politics

Abe pledges to carry out sweeping reforms

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged in a Diet speech Thursday to carry out the most sweeping reforms seen in Japan since the end of World War II.

Saying that he had a mandate from the people, Abe said his administration will revive the economy to reach every corner of Japan, revamp social security, overhaul the agriculture sector, rebuild the Tohoku region, and empower more women.

The prime minister also said Japan will never give in to terrorism and will fulfill its role in the international community's fight against terrorism by extending food and other humanitarian assistance.

In his 45-minute policy speech, Abe said the people of Japan had sent him a message in last December's lower house election. "They have asked me to press forward ever more dynamically along this path, under stable political conditions," he said.

"None of the paths for these reforms will be easy, as they will be the most drastic reforms since the end of World War II. We must, however, press forward with these reforms undaunted, clearly discerning a vision for the future of Japan."

Referring to agriculture, Abe said sweeping reforms of agricultural policy can wait no longer as the average age of persons engaged in agriculture is over 60. He said the current structure of centralized cooperatives as provided for under the Agricultural Cooperatives Act will be abolished, and the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-ZENCHU) will become a general incorporated association. Agricultural cooperatives will also be obliged to undergo an audit implemented by a certified public accountant. Agricultural businesses with ambition and drive will work together to combine their strengths with those of regional cooperatives to open up a new future for agriculture in Japan, including the development of branding for local produce and overseas business.

Medical care

Discussing health care, Abe said the government will establish a new patient-oriented medical care system to ensure that global top-level care can be received in Japan. "Responding to the wishes of patients who are fighting difficult-to-treat illnesses and based on their requests, we will make it possible for patients to receive cutting-edge medical care in combination with medical treatment that is covered by insurance. Furthermore, if safety and effectiveness can be established, we will ensure that cutting-edge medical care is covered under the national health insurance system," he said.

Energy policy

Abe said the distribution and transmission networks that are a fundamental part of the energy market infrastructure will be separated from power generation and retail power, allowing fair access for all. The retail gas business will similarly be fully liberalized, thus eliminating all barriers to market entry.

"The increase in electricity tariffs caused by the dramatic surge in fuel imports is placing a heavy burden on the daily lives of Japanese citizens, as well as small- and medium-enterprises. Nuclear power stations that have been approved by the Nuclear Regulation Authority as conforming to the new regulatory standards will be restarted, paying the greatest attention to scientific and technological determinants. With the support of the national government, we will advance work to develop thorough evacuation plans. In areas where nuclear power stations are located, we will provide careful explanations to gain the understanding of local governments and others concerned."

Abe said there will be no change to the government’s long-term policy of reducing our degree of dependency on nuclear power.

Economic revitalization

Abe said: "The three arrows of economic policies that we have pursued over the past two years are steadily generating results. The number of bankruptcies of small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reached its lowest level in 24 years last year. Over 80% of prospective graduates have begun the new year with unofficial job offers in hand. The percentage of university graduates with unofficial job offers is the highest in six years, and is the highest in 21 years for high-school graduates.

"Last year, the highest wage increases in the past 15 years were achieved. This spring also, expanding corporate earnings will lead to wage increases. Furthermore, it is becoming easier for SMEs to pass on their raw material costs to prices, and the positive cycle of the economy will be sustained. That recognition is shared by the Government, labor and management.

"To ensure breaking free from deflation, I postponed increasing the consumption tax rate to 10% for 18 months, and will implement it from April 2017. The wage increase trend will continue in spring next year and spring of the following year, and we will spread the warm winds of economic recovery to everyone throughout the country. And as a result, the three targets of economic revitalization, fiscal rehabilitation and social security reform will be attained simultaneously."

Social security

Abe said assistance for medical expenses for people suffering from incurable diseases will be substantially broadened. He said the government will promote measures to counter dementia. Alongside enhancing fiscal support for the national health insurance system, its fiscal management will be shifted from cities, towns and villages to prefectures in order to strengthen the foundation of universal healthcare.

