politics

Akie Abe discusses sales tax, nuclear power, life with PM

32 Comments
By Linda Sieg

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


32 Comments
Login to comment

You have to worry about a pm who can't coordinate policy with his wife

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I am now a big fan of Japan's first lady!

“I think there are still areas where, if not a waste, taxes are not being used properly and could probably be fixed,” she added. I can understand there are aspects that would be difficult if we don’t raise the sales tax, but in my personal opinion, before doing that, shouldn’t we put a bit effort into the economy, fix what can be fixed and cut what can be cut?”

These words should be tattooed on the forehead of every politician and bureaucrat in this country.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

“It’s not that I don’t mind at all,” she said. “But in a sense, I am doing this out of my own convictions, so I think it’s okay to say what I want to say.”

exactly. gender equality, now we'll have Mr. Abenomics vs Mrs. Abenomics.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Once again we see who truly has the brains and the right way of thinking in the family. I think Abe will actually take what she says here (and of course what many say) to heart here, to an extent, but that he'll reinterpret things that "need to be cut" into "things that the general public needs" in favor of cuts to major corporations that DON'T need it and will only profit from it. He'll then say "shouganai" as public spending continues to decrease and he'll up the tax anyway.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Although she can't directly influence policy outcomes, I think it's refreshing that such a high profile public figure is willing to share her views like this on issues that affect her and the country. I wish more public figures would be willing to do the same.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

She'd be much better than Hillary if this statement is any indication.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Well said Akie! You'd get my vote for PM! Maybe they should start with that complete waste of tax payers money sending their BS research team to the southern ocean to slaughter whales. The next step should be to remove all the 'driftwood' employees from government offices. Then they can start on the 'middlemen' soaking up the recovery funds in Fukushima and the north-east coastal districts.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

tattooed backwards so they can see it in the mirror every morning!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I'm gonna go with the cynics on this one and say that her antics are all scripted to actually help Abe rather than raise legitimate questions over his policies. With his wife saying all this, it definitely softens his image and boosts his women agenda. Also, the way she words her rhetorical questions makes them fall directly into the lap of Abe's policy goals.

Too suspicious for me and would be so easy to do on their side.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

It's an open secret how waistful government spending is, corruption and "helping" the retired in their new position indemic and a total waist of money. Harvesting blubber is an obvious waste, when the promises were made to do all they can to help the evacuees recover from their forced relocation 3+ years ago! good job by the way! Now the same hollow promise to landslide victims . Tax more to give as subsidies to corporations that pay no tax at all? It's pretty obvious where the Governments priorities are. At least she voiced a reasonable concern as it's too obvious to be ignored.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

After too many years here I would say at minimum 30% of govt expenditure is either wasted, hoarded, stolen, amakudaried, kick backed(to numerous parties) etc etc etc

And when talking about construction, or finance ministries................... your over 40%.

Its criminal that serious cuts haven't been implemented ages ago already!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Considering the falling birthrate and aging society, it probably can't be helped," Akie Abe told Reuters in an interview on Thursday at the prime minister's official residence, referring to an eventual rise in the sales tax.

...it can't be helped...

...eventual tax rise in the sales tax...

Everything after this FIRST paragraph is just political window dressing.

"Gosh, we really SHOULD only raise taxes after we take a serious look at the economy, but if it can't be helped, it can't be helped!"

This is like your boss saying he really did wish there was another way as he calls security to have you escorted off the premises.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

What a surprisingly fine looking lady. If you want to trim a bit of wasteful spending, scraping next years whaling trip would be a fine start.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

PLEASE get rid of Shinzo-kun and make Akie PM. PLEASE!!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

You know, everyone, including politicians, ALL agree with Mrs. Abe here. But, they still raise it anyway, not because they don't know better, but because the alternative

"... put a bit effort into the economy, fix what can be fixed and cut what can be cut?" "... put a bit effort ... "

you see, that's what the politicians don't like to do, why "effort", when you can just ride it with little disturbances until you die ? "Who cares about the grand children ? I'd be looong dead.".

2 ( +2 / -0 )

the country should consider cutting wasteful spending

What it should do is actually cut wasteful spending (and spending it can't afford), instead of waste further time considering it, as it has done for years now.

But inspite all the talk, what we read in the headlines today is, "Budget requests for fiscal 2015 to total Y101.68 trillion", which is a record amount, not to mention twice the amount of tax revenues. That's right, they are seeking to spend even more than ever before, despite the general recognition everywhere that Japan's finances are unsustainable and it's debt levels are way too high.

The message has clearly not gotten through to the Kasumigaseki bureaucrats. Perhaps the spending cuts should be initiated by firing Kasumigaseki? Where is the leadership?

boosting the economy before going ahead with a rise in the sales tax to 10%

It's a nice idea, but weren't people saying the same thing when Abe was elected 1.5 years ago?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's to bad that Mr. Abe doesn't have the same insight his wife does. If I were a betting man, I would bet EVERYTHING, that he WILL raise the taxes, simply to continue ALL the wasteful spending!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@KIbousha

"Who cares about the grand children ? I'd be looong dead.".

