Friday, January 25, 2008

Rudolph Giuliani - the President-reject?

In one of the Letter from America broadcasts - the BBC radio programme that was the longest enduring in the history of broadcasting - the late Alistair Cooke recounted how in the US presidential election of 1916, the Republican challenger, Charles Evans Hughes, to the incumbent president Woodrow Wilson, was thought to have won on election night.

Before heading for the scratcher, Hughes left a message for his butler that "the President-elect" wasn't to be awakened until 8:00 am the following morning.

Alistair Cooke told how the results from California came in overnight - Wilson won by only 3,800 votes out of nearly a million cast -and Cooke said that Hughes woke up as the "President-reject."

Fast-forward to 2008 and the Republican frontrunner for most of the past twelve months is likely to wake up like Hughes, in New York sometime soon, and wonder what could have been?

The American way of selecting a president can sometimes appear weird but on occasion it does serve as a useful weeding process and helps to illustrate judgment skills.

Rudy Giuliani in what looks like a monumental blunder, decided to defy conventional wisdom and not participate in the early primaries while banking all on the Florida primary, where many former New Yorkers live.

He is running behind in the latest polls in the state and today, in a national NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, McCain is the choice of 29 percent of Republicans. Next comes Huckabee at 23 percent, followed by Romney at 20 percent and Giuliani at 15 percent.

In the Democratic race, Clinton is leading Obama nationally, 47-32 percent, with Edwards third at 12 percent. A month ago, when there were more candidates in the field, Clinton had a 45-23 percent advantage over Obama.

Also today, the New York Times endorses Hillary Clinton and John McCain and delivers a blistering blast to the campaign of the former Mayor of New York City:

Why, as a New York-based paper, are we not backing Rudolph Giuliani? Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?

That man is not running for president.

The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn’t share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.

Earlier this week, the Times reported how in August 1997, James Schillaci, a rough-hewn chauffeur from the Bronx, dialed Mayor Giuliani’s radio program on WABC-AM to complain about a red-light sting run by the police near the Bronx Zoo. When the call yielded no results, Schillaci turned to The Daily News, which then ran a photo of the red light and this front page headline: “GOTCHA!”

That morning, police officers appeared on Schillaci’s doorstep. What are you going to do, Schillaci asked, arrest me? He was joking, but the officers were not.

The report says that the police slapped on handcuffs and took him to court on a 13-year-old traffic warrant. A judge threw out the charge. A police spokeswoman later read Schillaci’s decades-old criminal rap sheet to a reporter for The Daily News, a move of questionable legality because the state restricts how such information is released. She said, falsely, that he had been convicted of sodomy.

Then Giuliani took up the cudgel.

“Mr. Schillaci was posing as an altruistic whistle-blower,” the mayor told reporters at the time. “Maybe he’s dishonest enough to lie about police officers.”

Schillaci suffered an emotional breakdown, was briefly hospitalized and later received a $290,000 legal settlement from the city. “It really damaged me,” said Schillaci, now 60, massaging his face with thick hands. “I thought I was doing something good for once, my civic duty and all. Then he steps on me.”

The Times says that Giuliani was a pugilist in a city of political brawlers. But far more than his predecessors, historians and politicians say, his toughness edged toward ruthlessness and became a defining aspect of his mayoralty.

One result: New York City spent at least $7 million in settling civil rights lawsuits and paying retaliatory damages during the Giuliani years.

After AIDS activists with Housing Works loudly challenged the mayor, city officials sabotaged the group’s application for a federal housing grant. A caseworker who spoke of missteps in the death of a child was fired. After unidentified city workers complained of pressure to hand contracts to Giuliani-favored organizations, investigators examined not the charges but the identity of the leakers.

“There were constant loyalty tests: ‘Will you shoot your brother?’ ” said Marilyn Gelber, who served as environmental commissioner under Giuliani. “People were marked for destruction for disloyal jokes.”

Sounds a little like a man who did become president - Richard Nixon who like Giuliani also had a positive side to him.

