Japan leads Asia on a winning run
Reviewed By Hitoshi URABE
"Japan leads Asia on a winning run"
(by Alex Frew McMillan) CNN
New Years is something special to Japanese. It is a rare time of the year when people bring back their selves together, and their families get together. It would be an occasion also to revive the relationships within local societies of where people were raised by meeting old acquaintances and friends.
Reunion of families and relatives results in traffic congestion domestically, be it air, land, or sea. People head home, often located in remote areas in various parts of Japan where their people live, to meet them, their relatives, and old friends, toward the end of the year, and they come back for their work to begin a few days into the New Year.
This weekend, heavy snow and bad weather crippled various traveling measures, hindering endeavors of people to return to work, some resulting in accidents and incidents, though it was fortunate not many were serious.
Those who have no need to visit their relatives, and especially younger generations who not yet place much value in family reunions, head abroad, to utilize a long vacation officially authorized and without being worried of a colleague stealing his job while being away.
Even financial markets, the most fluid and time-sensitive business activity, cease to operate during the period. Tokyo stock market ended its trading on December 30 and reopened, finally, on Monday, January 6 for half a day.
On December 30, the last day of trading for the year 2002, the Nikkei average marked 8,578.95 yen for the closing, lower by 18.6% since the beginning or the year, and the lowest for a yearend since 1982, literally two decades ago.
Actually, it was not only the Tokyo market that was beaten in 2002. Other markets in Asia performed not so well, either. Taiwan's Taiex was off 19.8 percent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, down 18.2 percent, and Singapore's Straits Times index, fell by 17.4 percent.
It has been, therefore, for everyone's desire for the New Year to see better performances, especially Tokyo market where most of Asian capital is concentrated, far surpassing the volume of all the other Asian markets combined.
As the captioned article reports, the first day of trading in Tokyo stock market, as it turned out, experienced a bit of uplift of 1.57 percent to 8,713.33.
Nevertheless, it might worth noting that there are many who foresee this year's market pessimistically. In the stock market, where old traditions and proverbs tends to prevail when uncertainty gains ground, the Year of Sheep, which 2003 happens to be according to Japanese Zodiac,, is traditionally considered to be "the year of forbearance."
Some say the uplift experienced on the first trading day of the year was merely a result of technical reflection of Wall Street, but apparently it did comfort people in the market, if only psychologically.
It should be interesting to watch if the market could beat the superstition further into the year.