Abenomics faces litmus test

Publication Date : 19-11-2014


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday that he will dissolve the House of Representatives on Friday.

At a press conference Tuesday evening, Abe said he has decided to postpone by 18 months an additional consumption tax rate hike initially scheduled for October next year.

Referring to this announcement on the consumption tax, Abe said it was “a grave, grave decision.” Therefore, “I ought to seek the people’s mandate over my decision by holding an election,” he added.

“However, I clearly declare today it will never be postponed in the future,” he stressed.

Regarding the election outcome, Abe said he would “step down” as prime minister if the Liberal Democratic Party-Komeito coalition fails to maintain the majority of seats in the lower house.

With his dissolution announcement, a general election will be set on December 14 with official campaigns kicking off on December 2.

The prime minister repeatedly stressed that his economic policies have so far contributed to reviving the nation’s economy.

“Whether my economic policies are right or wrong [on the nation’s economy], or there is any other option, I’d like to hear the people’s opinions via the coming election,” the prime minister said.

Now that a snap election is set for next month, the prime minister will seek the people’s endorsement to continue his Abenomics economic policy package, which he has been implementing as a key policy since taking office.

Abe finalised his decision to call a snap election upon receiving news on Monday of unexpectedly negative economic indicators.

The Cabinet Office on Monday released the nation’s preliminary gross domestic product figure for the July-September period, which marked negative growth of 1.6 percent on an annual basis.

On Tuesday evening before the dissolution announcement, Abe attended a meeting for the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. He instructed attendees at the meeting to compile new economic policies.

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, the prime minister held talks with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the LDP’s junior coalition partner Komeito.

On Tuesday morning, the final session of a government-established panel of experts was held at the Prime Minister’s Office. Panelists discussed the plan to raise the consumption tax rate in October next year from 8 per cent to 10 per cent.

Abe carefully considered the dissolution date based on situations relating to key bills currently under deliberation in the House of Councillors.

Two bills related to local revitalisation are top priority for the Abe administration, and the prime minister hopes to see the bills passed before the lower house is dissolved. However, the schedule for votes on the bills in an upper house plenary session has not been fixed.

Although the ruling camp hopes to approve the bills on Wednesday, this may be delayed depending on the response of the opposition.

Tatsuo Kawabata, chairman of the Democratic Party of Japan’s Diet Affairs Committee, said on Tuesday morning, “If Prime Minister Abe declares the dissolution of the lower house at a press conference, the game is over in both houses of the Diet,” indicating that the party would refuse to respond to any deliberations.


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Abenomics faces litmus test
Japanese Test – Yahoo News Search Results
Japanese Test – Yahoo News Search Results

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