Japan

  • Japan's financial goals are ambitious.

    Japanese PM Abe's New Fiscal Initiative

    Investors have been more focused Japan's aggressive monetary policy and the structural reforms promised under Abenomics than fiscal policy. However, the Abe government is taking a new fiscal initiative.

    It has taken on a new more ambitious goal, which was unveiled yesterday, and will come up for a vote by the cabinet next week.  After reiterating its goal of eliminating the primary budget deficit by 2020, it provided an interim target. It will strive to achieve a 1% primary deficit in FY2018.

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  • Japanese nationalistic viewpoints seem out of line with the mainstream.

    Is the View that Japanese People are Becoming More Nationalistic Correct?

    Japan is coming under increasing scrutiny as the 70th anniversary of World War II approaches and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe moves to reform Japan’s defence policy. Recent concerns over hate speech and the right-wing nationalistic rhetoric of revisionist groups like Nippon Kaigi (Japan Conference), Sakura Channel, and Zaitokukai (The Association of Citizens against the Special Privileges of the Zainichi — that is, the resident Korean population) have led commentators to conclude that Japanese people are becoming more nationalistic. However, is this really the case?

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  • Abe's final agricultural reforms may be diluted, but they are still significant.

    A Closer Look at Japan PM Abe's Proposed Agricultural Reforms

    In his 29 April speech to US Congress, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proudly referred to his administration’s ‘sweeping reforms to our agricultural cooperatives that have not changed in 60 long years’. But the draft bill presented to the Diet on 3 April to reform the Japan agricultural cooperative (JA) organisation is a very much watered-down version of the initial recommendations for JA reform from the Agriculture Working Group of the Regulatory Reform Committee in May 2014.

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  • Japan's central bank 'moved the goalposts', but will it make a difference?

    Japan's Central Bank Move Flies Under the Radar, but Should not be Overlooked

    Japan and the yen seem sidelined.  Japanese markets were closed for the first half of the week during for the Golden Week holidays.  The weakness of the US economy and the concurrent doubts about Fed tightening this year, coupled with the dramatic reversal of euro zone assets after strong gains in Q1 have kept traders and investors focused elsewhere.

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  • PM Abe would like to re-fashion the JA as more pro-farmer.

    Japan's Abe Moves Closer to His Ultimate Goal for the JA

    The Abe administration’s policy of separating the organisational interests of JA-Zenchu, the peak body of agricultural cooperatives (JA), from the interests of the prefectural central unions (chūōkai) and local cooperatives and farmers generally paid off in April’s local government elections.

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  • Reducing fraud and increasing honest voting in Japan.

    Seeking Honest Voting Solutions in Japan

    It may seem fairly obvious, but only those people who fulfil particular requirements are given voting rights in an election. In Japan, voters must be Japanese citizens aged 20 or over and have a registered address in a municipality within a relevant electoral district for more than three months. According to the Public Offices Elections Law, exploiting this requirement by moving one’s residential registration to another municipality — just on paper — for the purpose of voting, while continuing to reside in an original municipality, is illegal.

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  • Local elections in Japan present an opportunity for the Agriculture Co-op.

    Japan's Agricultural Co-op Can Respond to Abe's Reforms in Upcoming Elections

    The nationwide local government elections in April are the ideal opportunity for Japan’s agricultural cooperative organisation (JA) led by the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives (JA-Zenchu) to respond to the Abe administration’s recent reforms of the JA group. On 12 and 26 April 2015, around 1000 elections in total will be held to select local government heads and assembly members as part of the so-called ‘unified local elections held every four years’.

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  • Fiscal sustainability will come at a heavy price for Japan.

    Japan's Fiscal and Monetary Solutions are Exceptionally Harsh

    Japan is facing a dual problem of an ageing population and increasing government debt. While pension payouts will balloon out in the next decade, a low tax base means that the government will struggle to finance this. In 2013, Japan’s gross debt-to-GDP ratio was 243 percent, the highest among OECD countries. If the government does not implement strict reform, Japan risks a financial crisis similar to the European crash in 2009.

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