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米国大統領選と日本の未来

謎めいた開票作業を経て、ジョー・バイデン氏が勝利宣言を行いました。といってもトランプ大統領が複数の州で結果をめぐって提訴しているので、真の勝者は連邦最高裁が決めることになるのですが。ともあれ、どちらが次の大統領になったとしても、日米合同委員会のトップである第5空軍司令官に政治を押さえられている日本としては、大きな影響が出てきます。

日本人にとって一番の関心事は国防でしょう。周辺の国がここ数年脅威をもたらしている中、強固な日米同盟によって致命的な状態に陥らずに済んでいるわけで、これを適切に維持することが日本の生き残りの鍵となるわけです。アメリカの助けなく自力で生きることは不可能な国ですから。

バイデン氏は中国と強い結びつきがあると言われています。マイク・ペンス副大統領は副大統領討論会で「ジョー・バイデンはこれまで何十年もの間、中国共産党の応援者だ」といっていました。またバイデン氏の息子のハンター・バイデン氏は中国やウクライナから金銭を受け取ったとも言われています。これらの事実から、彼らが向こう4年間の東アジアの平和を危険にさらすのではないかと心配する日本人が多くいます。

「バイデンは中国と取引をして尖閣諸島を中国に渡すのでは?」と心配する日本人もいます。「中国や北朝鮮が攻めてきても、アメリカは知らん顔をするかもしれない」

ともあれ、ひとたびジョー・バイデン氏が次の米国大統領になったときは、日本のただ一つの取る道は、すぐにワシントンに飛び、日米同盟を堅持してインド太平洋地域の平和を守るように働きかけることでしょう。それをするのが菅総理の重要なミッションと思います。

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The next US President and Japan’s future

Joe Biden made a victory speech as the President-elect today after mysterious ballot-counting processes. However, the Supreme Court of the United States will decide who the real winner is because President Donald Trump is filing cases to courts of several States on the results. No matter which will be the next President of the United States, his policies will affect Japan a great deal because the Fifth Air Force Commander, the head of the US-Japan Joint Committee, actually controls Japan’s politics.

One of the significant concerns for the Japanese is the homeland security of our nation. Countries around Japan have repeatedly been threatening it for years, and the firm alliance between the United States and Japan has prevented it from falling into a deadly situation. Proper maintaining of the coalition between the two countries is the key for Japan to survive because it can’t stand alone without America’s help.

Some say that the new President-elect has strong ties with China, as Mike Pence said in the vice-presidential debate, “Joe Biden has been a cheerleader for communist China over the last several decades.” Others say that his son, Hunter Biden, received money from China and Ukraine. These facts make many Japanese people anxious that they may jeopardize East Asia’s peace in the next four years.

“Is Joe Biden going to make a deal with China to give the Senkaku Islands to it?” some Japanese are anxious. “Even if China or North Korea attacks Japan, America may pay no attention to it.”

Once Joe Biden becomes the next POTUS, Japan’s only option is to fly to Washington immediately to ask him to maintain the strong relationship between the United States and Japan to secure the US Forces Japan for keeping the peace in the Indo-Pacific region. To do it is Prime Minister Suga’s critical mission.

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香港は死んだ

香港に初めて行ったのは2004年のことで、それ以来、すっかり気に入って、ここのブログでも何度もエントリを書いたことがありますが、リピーターになってしまっていました。

香港の魅力というと、西洋菜南街の活気、旺角の先達廣場でのノキアのスマホ物色、ローストダックや亀ゼリー、HSBCの銀行口座、いろいろありますが、やはり、ちょっとゆるくて自由な雰囲気が一番だったと思います。気分が沈んだ時に元気をもらえるというか。

ということでかれこれもう8回訪港しています。

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Hong Kong is dead

Visiting Hong Kong was one of my favorites since I made the first trip there in 2004. I did it eight times until now. I loved to stroll on Sai Yeung Choi Street South where people were very cheerful and energetic, to enjoy wonton noodles, steamed duck, and gwilinggao at restaurants, to get Nokia’s brand new and second-hand smartphones and accessories at mobile phone shops of the Sincere Podium building in Mong Kok, and to open and use a bank account of HSBC Hong Kong. I saw the Big Buddha at Ngong Ping, visited a prison museum at Stanley, stayed at a hotel of Chungking Mansions, worshipped at Che Kung Temple, had a fortune-telling session at Wong Tai Sin Temple, and extended my journey as far as Macau and Shenzhen. All the memories of those places were impeccable.