"We will reduce nursing-care insurance premiums for households with low-income senior citizens. Remuneration of caregivers will be improved by the equivalent of 12,000 yen per month, and we will also strive to enhance services. At the same time, nursing-care costs overall, which continue to grow, will be held down in order to alleviate the burden shouldered by users and rein in premium increases.

"We will assist households that are raising families. The new system for supporting children and childrearing will be implemented on schedule from April. We remain resolutely committed to eliminating childcare waiting lists. Remuneration of people involved in early childhood education and childcare will be improved by the equivalent of 3%, and we will respond solidly to various childcare needs, including expanding the after-school kids’ clubs that utilize elementary schools’ classrooms, and enhancing weekend and evening childcare and childcare for sick children."

Empowering women

Abe said he has firm faith in the power of women. "I intend to create a society where all women who play active roles at home, in their communities, and at their workplaces can shine with confidence and pride in the lives they are leading," he said. "We will resubmit the bill to promote women’s empowerment and act to pass this bill at an early date. Through the country, the local regions, companies, and other social actors working in unison, we will create an environment in which it is easy for women to be dynamically engaged. We will press ahead with reforming the consciousness of our entire society.

"Starting this year, the percentage of women among all newly hired national public servants will exceed 30%. Our goal is to achieve a society in which the share of women occupying leadership positions in a multitude of sectors is at least 30% by 2020. To this end, we will support companies that make proactive efforts to recruit women, such as releasing information about female executives and offering assistance for vocational training to female employees on childcare leave.

"We will provide diverse employment opportunities for senior citizens. Silver Human Resources Centers will be asked to enhance their functions as providers of employment. Meticulous support will also be offered to expand employment opportunities for those with disabilities, intractable diseases, and serious illnesses.

"To realize this goal, we must dramatically reform the existing work system with its uniform working hours, along with our social mindset. The options available for employees will be expanded to allow for flexible and diverse work arrangements tailored to each person’s individual circumstances, including childcare and nursing care needs. A new national campaign will be launched to transform summer lifestyles. During the summer when the days are long, people will be able to go to work earlier in the morning and enjoy time with family and friends in the evening.

"Expanded flextime arrangements will allow employees to opt to work longer hours before their summer vacations to take longer breaks at the same time as their children. For highly specialized jobs, I will see that a new work arrangement becomes an option, allowing employees to be evaluated based on performance rather than work hours.

"Long work hours will be kept under control by raising the increased rate paid for overtime work, among other measures. Furthermore, we will move forward to prevent overworking and create a society that promotes work-life balance through the creation of schemes that ensure that employees fully take annual paid vacations."

70 Years after the War

Abe said the path Japan has taken as a peace-loving nation will remain unchanged.

"Japan has earnestly built up a free and democratic nation based on feelings of deep remorse regarding World War II and contributed to peace and prosperity in the world. Taking pride in this, we must be a nation that contributes even more to peace and stability in the world. As we head toward the next decades to come, I intend to convey to the world the message of our strong resolve in this regard.

"This year also marks 70 years since the atomic bombings. As the only country to have suffered atomic bombings in war, Japan will lead the international effort on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Japan will bid for a non-permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. We are determined to play a major role in reforming the U.N. in a manner suitable for the 21st century."

Abe said the Japan-U.S. Alliance is the linchpin of Japan's diplomacy. "We will also proceed with the realignment of the U.S. forces in Japan in accordance with the existing bilateral agreements."

Abe concluded his speech by asking all lawmakers to work together across party and faction lines to pave the way for Japan’s future and "shine once more on the world’s center stage."

© Japan Today

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53 Comments
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Me thinks all of this should have been started two years ago, when it was originally promised.

The number of bankruptcies of small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reached its lowest level in 24 years last year.

