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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.
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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…
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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…
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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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Abe’s Agenda on Three FrontsKitaoka Shin’ichi

In order to deal with the difficult issues Japan faces domestically and internationally, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō will need to display leadership and promote realistic policies without getting tied up in ideology.
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Election 2012: The People’s Verdict, Abe’s AgendaShiraishi Takashi

On December 16 Japan held a general election for the House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet. As had been expected, the Liberal Democratic Party, which lost power three years ago, emerged victorious this time. The LDP achieved a sweeping victory, taking 294 of the 480 seats in the chamber. Adding the 31 seats won by the New Kōmeitō, its long-time ally, gives a total of 325, …
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Why Noda Decided to Call an ElectionTakenaka Harukata

On November 16 Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko dissolved the House of Representatives; a general election will be held on December 16. Many readers may wonder why he took that step at this time. After all, public support for Noda’s cabinet and his Democratic Party of Japan is languishing at a very low level. Opinion polls conducted by the major newspapers shortly before the announcement show that th…
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