Last year, Rudy Giuliani was in Los Angeles and paid a courtesy call to the office of the City Police Commissioner.

William Bratton, the man who had been fired by Giuliani, met the candidate, who was clearly on a mission to defuse potential fallout from his past.

Full marks for keeping cool and in control during a crisis but at what cost would George W. Bush with a brain be?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Red China and the Year of the Rat

Shoppers choose Chinese Lunar New Year decorations at Bo'ai Road in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province, Jan. 20, 2008. Photo: Xinhua Photo

American comedian Rich Little became famous for his impersonation of President Ronald Reagan and in one news conference sketch, a reporter from the Wichita Lineman asks: "Mr. President, what's your policy towards Red China?"

"Red China," the President says and pauses. "It shouldn't be used on a blue tablecloth," he then says.

With the Chinese Lunar New Year due to begin on February 7, red is currently a very ubiquitous colour where thee are big concentrations of Chinese people.

The year of the rat will likely be another good one for the Chinese economy despite a recession in the US.

China's State news agency Xinhua, reports that the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) released a book on the 129 languages spoken by Chinese.

The book, "China's Languages," features 129 languages and gives an introduction to each in English, according to CASS.

Sun Hongkai, chief editor of the seven-chapter book, said the content was based on an investigation of Chinese languages started in the 1950s.

"Although China only has 56 official ethnic groups, some ethnic groups use two or more languages. This is the reason why we have collected so many languages," he said.

China is home to 56 ethnic groups. Han people, the largest group, make up about 92 percent of the country's population. The rest, the 55 ethnic minorities, share China's vast land and maintain their own traditions and customs.

Mandarin is the official language of China and the Cantonese dialect which is common in southern China including Hong Kong, is the main spoken dialect of the Chinese diaspora.

President Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan and comedian Rich Little.

Friday, January 18, 2008

China becomes world's top Gold producer ending South African dominance dating from 1905

China is reported to have ended more than a century of South African dominance of the gold mining industry to become the world’s biggest producer of the precious metal.

South Africa had been the world’s largest gold producer since 1905.

Chinese gold output rose to a record high of 276 tonnes in 2007, a 12% rise over 2006, while South Africa produced 272 tonnes, the UK-based precious metal consultancy, GFMS, announced on Thursday.

China's gold output has risen 70% in the past decade at a time when the gold price has surged to reach an all-time high of $914 a troy ounce this weak at a time of a fall in the value of the US dollar.

However, despite the jump in price, global gold production is falling and in South Africa, output has halved in the past decade amid higher production costs, tougher safety regulations and more depleted mines.

Philip Klapwijk, GFMS Executive Chairman, said the drop in output in South Africa and other traditional producers, such as the US and Australia, was the main reason why “global gold production is not raising in reaction to record gold prices”.

In the period 2000 and 2007, global mined gold fell by 6.7% despite bullion prices rising from about $270 an ounce to more than $850 an ounce.

South Africa has 160,000 employed in gold mining and the industry dates back to the discovery of the Witwatersrand reef in 1886. In the 1970's South Africa was producing almost four times the output of gold it is producing today.

Gold at $1,000 "A Clear Possibility" in 2008 as Investor Enthusiasm Pushes Aside Forecast Slump in Fabrication & Higher Scrap

GFMS released Gold Survey 2007 - Update 2 on Thursday, their latest report on the gold market. A summary of the findings of the report was given by Philip Klapwijk, Executive Chairman of GFMS, at a seminar in Toronto organised by the precious metals consultancy.

A key aspect of the Update is the forecast for the supply and demand variables moving forward and, based on that, the outlook for the price itself. This the consultancy has projected to average $840 over the first half, with further increases indicated as a possibility for later in the year.

Klapwijk commented, "investor appetite for gold at the moment seems undimmed and this should push gold higher over the year. Predicting the top is never easy but we always thought the $900 barrier could easily fall quite soon and then we have to start viewing $1,000 as a clear possibility for later this year".

GFMS expect the surge in investment to be driven by those factors that fuelled the boom witnessed in the final four months of 2007, namely a weak dollar, record oil prices and their inflationary consequences, the US sub-prime crisis and its threat to GDP growth in the United States, and perhaps elsewhere, and lastly geopolitical tensions. Klapwijk continued, "it’s far easier to argue that we’re at the start of a period of higher inflation and lower US growth, rather than we’re emerging from the worst. All that is strongly pro-gold moving forward. And we can easily see higher gold prices without fireworks in the Middle East or Pakistan, though any political drama there or elsewhere is highly likely to rally the price yet further".

The report does caution, however, that a short to medium term correction is possible, chiefly as a result of the speed of the recent price rise and the huge fund overhang on Comex.

Should a retreat occur, it was thought a slide back to the low $800s might occur, partly as physical buyers are not expected to rush back in the face of such price volatility at elevated levels. Klapwijk noted, "this temporary fall back explains why our forecast average for the first half at $840 could seem a bit low in light of current levels. But that’s still up almost 30% year-on-year and, with this period of consolidation out the way and the funds in a position to expand their net long again, that’s when we should see the convincing drive towards $1,000".

High prices and volatility were the two chief reasons that the consultancy expects fabrication to slump by almost a fifth in the first half this year. Less marked gains for local prices due to dollar weakness and continued robust GDP growth in many emerging economies were expected to partially mitigate the impact of the expected gold rally. Such factors explain why GFMS see the ‘jewellery floor’ (the level deemed fair and sustainable at which physical buyers return) as having moved up to the low $800s, a result which the consultancy feels to be "remarkable".

However, doubt was cast on the solidity of prices moving forward, given the huge volumes investors would have to pick up to keep the market in balance as jewellery demand slips well under mine production.

The report also outlines how there is little else on the demand side to push prices higher. Producer de-hedging, for example, is expected to contract sharply in the first half to levels roughly a third of those a year prior and, given the GFMS estimate of the hedge book now being under 1,000 tonnes, the scope for support from this area is becoming limited. Few signs were at least said to have been seen of any desire by producers to undertake any major fresh hedging.

GFMS believe that investment should still be in a position to easily drive prices higher with poor demand elsewhere thanks to a relatively limited supply reaction. Mine production, for example, is forecast to increase, but by only a few percent. In contrast, official sector sales are expected to slip and that result is chiefly driven by changes to sales by signatories to the Central Bank Gold Agreement - gross purchases outside this group are thought likely to remain modest. Klapwijk added, "we’re not expecting any of the major US dollar holders to appear on the buy-side in a major way any time soon. But any whiff they were about to would no doubt be interpreted as strongly bullish".

The only major supply response that GFMS expect is for scrap, though even with the consultancy’s forecast 15% rise, first half 2008 volumes would remain well under the first half 2006 record, illustrating just how much near-market supply has already appeared and how high price expectations have already risen.

Supply Highlights

Mine production in 2007 fell by just over 1%, partly through delays to development and expansion projects. Losses centred on South Africa, Peru and the United States, while gains focused on Indonesia and, in particular, China whose increase knocked South Africa off the top spot to become the world’s largest producer. Output in the first half of 2008 is forecast to grow by just over 2%.

Global cash costs rose a dramatic 24% year-on-year for January-September and hit a record level just over $400/oz in the third quarter. The rise was driven by such factors as US dollar weakness, higher royalty payments and mine development work.

Net official sector sales in 2007 rose by a third to 488 tonnes. The rise was driven by sales from signatories to the Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA) returning to ‘normal’ levels after the low levels seen in 2006. Those outside the CBGA saw modest net purchases in 2007. First half 2008 sales are forecast to contract slightly to just over 200 tonnes.