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Revolutでレボリューション

私は日本で給料をもらって暮らしていますが、リスクヘッジと多様な運用をするためにアメリカと香港に銀行の口座を持っており、資産分散しています。

日本で得た円をどうやってこれらの銀行に送金するかが考慮事項なのですが、日本の銀行で海外送金をするとコストがものすごくかかるので、オンラインの海外送金サービスをいくつか試してみましたが、どれも1回2000円ぐらいの手数料はどうしてもかかってしまいます。まとまったお金を送金するのならいいのですが、数万円程度のお金を送るのにこれではもったいない気がします。

この問題はペイパルのアカウントを2つ持てば解決できます。別々のメールアドレス2つを使ってペイパルのアカウントを2つ申し込み、片方のアカウントに日本の銀行のデビットカードを登録し、もう片方にアメリカの銀行口座をひもづけます。そして日本の銀行のデビットカードを登録したアカウントにログインして、そのデビットカード払いで、アメリカの銀行口座があるほうのアカウント宛に送金(支払い)をします。そのあとログアウトしてもう一つのアカウントにログインすると、送金した分のお金が(手数料を惹かれた形で)入金されているので、それを米ドルに両替して、登録したアメリカの銀行口座に引き出すということをすれば、少額の送金なら手数料が安くてすみます。ただし日本在住者は香港の銀行はひもづけられないようなので、このやり方では香港の銀行に送金することはできません。

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Revolution with Revolut

I live in Japan. I have bank accounts in Japan to get a monthly income and make regular payments. Besides, I have bank accounts in the United States and Hong Kong to put some of my money into different banks in different places with different currencies to minimize the risk. I manage my assets in these countries because there are more options for investment than in Japan.

A consideration is how to transfer the money you get in Japan to a foreign bank account. Wire transfer at a banking institute in Japan costs very much. I tried some online international money transfer services. All of these services require no less than 2,000 JPY of fee per transaction, so sending tens of thousand Yen with these services is costly.

Having two Paypal accounts can resolve this problem. I got two Paypal accounts with my different email addresses and linked one of the Paypal accounts to a debit card of the bank account in Japan and the other to the bank account in the US. When money was credited to the Japan bank account, I logged in to the Paypal account linked to the debit card and sent money with the debit card to the Paypal account linked to the US bank account. Then I logged out and logged in to the other Paypal account, and I withdrew money credited to the account to the US bank account linked to the Paypal account. The fee is cheaper as long as you send a small amount of money. However, you cannot send money from Japan to Hong Kong because if you live in Japan, your Paypal account does not allow you to link to any bank accounts in Hong Kong.

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アフターコロナでどう変わる?

コロナが世界中に広まっていますね。ジョンズ・ホプキンス大学によると4月29日時点で3百10万人以上が感染して、20万人以上が亡くなっているそうです。ここ東京も例外ではありません。

そのせいで、世界中の人々が行動変容を迫られ、何ヶ月も外出禁止になったり、医療関係者、消防士、警察官、スーパーの店員、清掃作業員、配達人、公共交通機関に従事する人などのエッセンシャルワーカーは感染の恐怖に直面しながら外で働いているわけです。

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Changes of the world from COVID-19

COVID-19 is dreadfully spreading throughout the world, hospitalizing more than 3,100,000 people and taking the lives of more than 200,000 patients as of April 29, according to Johns Hopkins University. It is no exceptions here in Tokyo.

The virus is forcing all people in the world to change their lifestyles. Many have been grounded for months. Essential workers, such as doctors, healthcare workers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, supermarket clerks, garbage collectors, delivery servicepersons, and staff involved in public transportation, work outside facing the fear of infection.

I’ve been staying at my house in Tokyo for almost two months. Although the confirmed cases and the death toll in Japan are lower than those in the United States, there are hundreds of cases tested positive and dozens of casualties every day. People are requested to refrain from non-essential journeys and maintain proper social distancing like the US and other countries to avoid causing overshooting of patients. These days I work from home, watch TV, surf the internet, read e-books, have meals delivered at the door, eat them, and sleep in the bed.

