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No.62
No.62, Economy  Nov. 20, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic and the Economy: Need Sound Public Finance for Maintaining Social Safety-Net

Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Professor of Economics, Princeton University   Key points Should corporate bankruptcies increase, credit crunch may follow Postponing retirement is more effective than high inflation for fiscal consolidation Promoting open economy is important for growth after the containment of COVID-19   Following COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions on social and economic activities, the global economy plunged into the deepest recession of the postwar era and the lives of people have been affected profoundly. This article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, policy responses and the future direction from a macro-economic perspective. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it difficult to engage in activities that involve social contact and possibility of infection. Consumption, especially services consumption in restaurants, leisure and hospitality, has decreased significantly. Let us look at consumption and employment in the United States by referring to data collected by Professor Raj Chetty of ... ... [Read more]

No.62
No.62, Economy  Nov. 15, 2020

Future Direction of International Trade Systems: Institutions matter – a rise of “peer value chains”

Inomata Satoshi, Chief Senior Researcher, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)   Key points Institutional similarity will be even more important in shaping global value chains than geographical proximity Multinational firms will seek to offshore production to countries with robust institutions akin to their home business environment Complete decoupling of the world economy is inconceivable, but partial decoupling is probable   According to Richard E. Baldwin, Professor of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the international production system is based on tri-polar networks of Factory Asia, Factory North America and Factory Europe. Namely, global value chains (GVC) are not truly global, but are more likely to be regional. How will GVC look like in the post-COVID19 world? They are considered to evolve from regional value chains based on geographical proximity to production networks connected through institutional similarity (of legal ... ... [Read more]

No.62
No.62, Economy  Nov. 12, 2020

How to Face up to an Uncompromising China? (II): China’s Economy Towards a Stronger Governance Coexisting with Negotiations/Coordination with US

Ito Asei, Associate Professor, University of Tokyo   Key points Toward an “unknown normality” after the US-China conflict and COVID-19 Stronger governance and a more sophisticated, expanding Chinese economy Japan to continue to exert influence on thoughtful action   The concept of the new normal entered the picture after the advent of the Xi Jinping administration. The end of the rapid economic growth and China becoming a middle-income country transformed national issues. The new normal indicated that the administration recognized this fact. But now, after the US-China conflict and COVID-19, China’s political economy finds itself in an unknown normality in a dual sense. This article will confirm the economic situation during the COVID-19 crisis and examine trends in China from the perspective of structural change. There are both strong and weak aspects to the economy in China after COVID-19. At the start of the ... ... [Read more]

No.61
No.61, Economy  Oct. 19, 2020

What to Do with the Public Finances: Revising the Budget Compilation to an Ad Hoc Approach

Iwamoto Yasushi, Professor, University of Tokyo   Key points Correct inconsistencies between targets and predictions for better fiscal soundness Difficulties to compile budget by end of 2021 as planned Initial budget reduction followed by revisions every quarter   The Emergency Economic Measures for Response to COVID-19, which was formulated in April, includes two stages: an “Emergency Support Phase” until the COVID-19 situation is resolved and a “V-shaped Recovery Phase” after it has been resolved. Supplementary budgets of unprecedented scale was put together to realize this, so much that the state’s general account expenditure included large-scale public spending corresponding to about 1.5 times the FY2019 figures. The “Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2020,” created in preparation for the FY2021 budget compilation, and the “Economic and Fiscal Projections for Medium to Long Term Analysis,” which showed economic and public finance projections until ... ... [Read more]

No.61
No.61, Economy  Oct. 16, 2020

Challenges to Power Source Optimization (I): Ensuring that a Broad Range of Choices, Including Nuclear Power, Are Available

Kashiwagi Takao, Distinguished Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology   Key points Stable supply is the most important energy policy Play a leading role in the development of innovative technologies to promote decarbonization Choosing either renewable energy or atomic energy is not a solution   The basic policy for phasing out inefficient coal-fired power plants presented on July 3 by Kajiyama Hiroshi, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, was shocking. Japan’s energy policy is based on the “3Es+S” concept which holds that efforts should be made from the perspectives of the 3Es, energy security, the economy, and environmental conservation, based on the assumption of the maintained safety of atomic energy. The demand for electricity, while showing a temporary decrease due to COVID-19, has been increasing consistently by 2.6–3.5% globally since 1980. Global electricity demand grew to 2.7 times the 10 trillion kWh ... ... [Read more]