Old scrap supply contracted by almost a fifth to just under 900 tonnes, chiefly as much of the loosely held supplies in price sensitive countries had been shaken out in 2006 and there was little repeat of the heavy trade inventory clear-out seen in the western world the year prior. Scrap in the first half of 2008 is projected to increase by around 15% to safely over 500 tonnes.

Demand Highlights

Jewellery fabrication in 2007 grew by 5% though, in terms excluding scrap, it rose 11%. This occurred despite the gold rally, as gains in the more stable first half outweighed second half losses when yet higher prices and volatility took their toll, with these swings largely driven by India. Elsewhere, China and Turkey saw strong growth, Italy near stability but US consumption fell heavily.

Price damage in first half 2008 is forecast to slash demand by around a fifth to almost 1,000 tonnes.

Other fabrication in 2007 rose by 2%, thanks to gains for medals and electronics, whereas in first half 2008 it is expected to see a decline of over 10%.

Producer de-hedging in 2007 rose by a provisional 14% to within a whisker of the 2004 record of 422 tonnes, with the bulk of activity taking place in the first half. Initial expectations for levels in the first half of 2008 are a fall to just under 100 tonnes.

For the full year 2007, implied net investment stood at a perhaps surprisingly restrained level of only just over 100 tonnes.

However, this masks a major swing from disinvestment of around 200 tonnes in the first half to investment of around 300 tonnes in the second as a result of such factors as a weak dollar, energy price gains and the US sub-prime crisis.

In first half 2008, implied investment is forecast to grow yet further to well over 400 tonnes. Bar hoarding rose by a modest 3% last year, despite major price-led second half losses, while official coin fabrication fell by 3%. World Investment (the sum of bar hoarding, coin demand and the implied figure) totalled 465 tonnes last year, which represented a drop of just over 40%.

Finfacts Gold 1800-2008 Page

In January 2008, 28 years after the all-time record high of price of $850 in January 1980, the nominal price broke the record. In inflation adjusted US dollars, the price would have to reach about $2,200 to break the record in real terms.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bill Gates

Bill Gates' Last Days - Consumer Electronics Show 2008
Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Bono, Al Gore and more..

Chairman and co-Founder Microsoft - intensely competitive but he is the model for a super-billionaire with a public persona, which is the antithesis of the arrogance, that is so often the handmaiden of riches.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of $30 billion and has provided billions of dollars for the funding of immunization programs in poor countries and research into diseases such as malaria that is not commercially attractive for Big Pharma.

In 2006, the legendary American investor Warren Buffett pledged$31 billion of his fortune to the only person in the world with more money, his good friend Bill Gates.

From a Time Magazine profile in 1997:

When Bill Gates was in the sixth grade, his parents decided he needed counseling. He was at war with his mother Mary, an outgoing woman who harbored the belief that he should do what she told him. She would call him to dinner from his basement bedroom, which she had given up trying to make him clean, and he wouldn't respond. "What are you doing?" she once demanded over the intercom

"I'm thinking," he shouted back

"You're thinking?"

"Yes, Mom, I'm thinking,"
he said fiercely. "Have you ever tried thinking?"

The psychologist they sent him to "was a really cool guy," Gates recalls. "He gave me books to read after each session, Freud stuff, and I really got into psychology theory." After a year of sessions and a battery of tests, the counselor reached his conclusion. "You're going to lose," he told Mary. "You had better just adjust to it because there's no use trying to beat him." Mary was strong-willed and intelligent herself, her husband recalls, "but she came around to accepting that it was futile trying to compete with him."

Bill Gates new life from July 2008

MICROSOFT 1978: Top row: Steve Wood (left), Bob Wallace, Jim Lane. Middle row: Bob O'Rear, Bob Greenberg, Marc McDonald, Gordon Letwin. Bottom row: Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood, Paul Allen. December 7, 1978.

On June 15, 2006, Microsoft announced that effective July 2008 Gates will transition out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After July 2008 Gates will continue to serve as Microsoft’s chairman and an advisor on key development projects. The two-year transition process is to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates’ daily responsibilities.

