Political parties must spell out their visions for Japan's future
The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network
November 22, 2012, 12:35 am TWN
Japan stands at a crossroads. The direction it takes will be critical to determining whether Japan can remain one of the world's leading nations.
As political gridlock continues and the economy staggers along, the people's sense that the country is stagnating has been growing. How can the nation overcome this situation?
During the upcoming House of Representatives election campaign, we urge each party to present the course they want Japan to pursue and a new "vision" for this nation. Each party then needs to provide voters with detailed policy proposals based on these ideas.
How to Overcome Deflation?
In his book, Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yukio Edano pointed out that the nation must wake up from its dreamlike "growth illusion" and face up to reality. Edano argues that Japan, which has become a mature society, can no longer expect growth to just happen. Even maintaining Japan's economic vigor is not an easy task, he says.
Behind the failure of the Democratic Party of Japan-led administration to hammer out an effective growth strategy and economy-boosting measures, we suspect "pessimism" like Edano's is rooted in people's minds.
But if economic sluggishness and deflation continue, which leads to negative growth, it might further hollow out the nation's industry and shake the foundation of social security systems and national security.
Consequently, we believe it essential for the nation to pursue stable growth and enhance its international competitiveness so it can maintain its national strength.
How to overcome deflation, reignite the economy and rectify disparities are probably the issues of most interest to people ahead of the election.
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Shinzo Abe has said his administration, if realized, would work closely with the Bank of Japan in policy coordination to implement bold monetary easing measures. He also said the LDP-led administration would reinvigorate regional economies by "improving infrastructure to serve as investment for the future."
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had few kind words for the LDP plan, saying, "I don't think Japan can be revitalized through a policy of promoting lavish public works projects." Instead, he again trumpeted his government's revitalization strategy aimed at fostering new markets in such fields as the environment and medicine and creating jobs.