This may not have been a good election year in the United States or Israel where the “idiot voter” trumped common sense and economic reason, but in Japan, one of the few First World countries with an older population that isn’t diluted by immigrants, the politics have turned to the right.
Japan has shown that it is willing to defend its territory against China, and with an economic implosion on the horizon, it is starting the unpleasant work of dismantling Japan’s ridiculously swollen and unsustainable welfare state. Many Americans may still think of Japan as the economic behemoth of the 80s, but Japan has long since become a debt-filled recession economy with even its biggest companies like Sony teetering on the edge of oblivion.
Japan’s debt to GDP ratio is the largest in the world. Its national debt is only second to the United States, even though it has less than half the population of the United States.
There’s big trouble in Japan now. And the cutting begins.
Welfare benefits will be slashed by ¥74 billion over a three-year period starting from fiscal 2013, after a government panel found that some people are making more on the dole than the average low-income person who is not spends on living costs, it was learned Sunday.
Welfare recipients hit a record high of 2.14 million in October 2012 and the state budget for benefits, including medical assistance, stood at around ¥2.8 trillion for fiscal 2012 ending in March.
Later Sunday, the government and ruling parties approved the fiscal 2013 budget proposal, with expenditures in the general account budget totaling ¥92.61 trillion. The Cabinet will sign off on the budget on Tuesday and send it to the Diet.
That’s around 30 billion in American dollars for the welfare payments and over a trillion for the budget. Slightly higher than the previous year’s budget. 46.3 percent of that budget is supposed to come from bond issues, but tax revenues will be slightly higher than bond issues for the first time in years.
The debt situation is bad enough that ¥22.2 trillion or 245 billion dollars will be used to service Japan’s national debt.
And Japan’s new conservative government is throwing emissions standards out the window.
Japan will drop its pledge to the global community to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 because of the country’s reduced future reliance on nuclear power, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a government panel Friday.
During a meeting of the panel, which is discussing economic revival measures, Abe stated that he will revise the energy strategy compiled by the previous administration of the Democratic Party of Japan, which aimed to completely phase out atomic energy by the 2030s.
Both sets of commitments are completely insane considering Japan’s lack of fossil fuels. There’s also a new priority on patriotism in education.
Japan’s stock market has improved, but Abe is still betting on borrowing for a stimulus plan and that may well prove to be a disastrous dead end for him, just as it did for Obama.