Business, Finance & Economics

Production plummets in Japan

(What jumps out at you as the most worrying sign for Japan's economy?) The production figures are particularly worrisome because Japan and other Asian countries rely so much on exports and when companies like Sony and Toyota are not producing as much, it trickles down quickly. (Does Toyota's troubles in particular really shake people?) I think so, they've ridden out many booms and busts and they're experts at wringing savings out of their plants without laying off people. (Does this news mean Japan's last stimulus package didn't work or is it too soon to tell?) The latter, these packages take months to work, and how much of the stimulus money package is really spent? (Do you think Japan could be heading to even worse economic times ahead than their problems in the 90s?) I think one of the problems that was unresolved were longer term structural problems, the shrinking population for example and I don't think Japan has worked to head off those declines. America on the other hand allows more newcomers more readily and people are more mobile. Japan is a more rigid society. (What does it mean in Japan to lose your job? Is there a social safety net for the unemployed?) A lot of companies do have subsidized housing for their factory workers. In Japan, moving is also expensive.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.)

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