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Japan's Problem? Too Much Competition

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发表于 2-6-2020 12:54:06 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Jesper Koll, Japan's Problem? Too Much Competition. Japan Times, Feb 6, 2020.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opi ... ition/#.XjxvYLwZ43E

Quote:

(a) the first 2 1/2 paragraphs:

"One of my favorite questions as an unashamed Japan optimist is “what is the biggest problem of the Japanese economy?”

"The answer is simple: Japan suffers from too much competition. Deflation, low profitability, poor investment returns, subpar foreign direct investment, falling tax revenues, you name it. Many of the 'Japanification' problems can be explained by Japan's unique ability to feed ever-more relentless competition.

"In fact, Japan has long surpassed the United States as the world's leading example of a free market economy. This assertion may run counter to the standard mythology, in which Japan is often described as a kind of 'socialism that works.'

(b) "Measuring the competitiveness of an industry is easy. The greater the number of players, the more competitive it is. More specifically, economists measure the concentration of revenues controlled by the top-players, i.e., the market share of the industry leaders. In Japan, the top four companies in each industry control approximately 11 percent of their industry's revenues. This is true across all industries, from oshibori hand towels to hairdressers to accessories to cars, banks, etc., based on the Japan corporate census and Finance Ministry data.

"In the US, a comparable analysis suggests approximately 35 percent of each market is locked up by the top four players (on average across all industries as classified by the US corporate census). All said, Japan’s markets and industries are about three times more competitive than those of America.

(c) "Jesper Koll is the senior adviser to Wisdomtree Investments and is consistently ranked as a top Japan strategist/economist. He publishes blogs at www.wisdomtree.com/blog .

My comment:
(a) There is no need to read the rest.
(b) I do not necessarily buy the proposition that "The greater the number of players, the more competitive it is."

Banks (private and government-owned) and newspaper companies in Taiwan, take two examples, are not profitable. I can not understand why most of them would not simply quit -- and do something else that are more profitable.
(c)
(i) oshibori
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oshibori
(hot towel in English)

Apparently adopting the practice from Japan, Taiwan has it, too. It is made of cotton, and has to be returned or collected after use -- it is not disposable.
(ii) The shibori is noun to the verb shiboru.
(A) Japanese English dictionary:
* shiboru 絞る(P); 搾る(P) 【しぼる】 (v): "(1) (esp. 絞る) to wring (towel, rag); to squeeze; (2) (esp. 搾る) to squeeze (fruit to extract juice); to press; to extract; to milk; to express milk; (3) to rack (one's brains); to strain (one's voice); (4) to extort; to exploit; (5) (often passive voice) (See 油を絞る・1) to chew out; to reprimand severely; to rake over the coals; to give a sound scolding; to tell someone off; to scold; to rebuke; (6) to drill into; to train; (7) to narrow down (one's focus); to whittle down; (8) to gather up (curtain, etc.); to tighten (drawstring); (9) to stop down (lens); (10) to turn down (e.g. radio); (11) to bend (bow); to draw; (12) {sumo} to hold down; to constrict; to immobilize   <はい。ここに私たちが牛のミルクをしぼった牧場の写真がありますよ。  Yes, and here's a photo of the farm where we milked the cows>"

The verb does not have the Chinese meaning of execution by strangulation.

Definition 5 -- "(often passive voice) (See 油を絞る) to chew out; to reprimand severely; to rake over the coals; to give a sound scolding; to tell someone off; to scold; to rebuke" -- means 油を絞る is a phrase in Japanese, that is often used in passive voice: I was scolded.
(B) Why oshibori?  (The first syllable o simply signifies respect, is represented by kanji 御. Respect for what, you may ask. Well, for the towel. Why? Japanese use o 御 for money, too.)

The ja.wikipedia.org for おしぼり says, in section 1 おしぼりの歴史, that "客は手ぬぐいを桶の水に浸してしぼり、汚れた手や足をぬぐった。この 'しぼる' という行為が、おしぼりの語源になっていると言われている。"

my translation: Guests of a hotel -in ancient Japan] soaked hand towel with water in a tub, wrung the hand towel and wiped the dirty hands and feet
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