No.45 | Discuss Japan-Japan Foreign Policy Forum

Archives : No.45

Mar 2018

No.45 ,Economy  Mar 29, 2018

ICO: Dream or Nightmare?

The rise of digital currencies, including Bitcoin, causes us to predict the arrival of a new era. This is because the technology of blockchain, which constitutes the foundation of many digital currencies, is likely to prompt the emergence of completely new systems for investments and settlements of capital. However, it is undeniable that many of these systems still involve problems. Particularly alarming is capital procurement known as Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which uses the function of digital currencies called Ethereum. I will not provide a detailed explanation of what ICO is. But suppose that there is an imaginary ledger that is shared on the Internet using blockchain technology, and that the relationships of many rights and contract items are described there. Suppose that the rights corresponding to currencies are written there. In this situation, it would be possible to automatically move currency-based values in ... ... [Read more]

No.45 ,Economy
Mar 29, 2018

Stalled Fiscal Consolidation: Government Must
Act Soon on Policy Normalization

Key Points Japanese economy: Likely to slump after Tokyo Olympics Emergency Measures: Continuing through 2020s not possible Healthcare Insurance: Adopt funded individual savings account system This autumn Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is expected to decide whether or not to proceed with the 10% hike in the consumption tax rate, which is scheduled for October, 2019. During the House of Representatives election held in October of last year, the ruling party promised to allocate a portion of the revenue increase from the consumption tax hike to educational expenses, as by strengthening preschool education. Originally, 80% of the revenue increase was supposed to be allocated to paying down debt. But that would not benefit the younger working generation, and yet cutting social security spending to fund preschool education would be opposed by the elderly, so that’s not an option either. The government has secured a funding ... ... [Read more]

No.45 ,Economy
Mar 29, 2018

Challenges after the TPP-11 agreement: A guide towards establishing global rules

Key Points TPP-11 is a great achievement in Japanese economic diplomacy “Frozen” items will not detract from the quality of the agreement Move towards data localization should be restrained In November, a new broad agreement based on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was reached between 11 countries, excluding the US, in Da Nang, Vietnam. The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, or TPP-11) represents a major step towards putting the TPP into practice. Four points were listed as requiring further negotiation. They were on state-owned companies (Malaysia), services and investment in the coal industry (Brunei), dispute settlement (Vietnam), and cultural exceptions (Canada). Once these points have been agreed and signed off however, the agreement will be ratified by at least six countries, irrespective of their economic scale. With the US currently distancing itself from the TPP under the Trump Administration, some have claimed ... ... [Read more]

No.45 ,Economy
Mar 29, 2018

Focus of Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue (III)
Shifting Towards a Primary Focus on Reinforcing the
WTO: Japan Should Reject Results-Oriented U.S.

Key Points Japan should pursue common Japan-U.S. interests, with an eye towards China Bilateral negotiations over Japan-U.S. free trade agreements (FTAs) have effectively already begun Japan should collaborate with Australia and European states in the formation of a free trade coalition The Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue was launched during U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s upcoming visit to Japan in April, 2017. In addition to affirming the success of the Japan-U.S. summit meeting in February, the Dialogue is also an attempt to contain and manage the various criticisms made by President Donald J. Trump. This is common practice in managing Japan-U.S. economic relations, and similar methods have been employed in the past; such as in the Comprehensive Economic Talks held under the Clinton administration, and the Vice-Ministerial Level Economic Dialogue held under the Bush administration. (Please refer to the table.) In order to avoid accidental outbreaks ... ... [Read more]

No.45 ,Economy
Mar 29, 2018

Focus of Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue (II)
Japan as a Bridge Between the U.S. and East Asia: Perspective on a framework for discussion which includes China

Key Points The economic-security nexus in U.S.-Japan relations is irrational. The TPP should be ratified in the other 11 member countries, and the door left open for U.S. participation. Japan should lead RCEP and Japan-China-South Korea FTA negotiations.   U.S. Vice President Mike Pense will visit Japan to work with Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro on a new Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue based on consensus reached in the Japan-U.S. summit meeting.   In the 1980s, at the time of severe economic frictions between the U.S. and Japan under President Reagan’s Republican administration, I conducted negotiations with the U.S. as a member of Japan’s Foreign Ministry. I would like to examine the implications (of the upcoming negotiations) for Japan’s foreign relations and economy, comparing the situation now with the situation then.   First, the U.S. trade deficit itself has expanded from 50 billion dollars in the early ... ... [Read more]

No.45 ,Economy
Mar 29, 2018

Focus of Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue (I)
Japan Should Pull the U.S. Away from
Protectionism: Exploring the possibility of FTA

Key Points The most alarming course of action the U.S. could take is unilateral action. Japan should stress that it is pointless for the U.S. to see its trade balance with Japan as a problem. Japan should constantly push for liberalization negotiations to maintain the trading system. A Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue, led by U.S. Vice President Mike Pense and Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Aso Taro, is scheduled to be held in Tokyo on April 18. Since this is the first meeting in this new dialogue, there may be no in-depth discussion on individual problems. However, given that the Trump administration continues to make remarks about protectionism, it will be interesting to see how discussions on the yen-dollar exchange rate and commerce-related problems unfold.     On March 31, 2017, President Trump signed a Presidential Executive Order aimed at reducing the U.S. trade deficit. The U.S. ... ... [Read more]

No.45 ,Diplomacy
Mar 29, 2018

Trends in Selective Globalism

EU-style economic unification with its simultaneous cross-border flows of goods, money and people is on trial. But rather than considering this a reversal of globalism, we should seize this opportunity to rethink what kind of globalism we want.   In 2016, there were a number of political changes that exerted a significant influence on the world economy, including Brexit in the EU and Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. Although the US and UK situations are different, this still feels like the domestic issues of income inequality and unemployment have met disillusionment with the political establishment and criticism towards globalism to create a powerful groundswell. To an extent, this may be a shared phenomenon among advanced democracies, including countries of the EU that have been rocked by the refugee issue. Political change, however, does not determine economic trends. The media often talk ... ... [Read more]

No.45 ,Economy
Mar 23, 2018

A Strategy for Accepting Foreign Workers
for A Sustainable Society

It is important to take a long-term perspective instead of merely accepting foreigners to compensate for the shortage of human resources. How should foreigners be accepted to sustain the declining population? In addition, even if the doors are open, excellent foreigners might not come. It is important to create an attractive environment.   Recently, we often see that many foreigners are working in the manufacturing, service and retail industries. According to the registrations for the employment of foreigners by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, there were 1.08 million foreign workers at the end of October 2016, exceeding one million for the first time. In addition, according to the statistics on foreign residents in Japan published by the Ministry of Justice at the end of December 2016, there were 2.38 million foreign residents in Japan, showing a tendency to increase. Expectations for foreign ... ... [Read more]