Japanese Society, Policy and Economics


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For the Pacific Resources Exchange Center (関西経団連のPREX) - Training for Planners to Promote Photovoltaic Power Generation (A) at Osaka University Nakanoshima Center on September 7, 2013 - a presentation to officials from various developing countries.

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Japanese Society, Policy and Economics

  1. 1.  Population trends and foreigners in Japan  Japanese history, culture, and society today  Government policies and politics in Japan  Relations with other countries in the world  Threats of fossil fuel dependence and disasters  Energy efficiency and renewable energy  Economic issues:  The yen, cost of living, saving vs. consuming  International trade, exports vs. imports  Taxes and distribution of wealth  Deflation vs. inflation expectations  Abenomics: monetary, fiscal, structural policies  Conclusion: Japan’s lessons for developing countries / Q&A  Discussion: Analyze your nation’s energy, etc. policy options
  2. 2. Demographic shift, its reasons, and difficulty of solutions “Six out of 10 respondents said the biggest reason for having fewer children than they really want is that ‘it costs too much money to raise and educate children’.” From: https://japanforum.nbr.org/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind1307&L=list&F=&S=&P=70494
  3. 3. Attitudes and policies concerning immigration and foreigners in Japan
  4. 4. Japanese government structure, from the Ministry of Finance: http://www.mof.go.jp/english/budget/budget/fy2004/brief/images/p120.gif
  5. 5. Japan still depends on imported non-renewable energy. Increased fossil fuel consumption since 2011 nuclear shutdowns.
  6. 6. Japan has avoided energy shortages even after 2011, but its energy efficiency ranking has dropped to 4th: http://japanfocus.org/data/scorecard_dewit.JPG Can government policy successfully promote renewable energy? Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade & Industry http://www.meti.go.jp/english/policy/energy_environment/renewable/ref1002.html
  7. 7. Japan and the global economy  Stable cost of living, saving vs. consuming  Nearly full employment society, but part-timers increasing  International trade, exports vs. imports  Distribution of wealth, social safety net, taxes  Inflation policy and planned consumption tax increase discussed at: http://www.etftrends.com/2013/08/wisdomtree-japanese-inflation-the-yen-and-tax-policies  Deflation vs. inflation expectations. Who benefits from which?  Low interest rate policy, yen carry trade, investing abroad  Overseas Development Assistance (ODA): http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/oda Next slides:  What is the role of the yen in the world money supply?  Is Japan a huge debtor or a huge creditor nation?  Does weakening the yen help the overall economy?  Abenomics: financialization of the Japanese economy?
  8. 8. The total amount of Japanese yen in the world money supply is nearly as much as the US dollar or the euro, so yen flows have a major impact on the global economy. See the chart at: http://dollardaze.org/blog/?page_id=00023
  9. 9. Although Japan’s national debt is the world’s largest, very little of it is owed to the outside world. Japan continues to be the world’s largest creditor country, earning steady income. From: http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2013/05/28/japan-worlds-largest-creditor-nation-for-22nd-straight-year
  10. 10. Recent news on the weakened yen “The yen has fallen nearly 25% against the US dollar since November 2012, as policymakers unveiled a series of aggressive measures to revive growth.” “A weak yen has its advantages as well, the biggest one being that it makes Japanese goods cheaper for foreign buyers. That helps to boost exports - one of the key drivers of Japan's economic growth.” “… shipments from Japan rose 12.2% in July, from a year ago, the fastest pace of growth since December 2010.” “Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, rose by 9.5% from a year earlier, compared with 4.7% growth in June.” “Meanwhile shipments to the US jumped by 18.5% from a year ago, up from a 14.6% rise in the previous month.” BBC News, 19 August 2013, from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23751029
  11. 11. Abenomics: 3 arrows of monetary, fiscal, and structural policy. It has started mostly by having the central Bank of Japan print more money, weakening the yen. Are leaders giving up on the real economy in favor of financialization, or will fiscal stimulus work, and will structural reforms overcome special interests?
  12. 12. Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats The SWOT Analysis worksheet handout is from: http://www.yourmomhatesthis.com/swot-analysis-a-useful-technique/001a8-swot-analysis-template