Re: A news item and subject which I just want to check out (68)  November 18, 2022

 It is a season when the cold winter wind has blown. The coronavirus is gaining momentum persistently, and it is becoming a situation which is the so-called eighth wave. A cause for concern why the infection will expand in the world again is 2022 FIFA world cup held in Qatar from November 20 to December 18, because exchange of spectators from around the world will become active. And I heard from my friend who returned from the United States the other day that he did not come across persons wearing masks there, but the United States welcomes Thanksgiving Day when human exchange rises the most throughout the year, and it is November 24 this year. According to the past records, the infection expands at this time of year. And in addition to the coronavirus, special attention to the flu is also required.

■■I had thoughts about various news items and subjects this week, too.
■A missile made in Russia struck within the territory of Poland:
When I heard the news that two people who were hit died on November 15, I felt a chill go down my spine. Because looking back the past history, the war began with a single gunshot or torpedo.
For example, ① The assassination incident of the prince and princess in Austria occurred on June 28, 1914 became the spark for World WarⅠ A small collision occurred at Lugou Bridge in the suburbs of Beijing on July 7, 1937 led to the Japanese-Chinese War ③ Due to the incident that North Vietnam Army seemed to launch two torpedoes at the U.S. Navy destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam in August 1964, the United States intervened in the Vietnam War in earnest and started the bombing of North Vietnam.
In this way, the war used to begin without a declaration of war before we knew which one was the one that set it up. Therefore, we should not be optimistic about tensions over the Taiwan Strait and the North Korea problem.
Regarding this incident, President Zelenskyy in Ukraine announced immediately that he concluded it was done by barbarism in Russia. In this background, he feels that the war has been continuing for nine months and the West is tired of helping, and then it seems that he wants to link the striking to NATO intervention or further military aid. On the other hand, the West including the United States has a feeling that they will manage to avoid military intervention. Russia that does not admit fault all the time is supposed to avoid NATO Army turning into enemies at this stage, too. However, it may be true that in both Russia and Ukraine there is a group which hopes for war expansion and we don’t know what it is going to do. In that sense, it is not too much to say that we are on the edge of World WarⅢ and it is a very worrying situation.

■The world’s population became 8 billion:
According to the United Nations, the world’s population which was about 2.5 billion in 1950 became 4 billion in the 1970s and 7 billion in 2011, and it seems that it has finally reached 8 billion on the 15 th of this month. Among them, Asian region is about 4.4 billion (55%) and two countries of China and India are about 2.8 billion (35%). India is expected to become the most in the world ahead of China next year. Incidentally, it is said that the world’s population will reach 10 billion in 2050.
Under these global circumstances, according to the estimation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications as of October 1, 2021, the population of Japan is 125.5 million decreased 644 thousand from the previous year, and decreasing for 11 consecutive years. As it is, it is projected that it will break below 100 million by the middle of the century.

■The United States midterm elections:
With no need to wait for the final result, the Democratic Party won the Senate and the Republican Party won the House of Representatives. According to advance forecast, it was reported that the Republican Party would win both the Senate and the House of Representatives. But that was not really the case, and it seems to me that U.S. people’s sense of balance against democracy has been displayed. In ordinary situation, former president Trump scheduled to declare both victory of the midterm elections and re-run for 2024 presidential election, but I somehow felt a sense of frustration in his speech. Among the Republican Party, there are some members who are waiting for an opportunity to run while staring at the situation, and tough outlook for Mr. Trump is expected.

■The world economic outlook for next year:
It is said that the economy is out of “mind”, but at present unfortunately we can’t find any bright material.
Globally it is pointed out that there is inflation spurt by the surge in resource and grain prices and interest rate rise, prolonged Russian invasion to Ukraine and a setback of globalization, stagnation of European and Chinese economy (continuing zero-Covid policy in China), debt expansion of developing countries, and so on. In the United States, high-tech companies (GAFAM) driving its economy so far are carrying out massive personnel cut in a body because of reaction to rapid growth.
The view that the American economy will slow down due to interest rate hikes from now on to next year is expanding. According to a rule of thumb, it is said that after interest rate rise peaks and starts to decline, the economy will start to rise 11 months later. Then the economy will turn around after the second quarter of the year after next. It seems to me that this sort of thing will affect the exchange rate of the yen.

≪P.S.≫ I go to Tokyo once or twice a month, and the number of foreign visitors to Japan has been visibly increasing recently. No wonder, due to not only the weak yen but also the effect that national border measures have been relaxed in earnest in October, foreign visitors to Japan were 498 thousand, and rapidly increased 2.4 times compared to the previous month and 22.5 times compared to the same month last year. But compared to 2019 before the occurrence of the coronavirus, the number still remains at the level of 20%. However, labor shortages have become apparent at once. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the ratio of job openings to job applicants (including part-time workers) related to jobs such as “customer service” in September was 2.88 times and significantly exceeded jobs in total (1.20 times). And both pay per hour of temporary workers and minimum wage are rising.  


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