This is not good news, a low bankruptcy rate among small businesses generally means that too few are being started, or that too few exist. America's small business bankrupty rate is three times as high as Japan's, but the number of new business starts is five times higherthan Japan's. And given that a bankrupt person in Japan becomes akin to a criminal, who loses the right to vote, and cannot be hired as full time worker, most Japanese dare not risk opening a small business, or they live in poverty when their business is not thriving so as to avoid bankruptcy, or, as a last resort, jump in front of a train.

Anyway, we heard nearly all of the above promised two years ago, none of it has been implemented yet. How many more years must we wait.?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"Saying that he had a mandate from the people, Abe said his administration will revive the economy to reach every corner of Japan, revamp social security, overhaul the agriculture sector, rebuild the Tohoku region, and empower more women."

Ah, the 'Abe pledge' again -- more BS when he needs to take the focus off a few things. In any case, let's see how he's done on those pledges to date: Revive the economy. hahaha... yeah, if you're the rich you've gotten richer. The rest of us are suffering, and with everyone realizing the BOJ gamble hasn't paid off, it's going to get worse. Revamp social security: when it's at its worst ever, and on is watch. Rebuild the Tohoku region: what only four years after the disaster happened? after only a dozen pledges to do the same thing, including using them to get the Olympics? After donating all the money that should have gone to them towards people in other nations? After doing nothing to stop the yakuza groups forcing Fukushima workers into debt? Empower more women: you mean after the worst female turnout of representatives in election history, and on his watch?

The guy has promised all this before, and then some, and has failed to fulfill it. And this whole starting of his spiel with "I was given a mandate by the people" shows you it's going to absolutely be something that no one will like or voted for.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Better said than done. What about doing something as necessary and connecting the Kansai and Kanto electricity grids so electricity can be distributed both ways when needed? Huh...

3 ( +4 / -1 )

All hallelujah. What a fantastic place Japan will become! This guy wants to do it all, and he wants to do it for you!

Of course, if a normal functioning adult reads/hears this, (s)he soon understands the unsustainability of it all. Nevermind that. Let is pretend.

Just waiting for the "banzai" in the streets...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Abe said the people of Japan had sent him a message in last December’s lower house election. “They have asked me to press forward ever more dynamically along this path, under stable political conditions,”

No. They didn't. You forced a needles and expensive election outside of normal perimeters. Simply put, A large percentage of a small group 'of' the entire populace is not. a. mandate.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

The continuum begins:

“Responding to the wishes of patients who are fighting difficult-to-treat illnesses and based on their requests, we will make it possible for patients to receive cutting-edge medical care in combination with medical treatment that is covered by insurance.

Loin-stirring stuff for the insurance companies. Heart- and bank-breaking stuff for the sick.

Furthermore,if safety and effectiveness can be established, we will ensure that cutting-edge medical care is covered under the national health insurance system,” he said.

Read cost-effectiveness. Cue insincere calls to Big Pharma for generic drugs, and the slow, gradual dismantling of universal healthcare.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We've heard this song before.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

That's a long list of promises. Wonder who is gonna pay for all that crap,,, oh that's right, me...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

if your only beef with abe is his right-wing policies, then you need to get over yourself. lest you forget, koizumi also visited yasukuni and had a right-wing bent, but he was one of the most popular PMs ever. like koizumi, abe is also trying to enact bold reforms, and his biggest coup so far is abolishing the farming cooperative JA. personally, i couldn't give a rat's arse if he wants to revise history if he can succeed in improving the economy.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

The wage increase trend will continue in spring next year and spring of the following year, and we will spread the warm winds of economic recovery to everyone throughout the country. And as a result, the three targets of economic revitalization, fiscal rehabilitation and social security reform will be attained simultaneously.”

Um...what "trend" is he talking about? Does anyone here feel the "warm winds" of economic recovery?

this sounds more like a model UN speech given in the most ideal manner possible. Wot was it Shakespere wrote?

