• Jiji


Opposition parties on Monday stepped up their call for the government to convene an extraordinary session of the Diet at an early date to discuss stimulus measures following the economy’s steep contraction.

Japan’s seasonally adjusted gross domestic product in April-June fell a real 27.8 percent from the previous quarter on an annualized basis, posting the sharpest drop in the postwar period, according to preliminary data released by the Cabinet Office earlier in the day.

The dive of course reflected the impact of the pandemic, but it also shows that Abenomics, the economic policy mix of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, “has ended in failure,” Seiji Osaka, policy chief of the largest opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, said in a statement.

“It is obvious that the consumption tax rate hike last year and (the government’s) bungled measures against the virus outbreak aggravated the economic slowdown,” he said.

Osaka demanded that the government and the ruling bloc convene an extraordinary Diet session to discuss additional measures to tackle the virus crisis and new economic steps.

“The country is in a state of economic emergency,” Yuichiro Tamaki, leader of the major opposition Democratic Party for the People, said on Twitter.

“The GDP drop was hefty and larger than forecast” by private think tanks, he said. “We’ll be in dire straits unless we shore up the economy by providing additional cash handouts and reducing the consumption tax.”

The Abe government earlier this year implemented a program to distribute ¥100,000 per person to each resident of the nation as a coronavirus relief measure.

The plunge in GDP showed that the consumption tax rate hike to 10 percent from 8 percent in October 2019 was “a huge policy misstep,” Japanese Communist Party executive Akira Koike told a news conference.

“An early extraordinary Diet session is necessary for overcoming the serious economic downturn,” he said.

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