Japan's Aging Population – Adult Diaper Sales Surge

Not like Fukushima isn’t a large enough problem for Japan ( and the rest of the world for that matter ) but unfortunately……..it’s only a “near term concern”.

Originally triggered by a “massive baby boom” post World War II, the demographics of Japan have evolved into something pretty unusual. The combination of long life expectancy and extremely low birth rate (one of  the lowest of all developed nations ) has resulted in a rapidly aging population, such that currently “one in every four citizens” is over the age of 65.

According to Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, it will be “one in three people” in Japan to be aged above 65 by the year 2030.

There will be more people “over the age of 60” than “under the age of 14” by 2020, with more diapers being sold for adults than for babies.

Japan’s rapidly aging population and low investment returns are driving a decline in savings and wealth ( as retirees now “spend” their savings as opposed to grow them ) dramatically reducing the amount of capital available to fuel the economy.

Since 1981 Japan has produced enough savings to finance its domestic investment needs “and” still export savings as well. But as Japan grows older and it’s savings pool shrinks they will surely become a “net borrower” – meaning…..yet another “purchaser of U.S Debt” will likely stop buying and put even “more pressure” on the economic situation in the U.S.

“You ain’t investing in no U.S Treasury Bonds when your primary concern is maintaining a reasonable quality of life in your later years.”

Is it any wonder we see Japan taking such drastic steps ( via currency debasement / QE etc..) to promote growth and bolster their economy?

A work force that is generally “drying up” ……………and taking their life savings along with them.

Japan's Woes – Fukushima, China , Debt And Seniors

For the coming week, I’m going to be writing / providing considerable information on some of the very troubling developments taking place in Japan. As you already know, I watch Japan very closely ( much more so than the U.S) and am “compelled” to share with you some of the things I’ve recently come to understand.

1. Fukushima

With over 300 tonnes of contaminated radio-active water flooding back into the pacific ocean “daily” for the past 2 FULL YEARS – the nuclear disaster in Japan is the absolute #1 largest threat to humanity I will have seen ( and likely yourselves ) in our lifetimes. The current situation is so dire, that Abe and the Japanese government have now passed a “new bill” granting Japan’s govt sweeping powers to declare state secrets where in whistleblowers and journalist may face up to ten years in jail for exposing anything the Japanese government declares “a special secret.”

If you can imagine how frail the situation is – if a single “spent fuel rod assembly ” of the 1000’s hanging precariously in reactor 4 where to break in open air – 30 million citizens of Tokyo may face evacuation, crippling the world’s third largest economic centre, paving the way for complete global economic  disaster.

As little coverage as the story is getting in the West, the threat at Fukushima is very, very real and will take many, many years to even “contain” – let alone repair. All the while…the contamination continues with estimates of impacting the entire Pacific Ocean over the next 5 years.


This is an excellent breakdown of the situation moving forward, should any of you care:


Given the “passing” of this new bill, I fear it’s unlikely we will really “ever” get the information needed to properly evaluate the situation at Fukushima, as it’s obvious the Japanese don’t want to speak of it. Tourism, exports, health care, government reputation etc…take your pick – the lasting effects on Japan ( and it’s economy ) will be felt for many years to come.

Throughout the week I want to also touch on China’s recent military actions concerning Japan, as well the country’s “mushroom cloud” of debt and rapidly aging population.

The Correction – One Way To Trade It

It’s simple.

The hot money out of Japan has been responsible for “a pile” of the recent run up in U.S equities, as Ben and his buddies have been busy enough in the bond market – with little success. TLT is currently priced at 102.65!

I’m pulling up this ol chart from back “I don’t know when” I first suggested what was to come for U.S bonds, the U.S dollar – and inevitably U.S stocks.

Quote: “Not much else to add here as the intermarket analysis above pretty much outlines the direction for the U.S Dollar. I feel we will likely see a time very soon, when U.S bonds, U.S stocks as well as the U.S Dollar all fall together.”


TLT in Weekly Downtrend

I really don’t think people grasp how screwed the Fed is, and unfortunately how this translates to the “middle class” of America – who will be stuck paying for it.

With 85 billion per month in effort, you can see by only a couple of “down days in the market” the Fed is absolutely powerless when the “market decides” what’s what.

You’d seriously have to ask your self what on Earth would need to occur to “reinstill confidence” in the purchase of U.S bonds/debt? Not to mention the “global move” away from USD. Tapering is impossible. QE will be doubled no question, then likely tripled.

Did I mention that recent data has just had the “Yuan” replace the Euro as the second most widely traded currency on the planet?

