The theme of SIBOS this year is definitely going to be about Asia and, specifically, Japan.
I first visited Japan in 1997, when it was at its peak of global supremacy.
The mood was riding high and everything was glitz, glamour and gizmos.
It is still that today but the shine is slightly less in your eyes, as demonstrated by this morning’s Japan Times which leads with the story: “Declining Japan loses once-hopeful champions.”
It also runs a one-page feature on SIBOS in the print edition, with Yoshiaki Watanabe, Chief Representative of SWIFT in Japan, saying: “whilst Asia shows a strong presence in the international financial arena, where should Japan stand? I want young businessmen in the financial industry to come listen to seminars and think about it.”
But what about old men and women for that matter?
Ah, no matter, as mentioned, some of this gets lost in translation (see my favourite quote from japan at the end of this entry).
With this theme of Japan’s future in mind, the last day of SIBOS is Japan Day with lots of discussions about the aging population, innovations in consumer electronics, and pressure to move production out of Japan.
Interestingly the paper then shifts to global news and talks about Japan’s role with the USA as its chief investor.
Yes, you thought it was China, but Japan now holds $1.2 trillion in US treasury bills compared to China’s $1.15 trillion, and Japan’s holdings in the USA are rising whilst China’s is declining. The column makes an interesting point about which nation is more friendly towards America as well, although not surprisingly as all the columns come from The Washington Post.
I wish they’d do the same with Europe but, in another column, I read that Europe is tanking thanks to Google!
“Italian bank analysts combed through years of data and applied mathematics to try to understand the country’s rising interstate rates. But what sparked a breakthrough this summer was a blunter tool: a look at the number of Google searches for phrases such as ‘euro breakup’ and ’end of euro’. The finding was stark. Such searches peaked at the same time that the rates on Italian government bonds were spiking.”
There you go … the madness of crowds.
Talking of the madness of crowds, I’m off to join the 5,000 or so folks walking into the INTEX halls this morning.
Meanwhile, my favourite quote lost in translation, or maybe not, was posted here last week:
“There is no other city as vulgar and obscene as Osaka. We should celebrate the image and welcome the development of casinos and red-light districts to attract people.”
Toru Hashimoto, Mayor of Osaka
OK, off to the opening plenary which is innotribe.