Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Differential Equations in Our Life

10/17/08 Revised

Differential equations - easy to hear but often impossible to solve- are around there in our life. If you are an econ learner, you have much time to express the economy by using differential equations. Especially in economic growth theory (if you want the examples, see Barro & Sala-i-Martin, Economic Growth, 2th edition, MIT Press), we use many differential equations.

However, we can also use them to express the things around our life other than tedious economic growth theory. The differential equations that are used to express them could usually be relatively easy to solve. Let me show you some examples:

[1] Memory

In 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered the exponential nature of forgetting. The following formula can roughly describe the forgetting:


where R(0) is an initial condition.

As time goes by, we lose some of our memory. The fraction of what we forget is called a forgetting rate λ. Our memory level at period t is R(t). The amount we forget can be expressed by our memory times λ, that is, λR(t). So we can show how we forget by using the following formula:

dR(t)/dt = -λR(t) .....(1)

The formula (1) means that we lose the fraction of our memory λR(t) as time goes by. How we get the memory function R(t) is as follows:

Step1, dR(t)/dt/R(t) =-λ .....(2)

Step2, (1/R(t)) dR(t) = -λdt .....(3)

Step3, lnR(t)=-λt+C .....(4)

where ln is a natural logarithm and C is a constant. Note that dlnR(t)/dR(t) = 1/R(t).

Finally R(t)=R(o)exp(-λt) where R(0)=exp(C). .....(5)

Note that R(t) = exp(-λt+C). Our memory can be expressed by the first-order autonomous differential equation. Other examples are:

[2]Bathtub and running water

Assume we have a bathtub full of water with the area of the base, S. Once we put off the stopper, the water begins to run out. We can see the change of the water level of bathtub by using differential equations.

Let a the water level of bathtub at the first period, y(t) the water level at period t, and V(t) the amount of the water at period t. Then we can express the speed of running water as dV(t)/dt. This is proportional to the depth of bathtub, y(t).

dV(t)/dt =-ky(t) .....(6)

where k is a constant.

At this time we have to notice that V(t)=S×y(t).

dV(t)/dt = S×dy(t)/dt .....(7)

Substituting the formula (6) for (7),

-ky(t)= S×dy(t)/dt .....(8)

Manipulating the formula (8),

(1/y(t))dy(t) = -k/s dt .....(9)

And integrating the formula (9),

ln(y(t)/a) = -(k/S)t, and


The water level of our bathtub can be expressed by the function of t.

[3] Population growth

N(t) is the population level at period t, n is the population growth rate (Here n is assumed constant. ) and N(0) is an initial condition.

The rate of change of population is the rate of the derivative of N(t) with respect to N(t) to the level, N(t):

dN(t)/dt = n×N(t) .....(11)

And then, (1/N(t)) dN(t) = ndt.

Thus, ln N(t) = nt +C .....(12)

where C is a constant.

N(t) = N(0)exp(nt) .....(13)

where N(0) is an initial condition and N(0) = expC. The population growth is expressed by the formula (13).

By the way, Robert Malthus was an English political economist best known for his highly influential views on population growth. His Principle of Population was based on the above idea: if population grows at a geometric rate whereas the food supply grows at an arithmetic rate the population growth will make us very poor. This is a very famous prediction.

[4] Hot coffee
A hot coffee left in the restroom is getting colder as time goes by. Newton's law of cooling states that the speed of cooling of a hot coffee at period t is proportional to the difference in temperatures between the coffee and its surrounding.

According to the law, dF(t)/dt = -λF(t) .....(14)

where F(t) is the t-period difference in temperatures between the coffee and its surrounding and λ is a constant.

At period 0, the difference is F(0). And then,

F(t)=F(0)exp(-λt) .....(15)

The temperature in your room is 26℃.And the temperature of your coffee is 63℃. In 20 minutes your coffee is at 45℃. If you left your coffee in your room and t minutes passed, at what temperature would it be?

Using the formula F(0) = 63℃-26℃=37℃,

F(t) = 37×exp(-kt) .....(16)

and using F(20) =19,

37×exp(-kt) = 19 .....(17),

and exp(-k) = (19/37)^(1/20) = 0.967.....


F(t) = 37×(0.967)^t .....(18)

According to the formula (18), in t minutes your coffee would be at about (26+37×0.967^t)℃. The change of the temperature of your coffee can be expressed by the first-order differential equation.

The above equations are all similar with each other. We can see that many things in our life can be expressed by differential equations. If you know another example of what seems to be expressed by differential equations, please let me know! (The photos are all from Wikipedia.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Next Abe

The Liberal Democratic Party(LDP) suffered a crushing defeat Sunday in the election for the upper house of Parliament. The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed that he would not step down.(The photo is from the New York Times.)