This may not be the “last of it” as the large majority of retail investors will view this “next dip” as an excellent place to buy….and they will be right – for a couple weeks.

You want to play the correction?

Get short Japan.

Eyes On Japan – Start Following Nikkei

It’s 11:07 a.m in Tokyo Japan right now, and traders are just getting settled in for the long week ahead.

Considering our “global market” as well the fact that Japan’s current QE program is 3X larger that of the United States – it goes without saying that I’m very interested in activity overseas. A quick look at Asian markets on Sunday night is a virtual “look into the future”, as equally skilled and experienced traders/investors evaluate the weekend’s data and start making their moves.

A current chart of the Nikkei ( I use futures /NKD ), compared to a chart of the SP 500 has both poking around at near term highs so….in that sense ( if you don’t choose to follow the Nikkei specifically ) you can imagine traders in Japan in nearly the “exact same position” as those on Wall Street.

Two separate governments, both with similar monetary policies, printing like mad with hopes they will “somehow” survive. Massive trading floors, big banks flooded with liquidity and a stock market “turned up to 11”.

In the simplest “minute to minute” sense I could easily bet you 1000 pesos that as the Nikkei trades lower, you can look forward to a lower open in the U.S. Half the planet is already “up and running” devouring the news of the day ( perhaps U.S retail sales over the holiday weekend?? ) so…..what? Did you have some idea that U.S markets lead?

With a current QE program “dwarfing” that of the U.S I can assure you – in the current environment of “free money” and “print to eternity” Japan is the country to keep your eye on.

All those freshly printed Yen had to have gone somewhere right?

You don’t think the Japanese are smart enough to “jump onboard” the “bubble fest” currently playing out in U.S equities as well?

Please…….with a full 12 hour head start, I’ll see “trouble on the horizon” in Japan long before you’ve hit the snooze button.


Japan As A Model – Slaves To The Bank

Japan is the world’s third largest economy and a key trading partner to all of the large powers with a current “debt versus the country’s GDP” at 230% – the highest in the developed world. And if you add in corporate and private debt, total Japanese debt equates to more like 500% of GDP.

Think about that for a moment.

Any given year the country of Japan “owes” (lets average it out) 3X the amount of money that it currently “makes”. That’s what I call a serious credit card limit – totally maxed.

To illustrate just how fragile this situation is ( and possibly foreshadow a likely “similar” situation currently developing in the U.S ) if the base interest rates in Japan where to rise to a piddly 2% ( as the current rate is at 0.1% ) it would have “interest expense on government debt” equate to 80% of government revenue. That’s 80% of the countries GDP ( essentially ) going to pay the INTEREST on outstanding debt alone!

This “tiny jump” in interest rates would cause complete chaos in the bond market, be absolutely impossible to service, and likely lead to full-blown economic crisis.

So what’s the plan in Japan? Seeing that even the current stimulus plan ( 3X as large as th U.S current QE) is “barely” allowing them to hang on? More printing? More government bond purchases?

And of course when all else fails….what’s another great way a government can increase its revenue?

Raise taxes, and essentially make the people “work off the debt”.

Sound at all familiar?

Slaves to the bank. That’s what I see.

The “short Aussie” “post and subsequent trades of the last 24 hours have been spectacular as “indeed” the Australian Dollar took some serious damage overnight. Do I think it’s done? No way….The Aussie’s got a ways further to fall.

JPY And Nikkei – Thank You Japan!

I’m absolutely fascinated with “all things Japanese”.

In particular – The Yonaguni Monument (与那国島海底地形 Yonaguni-jima Kaitei Chikei, lit. “Yonaguni Island Submarine Topography”) a massive underwater rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni, the southern most part of the Ryukyu Islands. There’s debate as to whether the site is completely natural, is a natural site that has been modified, or is a human-made artifact.

Of course I’m convinced it’s evidence of “ancient aliens” but then again…..I digress.

I likely eat / prepare sushi 3 to 4 times a week, love saki….and am currently practicing some “simple spoken word” while not on the rooftop  – working on the spaceship.

A special thanks today – to Japan!

For all you have that’s wonderful, and of course the Nikkei! ( kindly respecting my wishes and turning downward), for JPY and it’s strength, for sushi, for sake, and all the other wonders of this incredible land!






JPY Takes Safe Haven Bid

In case anyone had any doubt about which currency would see strength during a flight from risk – The Japanese Yen was the clear winner overnight on fears of the U.S attacking Syria.

Kuroda and the Bank of Japan’s QE program (which is 3X as large as that of the U.S) has taken a serious hit here, as pairs such as AUD/JPY have more or less 100% completely retraced since the stimulus started back in 2012.

