<本文轉自: 王寶鑑老師部落格> - 20130721

 

 

一、日本今(21)日舉行上議院(參議院)改選投票,投票時間自07:00到20:00,投票時間長於臺灣的選舉投票時間。同時,日本亦採取提前投票,便利投票日無法投票之選民,於投票日前行使投票權;依日本總務省統計,截至19日止,全國有1060萬4064人提前投票,占整體選民的10.12%。日本從「選民投票便利性」出發(非「選務行政便利性」之機關本位主義),透過延長投票時間(相對於臺灣)及提前投票,來保障公民參政權。

 

二、幾個關注焦點:

 

(一)日本扭曲國會現象(twisted parliament)之終結

    一般認為此次選,將終結日本扭曲國會現象。「扭曲國會」是指執政黨在眾議院過半數,在野黨在參議院過半數而形成的國會眾參兩院對峙的狀況。一般情況下,在野黨控制參議院,可以在首相提名、法案審議通過、兩院人事任免、臨時國會和特別國會會期的延長、國務大臣(包括首相)的問責決議、國政調查權和證人傳喚等問題與執政黨展開對抗。[1]

 

(二)安倍經濟學(Abenomics)之信任投票

    安倍經濟學」係採取量化寬鬆貨幣政策,透過讓日圓大幅貶值,以刺激日本長期低迷的經濟。安倍經濟學主要為貨幣政策(monetary policy)、財政刺激方案(fiscal stimulus)、經濟結構改革(structural reforms)之「三支箭」(Three Arrows。此次參議院改選投票,可視為民眾對首相安培Shinzo Abe)之經濟政策支持與否。

 

三、安倍經濟學(Abenomics)之「三支箭」[2]

 

作為

內容

風險

貨幣政策(monetary policy

One of the first steps that Mr Abe took was to get Japan's central Bank, the Bank of Japan, to double its inflation target to 2%. He has even suggested that the bank print "unlimited yen" to help achieve its inflation target.

Japan has been battling deflation for more than a decade. Falling prices depress spending as consumers and companies put off purchases in the hope of getting a cheaper deal later on.

Some analysts say that if the measures work and prices start to rise, then eventually interest rates will too. This would see the government's interest payments go up substantially.

Earlier this year, the Bank of Japan unveiled a massive stimulus measure in an attempt to boost growth and meet its inflation target.

Policymakers hope that with more money sloshing about in the system, and with low borrowing costs, consumers and businesses will raise their spending, triggering rising prices.

In a worst-case scenario, the government may have to raise more money to meet those payments, triggering a vicious cycle of rising rates and government austerity.

The central bank said it would increase its purchase of government bonds by 50 trillion yen ($500bn; £330bn) per year, the equivalent of about 10% of Japan's annual gross domestic product (GDP).

The move has also resulted in the yen dipping nearly 25% against the US dollar since November, making Japanese goods cheaper to foreign buyers and boosting profits of exporters. The hope is that as profits rise, firms will spend more on their facilities and increase worker salaries.

There's a flip side to the weak yen - cost hikes for imports, in particular energy, which Japan is having to import more of after its nuclear reactors were shut following the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. Japanese consumers and business may have to eventually bear these additional costs.

財政刺激方案(fiscal stimulus

The second part of Abenomics revolves around boosting government spending to help spur growth.

The stagnant growth in Japan's economy, coupled with years of deflation, has resulted in companies and consumers holding back on spending, which perpetuates the weak growth.

Critics say that Japan has been doing this for many years already and it has not yielded the desired result.

In just three months, from January to April, Mr Abe said that his government would spend an extra $114bn (£75bn).

The idea is that as the government boosts its own spending, that will help spur a fresh wave of economic growth. Policymakers are hoping that this will inspire confidence among businesses and consumers, and trigger them to start spending as well.

They warn that the increased spending will further undermine Japan's finances. Japan's public debt, which stands close to 240% of its GDP, is already the highest among industrialised nations.

He has said the extra funds will be used to fix schools and roads and reinforce earthquake defences. He has also said that the government will make funds available for scientific research and renewable energy.

The biggest fear is that if the increased spending fails to trigger economic growth, Japan may find it even tougher to rein in its debt levels.

經濟結構改革

structural reforms

The "third arrow" in Mr Abe's grand plan is the structural reform of key sectors such as agriculture, healthcare and energy.

The TPP trade pact is expected to substantially reduce tariffs between member countries, and even eliminate them in some cases, opening up trade in goods and services.

The biggest risk is to agriculture. If and when the TPP is agreed, it will substantially reduce tariffs on farm products.

Though he has yet to detail his plans for many of these sectors, his government has already taken some first steps.

It is also expected to boost investment flows between the countries, further supporting their economic growth.

A concern is that this may lower the incomes of Japan's many ageing farmers, who would then rely more on government support, adding to the burden on regional government finances.

Earlier this year, Japan said that it wanted to join the talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade agreement being negotiated among 11 countries.

The countries involved in the talks have a combined population of more than 650 million people. A free trade agreement could turn this into a potential single market for many businesses in Japan.

Others say falling food prices may reduce the cost of living, especially in urban areas, meaning consumers have extra cash to spend. But some fear that it will widen the gap between the rich and poor in Japan and create regional disparities.

The agreement aims to foster closer ties and boost trade between member countries.

(source: BBC)

 



[1] http://big5.xinhuanet.com/gate/big5/news.xinhuanet.com/world/2013-07/21/c_116623840.htm

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23339712

 

 

 

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