24 Aug 2014

Photos from our London/Cambridge trip

Photos from our London/Cambridge/(Stonehenge) trip with our family members who came all over from Tokyo and Hiroshima, Japan.

Stonehenge in the rain
A Road To The Buckingham Palace, London.
A London view from London Bus.
The Tower Bridge seen from its beneath.
The Tower Bridge viewed from Thames River Cruise, London.
BBC Proms at the beautiful Royal Albert Hall, London.
The British Museum and the national flag.
The colour-changing wall at St John's College, Cambridge
The King's Chapel, Cambridge, seen while punting and later auto-awesomed by Google.
The inside of the Bridge of Sighs, St John's College, Cambridge
Pipe Organ in the King's College Chapel, Cambridge.
The Cam River view from a room in Hilton Doubletree Cambridge.
Speedy's, London, a famous cafe for Sherlock fans.
The main building of the University College London.

9 Aug 2014

Cambridge Summer School 2014: Science II and Interdisciplinary III

I have been enjoying the International Summer Schools (Science II and Interdisciplinary III) at the University of Cambridge. The best course was an introduction to cryptography, taught by the guy who did podcasting Quite Easily Done.
The Enigma , a famous ciphering machine used in WWII by Germany and deciphered by Alan Turing etc.
There are quite a few virtual Enigma online: this is good to understand the inside mechanism.
Some other photos on beautiful sunny days in Cambridge.

A beautiful summer day at the Newman College's Garden 
The Old Lab for female scientist in the past days, Newman College
The Fen on a sunny day
Cambridge cows taking a rest under a tree
MAA Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

8 Aug 2014

Will the current deficit become structural in Japan?

The trend of Japan's negative current account, as recorded in the first half of 2014 for the first time since 1980s, seems worsening and it will be becoming quite possible to demonstrate annual current deficit in 2014, or a few years later maybe. So my answer to the title question is, within a few years, definitely yes.

Trading Balance in 2013 showed Food (JPY -6 trillion), Raw materials (-4), and Mineral fuels (-25) are the sources of the trade deficit; and the import of Electric machinery increased fur more than the once strong export of that. These trends won't change drastically for coming years unless all the nuclear power plant reboot, which is quite unrealistic if you see the current slow debate on the new regulations.
Trading Balance in 2013 by principal commodity (In JPY Million)

To sum up, the increase of imported goods and services have been dragging down the Japanese economy by more than 1 p.p. in Q1 2014, according to the latest OECD statistics. Some would say that this should not be necessarily the negative sign for Japan, since the Japanese manufacturers have been applying to the model of producing abroad and marketing abroad, instead of the conventional model of producing domestically and marketing abroad. Yet, the current deficit suggests the income surplus from such out-out transactions are not sufficient for making up the trade deficit by importing basic goods and decreasing exports from Japan.

And in case of the structural current deficit, the only way to finance the government piling its debt more than JPY 1K trillion is to ask foreign players to buy the JGB more. Would it really be manageable by them?

Ministry of Finance, Japan
Japan logs largest six-month current account deficit ever | The Japan Times: