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POLITICS

Amari’s resignation to deal serious blow to Abenomics

  • 2016-01-29 15:00:00
  • , Mainichi
  • Translation

(Mainichi: January 29, 2016 – p. 3)

 

 By Emi Yokota, Yusuke Matsukura

 

 The resignation of Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari is likely to deal a serious blow to the Abenomics policies of the Abe administration. It is also feared that this may affect Diet deliberations on the ratification of the basic TPP agreement reached last October. Amari had taken the lead in the negotiation process.

 

 Amari had been the control tower of Abenomics. However, with the increase in wages and investment still limited, the goal of a virtuous economic cycle – greater corporate profits leading to wage hikes, which will, in turn, drive expansion of consumption – is still to be achieved. Commodity prices remain stagnant, and Japan has not extricated itself from deflation.

 

 Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has set the goal of attaining a GDP of 600 trillion yen in an effort to kick start Abenomics once again, the departure of Amari, his helmsman, may result in a setback in his economic policies.

 

 Akio Mimura, head of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated on Jan. 28 that the resignation of Amari is a “loss” for the business sector.

 

 Deliberation on the TPP accord and related bills is scheduled to begin in the Diet in April. Since Amari is the only cabinet minister who is familiar with the ins and outs of the negotiation process and the contents of the agreement, administration officials are worried that an “impact on Diet deliberations will be unavoidable.”

 

 The opposition parties are poised to question the TPP agreement with regard to major tariff abolition or reduction for agricultural products and the negotiation process itself. A senior official of an economic ministry expressed concern that “it will be difficult for a new minister to respond to the grilling right away.” (Abridged)

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