Here's the excerpt:

The New York Times
TOKYO, Monday, July 30
Toshiyuki Aizawa/Bloomberg News

....The main opposition Democratic Party seized control of the upper house by a landslide, capturing seats not only in cities but also in rural districts that had long been strongholds of the Liberal Democratic Party. The rout was widespread, with household names in the governing party falling one after another before opposition newcomers. It could also stall Tokyo’s moves toward a more assertive foreign policy and active military.

....Using parliamentary majorities he had inherited from his popular predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, Mr. Abe rammed through laws to instill patriotism in schools, elevate the status of Japan’s military and prepare for a referendum on revising the pacifist Constitution. The drubbing was not a rejection of Mr. Abe’s nationalist goals but a notice that they came after the economy and competent leadership in importance.

...The Democratic Party has been critical of Mr. Abe’s tendency to revise Japan’s wartime past and wary of the strengthening of the Japanese military, initiatives that were led by conservatives in Mr. Abe’s party and encouraged by the United States. The opposition opposed the deployment of Japanese troops to Iraq.

Mr. Abe seems to be thought that he is hawkish and aggressive. I do not think that he wants to begin fighting with another countries. He is haunted by such a strongly conservative image. And the above article seems to misunderstand the Democratic Party. I know that the parties which are critical of Mr.Abe's conservative-looking policy are mainly the Communist Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party, which are relatively small in size and left-leaning.

The Democratic Party has been said that it is similar with LDP in political position. It is because some members of the Democratic Party come from LDP and its president Mr.Ozawa also comes from LDP.

....Under Japanese law, the lower house of Parliament, which Mr. Abe’s party controls, chooses prime ministers. So a loss in the upper house will not immediately force his resignation.

Mr. Abe’s political standing has suffered through a series of scandals in his administration: his gaffe-prone defense minister was forced to resign this month after making comments apparently justifying the United States’ use of atomic bombs against Japan during World War II. Mr. Abe’s first agricultural minister hanged himself in May, after being accused of corruption.

Mr. Abe’s approval ratings, once higher than 60 percent, plummeted as he appeared out of touch with voters’ anxieties about everyday issues, especially government mishandling of national pension records that could jeopardize the benefits paid in what is a rapidly aging society. Instead, Mr. Abe pursued a nationalist agenda, saying until recently that the election’s main theme was revising Japan’s pacifist Constitution and repeating his trademark, if vague, promise of turning Japan into “a beautiful country.”

In sum, I want to support Mr.Abe and I think he should fulfill his duties. Many Japanese people are also doubtful of the possibility of the Democratic Party. Because it seems to have badly organized statements and lack in coherence; They have a wide variety of members from moderate socialists to conservatives. It is sometimes a good point, but other times a bad point; They are more likely to divide when they face and tackle some important problems of political issues like revising the Constitution of Japan. It will lead to a serious blank in government.

Why did many of them vote the Democratic Party? The reason is clear: They have no other party to vote. Mr. Abe certainly made some mistakes in electing members of his administration. He should have tried to fire them when they had some problems that would fear his political standing.

Many of the Japanese people don't necessarily disagree with Mr.Abe. Some policies which he's pursued seem better: For example, in economic issue, he wants to make everyone happy with the economic recovery by clearing the pension plan and the tax system. Anyway, this is the time when we have to choose to keep an eye on what he will do next. I hope he will do better.

The Greats of Modern Japanese History

If you want to know about the greats of modern Japanese history, see it!!



Thursday, July 26, 2007

Price Hike in the McDonald

The proportion of McDonald's restaurants that have raised their menu prices under McDonald's Holdings Co.'s introduction of region-based pricing has risen to more than 60 percent of the total number in Japan.

Having considered the income gap between the urban and rural region, McDonald's Holdings Co. introduced region-based pricing. The pricing policy is very important for a big company such as McDonald to implement. Why have more than 60 percent of McDonald's restaurants raised their prices? It's the problem. Does it indicate that the Japanese economy as a whole has become better?

More McDonald's restaurants raising menu prices under region-based pricing system

The number of McDonald's restaurants that have lowered their menu prices under the region-based pricing systems stands at 130, the same as the originally planned number. However, the number of restaurants that have raised their menu prices has reached about 2,400 -- nearly double the original planned number of 1,255 restaurants.