"words...words....words"

2 ( +3 / -1 )

revamp social security, overhaul the agriculture sector, rebuild the Tohoku region, and empower more women.

Total and utter bid to active voters! There is nothing in that that helps Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The usual abe haters at the top I see.

There is abe's plan which you have been asking for, now you see it, atleast see if it is implemented before ripping into him and it.

Tipping over the farming industry will be a good one if it happens, wages are slowly being hiked, just the other day there was an article where 25% or 30% of companies were considering or preparing to raise wages.

But just keep bashing that empty drum coz we know you love that dull beat.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Still waiting on that third arrow. Perhaps the people were supposed to commit hara-kiri with it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This speech will go down as just more of the Shinzo Abe PR routine, pretending to be working hard to solve Japan's problems in order to stay in power long enough to pursue his own personal agenda. A classic case of over-promising and under-delivering. Changing the constitution and the role of the military, patriotism, and promoting his and his followers views on WW2 are what he cares about. If he really cared about the economy he would be seeking out the people who actually understand the real issues facing Japan and the global economy. Instead he is pushing the dead-end, damaging "market reforms" wanted by the status quo and the financially illiterate empty suits who are responsible for the problems in the first place, and babbling on about "empowering women". Going nowhere fast.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

StormR, I and others live in the real world. Wages are flat or falling,,, prices however are rising and portions getting smaller. Abenomics is work more, get paid less; pay more, get less.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Saying that he had a mandate from the people,

Huh? The turn-out was at an all-time low if I am not mistaken, especially among younger folks. The only mandate he got was from the LDP's base, which, ironically, is made up of many of the folks he wants to impact with his "sweeping reforms", like pensioneers, farmers, etc.

Abe said his administration will revive the economy to reach every corner of Japan, revamp social security, overhaul the agriculture sector, rebuild the Tohoku region, and empower more women.

And if pigs had wings they could fly.

There is abe's plan which you have been asking for, now you see it, atleast see if it is implemented before ripping into him and it.

But just keep bashing that empty drum coz we know you love that dull beat.

The only one "bashing an empty drum" and creating a "dull beat" is Abe. His "plan", as you refer to it, is nothing more than what he has been saying about his highly-touted "third arrow" for over two years. Talk is cheap, and, in Japan, talk about any significant reforms that hurt the special interests that are the base for the LDP is even cheaper.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Talk, talk, talk ...

This is all we've been hearing for the past two years from the present Jiminto administration.

The only thing we've seen so far is higher prices across the board. And this is being caused by Abenomics, which seems to be going haywire in my purse.

Remember when Jiminto ousted the previous government two years ago ... Abe charged onto the scene with all kinds of promises. And today ... just read the above article ... more of the same ...

Ho hum ...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Approximate projection: Your salary will rise a little, and your costs will go up a lot. People on social security will get less overall, so they'll have to work. We're not going to pay much for medical care, so we'll be hiring low pay, low skill workers. Nuke plants will start as soon as we can persuade some officials. Oh, and women will be hired because we won't have to pay them much.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

rickyvee, Japan's right-wing policies have a direct impact on its relationship with its neighbors. Surely you agree that getting along with them is better than getting into a military pissing contest with them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, if he can implement half of these that would be incredible. The liberalising of the energy market is huge, as is I assume those agricultural reforms.

The only ones I'm not sure of are the expanded medical subsidies for seniors, as that would likely imply higher taxes for the working age. I'm not really sure how the government could enforce those labour market reforms either..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In spite of my criticism I welcome his efforts but fear "liberalizing" the power industry more. They tried this in California and behind the scenes there was obscene price gouging. Energy is a hugely capital intensive industry with few players available to participate. Don't be surprised if your winters get colder and your summers hotter, if that is even possible,,,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Fiscal rehabilitation? What a clown.