As I’ve mentioned here time and time again – JPY will always take a large portion of “safety flows” as the country of Japan holds most of its public debt domestically, providing little chance of default. When safety is sought – the Japanese Yen (JPY) makes sense for that reason alone.

I’d also suggested that the “easy money” being short JPY ( based in Kuroda’s QE plans set to continue) has already been made as we are now seeing what will likely happen should “global appetite for risk” come off. All the printing in the worlds can’t keep up with the flow of money “back into Yen” when risk is unwound.

What we “didn’t see” – is strength ( or further weakness for that matter ) in USD as today looks like “yet another” doji candle, and flat as a pancake.

I don’t believe USD is being considered a safe haven currency any longer, and am still of the mind-set that it will sell off.,,,regardless of further actions in a military sense.

I’ve entered several positions “long JPY” and continue to hold several positions “short USD”.

Kongonomics – Japan In Real Trouble

“The following is taken largely from the newletter of John Mauldin”

After the collapse of what might still be the largest economic bubble in history, in 1989, Japan is still mired in a 24-year non-recovery. Nominal GDP in 2011 was almost exactly what it was 20 years earlier, in 1991. You can find other ways to measure nominal GDP which indicate limited growth; but compared to the US and China, nominal growth in Japan has been virtually non existent.

Japan’s gross debt to GDP ratio is expected to top 245 per cent this year, according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund – which is considered to be “ridiculously high”.

They cannot continue to grow their debt at the current rate. There is a limit. No one knows for sure what that is, but it is getting closer. And they know it. So they have to get their fiscal deficit below the growth rate of nominal GDP.

If JGB (Japanese Government Bonds)  interest rates rise 2% in Japan, then the government must pay almost 80% of its revenues (as currently received) just to cover the interest on its debt. Even a 1% rise would be fiscally devastating.

The Abe government plans to raise taxes. Japan’s current sales tax is 5%, due to increase to 8% next year and 10% by 2015 with hopes of generating further revenues , but this will also hurt consumer spending. So round and round it goes.

The government of Japan has no choice. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s radical experiment with macroeconomic stimulus will create a debt and monetary overhang so huge that it may just bankrupt the financial system and quite possibly trigger hyper-inflation, and at this point – there is no turning back.

I’m watching this closely as my theory that the “EU Zone” would be our catalyst for “global fireworks ahead” may very well be replaced by Japan as this is developing extremely quickly.

I believe the “easy money” short JPY is now gone, and am currently positioned “long JPY”.

Nice call Kong! The Nikkei is down a wopping -2,500 points since your post : https://forexkong.com/2013/05/25/nikkei-20-year-chart-rejection/

Nikkei – 20 Year Chart Rejection

For the past several weeks the real story has been Japan’s amazing efforts to weaken the Yen – and in turn drive it’s stock market “The Nikkei” to the moon in the process.

Regardless of what you might think (with respect to recent data coming out of the U.S or even the latest stream of “upbeat earnings” from U.S companies) – the primary driver ( actually  “the only” in my view ) to higher equity prices in the SP500 has been the massive liquidity injections by The Bank of Japan coupled with Uncle Ben’s usual 85 billion per month.

We have now ( and finally ) reached a point where there is absolutely no question that we are in “bubble territory” as even the Fed is now doing what it can to “talk down” its own stimulus (which we all know can’t happen).

The correlations laid out here have been very straight forward. “Nikkei up = Yen down” and “SP 500 up = USD up”.

What’s interesting when we “zoom out” (and look at much longer term charts such as the last 20 or so years of  The Nikkei) we see that nothing is really that far out of wack.

The Nikkei has been rejected at the downward sloping trendline of “lower highs” – for the last 20 odd years running.



So once again we are left to consider if indeed the massive amount of money printing and central bank intervention can truly..TRULY…make a lasting difference in the growth of a given economy…or merely provide a brief “reprieve” from the pressures therein.

As the Nikkei corrects lower – so will USD.

I remain short USD….and look to get long JPY in coming days.

Japanese Bond Implosion – Explained

As I’ve pointed out many times before, it’s important to understand the relationship (and intermarket dynamics) played out between bonds, currency and the stock market. In this case we’re looking at Japan whos recent “money printing fiasco” may have set in motion a domino effect across these asset classes – with a potentially catostrophic result.

The Japanese stock market “The Nikkei” is down aprox -1000 points as of this writing. Tha’ts over 7% drop overnight alone.

The following video outlines the potencial pitfalls of access money printing, as well provides an excellent “road map” for where the U.S is headed shortly.