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Abe’s Growth-First Fiscal PolicyTobias Harris

On June 30, the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Japanese government’s leading economic advisory council, issued the 2015 version of its Basic Policies for Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform. This is a blueprint for the government’s economic policy agenda for the current fiscal year and the following fiscal year’s budgetary process, which starts in the summer. While drafting the…

Getting Serious About Fiscal Reform: Beyond Smoke and MirrorsOguro Kazumasa

Prime Minister Abe’s commitment to fiscal retrenchment has come under question since his cabinet delayed a planned tax hike and approved the biggest budget in history. While the government claims to have met its interim deficit reduction target, Oguro Kazumasa questions its accounting methods and warns that tough choices are still needed to avert a fiscal meltdown.

The Burden of Inheritance: An Already High Tax Expands Its ReachAramaki Yoshihiro

Japanese, in anticipation of the hike in inheritance taxes taking effect on January 1, 2015, flocked to seminars given by banks and real estate firms to learn about countermeasures. Aramaki Yoshihiro, a certified public accountant, believes that the “democratization” of the inheritance tax will change how the Japanese approach asset management.

Bolder Reforms Needed to Drive Abenomics ForwardFukuda Shin’ichi

Financial markets have responded favorably to Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s policies, and asset prices are up, but real wages are still declining. To achieve a solid recovery, higher productivity and bold structural reform will be essential.

Kuroda Launches Fresh Salvo in Effort to Stimulate Economy

The Bank of Japan’s October 31 surprise announcement of a fresh round of quantitative easing comes at a crucial time in Prime Minister Abe Shinzō’s bid to revive the Japanese economy through his Abenomics policies. Japan’s economic growth has stagnated since the government moved in April 2014 to increase the consumption tax by three points to 8%. Allowing the economy to remain flat would seriously…

Confronting Japan’s Unpleasant Fiscal ArithmeticKobayashi Keiichirō

The Japanese government has faced stiff resistance to planned increases in the consumption tax, the first of which was implemented on April 1. But according to recent calculations, even the 10% rate scheduled for 2015 pales beside the revenue increases needed to avert a financial meltdown over the next few decades. Keiō University economist Kobayashi Keiichirō reviews this “unpleasant arithmetic” and urges the government to plan accordingly.

Timeline for April 2014

Consumption tax goes up for the first time in 17 years; Obokata Haruko faces her critics after the STAP cell controversy; and Japan welcomes Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and US President Barack Obama. A look back at some of the top stories from April 2014.

The Barriers to Budget Balance in JapanOkazaki Tetsuji

Despite the crisis-level size of its public debt, Japan continues to run large deficits financed by additional borrowing. Economic historian Okazaki Tetsuji examines the barriers to restoring health in government finances.

The Politics of the Tax Hike and AbenomicsTakenaka Harukata

On October 1, the cabinet of Prime Minister Abe Shinzō decided that the government would raise the consumption tax rate from 5% to 8% as scheduled next April. Below I provide a political interpretation of why it reached this decision. In recent months, Prime Minister Abe repeatedly acknowledged that he would carefully make the final judgment about the hike while taking into account its impact o…

Abe Green-lights Consumption Tax HikeMichael Schauerte

Prime Minister Abe Shinzō ended months of speculation today with his announcement that Japan’s nationwide consumption tax will be raised from 5% to 8% on April 1, 2014. In making his decision, the prime minister looked to recent economic figures as a sign that Japan’s economic recovery was robust enough to weather the tax hike. He was encouraged by the September 9 announcement that the country’s …

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