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Translation - English Banking sector's sub-prime asset gains continue to rise
Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) has revealed the results of a survey into how much the country's depositary institutions are holding in assets securitised against American sub-prime mortgages. The results revealed the assets to be showing a total gain of ¥11bn in June this year, up from gains of ¥3bn at end of March. These gains must be viewed against a background of impairments and asset disposals by the banks.
The FSA carries out its investigation into the country's financial institutions’ (banks, credit co-ops, etc.) holdings of asset backed securities (ABS) and collateralised debt obligations (CDO) with exposure to sub-prime mortgages each quarter. Immediately after the Lehman Brothers crash at the end of September 2008, these assets were showing losses of ¥147bn.
As a result of impairments and disposals, the sum of sub-prime assets held by financial institutions diluted by about 40% from ¥797bn at the end of September 2008 to ¥327bn in June this year. From a starting point of 2007, realised losses (an aggregate of loss on sale, impairments, loss allowances etc.) have accumulated to ¥1.45trn.
All securitised paper, including securities with no direct exposure to sub-prime mortgages, was showing a combined loss of ¥112bn at end of June this year, less than one tenth of the same at end of September 2008 (¥1.511trn), but there are still further losses to be realized.
Japanese to English: 常識の壁 Detailed field: Government / Politics
Translation - English The Wall of Social Norms-by Kikuchi Tetsuro
A great wall stands in our way. I call it the "Wall of Social Norms". We are made to suffer and struggle, unwittingly imprisoned by a wall of our own making. I came to realize the significance of this wall after speaking with Dr. Takeshi Yoro, author of "The Wall of Stupidity". Once the wall is removed, I believe that rather than the dark and dismal future foretold by most of us, a dazzling road can lie ahead of us. The immobility we sense in the world today is merely the spectre of this wall of social norms.
This world is made up of social norms - so it seems. However, social norms are constantly changing. In the past, social norm dictated that when we become adults we must get married, but recently ambivalence towards marriage has risen with the result that NOT getting married has become a social norm. Meanwhile, as the world continues to change, NOT marrying may become an inconvenience, with the result of marriage returning to its former glory. On the other hand, couples may continue to feel that just being together is enough. In this case, the trend of seeing marriage as an outdated tradition, a worthless slip of paper to be handed in at the local town hall, will continue to become a social norm.
Parents look after their children through childhood, and the children return the favour by helping their parents through old age. This used to be a social norm throughout the world. However, the government of Japan assumed the role of carer by creating the national pension and nursing care insurance systems. As these systems use other people's money (workers pay contributions each month), the government of Japan does not fret about spending large amounts of it to free the older generation from the troubles of later life. However, thanks to this framework, the tendency of children NOT looking after their parents through old age is continuing to become a social norm. Perhaps as a continuation of this theme, many parents are not looking after their children, and even worse, incidents of child abuse are also rising. The rise in child abuse is the fault of the Japanese government.
There are many examples of social norms which are created by wrong turns and serve no practicality.
Teenagers and twenty somethings are worrying about their pensions. However ridiculous it seems, it has become a social norm. The question is whether we have confidence in a Japan 40 years down the road. In 40 years the people who are receiving pension money now will all be gone. The question of whether or not to have confidence in the future of Japan has to be answered by us, the young adults of today. In other words, because it is a question of whether we have faith in ourselves, it would be foolish to worry. We can't rely on the indefinite assurances of people like Prime Minister Koizumi and minister Sakaguchi along with all the other men of that generation. The social norm of believing that distinguished men are earnestly working for a better future for us younger people now seems defunct. Rather, disbelieving is now the social norm.
It is another social norm that the country funds its expenditure by collecting taxes. However, Japan's reality is completely different. Almost all of the taxes collected are used to cover the cost of the civil service alone, whereas the money needed for other expenditure comes from loans. The government is pledging to remove this reliance on loans to fund the budget deficit, but it is living in a dreamland. If that is the case, why don't we change social norms and run the country on loans! We could even go the whole hog and become the world's first denationalised country! This has become Japan's new social norm.
Although the Democratic Party of Japan is pledging to make use of motorways free of charge, it seems that the social norm for "people in the know" is to worry about the where the finance is going to come from. Nevermind about that! Make it free! The Democratic Party say they will do the worrying afterwards - it is not our concern. By forcing their negative opinions on us the "people in the know" are unwittingly impeding the world's progress to a better future.
"Kids nowadays are no good." This complaint has been voiced by the protectors of social norms for thousands of years and yet they have consistently been proved wrong. Nevertheless, it is still being voiced! Complaints include; falling educational standards, bad manners, degradation of the Japanese language, aversion to confrontation, poor communication. It's absurd! In less than 1 minute via mobile phone or the internet, the children of today can search for and find information, that only 10 years ago would have taken a full day. This amount of productivity is huge compared to even the recent past. It is the protectors of social norms who are guilty of restricting us from using this effectiveness in creating a new, great Japan.
Perhaps social norms are the tools which incapable people use to put a ceiling on the abilities of others, in order to protect their pre-ordained rights.
Social norm dictates that, schools, society and the country starts a new year from April, not January. This is also strange. Why does it start from April? It's certainly not due to the advent of the cherry blossom season. The real reason is to enable companies to pick out new recruits in one fell swoop. To aid this end, universities, high schools, middle schools, primary schools and even kindergartens are made to finish the school year in March. In other words, society is moulded towards enabling companies to do their recruiting all at once, therefore creating an efficient Japan. This is the social norm. However, it is not a social norm throughout the world. Even in Japanese history we can find examples of differences. The Terakoya (the first primary schools set up during the Edo era [1615-1868] to teach the masses basic literacy) admitted students at any time, and during the beginning of the Meiji era (1868) different schools had various starting times. Today, most countries finish the school year before the summer holidays. The idea is to allow students a long rest before slowly returning to school at the start of September. After all, a thoroughly relaxed child is much more able to concentrate on studying, the primary aim of any education system. Why don't we change school admissions policy and allow students to enter into school when they wish? It would be a natural conclusion considering that all people are different. The problem of a great many children choosing not to attend school would disappear. The social norm of students studying purely for employment into companies would also disappear. Such minute adjustments would change the lifestyles of all people and, in turn, reshape Japanese society.
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As a qualified lawyer specialising in litigated defendant insurance fraud, I highly understand the need for accuracy in legal documents. This appreciation coupled with my knowledge of Japanese company law enables me to create English translations which thoroughly reproduce the meaning and purpose of Japanese documents down to their finest detail.
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