Re: Looking back over the past one year (50) July 1, 2022 

 Just one year has passed today since I established “Tsuji Business Support Office” as my new challenge after I resigned and left my previous job, namely, the chairman of the board of directors of Konoike Transport Co., Ltd.. Time passed by in a blink, and I owe it entirely to you that I have succeeded the past one year, and I would like to express my sincere thanks for your kind support and cooperation.
I will be 80 years old in October this year, and fortunately, I am in very good shape. I am spending relatively enriching days by serving an outside director of two companies, giving a lecture occasionally, updating the HP, writing for a logistics industry newspaper, and so forth.
The Blog published in the HP has been kept to update basically once a week on Friday, and this issue is the 50th, just a turning point. I will continue it as much as possible, and I am happy if you give me various opinion and scolding voice.

And it is very hot, isn’t it. The end of the rainy season was published in the Kinki district and so forth on June 28 ,which is the earliest end of the rainy season on record, and the record-breaking real summer began. And electric power shortage, water shortage, and harmful effects on agricultural products are a concern. When I think that this heat will continue about one month and half till just after O-Bon in the middle of August, I have to take measures against heatstroke while a ban of a wearing a mask for steps to deal with the coronavirus is not removed, and I am sick and tired of it. In addition, a heat wave and drought are attacking over the West and the United States, and highest daytime temperatures ever are recorded all over the world.

By the way, looking back over the past one year, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where there were both for and against was held one year late, but ended in peace. And amid the criticism of severe zero-Covid policy by Chinese government and Human Rights Issues, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics was held in February this year. And in both Olympics, Japanese players did well. When I watch refreshing figures of athletes after the game and hear the comments of appreciation, “wasn’t it nice to hold it” is my frank impression.

And it seemed as if Russia had waited for the closing of the Beijing Olympics on February 20, and Russian Army invaded Ukraine on February 24. Russian Army had conducted military exercise around Ukraine before then, and the United States had given a warning of the possibility of invasion, but a general outlook had been that “there is no need to do this much”. Four months have passed since then, and the state of the war seems to assume a seesaw war of attrition.

The other day, I attended a monthly lunch seminar hosted by a political commentator. There were about 100 attendants. A guest speaker is invited every time, and exchange of views is conducted after about 30 minutes lecture. A guest speaker this time was Mr. Mikhail Galuzin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Japan. The Ambassador sometimes appeared on TV too and the length of his stay in Japan adds up to about 20 years, and his Japanese is surprisingly fluent. As a matter of fact, his appearance on the platform was the second since March 2019. My impression the last time was that “Russia has no intension to return the Northern Territories to Japan”. I realized the real image of totalitarian and authoritarian state afresh from the contents of his lecture this time. 

The world is rushing into three polarized states now. These are ① the Western bloc such as the United States, EU, Japan, Korea and Australia ② authoritarian states such as China, Russia, Iran and North Korea ③ neutral group which does not belong to either such as India.
After the Cold War structure ceased to exist in 1989, the globalization of world economy has developed smoothly. But now flows of people, goods, money, and information are cutting into pieces. For instance, a supply chain of grains is clogging by the influence of the war in addition to drought, and grains don’t arrive from producing center to consumption area. In developing countries, starvation leads to political uncertainty. And punitive tariffs on Russia and China are also activated. In Europe and the United States, rapid interest rate hikes are advancing in order to control fierce inflation. The trend of Chines economy is a concern because of the influence of zero-Covid policy. If this goes on, Japan can’t utilize a long-awaited depreciation of the yen, and may go into a recession.

On the other hand, in the United States fragmentation of national opinion such as immigration policy, gun control, and recent denial of constitutionality of abortion by the Supreme Court of the United States and so on is getting stronger, in addition to previous problem called the racial conflict. And in midterm elections in November this year, a difficult campaign of President Biden is obvious. If ruling Democratic Party loses the majority, there will be no prospect of passage of almost all bills presented by the administration, and remaining about two years president’s term of office will become lame duck. Moreover, in the next presidential election in November 2024, if a deeply rooted Mr. Trump is reelected, the world where everything is unpredictable will appear. This is also the big risk factor for Japan.
However, at present, as far as the support of Ukraine is concerned, United States Congress is giving a bipartisan support by the policy of continuing help as long as Ukraine people continue to hold fighting attitude. When the actual movement arrives, American people unite and I want to believe the essence of the United States called “the Americans defend democracy at any cost”.

A severe hot season continues for the time being. Let’s pay close attention to each other physical condition, and get through.

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