From the news yesterday:

Japan’s central and local governments will be unable to achieve a primary budget surplus by fiscal 2020 as targeted, even if the country’s economy grows steadily, according to new estimates by the Cabinet Office unveiled Thursday.

The governments’ primary budget deficit is now expected to stand at ¥9.4 trillion in the year ending in March 2021.

So there we go. Government forecast to be in the hole to the tune of ¥9.4 trillion in 2020 assuming everything goes well, by which time the government will probably have amassed another 200 trillion yen of debt to go on top of the 1,040 trillion outstanding as of today.

Even if things do go well and they did achieve a primary balance surplus by cutting spending, they will still be looking at a 30 trillion yen budget deficit due to debt servicing costs for the 1,200-odd trillion yen debt everest that will have been accumulated.

sangetsu03,

Me thinks all of this should have been started two years ago, when it was originally promised.

Please no! Just look at all the government meddling that he is proposing!

rickyvee,

abe is also trying to enact bold reforms, and his biggest coup so far is abolishing the farming cooperative JA.

Well, I wanted to see 'deregulation', not 're-written regulation', which is what I have seen.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Transcript. http://japan.kantei.go.jp/97_abe/statement/201502/policy.html

After witnessing for himself the world powers of Europe and the United States, where modernization had progressed, Tomomi Iwakura, one of the builders of the foundations of the Meiji State, stated the following:

"Japan may be a small country, but if the people can work together with a single mind to build up our national strength, it will be by no means impossible to become a nation that participates actively in world affairs."

There is no reason why the Japanese people of today cannot achieve what their predecessors achieved in the Meiji era. Now is exactly the time for us to press forward together as one, setting out along the path before us. Let us together dynamically embark on the “most drastic reforms since the end of World War II.

I have no idea what he means by this.

Let us deepen public discussion regarding constitutional revision.

Very dangerous move.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

He still lives in his little (unreal) world!

"Saying that he had a mandate from the people" - which people?

Oh wait, I will get a salary increase of 3%, if I'm not wrong:

".... Remuneration of people involved in early childhood education and childcare will be improved by the equivalent of 3%".

Now, that's good news! But than again, maybe this doesn't apply to me?

Have to ask him!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Saying that he had a mandate from the people,

BS

Saying that he had a mandate from the people, Abe said his administration will revive the economy to reach every corner of Japan,

More BS and the only folks who will "revived" are the one's already making cash hand over foot. People who import goods to survive, the middle to small level companies, and a host of others whose profit margins are already slim will NOT benefit from his policies. He playing one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in the history of mankind and no one is blowing a whistle.

revamp social security, overhaul the agriculture sector,

BS, he will make the elderly pay more, and the agriculture sector, his idea of "revamping" means either more government subsidies or put them out of business because TPP is coming and the outdated modes of farmers here will lose out to foreign imports. He wants the agriculture sector to become agri-business, run by large corporations, but that wont work here due to constraints on land use.

rebuild the Tohoku region,

When? It's been 4 years, and he will waste money on the Olympics, this is just lip service. They need help NOW, actually yesterday, but still this is BS.

and empower more women.

Only one's that toe his line. And most people should know how conservative Japanese men are about women and their rights.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

So what is abe looking for? A new restoration? Bet he would like the ring of that, huh? The Abe Restoration.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@klausdorf: you will get that 3% pay raise, and then subtract the imminent 2% additional rise in sales tax, and the anticipated 2% inflation year over year... you will wish you had never gotten it in the first place.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is not good news, a low bankruptcy rate among small businesses generally means that too few are being started, or that too few exist

Well. Which is it?? You must have some data to come up with this conclusion.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

@fxgai

you have to agree that this was a monumental task to even touch the JA. even if it's more cosmetic than actual change, something is better than nothing.

@mrbum getting along with neighbors, or more succinctly, kissing china's and SK's arse over past aggressions, will only embolden them do ask for more. they will continue to play the victim card regardless of what japan does.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Reckless",

I know, I know .... but please don't destroy one of my last dreams!

