Economy | Discuss Japan - COVID-19 - パート 2

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Economy  Nov. 20, 2020

COVID-19 Pandemic and the Economy: Need Sound Public Finance for Maintaining Social Safety-Net

Nobuhiro Kiyotaki, Professor of Economics, Princeton University   Key points Should corporate bankruptcies increase, credit crunch may follow Postponing retirement is more effective than high inflation for fiscal consolidation Promoting open economy is important for growth after the containment of COVID-19   Following COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions on social and economic activities, the global economy plunged into the deepest recession of the postwar era and the lives of people have been affected profoundly. This article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, policy responses and the future direction from a macro-economic perspective. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it difficult to engage in activities that involve social contact and possibility of infection. Consumption, especially services consumption in restaurants, leisure and hospitality, has decreased significantly. Let us look at consumption and employment in the United States by referring to data collected by Professor Raj Chetty of ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Nov. 15, 2020

Future Direction of International Trade Systems: Institutions matter – a rise of “peer value chains”

Inomata Satoshi, Chief Senior Researcher, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)   Key points Institutional similarity will be even more important in shaping global value chains than geographical proximity Multinational firms will seek to offshore production to countries with robust institutions akin to their home business environment Complete decoupling of the world economy is inconceivable, but partial decoupling is probable   According to Richard E. Baldwin, Professor of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the international production system is based on tri-polar networks of Factory Asia, Factory North America and Factory Europe. Namely, global value chains (GVC) are not truly global, but are more likely to be regional. How will GVC look like in the post-COVID19 world? They are considered to evolve from regional value chains based on geographical proximity to production networks connected through institutional similarity (of legal ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Nov. 12, 2020

How to Face up to an Uncompromising China? (II): China’s Economy Towards a Stronger Governance Coexisting with Negotiations/Coordination with US

Ito Asei, Associate Professor, University of Tokyo   Key points Toward an “unknown normality” after the US-China conflict and COVID-19 Stronger governance and a more sophisticated, expanding Chinese economy Japan to continue to exert influence on thoughtful action   The concept of the new normal entered the picture after the advent of the Xi Jinping administration. The end of the rapid economic growth and China becoming a middle-income country transformed national issues. The new normal indicated that the administration recognized this fact. But now, after the US-China conflict and COVID-19, China’s political economy finds itself in an unknown normality in a dual sense. This article will confirm the economic situation during the COVID-19 crisis and examine trends in China from the perspective of structural change. There are both strong and weak aspects to the economy in China after COVID-19. At the start of the ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Oct. 29, 2020

Investigating Post-Corona: Reforms that Anticipate the Future This Time

Takeo Hoshi, Professor, University of Tokyo   Key points Policies that protect the status quo have traditionally been at the core Policies that protect corporations to maintain employment have had many harmful effects There must be both protections for workers and a restructuring of corporations   On July 17, the Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2020 was adopted as a cabinet measure. Noting that “As the world currently faces a major change, we must understand the new age and take pre-emptive initiatives towards social reform,” this policy also states, “We aim for the realization of a high-quality economic society through the new normal.” We surely are facing a major change, and I want to rate the position of aiming for a high-quality economic society highly. However, when looking back at about 30 years of the Japanese economy, major changes have ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Oct. 29, 2020

Investigating Post-Corona: The Further Weakening of Mutual Understanding and Cooperation

Inoki Takenori, Professor Emeritus, Osaka University   Key points The fear of a weakening shared mentality shakes democracy A reconfirmation of the importance of “specific knowledge” in the field A search for hints of positive change using the disaster as an opportunity   How will our everyday lives, the economy, and politics change from the COVID-19 pandemic? It is highly uncertain what knowledge is necessary to answer this question. The future is not determined along the lines of either fatalism or historicism. It depends on the paths that each one of us chooses. This is why in addition to preparations that predict change, it is also surely necessary to self-confirm what you want and what you will reexamine. Opinions of how serious COVID-19 is compared to the seasonal influenza up until now appear to be divided among experts. It appears difficult to confirm and ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Oct. 19, 2020

What to Do with the Public Finances: Revising the Budget Compilation to an Ad Hoc Approach

