Japan is about to dive off its own version of the fiscal cliff

If you thought the US’s fiscal cliff—that combination of rising taxes and slashed fiscal spending that scared investors and shook the economy in December 2012—was bad, have a gander at what Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, faces. He entered the job with a mandate to grow the economy and escape deflation. But before Abe took over, the government passed a tax hike on consumption to show that the Japanese government is serious about shrinking its ¥1 quadrillion ($10.3 trillion) in public debt. Continue reading

S. Pacific ‘Chinese ports’ cause worry / Japan, U.S., Australia wary of ‘footholds’

NUKU’ALOFA—Japanese, U.S. and Australian defense authorities are increasingly wary over China’s moves to develop port facilities in island countries in the Pacific Ocean amid concern that those facilities could become Chinese Navy footholds in the future. Continue reading