They will never be able to finance all this, without using tax-payers money.

But can I, can we change it? Guess not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Abe pledges to carry out sweeping reforms"

He's doing this already isn't he, Fukushima problem (sweep, sweep) Japan's war time aggression and sexual slavery (sweep,sweep) under the carpet, they all go !

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Saying that he had a mandate from the people, Abe said his administration will revive the economy to reach every corner of Japan, revamp social security, overhaul the agriculture sector, rebuild the Tohoku region, and empower more women.

He's been 'saying' the same thing for nearly three years. I'm yet to see any changes, except that the majority of people are out of pocket by at least 15%. Actions speak louder than Abe-San. Let's see some action instead of political lip serving guff!

It's interesting to note that, every one of his statements starts with 'I'. Shouldn't it be 'we', meaning his political party? It seems to me that Abe is overdosing on his ego pills.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Then get on with it already

2 ( +2 / -0 )

rickyvee,

you have to agree that this was a monumental task to even touch the JA. even if it's more cosmetic than actual change, something is better than nothing.

Agree. I'm just disappointed that Abe hasn't been more. I just hadn't expected him to be such a central planner.

I'm with you on the economy. Japan will always have trouble with China and the Koreas so long as its economy is weak. With a strong economy, I don't think Japan would have so many hassles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm smelling a TPP announcement in a few days

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Abe pledges to carry out sweeping reforms

Of course he will, whether the people want them or not

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

getting along with neighbors, or more succinctly, kissing china's and SK's arse over past aggressions, will only embolden them do ask for more. they will continue to play the victim card regardless of what japan does.

No one said anything about kissing their ass. Just stop having discussions about revoking previous apologies and trying to whitewash history. All of China's and SK's talk would eventually get old if only Japan would stop playing along in their game.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hmm,sounds like someones dream.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Thinking about his "mandate from the people" comment, I read in an editorial in one of the local newspapers recently that it was the good voters of Soka Gakkai who gave Jiminto the "big" victory in the last election (and the one before that). So perhaps Abe-san should rephrase this wordage and say, "thanks to the mandate from the Soka Gakkai voters." After all, it is the Soka Gakkai voters who support Jiminto nowadays. And through its Soka Gakkai members, Komeito can call itself a partner in running the government.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sure hope Abe keeps his word this time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ohhh! An entire bushel of poppycock, and just in time for the weekend!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well. Which is it?? You must have some data to come up with this conclusion.

The OECD has all the data pertaining to new business startups in Japan, as well as how Japan compares to other countries. The US census bureau has good records for business startups and failures in America.

A low bankruptcy rate means there are fewer new business starts, as the businesses most like to fail are new businesses. The average percentage of new business failures is more than 60%, and this number has been more or less static for the last two decades. The majority of small business bankruptcies are always new businesses.

Among OECD countries, Japan ranks in last place for new business startups. When fewer people risk starting a small business, fewer small businesses fail, and the bankruptcy rate remains low. But when fewer people start a small business, economies don't grow. These absent small businesses will never hire staff, pay rent, or buy materials, or pay taxes, for that matter.

If Abe wants the economy to grow, and for new businesses to be formed, he must radically change the bankruptcy system. In addition to a bankruptcy being considered nearly a crime, and bankrupts being shunned by employers (most end up driving taxis are working in combinis), debts in Japan are transferrable to third-parties. To get a loan, or rent an apartment, in Japan you need to get a guarantor. If you fail to pay your rent, or your loan, your creditors can go after your guarantor or family, whereas in other countries, debts are considered personal obligations, and third parties cannot be compelled to pay your debts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“Last year, the highest wage increases in the past 15 years were achieved.

Typical rhetoric of a Japanese politician who says something totally general without any number to back his claim and knowing that Japanese media will do nothing to question such blatant lie.