No.60
No.60, Economy  Aug. 26, 2020

Changing Work Styles: Increased Productivity through Health and Productivity Management

Yamamoto Isamu, Professor, Keio University   Key points Remote work ratio increases with non-routine tasks A company’s COVID-19 measures boost employee loyalty The coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to reform labor market structure   The spread of COVID-19 has led to rapid work-style changes, such as staggered work hours, remote work, online meetings, closures, and higher risk of unemployment. It is likely becoming a major turning point for changing how work is perceived as well as work styles and human resource management at the workplace. Health and productivity management is garnering attention as a managerial challenge for maintaining and promoting employee health in companies. As it has become clear that corporate work styles, such as whether remote work is implemented or not, affect employees’ risk of infection, it is probable that the need for “health and productivity management that includes COVID-19 measures” will increase ... ... [Read more]

No.60
No.60, Economy  Aug. 18, 2020

Structural changes in industries and the reduction of inequality: The world after coronavirus

Prof. Kobayashi Keiichiro

KOBAYASHI Keiichiro, Faculty Fellow, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)   Humanity’s struggle with the novel coronavirus disease may turn into a long-drawn-out war. Numerous economic estimates using a model of disease spread (an SIR model) have been published, such as in papers by Professors Andrew Atkeson of UCLA and Martin Eichenbaum of Northwestern University. They say that to minimize the sacrifice of human lives, Europe and the U.S. must continue their current strict lockdowns and restrictions on activity for another eighteen months. Similarly, a year or more of restrictions on activity—even more severe than what is enforced now—would be necessary in Japan. However, once the crisis ends, will the novel coronavirus be eradicated? One can imagine that it will become normal for people to be vigilant with social distancing and mindful of the cleanliness of their hands, in order to prevent ... ... [Read more]

No.60
No.60, Economy  Aug. 17, 2020

A Post-Coronavirus World:“Change” Is Not “Beginning” but “Accelerating”:Overcoming Short-Termism

Kojima Akira, Member, Board of Trustees, and Adjunct Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Trustee, President of Center for International Economic Collaboration (CIEC)   The coronavirus outbreak is not transient, it is bringing about major changes to international relations, national economies, corporate business, social systems, and individuals’ ways of life. Because of this, it is thought that the post-coronavirus world will enter a new stage as denoted by the new normal. However, if we view today and the future with a long-term perspective, we will notice that many of the changes that have taken place amid the coronavirus outbreak are not the “beginning” of change but rather an “acceleration” of a new major development that was already occurring before the outbreak. This appears to be especially true in Japan. Of course, there are new changes as well. Yet, there is also an ... ... [Read more]

No.59
No.59, Economy  Jul. 1, 2020

Keidanren Chairman’s strategy for overcoming the global crisis: Executives must perceive “change as opportunity”

Nakanishi Hiroaki, Chairman, Keidanren, Executive Chairman, Hitachi, Ltd. No prospect of much-needed international cooperation ―The Japanese government has acknowledged with regard to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that the global economy is now truly facing the greatest crisis in the postwar period. Nakanishi Hiroaki: The “Keidanren’s Urgent Proposal to counter Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic,” issued by Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) on March 30, also positioned the COVID-19 pandemic as a “dilemma, which is unprecedented in modern times” and then called for action, including “fiscal measures on a scale equal to or greater than the measures taken in the event of the financial crisis of 2007–2008,” saying “the implementation of additional measures, as well as providing focused support to workers and businesses who are truly in need is essential.” The worst part of it all is not knowing when or how the situation will ... ... [Read more]

No.58
No.58, Economy  Jun. 16, 2020

Coronavirus Hits Japanese Economy: An unprecedented composite crisis halting demand, supply and income

Komine Takao, Professor, Taisho University   The economic shock sparked by the COVID-19 coronavirus appears to be unprecedented in terms of its magnitude and the level of difficulty in addressing it. At the time of writing, early April 2020, the crisis is ongoing and the situation is changing from moment to moment. The whole picture is as of yet unknown. The following discusses the challenges that lie ahead of the Japanese economy based on the information that is available so far. An abrupt change in circumstances and a colossal dive The coronavirus crisis has several unique characteristics. The first is the speed of the deterioration of economic conditions. As discussed below, the Japanese economy is facing the impact of multiple negative factors. This totally changed many people’s perception of the economy. For example, the economic view of the Japanese national government stated in the ... ... [Read more]