Author Archives: Mike Smitka

About Mike Smitka

Professor of Economics, Washington and Lee University. I follow the Japanese economy and the automotive industry, particularly suppliers and innovation. As a liberal arts college prof I am conversant with a range of macro and micro topics, including 25 years of teaching about the Chinese economy. My Japanese is good; I read it almost as quickly as English. I get by in German, and can work through things in Chinese and Russian. Outside of my teaching in the economics department at Washington and Lee University, I'm currently the acting program for East Asian Studies, a member of the American Advisory Committee of the Japan Foundation, a judge for the Automotive News PACE supplier competition, the secretary-treasurer of the EMBA Foundation, the treasurer of the Washington & Southeast Japan Seminar, and the President of the Board of the United Way of Rockbridge. I blog several places, sing in a couple local choral groups, and am active at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lexington VA. I’m not updating this blog very often. See instead the link above and also: Autos and Economics on blogspot and Japan and Economics on blogspot.

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Auto parts suppliers price fixing and Japan

The conspiracy of Japanese wiring and electronics suppliers to put the screws to Toyota and other customers has now led to the largest antitrust action in history. What we know appears stupendous in scope. To date 20 suppliers have paid … Continue reading

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Blogging on Japan

I have not been posting to this site. Instead please look for new material on the (which was set up while the structure of the NBR Japan Forum was in flux) and to You can find posts related … Continue reading

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The BOJ recently released its biannual inflation outlook

The BOJ recently released its biannual inflation outlook (経済・物価情勢の展望: 2013年4月). The graph at right shows inflation (dark) and hourly wages; while the latter are up slightly, such metrics are volatile and affect inflation with a lag. But wages are central: … Continue reading

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Consumption Tax Increase 消費税

Now that passage of Noda’s tax increase appears certain, it’s time to think about the implications. I will post a more complete analysis later at my regular blog site but want to try WordPress for ease of entry (and to … Continue reading

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Economics: Japan, the US, and the Auto Industry

I may migrate towards WordPress — I’m used to tweaking html code, and don’t (yet) know how to do that here. Until such time all my content resides on blogspot at the following three sites: Japan and Economics US and … Continue reading

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