Japan breaks out! Crazy spread, fatality rate 30%!

According to the latest news from Japanese media, the number of patients with streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, commonly known as the “man-eating bacteria” infection, is increasing at the fastest rate in history, with the fatality rate of the disease as high as 30%. Some Japanese experts called on the public to remain vigilant, especially the elderly, who are more likely to be infected.

In addition, an economic data disclosed by the Bank of Japan on the 28th also attracted the attention of global investors. Data show that Japan’s business services price index recorded an annual rate of 2.8% in April, the fastest growth rate since September 1991, which added support for the Bank of Japan to raise interest rates. Some analysts said that it is not ruled out that the Bank of Japan will raise interest rates ahead of schedule. 

Spread wildly

Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) is an acute syndrome caused by beta-hemolytic streptococcal exotoxin. Due to the relatively high fatality rate of the disease, the causative bacteria are called “man-eating bacteria” in Japan.

According to Japan Jiji News Agency, streptococci are mainly spread through contact or droplets. Although many people will not experience symptoms after infection, once the bacteria invades tissues such as the blood or muscles, it may cause strep toxic shock syndrome. Initial symptoms include sore throat, fever, etc., and then the condition rapidly progresses to drop in blood pressure, multiple organ failure and even shock. The fatality rate of this disease is approximately 30%.

The above-mentioned media stated that the number of patients is increasing at a record rate. Data released by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases of Japan show that Japan reported a total of 941 cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome in 2023, the highest number since relevant statistics began in 1999. As of May 12 this year, Japan has reported a total of 851 cases of infection, which is approximately 2.8 times that of the same period last year.

Streptococci that cause STSS can be divided into groups A, B, and G. The M1UK strain popular in the United Kingdom in the 1910s is a highly virulent group A strain. In the second half of 2023, group A streptococci were reported in Kanto and other regions of Japan. The number of detected cases continues to increase, and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is strengthening surveillance, but it is still unclear whether it is related to the increase in STSS.

Ken Kikuchi, a professor at Tokyo Women’s Medical University in Japan, said that given that most of the patients are elderly people over 65 years old, the elderly group should pay special attention to strengthening prevention. He pointed out that many elderly patients are infected with this bacteria due to small wounds or ulcers on their feet, and it is recommended that nursing staff pay more attention to whether the feet of the elderly are kept clean. According to him, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome is difficult to judge from the initial symptoms. If the patient has swelling and rapid expansion of the feet, a fever of 39 degrees or above, etc., he should go to a medical institution as soon as possible.

Previously, on March 20, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency issued a travel warning stating that the number of STSS patients in Japan is increasing, their symptoms are rapidly worsening, and the mortality rate is about 30%. As the number of Korean tourists to Japan increases, some regions are becoming increasingly alarmed. The agency said there were 941 cases in Japan last year, the highest number ever recorded, and this number is also rising this year. Travelers must wash their hands and observe precautions such as cough etiquette. South Korean media also reported at the time that with the increase in the number of tourists visiting Japan, infectious diseases with a fatality rate of up to 30% were spreading rapidly throughout Japan, and caution was needed. 

Will the Bank of Japan raise interest rates ahead of schedule?

Data released by the Bank of Japan today showed that Japanese corporate service inflation soared to a 33-year high, adding further support for the Bank of Japan to raise interest rates.

The data showed that the Corporate Services Price Index (CSPI), which measures the cost of a range of goods and services provided by companies to other businesses and government entities, jumped 2.8% from the same period last year. This data was not only higher than the 2.3% predicted by economists, but And it is the fastest growth rate since September 1991 (excluding the period affected by the previous sales tax increase).

The Bank of Japan emphasized that service prices are a key indicator of inflation in Japan’s overall economy. This latest data proves that the strongest price growth in decades is taking root across the Japanese economy, supporting the view that Japanese inflation can be sustained.

Service prices are expected to keep rising, in part due to higher wages for Japanese workers this year. The country’s largest union reported wage increases of more than 5% for its members in negotiations so far this year, with workers in retail and telecommunications services receiving above-average wage increases. Japan’s low wages have long been a stumbling block to promoting sustainable consumption and broader economic growth. But companies recently saw their biggest wage hikes in decades, which many see as a major reason for the BOJ’s policy shift.

Continued weakness in the yen could also lead to further price increases. Bank of Japan Governor Kazuo Ueda said earlier that companies are now more likely to pass on rising costs to consumers through price increases.

