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Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 18:15 - 20:30


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William Pesek


William Pesek's new book "Japanization," began as an exploration of what other nations can learn from Tokyo's lost decades and the missteps that prolonged the malaise. Yet as he wrote it, the theme broadened to include Pesek’s growing concern that Japanese policy makers themselves hadn’t sufficiently internalized those lessons. The more he researched Prime Minister Abe’s revival program and the details of his “three arrows,” the more Pesek became convinced so-called “Abenomics” would fail. As we enter 2016, he is even more certain that as currently prescribed, the plan will provide a passing “sugar high” for investors and huge trading houses, but do little to raise competitiveness and living standards in the long run.

What went wrong? For one thing, a lack of audacity. Abenomics is an unimaginative list of things Japan should have done 15 years ago. For another, Abenomics is really just “Kurodanomics” - try as he may, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda doesn’t have the tools to lower trade barriers, encourage entrepreneurship, raise productivity, empower women, inspire more meritocratic hiring practices or reduce innovation-killing red tape. What Abe forgot is that deflation isn’t the problem, but a symptom of the lack of confidence in Japan’s economic outlook. Here, the first and second arrows – monetary easing and fiscal spending – matter infinitely less than the third – deregulation. That’s why Abenomics isn’t gaining the traction Abe and investors betting on the Nikkei hoped.

In his book, Pesek offers suggestions on how Abe can catalyze a start-up boom, create millions of jobs in the renewable energy space, prod the multinational corporations of Japan to share record profits with workers, tap the unutilized female masses, import labor to loosen labor markets, attack the bureaucracy standing in the way of progress, learn from the corporate mavericks moving ahead of structural reforms and restore Japan’s pivotal place in an “Asian century” that China is currently dominating.

Pesek is executive editor at Barron’s Asia in Tokyo, where he provides opinions and commentary on economics, business, markets, and politics throughout Asia. His columns routinely appear in publications around the globe. Previously, he was a columnist for Bloomberg, writing about global economics, politics, and financial markets. He was the winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' 2010 award for commentary..

The library committee is offering a cocktail party "Meet the Author" starting at 6:15 pm, followed by dinner at 6:45 pm (Menu: Grilled Chicken with Tomato and Lemon Sauce/Salad/Vanilla Ice Cream/Bread/Coffee or Tea). Drinks can be ordered on a cash basis from the bar in the room. Book Break charges are 2,100yen /3,500yen (members/non-members) per person. The member price is applicable to members’ guests.

To FCCJ members: Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or on the FCCJ website. To help us plan proper seating and food preparation, please reserve in advance, preferably by noon of the day of the event. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. Reservations cancelled less than 24 hours in advance will be charged in full.

To non-members: Sign up now at the reception desk (03-3211-3161) or by mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). Please reserve and pay in advance by Wednesday, February 10. Those without reservations will be turned away once available seats are filled. No refund is available unless the event is cancelled for the reasons on our part.


(The talk will be in English)


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