The new pricing system means that the price difference of some menu items is as high as 90 yen depending on the restaurant. (Mainichi)
Click here for the original Japanese story
July 26, 2007

Thinktanks In The US

The thinktanks in the US are as follows:

AAAS R&D Budget and Policy Project
American Civil Liberties Union
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Asia/Pacific Research Center
The Aspen Institute
The Arms Control Association
The Atlas Economic Research Foundation
The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy
Benton Foundation
Berkley Roundtable on the International Economy
Brookings Institution
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The Carter Center
Cato Institute
Center for Defense Information
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for International Security and Cooperation
Center for National Policy
Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Center for Public Integrity
Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
The Century Foundation
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Council on Competitiveness
Council for Excellence in Government
Council on Foreign Relations
Demos: A Network for Ideas & Action
East-West Center
Economic Strategy Institute
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Federation of American Scientists
Foreign Policy Institute (FPI)
Foreign Policy Research Institute
Global Environment and Trade Study
The Henry L. Stimson Center
Heritage Foundation
Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace
Hudson Institute
Institute for Defense Analysis
Institute for International Economics
Institute for International Studies
Institute for National Strategic Studies
Institute for Policy Innovation
International Institute for Strategic Studies
The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Miller Center of Public Affairs
National Academies
National Bureau of Asian Research
National Bureau of Economic Research
National Endowment for Democracy
National Institute for Public Policy
Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability
Nixon Center
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
Progressive Policy Institute
Public Agenda
The Strategic Studies Institute
United States Institute of Peace
Urban Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
World Resources Institute
Worldwatch Institute

Saturday, July 21, 2007

What Should Japan Do First?

Recently I've read the book titled "Toward a Beautiful Country(「美しい国へ」)", which is written by the Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. The book is written in plain Japanese and we can know easily about Mr. Abe's view on the modern history of Japan and what Japan should be and do from now on. I enjoy it and I like it. (As far as I know, the book hasn't been translated into English.)

By the way, it is said that Mr. Abe is so hawkish that he wants to revise peaceful Constitution of Japan. Some people say that Mr. Abe wants Japan to have a powerful military power and a potential ability to fight with another country. Especially China, ROK and other Asian countries seem to have such a doubt on the Mr. Abe's intention of revising the Constitution of Japan and his patriotic statements. Certainly he wants to revise the Constitution of Japan, but it is not from as an ambitious intention as the past Japan had, but from a forward-looking approach to the Asian countries.

Japan once proceeded into an ambitious militarism and as a result invaded China, Korea and many other Asian countries. The atrocity of militaristic Japan finally gives birth to an unforgettable tragedy in our history. Mr. Abe knows it and, of course, he does not intend to do it again.

It is not easy to cure the injured in the history of war. Many people in the Asian countries may hope Japan to compensate themselves for its past aggression and vandalism. I don't think it will cure them completely by doing it. All we can do is that we hope that we'll overcome the history of tragedy and build a peaceful and affluent friendship with the Asian countries. For Japan to do so, Mr. Abe should explain to the countries who cast a doubt on the recent mood of patriotism in Japan what Japan will do and should do and show them that Japan is now a peaceful, politically and religiously free and democratic country.

I think Japan is not well understood in many other Asian countries.One of the reasons may be that Japan failed to explain its idea to them; The ordinary Japanese people tend to express so moderately their feeling and idea and might be usually misunderstood by the people around them. This is a kind of tragedy that the Japanese people have in origin. Such a mentality might be cast on the modern foreign policy of Japan. If so, we have to change it and explain to our friends what we will do. That's what Japan should do first in our foreign policy. And Mr. Abe is going to do it, I think. (I would like Mr. Abe to have his book translated into English to have many people all over the world read it.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mr. Miyamoto Died At 98

Kenji Miyamoto, former presidium chairman of the Japan Communist Party's Central Committee, died Wednesday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Miyamoto was born in 1908 as the first son of a merchant family in Yamaguchi Prefecture. While a student at Tokyo Imperial University, he won first prize in an essay contest sponsored by Kaizo magazine, leaving Hideo Kobayashi (1902-83) to place second. His essay, titled "Haiboku-no Bungaku" (The Literature of The Defeated), focused on novelist Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927), and earned Miyamoto a reputation in the literary world.

...In 1933, Miyamoto was arrested for violation of the prewar Peace Preservation Law and remained in prison until the end of World War II in 1945. During his imprisonment, Miyamoto refused to renounce his communist beliefs.
The JCP's official history states: "After his arrest, Kenji Miyamoto never succumbed to barbarous torture and adhered to the party's policy. He maintained complete silence during his roughly seven years in captivity, which led to the start of hearings in his trial. During his trial, Miyamoto continued to fight [the authorities]."

