英紙（＝フ ィナンシャル・タイム ズ）が社説／アベノミクスは失敗しつつあるのか
「しんぶん赤旗」 2014年8月30日 日刊紙 ２面
The Financial Times
August 28, 2014 5:27 pm
Abe must keep his project on track
Japan’s economic recovery hangs in the balance
Is Abenomics failing? Recent data from Japan are mixed at best.
The core inflation rate, stripped of fresh food prices, fell slightly
to 1.3 per cent in June. That is better than the deflation in which
Japan was trapped for 15 years. But it is not enough to ensure the
central bank reaches its target of 2 per cent inflation by next spring.
Employment data are strong, but wages are not picking up much. Many of
the jobs being created are low paid. Growth, which had a promising start
was launched in December 2012, has tailed off. The economy raced
upwards as consumers front-loaded spending before this April’s increase
in consumption tax, but then headed down to earth just as fast in the
Even with the benefit of massive monetary stimulus, Japan’s economy
has fared no better than Germany’s in the past six quarters in real
terms. During the past 12 months it has barely grown at all. Still, in
nominal terms, all important for the moment, the economy has had its
best run in decades.
export machine, however, has stalled. Despite the fact that the yen is
20 per cent weaker than 18 months ago, shipments have not budged.
Companies have taken profits rather than building market share. Many
have shifted production abroad. A persistent trade deficit has opened up
as a post-Fukushima Japan imports more oil and gas.
Yet those who have written off Abenomics on the basis of these
numbers have jumped the gun. If we confine the goal to reaching 2 per
cent inflation and modestly increasing the economy’s potential growth
rate, success is still not out of reach.
What should be done? Broadly, there are four areas that can make a
difference. The first is monetary policy. Haruhiko Kuroda, the governor
of the Bank of Japan, will need to do more. For the most part, he has
put a brave face on the weak economic statistics. Yet sooner or later he
will have to fire off another round of monetary stimulus, either by
buying yet more government bonds or, preferably, by increasing the
purchase of other assets such as equity and real estate funds.
Second, Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, should face down the finance
ministry and postpone the next scheduled increase in consumption tax
from 8 to 10 per cent. His decision to go ahead with April’s three-point
rise to 8 per cent was brave. It may also have been foolhardy. Precious
momentum has been lost. Japan will have to watch nervously over the
next several months to see whether consumer sentiment recovers.
Third, the government should pursue structural reforms. More must be
done to close the gap between permanent and casual workers, who now make
up nearly 40 per cent of the labour force. It is not enough to make it
easier for big companies to lay off workers, though this could
conceivably encourage them to hire more full-time staff. The wages of
part-time staff must be improved. Increasing the minimum wage might be
one option. Women are pouring into the workforce, but too often they are
taking part-time jobs. As a matter of urgency, the tax system should be
altered so that married women are not penalised for working full-time.
Finally, Mr Abe needs to be keenly aware that Abenomics hangs in the
balance. He must stick to policy and not get bogged down in politics.
That means expending less political capital on pet projects, such as
changing the interpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution.
It also means resisting, as far as possible, factional infighting as he prepares for his first cabinet shuffle
and a possible challenge for the party leadership next year. Abenomics
was always going to be a risky business. The man who gave the bold
policy its name cannot afford to be distracted now.