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【社説】日本の消費税の大失態 ウォール・ストリート・ジャーナル日本版 20.2.18

米紙「日本の増税は大失敗」 社説で安倍政権を酷評 東京新聞 20.2.19 夕刊

 【ニューヨーク=共同】十八日付の米紙ウォールストリート・ジャーナルは、安倍政権が昨年十月に消費税率を引き上げたことについて、社説で「大失敗だった」と酷評した。増税後に新型コロナウイルスの感染拡大が起きたため「タイミングも最悪だった」と指摘した。

 二〇一九年十~十二月期の国内総生産(GDP)の伸び率がマイナスに落ち込んだことに言及。「安倍晋三首相が消費税率を引き上げたから当然だ」と強調。

 消費税の増税とコロナウイルスを原因に日本の景気後退入りを懸念するアナリストの見方も紹介した。

 安倍政権がこれまで、日本経済を活性化する改革を怠ったことを批判。「安倍氏による経済政策の失敗のつけを免れることはできない」として、他国政府に日本を反面教師にするよう呼び掛けた。

 

Japan’s problem is not enough Abenomics(Editorial),FT.com,20.2.18;Financial Times,20.2.19,p.8

Abenomics on trial as Japan teeters on brink of recessionFT.com,20.2.18

Abenomics on trial as Japan prepares for recession,Financial Times,20.2.19,p.3

There is little doubt, however, that the latest slump in output is another blow to Mr Abe and Mr Kuroda’s plans for Japan to finally escape the “lost decades” of stagnation and falling prices that followed the bursting of a stock market bubble in 1990.

The idea was for monetary and fiscal stimulus to revive demand and inflation while structural economic reforms allowed for a higher level of growth. Initially, it worked as intended: the Japanese yen weakened and growth picked up. The economy has generally been stronger during Mr Abe’s term than in previous decades.

But a 2014 rise in consumption tax from 5 per cent to 8 per cent drove the economy into recession, and after last year’s increase to 10 per cent there is a danger of a repeat.

To many in Japan, the tax rises were necessary and appropriate given the fiscal deficit and need to pay for its ageing population, but they have also cancelled out any fiscal stimulus measures and resulted in overall fiscal contraction under Mr Abe.

Paul Krugman, the economist, described the tax rises as examples of “destructive austerity policies”. Consumption was barely any higher in the final quarter of 2019 than it was in the same period of 2012, when Mr Abe won the election, and inflation has never come close to the BoJ’s 2 per cent target

“I hesitate to say that the VAT hike was a mistake,” said Mr Adachi, arguing that Mr Abe had little alternative given Japan’s long-term fiscal trajectory. Ms Taguchi spoke for those in Japan who think greater deregulation was needed when she said “the big failure of Abenomics was on structural reform”.

Mr Abe is expected to step down in the next couple of years and will leave behind a difficult challenge for his successor. This will be whether to mount one last stimulus or accept Japan’s current growth performance is as good as it will get, and that Mr Abe’s dream of economic revival is out of reach.

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農業情報研究所(WAPIC)=http://www.juno.dti.ne.jp/~tkitaba/の所長・所員・小使いを兼務。原発事故で「明るい農業・農村」の夢を失った老い先短い老人です。かつての行動派も病魔のために身体不如意、情報提供と批評に徹します。

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