Prime Minister Shinzo Abe emphasizes that his economic policies have created more than 1 million jobs and enabled the highest pay increases in 15 years. Share prices have surged more than 70 percent since he returned to the government’s helm in December 2012. Still, people have suffered net declines in their wages for 16 months in a row as prices rose faster than the pay hikes. As much as 84 percent of the respondents in the latest Kyodo News survey say they do not feel the economy has improved in the two years of the Abe administration.

Such gaps illustrate the mixed picture of the economy as the official campaign kicked off for the Dec. 14 general election following the prime minister’s dissolution of the Lower House to “ask voters for their verdict” on “Abenomics.” Indeed, voters should stop and think about how the prime minister’s economic policies have impacted their standard of living.

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