....What earned Miyamato a great deal of attention was his policy of independence. In 1991, he issued a statement concerning the dissolution in that year of the Soviet Communist Party. The statement said the JCP "welcomes the end of a historical great evil marked by great-power ambition and hegemonism."

The fall of the Soviet Communist Party was followed by a decline in the power of other communist parties in the world, demonstrated by changes in their names. The JCP's success in surviving as a political party amid a decline in communism can be partly attributed to the JCP's adherence to its policy of independence.

....The JCP has rewritten the wording of its platform to fit the changes of the times, hoping to pursue a practical and flexible policy line. However, the JCP's basic philosophy and makeup, nurtured during the days of Miyamoto's leadership, remains unchanged.
(Jul. 19, 2007)

Former Japanese Communist Party leader Kenji Miyamoto died of old age at a hospital in Tokyo on Wednesday, party sources said. He was 98.
After becoming the party's secretary-general in 1958, Miyamoto promoted having a majority in the Diet through peaceful means and independence from foreign communist parties. He resigned from official activities in 1997.

....Miyamoto was arrested at the end of 1933 over the death of a party member and imprisoned until October 1945.
On the international front, Miyamoto and his party acted independently from the former Soviet Union's communist party and Chinese Communist Party.
When the communist regime collapsed in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe in the late 20th century, Miyamoto said that Soviet Union-style socialism had been defeated, but added that the Japanese Communist Party was different.
(July 18, 2007)

Some readers of Taro's blog might be surprised at there being a communist party in Japan. However, JCP demonstrates us that it is different from other communist parties such as the Soviet and Chinese Communist Party.

The Yomiuri News has more detailed comment on Mr. Miyamoto and his JCP. According to the Yomiuri, the JCP's success in surviving as a political party can be partly attributed to the JCP's adherence to its policy of independence.

JCP seems to pursue its original communist ideology. Is it what is called a communist from an orthodox communist view? I don't know whether or not it is a good idea.

By the way, I was very surprised that there also exists a communist party in the US. I didn't know that.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Communist Still Alive?

There is still a communist party in Japan, the Japan Communist Party(JCP). Although there are now very few communist societies in the world and the most of them have failed, JCP is trying to pursue the realization of communist society in Japan. Certainly it is a small party, but is still alive. Why not?

Here's what they say:

For a Socialist/Communist Society
(15) In the next stage of Japan's social development, the task is to overcome capitalism and carry out socialist transformation and advance to a socialist/communist society. In the hitherto seen world, there has been no real socialist transformation taking place on the basis of the advanced economic and social achievements of the capitalist era. Working in a developed capitalist country to advance toward socialism/communism is a new historic task in the 21st century.

The key element of socialist transformation is socialization of the means of production, which transfers possession, control and management of the main means of production to society. Socialization only concerns the means of production; as far as the means of living is concerned, the right to private property will be protected throughout all stages of social development.

(17) A quest for socialism/communism is not exclusive to Japan.
The 21st century world will be an era characterized by an increase in currents toward overcoming capitalism and advancing to a new society. It arises from the sharpening economic and political contradictions and from popular movements in the developed capitalist countries; it arises from efforts to explore their peculiar ways to socialism in countries that broke away from capitalism; and it arises from the popular movements in many countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America that are unable to find their way for future economic development within the framework of capitalism, even after achieving political independence.

I want you to note the following statement:

The key element of socialist transformation is socialization of the means of production, Socialization only concerns the means of production; as far as the means of living is concerned, the right to private property will be protected throughout all stages of social development.

To have you consider the above statement, I'll take the following example:
You have a lovely car. You can enjoy driving with your friend by this car. Is it the mean of production? No, it is clearly the mean of living.

One day you are asked to use your lovely car to sell the products that your company produced. Is it the mean of production? Yes, it is a good contribution to your sale and profit and thus your company's production activity.

Here's the question: How can we distinguish the mean of production from the mean of living in driving your car? If you support JCP, I think you should answer the question clearly enough to make me understand.

I think it is impossible to answer the question. Because a private property cannot be socialized, or cannot be possessed by somebody other than its possessor; If your private property could be possessed by somebody other than you without your permission, it would not be yours, that is, it would not be called private property but public property.

Private property is excludable and rival in terms of economics and an executable and rival good can be defined a private property. In contrast, public property is nonexcludabe and nonrival. More roughly, your goods is yours. Everybody's goods is nobody's goods.

Socialization of any property has a critical problem. You can know it by seeing the books in your public library. In many books you can read in the library, some pages are underlined by pen, broken and messed so that you can't read. Why don't we use carefully the books in the library? Because they are nobody's books. If they were yours, you would read much more carefully and keep them clean.