Especially seeing Abe and his wife have no kids, so he has no future generations to worry about!!!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Disillusioned: "'driftwood' employees" made me LOL. That's a great image.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good on her for speaking her mind and contributing to the public debate on important issues, especially the nuclear one!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"You have to worry about a pm who can't coordinate policy with his wife"

You'd have to worry about the majority of married men, then.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But inspite all the talk, what we read in the headlines today is, "Budget requests for fiscal 2015 to total Y101.68 trillion", which is a record amount, not to mention twice the amount of tax revenues. That's right, they are seeking to spend even more than ever before, despite the general recognition everywhere that Japan's finances are unsustainable and it's debt levels are way too high.

Economics 101: Unless you're in a recession, EVERYTHING will cost more a year later. The items covered in the budget can be identical from year to year, but due to inflation EACH YEAR it is going to cost more for the same items. Pointing at a total and criticizing the "record amount" is meaningless without context. You need to point out whether things have been ADDED from the previous year that are unnecessary.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Isn't this an article about Akie's talks? Why blame her for Japan's budget? Abe is not a dectator to create budget by himself. So is Mrs. Abe. In USA, her nick name is Akky. She has nothing to do with budget decision. Just the First Lady who does not hide herself. She just talked out her opinion. Nothing to blame her. First Lady has freedom of speech just like any Japanese citizens.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Fadamor Sep. 05, 2014 - 03:44AM JST Unless you're in a recession, EVERYTHING will cost more a year later. The items covered in the budget can be identical from year to year, but due to inflation EACH YEAR it is going to cost more for the same items.

If you don't eat imported food or use energy, the inflation is flat to manageable level. However, the problem is that energy costs are over 9 percent higher and Food is over 4 percent higher from last year. Japan imports 60 percent of their food needs, and the yen exchange rate has more to do with higher cost at a retail level than inflation. So when the Japanese politicians say Abenomics is well on its way to achieving its goals, they must mean of lowering living standards for all Japanese people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Alex, I just think otherwise.The more respect I have for both of them. Her for having the guts to oppose and him for having the will of his own. I just think it is very easy to criticize but if put in power, sometimes you have to give way to many other things in the interest of the nation. They seem to be a good husband and wife team. One balancing the other. Although in conservative Japan, the wife with opposing ideas shld have just kept it to herself or to people close to her. I like her, though.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Fadamor,

I get what you want to say. If tax revenues and GDP were increasing together with spending you'd be quite correct, but in Japan everyone is well aware that there has been just a year or so's inflation, total government spending dwarfs its tax revenues (half of which is spent servicing the existing debt load), and growth has stagnated for 20 years.

The news has been full of budget request stories in recent times for new spending, much of it quite unnecessary. But more than that, Japan can't keep spending twice tax revenues each year indefinitely without eventual consequences. Increasing spending every year in Japan's situation is harakiri.

Think about this - Japan increased the sales tax to start to try to address it's budget deficit, as a first step towards fiscal discipline. They are expecting 5 trillion yen in extra revenue from the tax hike, and yet the new requests for spending are approximately 5 trillion yen greater than this year's budget...

It's well time Japan took a katana to it's oversized government.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Abe was PM.She was an ex-DJ who could drink up a storm,but unfortunately couldn't get pregnant. The Abe's are philithy rich so consumption tax hikes aren't going to affect them so how can she relate beyond rhetoric?

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Don't criticize people who can not get their own babies. Rich or famous. some people can not get own babies. Also daughters of famous and rich people, even they have excellent jeducation they only can get a job in Japan is kind media. Even Yoko Ono had to work as an artist oversea because she was a girl whose family owned banking systems. Then Yuko Obuchi when she tried to get a job after education, only TBS hired her. Daughter of PM did not mean anything in Japan;s male oriented society. So, Akie worked for Detntsu, Not unique. Luckily she worked in Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi-ken near Korea and China, She learned their culture to speak up - Mothers boss famlily there,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This would make a fantastic comedy sit com, all the the PM's and Presidents worldwide and their wives, at home, sort of a fly on the wall situation, the material is endless. Yes, it's a winner,ratings would go through the roof.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This First Lady loves Korean soap operas and Korean stars. And she is fluent in Korean language, (Beside Inoki, is there any Japanese people who can speak Koreans?) When she visited China, she prayed for Chinese Buddah, Then she visited Chinese different schools (tera-koya style, too) and visited handicapped children facilities. She is a friend of Chinese First Lady. Some people blame Abe for Yasukuni, etc. She was educated in Christian schools (same one Empress attended) but did not neglected to see Chinese Buddah statue.

When Dalai Lama stopped to Japan on the way to USA, people worried about Chinese feelings tried to have Lama visit Japanese politicians but Akie forcxed herself to welcome Dalai Lama. Advantage of her to be a former dsisc jockey is that she understand world topics more than busy PM. As a matter of fact, she did political campaign for LDP all over Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites