Hamstrung by what it values

Hanno, Saitama

Shinzo Abe’s proposed 2 to 3 percent inflation target, cited in the Nov. 19 front-page article “Abe pledges to make BOJ buy bonds,” should not be arbitrary; it ought to reconcile with the rate of productivity growth to preserve stable prices.

What he is suggesting will merely result in a restoration of the same illusion of the past that led to Japan’s problems.

Depopulation in Japan makes public works construction even more ridiculous. There will be no wage spiral as in the past, given the deflationary impact of cheap labor in developing countries. But there will be a great deal of hardship for lower-class Japanese.

If Japan wants to stimulate its economy amid an aging population, it should invite members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to send its nationals to Japan as caregivers and technical experts, just as New Zealand has opened up holiday visas for Filipinos. These newcomers should then have the freedom to exist so that they don’t need to rely on the government.

Japan has a lot to offer, but it is hamstrung by its conservative values. It must consider the impact on youths who now lack opportunity and direction. The appeal of bond buying is that the eurozone and the United States will do the same — but they have growing populations. Abe no doubt wants to keep the yen competitive with the dollar and the euro.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

andrew sheldon