange rate that amounts to a shade over 800 billion US Dollars. (Interesting how, when dealing in terms of government budgets, 2.6 billion dollars is a 'shade'.)
More salient than the amount, though, is the fact that this is the largest budget in Japan's history.
Waseda University Professor of Economics Masazumi Wakatabe explains in this Forbes piece that Japan carries debt totalling 1,269.1 trillion yen. This tells me two things. One, after ten years in Japan there are still surnames I've never heard of. Wakatabe? Is that a typo? And two, Professor Wakatabe (sic), by virtue of his '1,269.1 trillion' remark, shows that he doesn't know the word 'Quadrillion'.
Professor Wakatypo goes on to state (in his only other sentence that doesn't go completely over my head) that "Japanese policymakers, economists, journalists, and the public are worrying about Japan’s fiscal situation. That is one of the major reasons why the consumption tax hike was planned and implemented."
Here are a few:
A double track line? Meaning the first one is a single track line? I knew it. Stay tuned for reports of a pile of trains stuck in Chiang Mai with no way to get back to Bangkok. Those Japanese planners better lay off the sake while they do their little planning thing on that first line. And on the second one too come to think of it. I've barely had any sake so far this morning and I'm already having trouble with the pronunciation of those Thai cities. The Japanese engineers start slurring those names and that double track is going to run like a squirrel trying to cross a busy street.
Then again our crew may already be too far sauced. The Bang-Post also states that, in planning this 670-kilometer catastrophe-in-the-making, "Japan would include its experience planning a Singapore-Malaysia railway project in its study on the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route, Mr Arkhom said. The Singapore-Malaysia project last week was postponed indefinitely beyond its 2020 completion date."
Great. Japan is bringing its experience in not completing projects on time - in fact, leaving them to wallow indefinitely - to their train show in Thailand. This should all turn out real well.
Now about this Tokyo Report in The Diplomat: At the summit meeting between the two countries' leaders (not really a summit so much as a date), Japan and India seemed bent on hooking up on a few fronts, two of them being more high-speed trains and - no I am not making this up - nuclear power facilities. This sounds like another solid plan. The holy sewage from the Ganges should perform miraculously as emergency coolant.
Across the Bay of Bengal waters in Sri Lanka "Tokyo will finance a new passenger terminal at Colombo’s international airport by means of a $330 million development loan." That equals the tax increase on the sale of approximately fourteen billion packs of Pokemon playing cards. Prime Time Abe hopes of course for a solid return on his investments, further increasing revenue and returning Japan to fiscal robustness.
As of now Japan has no stake in this SEZ. But that didn't stop P-Maybe from going down to Myanmar for a visit.
That he found the place shows just how determined he is to spread his newfound tax revenue around.
I wonder if he knows where Fukushima is.