The economy has stayed in a prolonged slump because the public is "subconsciously" on strike against lawmakers for their lack of vision for the future, said Mizue Tsukushi, president of The Good Bankers asset management firm.

"Lawmakers are obsessed with protecting their vested interests and continue to engage in pork-barrel politics," she said. "The current political system makes it extremely difficult for diverse opinions to be reflected in politics. This is why voter apathy is prevalent."

As a result, no matter how much money the state pours into public works projects to prop up the economy, the public has refused to consume or invest — in silent protest of the government, she said.