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  • LessieSnow

    Chase Franklin International: Economy and Declining Population

    5 years agoReply
    Source: tokyotimes.com/2013/immigrants-could-sav..


    Japan’s population is aging faster than most of any other developed countries in the world and its economy is getting slow due to a drop in demand from emerging markets and consumption at home. The Abenomics program could include a new reform that is now missing from the plan in order to revive the country’s economy and to slow down the declining of population: immigration.

    The secret to accelerate the pace of economic growth and to fight against the declining of population could be in letting more foreign workers in, according to Standard & Poor’s global chief economist Paul Sheard.

    Japan was at 128.9 million people in 2010 and is set to fall below the 100 million mark in 2048, but the country has been reluctant to allow more foreigners in and there is hardly any mention of such plans under Abenomics, the international media comments.

    Japan’s birth rate, currently 1.39 children per woman, has sunk to record lows. Because their salaries have stagnated for years, Japanese men became increasingly less attractive to women and many couples did not get married or had babies anymore due to the economic uncertainties.

    All these issues have led to less and less working-age people. Japan has been trying to raise its birth rate, but even if it successfully did that tomorrow, it will take at least a generation before it solves its demographic problems. A shortcut cure would be immigration reform, Sheard says.

    Immigrants could contribute to the population’s growth and they are more likely to have many children. Allowing more immigrants to settle in Japan could also encourage more women to stay in their careers and would ease labor restrictions over childcare facilities, helping to make it easier for working women, according to Sheard.

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  • LessieSnow

    Japan economic growth, Chase Franklin International Tokyo news

    5 years agoReply
    Source Link: google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5..

    Japan economic growth halves in September quarter

    Tokyo — Japan said on Thursday that growth halved in the July-September quarter as exports weakened and consumer spending slowed, but analysts were divided over what the figure meant for Tokyo's drive to fire up the economy.

    The once-anaemic economy has lately been growing faster than other G7 nations as a policy blitz led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe helped push down the yen, giving a boost to exporters and sparking a stock market rally.

    That has stoked optimism over Japan's prospects. But official data Thursday showed the world's third-largest economy expanded at an annualised rate of 1.9 percent in the last quarter, a marked slowdown from the 3.8 percent rise in the

    previous three months.

    However, the figure is higher than the 1.7 percent increase forecast in a poll of economists by the Wall Street Journal. Tokyo's Nikkei stock index closed up 2.12 percent, helped by a weakening yen.
    On a quarter-on-quarter basis the economy grew 0.5 percent, slightly higher than expectations but well down from the 0.9 percent increase in the previous three months.

    The figures mean Japan's headline-grabbing growth in the first half of the year has now fallen behind the US economy, which expanded at a 2.8 percent annualised rate in the three months to September.

    Analysts have been warning that Tokyo's bold pro-growth programme -- a mix of big government spending and central bank monetary easing -- is not enough on its own without promised economic reforms.

    The proposed shake-up, including loosening rigid labour laws and signing wide-ranging free trade deals, are seen as key to ushering in lasting change in an economy plagued by years of deflation.

    On Wednesday legislators passed a bill that paves the way for an opening up of the electricity sector, but other key reforms have so far been mostly talk.

    That has raised the prospect of the Bank of Japan having to expand its already unprecedented monetary easing measures, launched in April, to give another jolt to the economy, analysts said.

    Critics of Abe's policy -- dubbed "Abenomics" -- say growth so far is largely thanks to stimulus spending and the BoJ's injections of vast sums into the financial system, similar to the US Federal Reserve's quantitative easing.

    Despite the downbeat data Thursday, Masahiko Hashimoto, economist at Daiwa Institute of Research, said it was too early to cast a verdict on Abenomics with consumer spending still "solid" and exports expected to rise as key Asian demand

    bounces back.

    "Income is improving," Hashimoto said, adding that personal spending would "surely accelerate" before a sales tax rise takes effect in April.

    But Masamichi Adachi, senior economist at J.P. Morgan Securities, said much of the growth so far was driven by public works spending.

    "This is a slowdown of Abenomics," Adachi said. "The Japanese economy will be tested after the sales tax hike."

    Factories have been expanding production, with demand from Japanese consumers for electronics and cars improving to beat the tax increase, which is seen as crucial to bringing down the staggering national debt.

    Japan has the heaviest national debt burden among wealthy nations, equal to more than twice the size of the economy. Critics of the debt pile, including the International Monetary Fund, have been calling on Tokyo to gets its fiscal house in


    Revised data published Thursday showed factory output in September grew 1.3 percent, weaker than an initial reading of 1.5 percent.

    And cautious firms have been reluctant to usher in widespread pay or capital spending rises, seen as key to any concrete growth, after years of lacklustre consumer demand weighed on their expansion.

    Deflation encourages consumers to put off spending in the hope goods will be cheaper later, which hurts producers.

    Still, business confidence is high and Japan's thrifty households have been boosting their spending as unemployment has turned down, suggesting a tighter jobs market, while wages have been creeping higher.

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