Abe know that so he feels comfortable to just throw to the public plain propaganda. Which wage type is he talking about here? Nominal or real wage? The last time I looked at it, real wages have been decreasing during the entire year of 2014, basically they have been doing so the previous 16 consecutive months as measured last October. So what is this dude talking about?

Saying that he had a mandate from the people, Abe said his administration will revive the economy to reach every corner of Japan.

Again propaganda rhetoric. Given the low turnout and low support for the LDP relative to the population of Japan during the last genera elections, he hardly has a mandate from anyone. This sort of speech centered on himself and based on propaganda is really up to the level of some dictatorships, one of them is not very far from Japan.

Its's not worth to comment the rest of what he said, this is just the usual BS that the Japanese population has been hearing apathetically for more than 50 years.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The situation is not an easy one, but I think that a little less of everything would be better.

The Yen just can't be this weak and have anybody but the exporters make money. Bankruptcies were, as stated, low last year, but have risen so far this year, I think in response to the drop in the yen http://www.tradingeconomics.com/japan/bankruptcies

The nukes... I don't like them at all, but if you're going to start some, then choose some that aren't thirty years old or on a known fault line. The military thing .. having strength is one thing, but doing things that push toward a conflict is not necessary.

So... a little less might find a better balance.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

StormR,

Abe indeed has been a better leader than those immediately before him. But his policies seem to be wrong, unfortunately, although I too hope to be suddenly and pleasantly surprised.

so what if Japan will still owe trillions or quadrillions in the year 2020

So long as one doesn't keep all their savings in yen, I agree there is little to worry about. You and I might therefore be OK, but that won't be the case may for most residents of Japan though.

most other major economies owe tons of money too that cant be paid back on time.

Japan is the standout fugly one though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

“None of the paths for these reforms will be easy, as they will be the most drastic reforms since the end of World War II. We must, however, press forward with these reforms undaunted, clearly discerning a vision for the future of Japan.”............ I think the electorate fully acknowledge Rome or Tokyo wasn't built in a day. Please don't succumb to implementing a system of quotas in belief that this course of action will empower women to leadership in public institutions or business. Only a 'level playing field' will provide the opportunities to aspire or achieve status in the boardroom. I want to be recognized for my contribution and skills earned through hard work. Keeping my fingers crossed Abe San is true to his word.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Wonder who is gonna pay for all that crap,,, oh that's right, me..."

And me!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Redirection of a sizable chunk of the $500m Global PR campaign budget could speed the reforms along....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ive met many who say Japan is changing! The young people are different! how they can miss the mark so much does escape me.. japan is changing, but as usual, on its own terms. Starting from the Meiji era, its been doing the same thing for over a century now. Young people changing? They arent allowed once they become adults and enter sei shain society. You can watch films of massive demos during the 60s in japan. Where are those young people now? They have completely changed allright, right back to closed Japan mindset. Where are all those foriegn companies that were going to come to clean up at Fukushima? there will be none of that; instead building skytrees and getting the olympics. This is all very fundamental and predictable stuff.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives (JA-ZENCHU) will become a general incorporated association. Agricultural cooperatives will also be obliged to undergo an audit implemented by a certified public accountant.

The latter part means agricultural cooperatives nationwide aka Nokyo will be obliged to undergo an audit implemented by a public accountant instead of JA-Zenchu. Abe won in his first round. Good job. JA-Zenchu will no more be able to lead, audit and get tribute money from local Nokyo organs. Agribusiness will change Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Wonder who is gonna pay for all that crap,,, oh that's right, me..."

And me!

And used to be me! Now I just owe my soul and all it's worth to a different system. oooh yeaaaaaaah

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All these things SOUND great. Further modernisarion and using Japans huge asset in many educated women. Now don't be a politician about it and DO IT! My money is he won't and this speech is as inspiring as its gunna get.

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Abe the socialist man wants all good things happen at once but can he do it .... ...or just having big mouth.....

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