When Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a massive ¥28 million stimulus package — that's equivalent to 6 percent of gross domestic product — to boost Japan's ailing economy he presumably intended to reassure people that he was wheeling out his Abenomics model and putting it back on the road. But it was all rather odd, not least because it was not so much an announcement as a promise of an announcement.

Fickle markets twitched happily at the prospect of new money. The Nikkei rose and the yen fell, but Mr. Market is too easily fooled by empty promises. By last Friday, the yen was up at 103 to the dollar and the Nikkei fell.

If you peer beyond the headline promise you should be worried for Japan. The issue is not merely that the arithmetic of the stimulus does not add up, or the doubts whether the money promised may not be real, or whether it will be spent in the right places to make a proper impact, or how it will be paid for, or who will pay. The real and abiding worry is that it is not just Japan's economy that is ailing, but that its political governance badly needs fixing.