Re: A news item and subject which I just want to check out (108) October 6, 2023 

It seems that the first mantling of snow on the top of Mt. Fuji was observed on October 5. The intense heat continued until just the other day, and I thought “oh, the first snow already!”. But according to Kofu Local Meteorological Office, this is 5 days later than last year and 3 days later than usual. It seems that the impacts of global warming are also being felt here.
Maybe because of the bad weather, seasonal influenza infections are spreading 3~4 months earlier than usual, and school closing is on the rise because vaccination is not ready in time.

By the way, this week’s hot topic is undoubtedly that Shohei Ohtani of Angels in MLB aged 29 has won the American League home run crown by hitting 44 home runs. He won the first title in the main batting category, and this is a feat that breaks the mold called “it is impossible for Japanese”. And wining the home run crown while being full-fledged pitcher is the first time since Babe Ruth in 1918 and 1919, and we can see he has an unparalleled ability. In addition to his exceptional quality, I am just impressed by his single-minded friendly competition like a seeker after truth.

And this is the season for Nobel Prize announcements again. Katalin Kariko, a specially appointed professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, and Drew Weissman, a professor at the same university, who were determined to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine told at the press conference that “both of us have been exploring how to make mRNA vaccine work well over 20 years”, and the words were impressive for me. And I felt something mysterious due to the coincidence how the joint research between the two started. And I recalled the words called “genius is 1 % inspiration and 99 % perspiration” defined by Edison, a famous invention king.
In addition, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was also presented to three researchers in the United States. It is like the United States monopolized it this year, but it seems to me that this symbolizes the favorable environment provided to researchers in the United States.

■■I write down things that have recently caught my attention.
■The 2025 Osaka-Kansai Japan Expo:
The Osaka-Kansai Japan Expo will be held in April 2025, about one year and half later, and the delay of construction of pavilions and expanding burden of funds are becoming an issue. In particular, necessary funds have increased from the initial 125 billion yen to 180 billion yen, and substantially increased to 230 billion yen in this review. The Olympic is hosted by a city, but international Expo is hosted by a country. Incidentally, the formal name of this Expo is EXPO 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan. And the country, local governments, and the business community are supposed to each bear one-third of necessary funds as a general rule. However, there has been recently a disagreement among the parties involved over the burden of repeated additional funds.
Looking back, the Osaka-Kansai Expo started with the aim of making effective use of Yumeshima and embarking on attraction when Mr. Hashimoto was a governor from 2008 to 2011. And he brought this into the Prime Minister’s Office when Mr. Abe was the Prime Minister to which he had a strong pipe. At that time, pros and cons of the Expo were divided 
in the business community in Kansai and the atmosphere was rather negative. However, because Toshihiro Nikai who has a deep connection to the Kansai economy engaged in the chairman of a nonpartisan national diet members’ league for the promotion of the world exposition established after that, the situation has changed completely. As a result, the public and private sectors worked together to attract the expo, but it is true that Osaka Restoration Association used the success of attraction as propaganda.
After that, Dubai International Expo that was supposed to be held in 2020 delayed by one year and was held from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, and then the fact that the usual four-year preparation period has been reduced to three years has also affected various procedures and preparations. On top of that, the landslide victory of Japan Restoration Association and Osaka Restoration Association has continued in local elections of governor, mayor, prefectural assembly, city assembly and so on and national elections. In addition to such political circumstance, it can’t be denied that there are problems with close communication between central and local governments, because the former Prime Minister Abe who was close to Osaka Restoration Association passed away and Mr. Kishida was in office. I wonder if the accumulation of such things is leading to a delay in preparation in many ways. However, we can’t say that now. Advance ticket sales will start on November 30, 500 days before the opening. The national prestige depends on the success or failure of the Osaka-Kansai Expo. And in order to do that, we should confirm with each other that we will “not use the expo for political reasons” and tackle as a monolith for success.

■The politics and economy in the United States:
In the United States, the economy is firm and personnel consumption and the labor market supply and demand are moving steadily, despite of repeated interest rate hikes. Therefore, due to strong potential inflationary pressures, the concern that high interest policy will be prolonged is affecting the stock market. On top of that, the Speaker of the House of Representatives was dismissed for the first time in the history of the United States, due to deliberations on the bridging budget at the end of the national budget. Incidentally, a fiscal year in the United States is from October to September. The confrontation of hard-liners of both parties of republican and democratic is intensifying in the United States now, and on top of that, the presidential election in November next year is also involved and the United States is stuck in a stalemate. This has a big influence not only on domestic politics but also on international politics and economy including support of Ukraine. The pendulum is swinging a lot in the United States now, but I believe that democracy rooted in the American people is moving towards a breakthrough at the end.

■Business trends in Japan:
According to the Bank of Japan’s quarterly Short-term Economic Survey of Principal Enterprises in Japan in September, not only the large manufacturing industry that expects to strongly benefit from the weaker yen due to lifted supply constraints but also the non-manufacturing industry due to the increase of foreign visitors to Japan have improved. Listed companies’ earnings have also been revised upward. This is due to ①enjoying the merit of the weaker yen ②being able to pass on the cost increase to the selling price. But regarding the future, we can’t be optimistic because the economy in Europe and Southeast Asia is lacking momentum in addition to economic downturn in China which is the largest trading partner country and political friction. International sea container freight has already down a lot. And despite of recent weaker yen, air freight export volume in August decreased by 23 % compared to the previous year and was the 20 th consecutive month below the same month last year. And the future concern is that the market of car exports that has been a significant source of foreign currency income for Japan is changing rapidly to EV, electric vehicle, especially in China. Developing commodities including software that are competitive for export is an urgent issue.

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