If we want the books to be read more carefully, I will suggest the library take admission fee from the users. By taking the fee, the liblary can make the books partially excludable from careless readers. (What else do you think we should do to keep the books clean?)

Socialization of any goods and property is no better than robbing them of theirs. JCP can be said to have basically a critical contradiction. Although many people have been lured by communist ideology during the long span of the 20th century, nobody has been happy in a communist society even though many people in a capitalist society that permits private property are also unhappy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Keynesian-Long-Legs!?

There seem to be the people who can sprinkle money over the cities in Japan. What do they do such a thing for? If they want to pull up the stagnant Japanese economy by doing it, may they have to be called "a Keynesian-Long-Legs"? (The people called "the Keynesian" advocate an active fiscal and monetary expansion for alleviating economic stagnation.)

For them it seems to be necessary to have no money, or just they might need not so much money. The reason is unclear, but we can find that there are some people who can think money worthless, and others who cannot.

200,000 yen left in toilets at government halls as donations for studies

SAITAMA -- Twenty 10,000-yen(Taro's note: worthing about US$80 per 10,000-yen) notes, each coupled with a handwritten letter and wrapped in paper, have been left in Saitama prefectural and municipal government halls, police said on Tuesday.

...Each wrapping contained a 10,000-yen note and a mysterious letter, which read that the money should be spent on studying and training.
Similar wrappings, each containing a 10,000-yen note and a letter, were found in the halls of the Kawaguchi Municipal Government in Saitama Prefecture, and the Akita prefectural and municipal governments between July 3 and 5, police said. (Mainichi)
Click here for the original Japanese story July 10, 2007

The Yomiuri Shimbun(July 12, 2007)
Dozens of people in 16 more prefectures who used public restrooms since April have come out flushed with cash after finding an envelope or packet containing a 10,000 yen bill and a letter, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Wednesday.

It was reported Tuesday that similar packets had been found earlier this month in government offices in Akita and Saitama prefectures. Wednesday's findings show the 10,000 yen bills have been found in Tokyo and 17 prefectures, all told.

A total of 4.17 million yen has been found so far in 46 locations in Tokyo and the prefectures, including Hokkaido, Aomori, Miyagi, Niigata, Chiba, Shizuoka, Osaka, Nara, Hyogo, Oita, Nagasaki, Miyazaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima and Okinawa.
The monetary gifts were enclosed in an envelope or packet bearing the phrase "hosha hitori ippu" (token of gratitude, a gift of money for each one) with a hand-written note on washi paper addressed to the "Dear visitor who came today." The notes, which appeared to have been written with a calligraphy brush, ask the finder "to use the enclosed bequest of 10,000 yen as a fund for your training."

The generous benefactor has left the money in restrooms of government offices and large facilities, where it was discovered by government officials or visitors.
The mysterious envelopes were first found at the Sendai city hall on April 9, when six packets containing a 10,000 yen bill and a letter were placed in the men's restroom on the first floor. On May 18, 10 packets were discovered in the men's restrooms on the first floor of the Niigata prefectural and the city government offices. An identical find was made in the men's restroom on the first floor of the Sapporo city hall on May 30. If no one claims the money, it will be given to the person who reported it to police six months and 14 days after the report was filed. "Judging from the content of the letters, an old person may have done this on his or her own," nonfiction writer Shinichi Sano said.

Saturday, July 07, 2007









「民主主義とは、『私はあなたの意見に反対である。しかし、あなたがそれを言う権利は死んでも守る』ということではないか」という見識、「保守とは主義ではない、生活態度であり、・・・どの程度の改善が全体のバランスを崩さずに可能かということを、立ち止まって計算する態度が保守である」(『社会党との対話』)という持論から、宮沢氏の思慮の一端が垣間見える。 これこそが、成熟社会日本の政治において求められ、このような落ち着いた「大人の見識」こそが政治の主柱としてあるべきだろうと思う。





(主に『郵政改革』を標榜した「小泉改革」は、郵貯・郵便・保険の郵政3事業の民営化を成し遂げた偉業に見えるが、これが日本の生活を大きく変えたか? 結局これで喜んだのが、郵貯という競合がいなくなった銀行屋でないのか? 銀行は合併を繰り返し、寡占化を推し進め、業界の協調行動により巨額の利益を手中に収めている。そして、法人税の支払いを免除されている。これこそメスを入れるべき対象のような気がするが、これは「改革」ではないみたいである。確かに、郵便局は利用しやすくなったかもしれないし、棚から牡丹餅的な役人風情を正す機運は全く以って庶民感情からすると爽快ではあったかもしれない。しかし、私たちの生活の利便性はどこまで上がったのか? この改革の意義を説明できる輩は少ないのではないか? わかるように説明せよ!! 私は郵政の味方をするつもりは全くないが・・・、「郵政改革」も結局デマゴーグに過ぎたのではないか?)