Iwamoto Yasushi, Professor, University of Tokyo   Key points Correct inconsistencies between targets and predictions for better fiscal soundness Difficulties to compile budget by end of 2021 as planned Initial budget reduction followed by revisions every quarter   The Emergency Economic Measures for Response to COVID-19, which was formulated in April, includes two stages: an “Emergency Support Phase” until the COVID-19 situation is resolved and a “V-shaped Recovery Phase” after it has been resolved. Supplementary budgets of unprecedented scale was put together to realize this, so much that the state’s general account expenditure included large-scale public spending corresponding to about 1.5 times the FY2019 figures. The “Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2020,” created in preparation for the FY2021 budget compilation, and the “Economic and Fiscal Projections for Medium to Long Term Analysis,” which showed economic and public finance projections until ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Oct. 16, 2020

Challenges to Power Source Optimization (I): Ensuring that a Broad Range of Choices, Including Nuclear Power, Are Available

Kashiwagi Takao, Distinguished Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology   Key points Stable supply is the most important energy policy Play a leading role in the development of innovative technologies to promote decarbonization Choosing either renewable energy or atomic energy is not a solution   The basic policy for phasing out inefficient coal-fired power plants presented on July 3 by Kajiyama Hiroshi, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, was shocking. Japan’s energy policy is based on the “3Es+S” concept which holds that efforts should be made from the perspectives of the 3Es, energy security, the economy, and environmental conservation, based on the assumption of the maintained safety of atomic energy. The demand for electricity, while showing a temporary decrease due to COVID-19, has been increasing consistently by 2.6–3.5% globally since 1980. Global electricity demand grew to 2.7 times the 10 trillion kWh ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Aug. 26, 2020

Changing Work Styles: Increased Productivity through Health and Productivity Management

Yamamoto Isamu, Professor, Keio University   Key points Remote work ratio increases with non-routine tasks A company’s COVID-19 measures boost employee loyalty The coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to reform labor market structure   The spread of COVID-19 has led to rapid work-style changes, such as staggered work hours, remote work, online meetings, closures, and higher risk of unemployment. It is likely becoming a major turning point for changing how work is perceived as well as work styles and human resource management at the workplace. Health and productivity management is garnering attention as a managerial challenge for maintaining and promoting employee health in companies. As it has become clear that corporate work styles, such as whether remote work is implemented or not, affect employees’ risk of infection, it is probable that the need for “health and productivity management that includes COVID-19 measures” will increase ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Aug. 18, 2020

Structural changes in industries and the reduction of inequality: The world after coronavirus

KOBAYASHI Keiichiro, Faculty Fellow, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)   Humanity’s struggle with the novel coronavirus disease may turn into a long-drawn-out war. Numerous economic estimates using a model of disease spread (an SIR model) have been published, such as in papers by Professors Andrew Atkeson of UCLA and Martin Eichenbaum of Northwestern University. They say that to minimize the sacrifice of human lives, Europe and the U.S. must continue their current strict lockdowns and restrictions on activity for another eighteen months. Similarly, a year or more of restrictions on activity—even more severe than what is enforced now—would be necessary in Japan. However, once the crisis ends, will the novel coronavirus be eradicated? One can imagine that it will become normal for people to be vigilant with social distancing and mindful of the cleanliness of their hands, in order to prevent ... ... [Read more]

Economy  Aug. 17, 2020

A Post-Coronavirus World:“Change” Is Not “Beginning” but “Accelerating”:Overcoming Short-Termism

Kojima Akira, Member, Board of Trustees, and Adjunct Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Trustee, President of Center for International Economic Collaboration (CIEC)   The coronavirus outbreak is not transient, it is bringing about major changes to international relations, national economies, corporate business, social systems, and individuals’ ways of life. Because of this, it is thought that the post-coronavirus world will enter a new stage as denoted by the new normal. However, if we view today and the future with a long-term perspective, we will notice that many of the changes that have taken place amid the coronavirus outbreak are not the “beginning” of change but rather an “acceleration” of a new major development that was already occurring before the outbreak. This appears to be especially true in Japan. Of course, there are new changes as well. Yet, there is also an ... ... [Read more]