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2012年12月 3日 (月)

経済成長戦略 「高い目標」の実現策で論戦を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 3, 2012)
Political parties should explain their high-growth strategies
経済成長戦略 「高い目標」の実現策で論戦を(12月2日付・読売社説)

The mid- and long-term economic growth strategies drafted by parties in their campaigns for the upcoming House of Representatives election are of particular interest to voters.

Japan's nominal growth rate has been faltering at an average of nearly zero percent for the past 20 years. Many parties, including the Democratic Party of Japan and the Liberal Democratic Party, set high economic growth targets such as 3 percent or more in their election pledges. However, it is noteworthy that the contents of their policy measures, which should be crucially important, are often not new and made only to try to please everyone.

Voters should consider which party is likely to focus on viable policy measures and carry them out expeditiously. It is also important to determine which party is expected to stimulate the vitality of the private sector through deregulation while establishing political leadership capable of eliminating sectionalism among government offices.

We expect political parties to actively discuss measures aimed at realizing their growth strategies so they do not end up as empty slogans.


Reflect on policy missteps

Serious reflection on mistakes made in past economic policies must be the first step in rethinking growth strategies. Though the DPJ-led government trumpeted the slogan "from concrete to people," its dole-out policies such as child-rearing allowances were ineffective.

Domestic demand could be boosted by public works projects that contribute to improved safety and economic development, such as refurbishment of aged transportation systems and construction of facilities to minimize damage from large earthquakes.

Each party should present clear guidelines on infrastructure development.

To promote consumption, rebuilding the nation's social security system to alleviate public anxieties over the future is the key to make people spend excessive savings on something tangible. To make this possible, the consumption tax hike is essential to secure a stable revenue source for the social security system.

However, it is impossible to avoid the contraction of domestic demand as the nation ages and population shrinks. It is therefore essential to enhance the strategy to increase foreign demand. Japan must promote free trade rapidly to take advantage of the economic growth of other Asian countries.

Whether Japan should participate in Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations is an issue of utmost importance. But the DPJ and the LDP have not stated clearly that the nation should join the TPP talks out of consideration for agricultural organizations, which oppose such negotiations. We consider this a problem.


Infrastructure exports

Meanwhile, the international competitiveness of electrical home appliances and other Japanese products has been declining to a worrisome level. We hope the private and government sectors work together to overcome this problem.

Whether a company can win a bid to export infrastructure such as nuclear power plants and the Shinkansen bullet train system is determined on the overall strength of a company from construction to operation and safety management. This gives Japanese companies an edge as they generally excel in work that requires extreme precision.

Hitachi, Ltd. has launched its own nuclear business by purchasing a nuclear operator in Britain, while Toshiba Corp. is expanding nuclear power plant businesses abroad. It is encouraging to see private companies making challenging inroads on the international scene.

However, the DPJ and many other parties are casting a damper on corporate efforts to export Japanese nuclear power plants by pledging to abolish nuclear power generation in this country. They should realize that denuclearization is having a negative effect on Japan's growth strategy.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 2, 2012)
(2012年12月2日01時04分  読売新聞)


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