今求められるのは、「改革」ではなく、今日の日本の豊かさを維持するための「行動」であり、それを支える「思索」である。「変化」ではなく「安定」なのではないか。 そのための「思索ある行動」こそが大人の政治ではないか。政治の世界でいう「変化」が、よく選挙前に発せられるとおり、私たちにとっての「よい変化」ではなく、政治家とその取り巻きにとっての「よい変化」のように見える。ならば、「変化」よりも今を維持する「努力」、「安定」を守る「施策」こそ、国民にとって現実的ではないのか。「豊かな安定」を追求する志こそが今求められる「保守」の姿ではないのだろうか。

Higher Consumption Tax

Mr. Abe seems to be thinking of raising the rate of consumption tax after the coming election.

What do you think is the effect of higher consumption tax on the economy? In our conjecture it will reduce the consumption spending. If so, Mr. Abe should think about its negative effect on the consumer behavior when a hike of consumption tax is in effect.

However, in economic theory consumption tax won't reduce the consumption. A little more advanced economic model, say, the Ramsey model indicates that consumption tax will leave the consumption unchanged. You may say that it's a strange implication, but if consumers were rational and able to foresee the higher rate of the tax in the future, they would make an optimum consumption plan in consideration of it and wouldn't change their consumption spending.

In my sight higher consumption tax will probably reduce the consumption spending because many consumers are not so rational that they can expect a rise in the tax exactly, as Ramsey model says.

Abe hints government will consider raising consumption tax after election

...."The tax system must be fundamentally reformed this coming autumn. I've never said we'll not raise the consumption tax," Abe said in a Nippon Television (NTV) program Thursday night.

Abe also said the spending of taxpayers' money should be thoroughly reduced before raising the 5 percent indirect tax levied on virtually all goods and services. "If we determine the percentage of the tax hike during tax reform discussions, (the government's fiscal discipline) could be loosened." Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki denied that the government will bring up a consumption tax hike as a policy issue during the campaign for the July 29 election.

Click here for the original Japanese story
July 6, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Are Women Quiet?

Since I was born I have felt that women are more talkative than men. I used to be said by girls that I was a silent boy. And I've thought that I am less talkative. But it seems to be a groundless sight. The following two researches are interesting to hear. The first analysis researches the total number of words that men and women utter:

Stereotypes of Quiet Men, Chatty Women Not Sound Science

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 6, 2007; Page A02

Across time and culture, the female predilection for chattiness and the male penchant for taciturnity have approached the status of unarguable facts. Now, two studies appear to bury these age-old stereotypes.

...."Wherever this really persistent stereotype comes from, we do not find evidence to support it," said
Matthias R. Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona.

Women spoke an average of 16,215 words and men 15,669 words during an average of 17 waking hours a day. The difference -- just under 550 words -- was not statistically significant.

…What was striking, Mehl said, was the great range of word use. The most was 47,000 words in a day; the least was 700. Because the talkers were all college students on roughly similar schedules, their word use may not be the same as that of people in other age groups. But the consistency of the results suggests that there is no innate difference in verbosity between the sexes -- at any age.

The second analysis found that men didn't talk more than women for total number of words (as in the Mehl study) but for other measures of garrulousness, such as total number of statements, duration of speaking and "mean utterance length."

…an analysis of 63 studies of gender differences in talkativeness, found that men actually yakked slightly more than women, especially when interacting with spouses or strangers, and when the topic of conversation was non-personal.
Although, overall, "the magnitude of the difference was negligible," said Campbell Leaper, a psychologist at the
University of California at Santa Cruz, the findings suggest that " some men may be using talkativeness to dominate the conversation."

The situations in which men talked more than women were conversations between spouses or partners; conversations that included people of both sexes and when researchers were present; and situations in which the topic involved disagreement or was of a non-personal nature.

The situations in which women talked more than men were those among classmates, and between parents and children; those when the activity was child-oriented; and those when the topic of conversation required disclosure of feelings.

"This underscores how many gender differences can be situation-specific," Leaper said. However, an analysis of 73 studies of children's conversation found the opposite result -- girls are more talkative than boys.

Girls were especially more talkative than boys when interacting with adults. They also talked more during activities of their own choosing. That may reflect a preference for games such as playing house, which requires more communication, rather than construction projects and sports, which boys tend to prefer, Leaper said. Assigned to the same task, boys and girls are equally talkative.

