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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






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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