Effective June 2006, Ray Ozzie had assumed Gates’ previous title as chief software architect and is working side by side with Gates on all technical architecture and product oversight responsibilities at Microsoft. Craig Mundie assumed the new title of chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft and is working closely with Gates to assume his responsibility for the company’s research and incubation efforts.

Born on Oct. 28, 1955, Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Their late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of charity United Way International.

Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School.

There, he discovered his interest in software and began programming computers at age 13.

In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where he lived down

the hall from Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft's chief executive officer. While at Harvard, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair.

In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and inevery home, they began developing software for personal computers. Gates' foresight and his vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry.

Bill Gates may not have invented the DOS operating system but he together with Steve Jobs of Apple, are the titans of the modern computer age.

At the end of May 2007, the two co-founders of the of the PC industry, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple, who have been fierce rivals for thirty years, appeared jointly at in a public forum for the first time in twenty years.

The forum was organised by Walter Mossberg and Katherine Boehret.

"Bill built the first software company in the industry," Apple co-founder Jobs said. "Bill focused on software before anyone."

Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, hailed Jobs for taking big risks and developing products with "incredible taste and elegance".

What Steve has done is quite phenomenal," Gates said in reference to Jobs' eye for design that resonates with the public . "The way he does things is just different. It's magical."

Steve Jobs said he admired Microsoft's ability to collaborate with other technology companies.

"They learned how to partner with people really well, and I think if Apple could have had a little more of that in its DNA, it would have served it extremely well," he said.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, California in May 2007

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Toyota has 110,000 temporary workers in Japan on $10.50 an hour as Annual Dividend payout exceeds 20%

The new Corolla Axio, as the 10th generation Corolla sedan launched in October 2006 - - The new Corolla models were the first since 2000.

Since its debut in 1966, Toyota says "the Corolla, through an automobile production approach that has anticipated the demands of the times, has gained the favor of millions of users, playing a key role in driving motorization forward. The Corolla is currently sold in more than 140 countries and regions, and cumulative sales have exceeded 30 million vehicles, making it a best-selling vehicle positioned to lead the 21st century."

Japan's vehicle sales are forecast to fall for a fourth straight year to their lowest in 26 years, as falling wages and population make the fortunes of the country's car makers increasingly dependent on foreign markets.

Domestic sales of cars, minicars, trucks and buses may fall 1.25 to about 5.32 million vehicles in 2008 from 5.38 million in 2007, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said in December. Passenger-car sales will fall 0.3% the group forecast.

In 2006, China overtook Japan as the world's second-biggest car market after the US. Japan's demand for vehicles peaked at 7.78 million in 1990.

Since 2001, Japanese car makers have increased their market share in China from about 15% to 25.7% in 2006. European car makers market share in China has fallen from 53.8% to 24.4% in the same period.

Japanese domestic vehicle sales excluding minicars, which are powered by engines no larger than 0.66 liters, increased in October and November but the monthly declines to September was the second-longest period after a 31-month drop that started in April 1997.

The 2006 sales total, excluding mincars, were the lowest since 3.56 million vehicles were sold in the year started April 1977.

Japan is the world's second biggest economy and the cost of living in its main cities are among the top in global rankings. It is joint sixth with the UK among the most expensive countries in the world (see below).

Wages in October 2007, were unchanged from a year earlier after declining in nine of the previous 10 months, Japan's labor ministry said.

While unemployment has fallen from 5.4% in 2002 to 4.1% at the end of 2006, wages have not moved. Statistics published by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare show that the average Japanese made $2,881 a month in 2002. For most of 2006, the average monthly wage was only $2,749.Japanese companies have kept wages in check in part by shifting more work to part-time employees, who now constitute over 33% of Japan's workforce, up from 20% in 1992 and 18% in 1987.