What is interesting in the second research says that girls are more talkative than boys. Oh, now I know why I was so often said to be silent by girls and I thought girls verbose in my childhood. I was just less silent than girls around me.

If you were a girl or a woman, I would like you not to feel worse about my thought; I do not want to say that girls should be more quiet. I am just surprised at the above these two researches.... However I wonder how useful these findings are such as in the public policy. I don't know how I use these findings to make our society better. But I feel that these are worth paying good attention to.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Online Technology Will Raise GDP

An interesting article caught my eye: Online technology will raise gross domestic product(GDP).

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The 2007 white paper on information and communication forecasts that if progress is made in transforming Japan into a more advanced online society, it would raise gross domestic product by about 1 percent in 2010.

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Yoshihide Suga submitted the white paper at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday. In an advanced online society, people can be connected to computer networks anytime and anywhere.

According to the white paper, if such a society develops, working from home would increase as well as productivity. In this case, the increase in GDP would be 3.16 percent in 2010. But if there is a failure to meet the requirements necessary for a full-fledged online society, it would stand at 2.09 percent.
(Jul. 4, 2007)

A white paper in the above article is like a research report released by the federal government of the US. GDP stands for the nation's income. It tells us how rich on average the people are in the country.

As the above article says, an advanced online technology will enable us to work at home. We can cut a lengthy commute and spend more time on working by using an online technology. It will raise his/her productivity(or GDP per person) by spending more time on more valuable activities and more left time on leisure. I hope it'll be making us happier in such an online society.

By the way, does a blog contribute to a rise in GDP and people's happiness? A blog is one of the most advanced online technologies in the world and may be a great impact on our society: We can see so many diaries of unknown people through the blogs and talk with each other by posting our comment on what they say. Could the about 100-year ago people believe in such a fact? A blog contributes to connecting me in Japan and you in another country far away from Japan. If a blog raises GDP and the usefulness of our daily life, I think I should be proud of my being a blogger. What do you think of it?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Internationally Honorable Premier

Here's another article on Mr. Miyazawa. He is said to have been so intelligent that he couldn't become a mainstream LDP powerbroker.

Former Japanese PM Miyazawa dies
By Michiyo Nakamoto in Tokyo

Published: June 28 2007 09:18 Last updated: June 28 2007 15:58

...Mr Miyazawa was a prominent figure in Japanese politics whose career spanned half a century from when he was first elected to the Diet in 1953 until he retired in 2003. His death marks the end of an era in which Japan emerged from the ruins of the second world war, grew to become the second largest economy in the world, and suffered a prolonged economic slump from which it only escaped as Mr Miyazawa was preparing to retire.

Mr Miyazawa, a lifelong liberal conservative, was highly respected in international circles. He held key positions from an early age, becoming the youngest head of the then Economic Planning Agency at 43. His political career is not only unusual for its length and breadth but also for the fact that he served as finance minister twice – once briefly in the late 1980s and again a decade later between 1998 and 2002 at the tail end of Japan’s so-called lost decade.

He was known as a skilled administrator and an internationalist and was one of the few Japanese leaders who could conduct meetings in English. “There is no doubt that he was a skilled administrator, but he never became a mainstream LDP powerbroker,” says Takao Toshikawa, editor of Insideline, a current affairs newsletter.

Consequently, despite his sparkling political career, Mr Miyazawa only managed to win the premiership in 1991, aged 72. His premiership was plagued by scandal and came to an abrupt end in 1993 when he was faced with an opposition vote of no confidence, which passed as a result of an internal revolt within the LDP.

That incident led to the formation of a coalition government, the first government not controlled by the LDP since 1955.

Mr Miyazawa returned to the spotlight six years later when he was appointed finance minister at a time when Japan was mired in a banking crisis and deflation. His appointment drew criticism. He had failed while prime minister to tackle effectively the problem of Japanese banks’ non-performing loans, even though he understood that bold banking reforms would be necessary to deal with the aftermath of Japan’s asset deflation.

It was only in 2001 that Mr Miyazawa made the bold statement that Japan’s finances were “approaching collapse” and that “fundamental fiscal reform was necessary”. In his final stint as finance minister, Mr Miyazawa tried to resuscitate the moribund economy and lift the slumping stock market with an expansionary policy.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

Honorable Premier

Kiichi Miyazawa is a honorable premier. I strongly hope a statesman like him will come out in Japan again.

Kiichi Miyazawa, who, as prime minister and holder of many other top government posts, helped guide Japan from postwar ruin to economic superpower.

