あさお慶一郎(前衆議院議員 神奈川4区)

湘南の風

The greatest political issue of this autumn

2014年10月15日 (水)

 

Your Party will define the envisioned ideal future society and present a roadmap for achieving it

On August 8, Your Party celebrated the fifth anniversary since its establishment. Since its establishment, we have not relied on support from any specific group or organization and have always focused on proceeding consistent policies. Individual policies have all along been meant to help achieve an ideal society. In order to clarify our vision for an ideal society of the future and present our roadmap for achieving it, we have therefore launched the “Japan for You in 2050” project, in which we achieve an ideal Japanese society for 2050.

Countering the population decline with increased productivity

One set of predictions about our society for 2050 that is sure to come are those regarding the population. It is almost certian that our population will decline in the future. However, if we earned more per capita, we should be able to sustain social welfare costs such as the pension and medical care, even if we face population decline. So our policy priority now is to increase the earnings per capita.

Basically, the essential key is productivity improvement. Since labor shortages due to population decline are becoming especially acute, wage increases based on productivity gains should be easier to achieve. Policy initiatives that will enable productivity growth will be to execute regulatory reforms, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and promotion of basic scientific research. All these measures, however, will require some time before their effects will become apparent.

Create policies for productivity improvements before re-raising the consumption tax

Under the present conditions, raising the consumption tax to 10% from the current 8% in October 2015 requests a critical upcoming decision this autumn. Your Party has always maintained that there are other priorities before another consumption tax hike. Now we are learning that various economic indicators between April and June, immediately following the last consumption tax hike, are worse than what we have been expecting. We also feel that the pain from the tax hike is more acutely felt in the local areas of Japan than in the Tokyo Metropolitan area. Our incomes have not grown by 3% while the consumption tax has risen by 3% and, particularly in the countryside where cars are the main mode of transportation, rising gasoline prices are weighing heavily on consumption.

A combined total of JPY 22 trillion in this fiscal year’s main budget and in the previous fiscal year’s supplementary budget have been projected for public works as an economic stimulus measure, but of these provisions only 6.9%, or JPY 1.5 trillion, have actually been disbursed. This fact leads us to believe that further economic stimulus funding in public works would have limited impact. Therefore, we believe that serious debate should take place as to what the best alternative policies are, with productivity increase as the premise, before we decide whether to have another hike in the consumption tax.

Keiichiro Asao
Member of the House of the Representatives

 

 

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