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Japan

Two articles on Japan caught my eye this Christmas evening, enough to warrant more than just a blurb.

1) Japan, China Deepen Financial Ties 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203479104577119961336456568.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories 

This article is significant as it makes explicit a joint effort between the world's 3rd and 2nd largest economies to counter dollar hegemony.  

Also, it makes the point that the Chinese may be increasing exposure to Japanese debt, giving it more leverage over the problematic Japanese economy.  This would signal a shift in geopolitical power in the world's 3 largest economies.

" Japan's authorities plan to file an official request fairly soon to China for a permission to hold Chinese government debt, the Japanese officials said. China is widely believed to be an increasingly big purchaser of Japanese governments, though no definitive data exists.

The official declined to comment on how much Chinese debt Japan might buy, but added that "it wouldn't be that large," and wouldn't signal a move by Japan to shift official reserves away from the dollar or the euro. "


2) Japan Approves Record Budget Despite Debt Woes
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204464404577117403264751254.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollection 

The second article deals with Japan's budget.  The quote below stands by itself:

" Government borrowing will exceed tax revenue for the third consecutive year for the main budget... "

That BORROWING is exceeding REVENUE should be an immediate red flag, regardless of whether it's for the full budget or without supplementals.

Also, the article revealed one rather glaring aspect of US-Japan relations:

" In one proposed spending cut, officials agreed to slash funding for a plan to transfer U.S. Marines out of Japan -- a move that could further undermine that long-troubled project."

Why is Japan fretting over the expenses of removing US marines out of Japan?  Why isn't the US shouldering the costs of moving its own troops out of foreign soil?