Nobody knows when this inconvenience ends. Some say that it will take 18 months for everything to get back to normal. Others say that it will never return to what it was before the outbreak. Since public health specialists say that the situation in Tokyo is three weeks behind that in New York City, the Metropolitan Government will probably lift the de facto lockdown no sooner than three weeks after NYC. As of today, no countries reopened business yet.

I’m at home all day long, unless I buy foods at the grocery store or wash my laundry at the laundromat. I have much more time to think about what the world will become in forthcoming years. Here’s what I think the world will change:

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第三次世界大戦の序章

令和二年は悪夢で始まったようです。正確に言うと年のはじめには、2ヶ月後にこうなってるなどと誰も予測し得なかったのです。言うまでもなく、いま世界全体が戦っているもの、つまりコロナウイルスの話です。

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Prelude to WWIII

The second year of the Reiwa period began with a nightmare. More precisely, at the beginning of the year, nobody could predict what would be going on just two months later. I am talking about what the entire world is fighting against—COVID-19.

The coronavirus outbreak has been an urgent global issue. It was just the case of people in a limited area of a particular country, or poor, rich travelers within a trapped gorgeous cruise ship in February. Only a few weeks later, however, it became the case relevant in most parts of the world. Now the situation is changing day by day. For days, thousands of people around the world have been newly hospitalized due to this disease. More than 10,000 patients have died from it in China, Japan, Iran, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, the United States, and more.

The World Health Organization declared a pandemic. Lockdown is underway in many cities and even nationwide in some countries. Going out for non-essential reasons is banned or discouraged. People are forced to stay home and keep six feet away from others so as not to be six feet under.

The lockdown has had a massive impact on the world economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by around 1,000 points this month with circuit breakers taking effect many times. The share price of Boeing has become less than a third for weeks. This financial crisis is even worse than those in the great depression in 1929.

That is true with Japan. Here in Tokyo, the governor stated that lockdown in Tokyo is likely because patients tested positive are increasing every day by more than the number of cases a day before. She requested Tokyoites for being home this weekend except for essential business.

People in Japan look afraid of a state of emergency being declared and lockdown being issued. I hate to say that, but I’m sure that these will be near. I think lockdown orders will be released in weeks or even in days because we see other civilized countries being already like this.

Lockdown being inevitable, how should we do? Most people will be forced to stay away from their workplaces, such as offices, farms, fishing grounds, milk plants, and factories. Then it is likely to run short of various things needed for daily life. As a result, the production of foods and groceries will be severely restricted.

Once supply cease, panic buying is likely to take place. This action must be blamed as antisocial behavior since not all households have enough money or means to get what they need. It will be difficult to supply daily necessities if panic buying occurs, because the distribution system will be burdened more than usual, and the distribution of domestic inventory will be unfair. Participating in such panic buying is nothing but not only exposing your low awareness of social solidarity, that is, lack of knowledge that society will not be established if we do our own things, but also proving that you have neglected to be prepared and save in case of an emergency.

We have no choice but to secure the needed supplies for the time being before lockdown takes effect. It would help us a lot to find out what people in countries where lockdown is already in place are doing.

This experience gives us the following important suggestions and lessons: the fact that even the most rights-sensitive liberal nations can easily and quickly control individual’s rights and freedom before the impending crisis. It means that, once an emergency happens, the rights of individuals are insignificant and vulnerable.

What is happening in front of us now seems like a dry run exercise for the third world war. I think it is likely to occur in the coming decades because it is a very similar situation where a big earthquake occurred in 1923, the world financial crisis in 1929, and WWII 12 years later. Likewise, the big earthquake and tsunami happened in 2011, and the economic crisis derived from the coronavirus epidemic eight years later. Now the world is divided. Each country is isolated and closing its borders. How many years is left for us to see those countries to collide?

The time is right to be prepared for in the future. Divide your assets into some pieces and save them in different countries. If possible, have multiple places to live and jobs in two or more countries. Having as many life options as possible will save you in this volatile future with many uncertainties.