A Japanese Cabinet Office survey in early 2007, showed that people felt a high level of anxiety about their daily —the highest angst level recorded since the poll began nearly 40 years ago despite a recovery in the economy.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday Jan 04, 2008 that one reason Japan isn't growing faster than its current 1.5% annualized rate lies in a shift in hiring by companies like Hino Motors Ltd. The truck-making unit of Toyota Motor Corp. is paying record dividends this year. But it also has been filling thousands of factory jobs with a new kind of employee: temporary workers who are paid as little as 1,150 yen, or $10.50, an hour and get few benefits.

The Irish minimum hourly wage is €8.65 - $12.75.

According to a World Bank study that was published in December 2007, the most expensive economies are Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and Ireland with indices ranging from 154 to 127. The United States ranked 20th in the world with a base index of 100, lower than most other high-income economies, including France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Ireland's index was 127 compared with Japan's 118.

"I always look for the cheapest meat to cook with, usually ground chicken or shreds of pork," says Ikkei Ikeda, 28 years old, who worked as a temp at Hino setting heavy metal discs onto machines for 2½ years before quitting in August. He also he rode his bike wherever he could to save train fare, because his monthly take-home pay averaged just 143,000 yen, or $1,300. In other words, though Ikeda was employed, he wasn't doing much to boost consumer demand.

The Journal says that in the past decade, average wages in Japan have fallen every year except two because of an increase in temps and stagnant wages for full-timers. Consumption by working families declined on a year-to-year basis in six out of the past eight quarters, even though the Japanese are also saving less. A Bank of Japan survey showed that some 23% of households had no savings last year, compared with just 10% in 1996.

At Toyota and its subsidiaries and affiliates in Japan, 110,000 people now work as temps or part-timers, according to the Federation of All Toyota Workers' Unions, which has 290,000 full-timers as members.

Among Japanese workers aged 25 to 34, about 26% are temps, compared with 14% a decade ago.

In the US, where only about 4% of the work force in 2005, were classified as temps in a US Labor Department survey, the gap between rich and poor has been growing wider since the 1970s. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the wealthiest 20% of households accounted for 45.4% of total US income in 1979, but claimed 53.5% in 2004.

Households in the bottom fifth dropped from 5.8 to 4.1% over the same period."Sometime in the 1970s, the market turned ferociously against the less skilled and the less educated," Alan S. Blinder, a Princeton University economist and the former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors told a hearing of the congressional Joint Economic Committee.

But that is not likely to change in the future, he said, as globalization and technological advances begin to trigger the same kind of upheaval in the service sector as has hit manufacturing.

In Japan, temps earn about two-thirds of what full-timers do, enjoy less benefits and can often be hired and fired with just a few days' notice. The temp phenomenon covers much more than the unskilled and the resultant stagnation of wages is keeping consumer spending down.

What would life be like there without the US and Chinese markets?

Toyota Dividend Policy - March 31, 2007 Statement

One of Toyota's key management policies is to prioritize returns to shareholders, and while improving and strengthening our corporate culture we are aggressively expanding our business in order to continue increasing earnings per share. With respect to the dividends, we are targeting a consolidated dividend payout ratio to 30% in the medium - to long term and a greater distribution of the earnings by taking into consideration various factors, including the business results for each fiscal year and new investment plans. In addition to responding to changes in the business conditions, we have also acquired our shares in order to increase improve capital efficiency.

Although we expect to see growth in the global auto market going forward, we will use our internal fund reserves for securing a stable operating base, as well as for up-front investments to improve our product strengths, develop next-generation technologies, deploy domestic and overseas production and sales infrastructure. Regarding the dividends for the last term, the interim dividend in November 2006 was 50 yen per share, and the dividend at the end of the fiscal year was 70 yen per share, which resulted in an annual dividend of 120 yen per share and a total dividend value that amounted to 384.665 billion yen. As a result, our consolidated dividend payout ratio reached 23.4%.

Economist Pocket World in Figures 2008: Quality of life best in cold Norway and Iceland - Ireland 4th and Japan 7th where domestic car sales have hit 30-year low and high level of anxiety about daily lives is at 40-year high