On Aug. 13, the Cabinet Office released preliminary economic figures for the April-June period, showing that gross domestic product (GDP) decreased 6.8 percent on an annualized basis in real terms from the previous quarter, the biggest negative growth rate recorded since the triple disasters on March 11, 2011.

While it is true that the fall in GDP represented a reaction to a big spending spree by consumers ahead of the consumption tax increase from April 1 from 5 percent to 8 percent, the drop was greater than the GDP contraction in 1989 when the consumption tax was first introduced and in 1997 when the tax rate went from 3 to 5 percent.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga sensed a crisis when the figures appeared worse than expected. He began to suspect that the real situation of the Japanese economy may well be far worse than the officially announced figures indicate. Therefore, distrust in the Finance Ministry has emerged.