Previously, the Bank of Japan has signaled that it will continue to raise interest rates, but given the fragile state of Japan’s economy, the pace of interest rate increases will be very gentle. According to a survey conducted in April, about 41% of BOJ watchers expect October to be the next time the BOJ raises interest rates, with the majority viewing a July rate hike as a risk scenario.

The release of the latest data may encourage the Bank of Japan to consider bringing forward the timing of its next rate hike. On the 28th, the yield on the 10-year newly issued government bonds in the Japanese bond market, which is an indicator of long-term interest rates, once rose to 1.035%, the highest level in 12 years. 

The balance of external net assets reaches a new high

On May 28, local time, Japan’s Ministry of Finance announced the balance of Japan’s external assets and liabilities at the end of 2023. After deducting the liabilities of overseas investors investing in Japan, the balance of net external assets held by the government, enterprises and individuals reached 471 trillion yen, an increase of 12.2% from the end of last year.

Due to the depreciation of the yen, the yen conversion amount of foreign currency assets has increased. Japan’s net external assets balance has set a record high for five consecutive years, and Japan has become the world’s largest net external assets country for 33 consecutive years.

At the end of 2023, Japan’s exchange rate against the US dollar was 141.4 yen per US dollar, a depreciation of approximately 9 yen from the end of the previous year. Due to the weakening of the yen, Japan’s debt increased by approximately 16 trillion yen, and its assets increased by approximately 75 trillion yen. Rising global stock prices have also contributed to increases in securities market capitalization.

At the end of 2023, Japan’s external asset balance increased by 11.1% to 1,488 trillion yen, a record high and the 15th consecutive year of growth. Among them, the balance of direct investment increased by 11.3% to 307.69 trillion yen. In addition to the wholesale and retail industries in the United States, energy resource-related investment has also increased in Australia. The balance of securities investment increased by 16.2% to 617.34 trillion yen. The external debt balance increased by 10.6% to 1,017 trillion yen, which was also the highest level on record.

Hey there, folks! So, I came across some pretty intense news from Japan. Yes, the land of the rising sun, renowned for its cherry blossoms and sushi, is grappling with some serious issues. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

First up, it’s the rapid spread of an insanely lethal disease known as Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome, or STSS. This isn’t your regular flu or cold, my friends. This is a severe and acute illness caused by β-hemolytic streptococci exotoxin. It’s like a ticking time bomb with a mortality rate of a whopping 30%!

STSS is spreading like wildfire across Japan, hitting record-breaking speeds. The senior citizens are bearing the brunt of it, as they are more susceptible to the disease. Terrifying, isn’t it? It’s like a horror movie, but in real life. So, if you’re planning a trip to Japan any time soon, it might be wise to keep yourself updated about this situation.

Now, if you thought that was all, you’re in for a surprise. There’s more drama unfolding in Japan. The nation’s economy is undergoing some strange metamorphosis. The Corporate Services Price Index, a key economic indicator, has skyrocketed to the highest in 33 years!

Hold on, there’s more! The Bank of Japan is contemplating an early interest rate hike. If Japan, known for its ultra-low-interest-rate policy, is considering a rate hike, it definitely makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

This unexpected turn of events has caught the attention of global investors. After all, an interest rate hike in Japan could create ripples across the global financial market. So, keep your eyes peeled for any updates on this front.

But it’s not all gloom and doom in the land of the rising sun. There’s a silver lining to this ominous cloud. Japan’s balance of foreign assets and liabilities has reached a record high. This upswing reflects the fluctuations in the US dollar exchange rate and the rise in global stock prices.

In the light of these developments, Japan is like a gripping thriller with unexpected plot twists at every turn. A deadly disease outbreak, a potential economic upheaval, and a record-breaking balance of foreign assets and liabilities – Japan is truly in the midst of a storm.

So there you have it, folks. Japan, known for its tranquility and orderliness, is currently in a state of flux and facing challenges that could redefine its future. While the nation grapples with these issues, we can only hope for the best and keep our fingers crossed.

Remember, every cloud has a silver lining. Here’s hoping Japan navigates through this storm and emerges stronger than ever. After all, it’s the land of the rising sun, isn’t it? Let’s hope it continues to rise and shine brightly in the face of adversity.

Stay tuned for more updates on this roller-coaster ride. Until next time, stay safe and stay informed!

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