Finance Ministry panel turns to the public for ideas about how to restore Japan's fiscal health


A Finance Ministry panel has decided to seek public opinion on fiscal administration for the first time, in a move that reflects the panel’s sense of urgency in restoring the country’s fiscal health.

The Fiscal System Council, which advises the finance minister, will seek opinions from the public until April 5, in written form within 1,000 characters, a subcommittee of the council decided at a meeting Monday.

Last November, the Fiscal System Council criticized fiscal administration during the Heisei Era for inflicting a severe situation on future generations by continuing to issue government bonds.

The 30-year Heisei Era will end on April 30 with Emperor Akihito’s abdication.

By inviting opinion, the council hopes to share with the public a strong sense of urgency and the need to steadily restore fiscal health.

The opinions will be used as a reference in the panel’s discussions and may be reflected in its future proposals.

“As Japan’s fiscal situation becomes increasingly complicated, it is important to promote efforts that allow the people to take center stage again,” Hiroya Masuda, acting chairman of the council subcommittee, said at a news conference after Monday’s meeting.

Also during the subcommittee meeting, many panel members called for an immediate improvement to the issue of survey data flaws at the labor ministry.

“If the economic outlook becomes inaccurate because of the survey data flaw, people will begin to lose faith in the grounds for policymaking,” one member stressed.