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New Japanese Govt Promises Hari Kari

From a giddy New York Times:

Japan’s Victors Set to Abandon Market Reform

By HIROKO TABUCHI

September 1, 2009

TOKYO — Japan’s opposition party won an overwhelming victory at the polls on Sunday pledging to increase social welfare, better protect workers and do away with American-style, pro-market reforms to lead the country out of its long slump.

But while the presumptive prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, rallied campaign crowds with his pledge to shift away from the “excessive” market reforms of recent years, many economists here say Japan may need more American-style deregulation and market-led growth, not less, to invigorate its stagnant economy.

“Reform has become a bad word” in Japanese politics, said Richard Jerram, chief economist for Japan at Macquarie Securities.

“Japan is now more reluctant than ever to use market forces to raise productivity,” he said. “But these changes are crucial.”

In a manuscript widely circulated in business and diplomatic circles, Mr. Hatoyama, the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan who stands to become prime minister when the party assumes power this month, railed against American-style capitalism as “void of morals or moderation” — a blight Japan must cast aside at all costs.

“The recent economic crisis resulted from a way of thinking based on the idea that American-style free-market economics represents a universal and ideal economic order,” Mr. Hatoyama wrote in a recent syndicated opinion article. The article was first published in a Japanese monthly magazine and later carried by the online edition of The New York Times

The young party’s defeat of the long-ruling Liberal Democrats, who have governed Japan for nearly its entire post-World War II history, comes amid a wider backlash against what many voters see here as damaging reforms championed by the long-serving former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The reforms, which coincided with a swing toward pro-market policies in the United States, included liberalizing Japan’s rigid labor market and forcing banks to cut off support to heavily indebted “zombie” companies…

The Democrats are expected to form a coalition with the Socialists and the conservative People’s New Party — smaller parties that are decidedly against market reform — which could reinforce this tendency toward government-led solutions to the economic crisis.

The Democrats’ platform centers on initiatives like cash allowances for child-rearing families and lower gasoline taxes. Such policies could bring about the start of recovery by lifting Japan’s flagging consumer spending.

The Democratic Party has also promised to wrest away power from ministerial bureaucrats to ensure that spending more closely reflects public needs. But the party’s leaders have not had much to say about how to address productivity, or Japan’s continuing battle with deflation, or the overhang of a huge public debt…

Now, with a rapidly aging population and almost no immigration, Japan must increase its productivity, economists say…

We guess it is some small satisfaction to see that we are not the only country in the world going precisely in the wrong direction.

And, just like with us, this new government is the present of the Japanese media and the rest of the usual suspects.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “New Japanese Govt Promises Hari Kari”

  1. proreason says:

    Didn’t Japan make another cataclysmic mistake sometime in the distant past?

    I can’t quite remember what it was, but somehow, I seem to remember that they f*d up big-time.

  2. Reality Bytes says:

    LOOK GUYS! I KNOW YOU’RE GREAT AT COPYIN’ STUFF, BUT AN OBAMA KNOCK OFF AIN’T GOOD. STICK TO UH, STICK TO. HEY, DO WE STILL MAKE ANYTHING ANYONE WANTS TO COPY ANY MORE?!

  3. canary says:

    Everyone will follow the beast, be given a number in order to buy food, etc. one world order.

  4. Right of the People says:

    Let’s see if I’ve got this right. They want to reduce their exports but increase gubmint spending. Where have I heard that one before.

    Has Barry-san been talking to their new PM? It sounds like they want to move back to feudalism big time. I never liked their cars and stereos anyway.


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