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Morning impressions in the land of the rising sun

The theme of SIBOS this year is definitely going to be about
Asia and, specifically, Japan.

I first visited Japan in 1997, when it was at its peak of
global supremacy.

The mood was riding high and everything was glitz, glamour
and gizmos.

It is still that today but the shine is slightly less in
your eyes, as demonstrated by this morning’s Japan Times which leads with the
story: “Declining Japan loses
once-hopeful champions

It also runs a one-page feature on SIBOS in the print
edition, with Yoshiaki Watanabe, Chief Representative of SWIFT in Japan,
saying: “whilst Asia shows a strong presence in the international financial
arena, where should Japan stand?  I want
young businessmen in the financial industry to come listen to seminars and
think about it.”


But what about old men and women for that matter?


Ah, no matter, as mentioned, some of this gets lost in translation
(see my favourite quote from japan at the end of this entry).

With this theme of Japan’s future in mind, the last day of
SIBOS is Japan Day with lots of discussions about the aging population, innovations
in consumer electronics, and pressure to move production out of Japan.

Interestingly the paper then shifts to global news and talks
about Japan’s role with the USA as its chief investor.

Yes, you thought it was China, but Japan now holds $1.2 trillion
in US treasury bills compared to China’s $1.15 trillion, and Japan’s holdings
in the USA are rising whilst China’s is declining. The column makes an
interesting point about which nation is more friendly towards America as well,
although not surprisingly as all the columns come from The Washington Post.

I wish they’d do the same with Europe but, in another column,
I read that Europe is tanking thanks to Google!

“Italian bank analysts combed through years of data and applied
mathematics to try to understand the country’s rising interstate rates.  But what sparked a breakthrough this summer
was a blunter tool: a look at the number of Google searches for phrases such as
‘euro breakup’ and ’end of euro’.  The finding
was stark. Such searches peaked at the same time that the rates on Italian government
bonds were spiking.”

There you go … the madness of crowds.

Talking of the madness of crowds, I’m off to join the 5,000
or so folks walking into the INTEX halls this morning.

Meanwhile, my favourite quote lost in translation, or maybe
not, was posted here last week:

“There is no other city as vulgar
and obscene as Osaka. We should celebrate the image and welcome the development
of casinos and red-light districts to attract people.”

Hashimoto, Mayor of Osaka

OK, off to the opening plenary which is innotribe.

More on this later.




About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here…

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