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No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 24, 2014

Economics for winning: Be skeptical about commonly accepted views
Viewing something that is commonly accepted from a different angle will lead to discovery

TAKAHASHI Nobuaki, Professor, Ritsumeikan University

Q: How poor will Japan become? A: It’s already sufficiently wealthy; it won’t become poor even at zero growth.Japan faces a declining population and a rapidly aging society. A look at the future of Japan that Abenomics cannot forecast. The reason why the Japanese public is worried that the nation could start to decline without growth is because past administrations have historically indicated that a recovery in the growth rate would reverse Japan’s economic depression and solve the problem of its aging society. But as the Japanese people already earn an average per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of close to 40,000 U.S. dollars despite still being worried about further growth to avoid becoming poor, from a historical and global perspective they are really quite unusual. To avoid any misunderstanding, I must add that I am by no means saying that in the long ... ... [Read more]

No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 24, 2014

Economics for winning: Be skeptical about commonly accepted views
Viewing something that is commonly accepted from a different angle will lead to discovery

KODAMA Yuichi, Chief Economist, Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company

Q: Will Japan end up a loser if the trade gap widens? A: There are no winners or losers in trade, but attention is needed on an increase in the current account deficit.Japan’s widening trade deficit: the presence of Japan, an exporting country, continues to fade, but the current account balance, rather than the trade balance, is what requires attention. The problem surrounding the country’s imbalance, such as the trade balance or the current account balance, is old and yet a new theme. After a period of rapid economic growth, the ensuing era for Japan that persisted for a long time was one in which its massive trade surplus was deemed problematic in the course of international negotiations, resulting in numerous types of trade friction with the United States, be it in textiles, automobiles or semiconductors. At the Plaza Accord of 1985, major countries ... ... [Read more]

No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 24, 2014

The First Year of Abenomics – Part 3
The impact of monetary easing has been limited
— The actual role of monetary easing has been to assist in fiscal policies.
— The economy has expanded on the back of public investment.

IKEO Kazuhito, Professor, Keio University

< Key Points > – Despite the correction of the strong yen, export volumes have not increased. – With monetary easing, long-term interest rates have declined, facilitating smooth sales of government bonds. – The profitability of bank lending has deteriorated due to falling long-term interest rates. It’s been a year since the inauguration of the administration of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. During this period, the economy has been staging a very steady recovery. However, this latest economic recovery is believed to be slightly different due to the fact that it has mainly been led by domestic demand, whereas most of the previous economic recoveries in recent years were driven by external demand. That is to say, despite the approximate 20% correction in the strong yen since the start of the Abe administration, there have been almost no increases in export volumes. The instruments that ... ... [Read more]

No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 24, 2014

The First Year of Abenomics – Part 2
An Overreliance on Short-Term Economic Stimulus Packages
— Public contributions have been put off to the future.
— Its real value will be tested after fiscal 2014.

KOMINE Takao, professor at the Graduate School of Regional Policy Design at Hosei University; Project Leader at the 21st Century Public Policy Institute

< Key Points > – Abenomics has clearly achieved significant results in terms of an economic recovery. – A noticeable slowdown in the growth rate will definitely be seen in fiscal 2014. – The growth strategy features state control measures. A year has passed since the administration of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo advocated its economic policies called Abenomics. With the improvement in the economy, the business community is also enjoying a more encouraging business environment. However, many difficult challenges lie ahead. Abenomics is generally considered to consist of three arrows: aggressive monetary easing, timely fiscal stimulation, and growth strategies (the narrow view of Abenomics). However, there seem to be certain characteristic developments in the management of the economic policy besides these three arrows. In that regard, this report will call the overall economic policies that the Abe administration has been carrying out the “broad view ... ... [Read more]

No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 24, 2014

Financial and Fiscal Policies Successfully Adopted
— The government needs to continue to strive to achieve inflation through growth strategies without fearing the costs.

TO Takatoshi, Professor, University of Tokyo

< Key Points > – The adoption of bold financial policies has resulted in a steady rise in the inflation rate. – The short-term fiscal stimulus and the medium-term fiscal reconstruction have been progressing. – The implementation of growth strategies clearly appears to be slow. Abenomics, the economic policies advocated by the administration of Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, began on November 14, 2012, when then Prime Minster Noda Yoshihiko stated that the House of Representatives would soon be dissolved. During the campaign for the election of new members of the House of Representatives, Mr. Abe positioned ending the deflationary economy as the key to the reconstruction of the Japanese economy, and strongly requested that the Bank of Japan change its policies by setting an inflation target and launching unprecedented aggressive monetary easing (the “first arrow”). The introduction of monetary easing and a rise in ... ... [Read more]

No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 14, 2014

Japan’s Medical and Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance System One percentage point of the sales tax should be used directly to help sustain elderly medical and LTC service systems

ABE Takashi, Chief Researcher, NLI Research Institute

The pace of government efforts to reform the medical and LTC insurance systems appears to be slow when compared with that of the nation’s pension program. The government should scale back benefit expenditure while ensuring a further stable revenue source for social security at the same time.... [Read more]

No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 13, 2014

Consumption Tax Rate Hike and Social Security
Can Pension, Medical Care and Nursing Care Insurance Be Sustained?

Suzuki Wataru, Professor, GakushuinUniversity

Now that it has been determined that the consumption tax rate will be raised from April 2014, discussions on the reform of the social security system have been underway. This report will reexamine whether pension, medical care and nursing care insurance systems can be sustained.... [Read more]

No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 13, 2014

Consumption Tax Rate Hike and Social Security
Pension: Reform has slightly progressed, but cutting of benefits is unavoidable in the future

The consumption tax rate hike has been determined, but…

The consumption tax rate hike has set a course for securing of steady financial resources for the basic pension, but it is also necessary to take measures to cut benefits for achieving a sustainable pension system.... [Read more]

No.19
No.19 ,Economy  Mar 10, 2014

A Year after the Launch of Abenomics: High Expectations for Sustainable Growth from Structural Reforms

KOJIMA Akira, Chairman of World Trade Center Tokyo, Inc., Member, Board of Trustees of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

The Japanese economy has begun to show signs of breaking away from the sustained deflation that has lasted more than fifteen years, unprecedented in modern world history. Japanese stock prices are maintaining their inherent upward momentum, and in its revised January 2014 World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised its forecast for Japan’s real GDP growth in 2014 (the real economic growth rate) up by 0.4 point from its forecast in October 2013, to 1.7%. The Japanese government, led by Abe Shinzo, is extremely confident, as its policy for economic revitalization, commonly called Abenomics, which was launched at the beginning of the new government in December 2013, is clearly producing an effect. With the widespread public expectations of economic revitalization, the Abe administration’s approval rate has... [Read more]

No.18
No.18 ,Economy  Feb 04, 2014

New Developments in the Agricultural Business
Abolishing the policy to reduce rice production is the first step toward a national economy based on agriculture: Toward agricultural innovation and business creation

YAMASHITA Kazuhito, Research Director, Canon Institute for Global Studies

Inaccurate perceptions about agriculture With respect to agriculture, there is the common perception that large-scale farmers run their modern agricultural operations by using a lot of fertilizer and chemicals, while poor small farmers engage in environmentally friendly agriculture, and that Japan can’t compete with agriculture in the United States and Australia due to its small land area and the scale of its agricultural operations. The agricultural industry and certain experts claim that this is why Japan’s agriculture, especially its small farmers, must be protected, and that expanding the scale of farming operations to improve efficiency or for Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is out of the question. ... [Read more]

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