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2013年10月23日 (水)

衆院予算委 実りある経済論争が聞きたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 23, 2013
Golfing while Japan burns? Diet must deepen economic debate
衆院予算委 実りある経済論争が聞きたい(10月22日付・読売社説)

Japan faces a host of challenges that will influence its future course. The Diet, for its part, must have a fruitful policy debate.

Question-and-answer sessions have started at the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

In referring to Abenomics, the economic policy advanced by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Seiji Maehara of the Democratic Party of Japan said, “Economic indexes have been improving, but we don’t go along with his policy line.”

Former Foreign Minister Maehara argued that monetary easing and fiscal stimulus measures will have only a short-term effect and the recent improvements in economic indexes were attributable to foreign factors such as economic growth in China.

Abe used a golf analogy to rebut Maehara. He said the DPJ’s efforts to get the nation out of deflation had been “like putting from a bunker while worrying about a cliff ahead of the green.” Abenomics can be likened to a sand wedge used to get out of the bunker, Abe said.

Maehara responded: “It’s not certain whether the ball can be put on the green. It would be unbearable if we are brought to the cliff together.”
It can hardly be said that Abe and Maehara were holding a deep policy debate.

At the top of Japan’s agenda now are preventing next spring’s consumption tax increase from having an adverse effect on business recovery and revitalizing the national economy.

We want to hear from the DPJ what concrete measures it would take to achieve these ends.

Time to assess policy effect

Maehara called for Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda to present an “exit strategy” to scale down monetary easing. But the goal of ending deflation is still only halfway achieved, so now would be a better time to asses the effect of the policy so far. It was natural that Kuroda answered “it’s too early” to present an exit strategy at this juncture.

Regarding the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, the DPJ interpellated the government in relation to the Liberal Democratic Party’s campaign pledge that abolition of all tariffs without exception would not be a prerequisite and also in relation to public disclosure of TPP talks.

But Abe responded by persistently saying, “We think it’s not good to break the campaign pledge.”

The LDP is narrowing down a list of trade items, including rice and wheat, to be treated as exceptions. Prospects remain uncertain about the future development of TPP negotiations. The ruling and opposition parties must discuss the issue also from the viewpoint of how to boost Japan’s economic growth.

Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s call for ending nuclear power generation was also discussed.

Abe said, “Having assumed the reins of government, we will proceed with a responsible energy policy to secure the people’s livelihoods under any circumstances.”

A zero-nuclear policy is an unrealistic option in view of its unfavorable effects on economic activity and household finances.

Concerning the issue of failure to secure a disposal facility for radioactive waste, Abe said, “We must take the present situation, in which work has yet to be started on selection of a disposal site, quite seriously.”

The matter must be tackled more aggressively under the leadership of the prime minister.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 22, 2013)
(2013年10月22日01時32分  読売新聞)


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