Kiichi Miyazawa, Japan Premier in the ’90s, Dies at 87

Published: June 29, 2007
The New York Times

....Kiichi Miyazawa, who, as prime minister and holder of many other top government posts, helped guide Japan from postwar ruin to economic superpower, died yesterday at his home in

Mr. Miyazawa emerged from a wealthy and politically powerful family to attain influence as an aide to policy makers who fashioned Japan’s immediate postwar recovery and went on to hold important cabinet posts, including that of foreign minister, before becoming prime minister in November 1991.

In his two years at the head of the government, he pushed for better ties with Japan’s Asian neighbors and was the first Japanese prime minister to acknowledge the involvement of the nation’s military in forcing Asian women to serve as sex slaves for soldiers.

His government passed a watershed law paving the way for Japan to send peacekeeping troops overseas, but resisted more profound changes in the pacifist Constitution. He negotiated a major trade accord with the United States and instituted banking reforms as he battled a gathering economic malaise that would endure for a decade.

As finance minister in 1986 and 1987, he won popularity with high levels of public works spending, financing some of it through privatization of government companies.
To Americans he was vividly etched in the public consciousness when in 1992, President Bush fell ill at a banquet during a trip to Japan and vomited on him. The prime minister cradled the head of the flu-stricken president in his lap afterward.

....His career was thought to have ended in December 1988, when he was forced to resign as finance minister because of his involvement in a corporate influence-peddling scandal. In 1993 he was ousted as prime minister after he could not pass political reform bills he had promised. That ended the Liberal Democratic Party’s 38 consecutive years of rule.

In a rare case of a former prime minister’s taking a lesser cabinet post, he returned to serve as finance minister at the age of 78 in 1998. He proposed a system of bilateral currency swaps between Asian countries that is still in place today.

Kiichi Miyazawa was born on Oct. 8, 1919, in Tokyo. His father represented the Hiroshima area in Parliament, and his mother came from a prominent political family. A teacher wrote on his report card, “He speaks his own mind, and some of his classmates don’t like his straightforwardness.”

He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University, and he attended a conference of American and Japanese students in the United States in 1939. His intellectual prowess allowed him to avoid military service in World War II.

In 1942 he joined the Finance Ministry and within seven years had become the minister’s private secretary. Like many Japanese, he recalled the American postwar occupation with distaste, particularly having to listen to lectures by Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur. “It may be hard for young people today to understand how unpleasant it was to live under the occupation,” he wrote in his memoirs.

Mr. Miyazawa was an aide to his country’s delegation at the peace conference in San Francisco in 1951. There, 49 nations restored “full sovereignty” to Japan while permitting the continuing presence of American troops on Japanese soil. From 1953 to 1965, Mr. Miyazawa served in the largely ceremonial upper house of Parliament. In 1967 he was elected to his father’s seat in the lower house. His government posts while a member of the house included general director of the Economic Planning Agency and minister of international trade and industry. He was also chairman of his party’s executive council.

....Mr. Miyazawa admired the United States as a student, and his excellent English allowed him to forge warm relationships with Americans. When he concluded a major trade pact with the United States in 1993, he attributed his success to charming President Clinton over a sushi dinner. He could also be provocative. As prime minister, he said Japan must show “compassion” for social problems like homelessness in the United States, and criticized Americans’ work ethic.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


消費者物価 下落圧力なお 食品上げ及ばず
6月30日10時20分配信 毎日新聞


今回の発表で注目されたのは、全国指数の先行指標でもある6月の東京都区部指数(同、中旬速報値)。市場予想は前年同月比0.1%上昇だったが、実際には同0.1%下落だった。ガソリン価格の上昇から石油製品が5カ月ぶりに上昇したが「教養娯楽」(パック旅行、宿泊料など)、「被服及び履物」の下落幅拡大などが、その押し上げ効果をかき消した。 原材料価格の高騰などから食料品や生活用品で値上げの動きも相次いでいるが「東京の6月分の動きを見る限り、価格転嫁の目立った動きは確認されない」(ニッセイ基礎研究所)レベルにとどまった。このため6月の全国指数も「マイナスの状態からは抜け出せない」(第一生命経済研究所)可能性が高まった。ガソリン価格は値上がりが続いているが、昨年夏場のピークに比べればまだ低く、原油価格が横ばいの水準で推移すれば「8~9月には再び物価の押し下げ要因となる」(同)見通しだ。多くのエコノミストは、7~9月まで物価は前年比マイナス圏で推移し、上昇に転じるのは10~12月期からという見方を変えていない。【三島健二】








[大阪 30日 ロイター] 竹中平蔵慶応大学教授(前総務相)は30日、個人投資家向けのシンポジウムで講演し、マクロ経済運営の最優先課題はデフレの解消だと指摘、デフレ下では経済は拡大しない、と述べた。