Re: A news item and subject which I just want to check out (102) August 4, 2023

 July went by in the blink of an eye. According to observation data of the Japan Meteorological Agency, it became clear that the average temperature in July was the highest on record in Japan. It is said that the reasons are global warming and strengthening of the high pressure over the Pacific Ocean in late July. The number of people transported to emergency rooms for heat stroke has increased significantly, and according to preliminary figures of Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the number of people transported in Japan reached to 33 thousand in 4 weeks from July 3 to 30. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, it is predicted that “August will be the hottest in Japan and this year will be hotter than usual”.
Next, Japan was once said to be a fisheries powerhouse, but fisheries and aquaculture production, total of natural caught and farm raised, decreases by a third in 2021 from 12.82 million tons in 1984. In particular, the decrease of Pacific saury and Japanese common squid is striking. The catch of Pacific saury had been stable at 300 thousand tons since the 1990s, but decreased from 2010 and hit a record low of 18 thousand tons last year. The seafood consumption per person is also decreasing nearly half in the latest 2021 from 2001 the largest. When I was young, Pacific saury was thicker and oily. I grilled with a portable clay cooking stove and ate almost every day during the season. It is a nostalgic memory now. And I was told to eat all “the dried sardine” in miso soup at that time. Thanks to that, I am keeping my bone density above standard now.

■■I comment something that has caught my eye recently.
■The GDP growth rate in April-June quarter:
The real GDP growth rate in April-June quarter in the United States that the Department of Commerce announced on July 28 Japan time was at an annual rate of 2.4 %, higher than 1.8 % increase of potential growth rate. And the confirmed value of GDP in January-March quarter was revised upward to 2.0 % increase from 1.1 % increase of preliminary figure. Personal consumption and pick-up in capital expenditures contributed. Many economists predicted about one year ago that the economy would enter a recession from the first half of 2023 due to the impact of financial tightening, but the economy is currently growing positively. The consumer price index slows down to 3.0 % increase in June from 3.8 % increase in May. The price increase exceeds the target 2.0 %, although it slows down.
On the other hand, EU announced on July 31 that the real GDP growth rate in April-June quarter in the euro area, a currency unit of 20 member countries among 27 EU member countries, was 1.1 % increase on an annualized quarter-on-quarter basis. The growth rate in October-December quarter last year in the euro area was 0.1 % decrease, in January-March quarter this year was zero increase, and previously published figures were expected to show negative growth two quarters in a row. Persistent inflation is weighing on them.
And the National Statistics Bureau in China announced on July 17 that the real GDP growth rate in April-June quarter was 6.7 % increase compared with the corresponding period of a year earlier. It means that it expands from 4.5 % increase in January-March quarter.

By the way, the revised value of the growth rate in January-March quarter this year in Japan was 2.7 %. The average of private forecast in April-June quarter will be 3.0 % increase. However, the official announcement of the Cabinet Office in Japan will be done on August 15. It is nothing new but why is the GDP announcement in Japan delayed by more than half a month compared to Europe and the United States? It delays almost one month compared to China. The GDP aggregation criteria should be decided internationally. Nevertheless, I think that this delay is due to the delay in digitalization of basic data compared to Europe and the United States. The trend of GDP has a big impact on economic judgement. In order to achieve at least the same speed as Europe and the United States, it may be necessary to accelerate further digitalization.

■BIGMOTOR incident:
The dark side of corporate activities that shakes the world has been exposed again. My frank impression is that “did you go that far?”. I think this background is a low growth of Japanese economy and industry, and excessive competition. I think that most of the people who work in various organizations including companies are human beings with a conscience based on the view of human nature as inherently good, and good working adult and family people. But human beings sometimes transform into completely different persons and act, once they become a member of organization. In other words, once they fall into group psychology like “Red light, if everyone crosses it, it is not scary”, or place in a situation like “for the company” or “defending the organization”, they obey against their will or “turn a blind eye to evil” and run for “self-defense” ultimately.
However, the cases where Pandora’s cover is opened by blowing the whistle have been increasing recently even in Japan. In the United States, the facts have been disclosed in the form of plea bargaining and leniency for a long time. And Japan adopts the evidence principle and it can’t be prosecuted without concrete evidence, but in the United States, there is the jury system and circumstantial evidence can be used to convict.
Anyway, I fully realize that the personality and ethnics view of the top person is very important in any organization. My opinion about the organization was that “aim for an open organization brightly, happily, and in a relax way” in the active era. In addition to this, the ratio of jobs and communication in cyberspace has been increasing recently. I think “emphasis on humanity”, in other words, taking good care of the feeling of “wanting to live like a human being” is important as a corporate philosophy. There are many discussions in the field of management about the organization structure, but I think that it is necessary for the top management and politicians to speak with plain words that make sense.
■The 2023 National Learning Achievement Test:
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced that the correct answer rate for the “speaking” English by the third-year junior high school students was 12.4 % in the 2023 National Learning Achievement Test. It is 18.4 % lower than the previous survey four years ago. It is said that features where they are not good at expressing their thoughts in English are evident. I think that the influence of the discipline of “not embarrassing oneself in public” specific to Japanese people is great in this background. In other words, if there is a person who speaks English a little better than them, they “clam up”. I think that review of this national character of Japanese people and devices to correct it, for instance making full use of AI or ChatGPT, are necessary. Of course, it is also necessary to think education from the early grades. I would like to address this point at another time.

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