Op­po­si­tion leader blasts Abe’s eco­nomic poli­cies

China Daily (Canada) - - WORLD - By XIN­HUA in Tokyo

Ja­pan’s main op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Party leader Renho Mu­rata on Wed­nes­day blasted PrimeMin­is­ter Shinzo Abe over his eco­nomic poli­cies, in the first head-to-head match up of the two lead­ers since she was elected to lead her party on Sept 15.

Re­gard­ing a pol­icy speech Abe gave on Mon­day at the be­gin­ning of an ex­tra­or­di­nary Diet ses­sion, she ac­cused the prime minister of ly­ing to the elec­torate and car­ry­ing on with his “Abe­nomics” eco­nomicpoli­cies, de­spite the fact­no­tan­gi­ble head­way has been made in terms of eco­nomic growth.

“Abe’s slo­gans are cy­cling around, but it’s about time for him to face up to the re­al­ity that the econ­omy hasn’t reached a vir­tu­ous cy­cle at all,” said Mu­rata, who is widely known by only her first name, Renho. “In­di­vid­ual con­sump­tion will start mov­ing when we re­move the anx­i­ety about ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment and re­tire­ment that Abe­nomics has left un­re­solved,” she said.

Mu­rata’s party along with three other op­po­si­tion par­ties have agreed in prin­ci­ple to join forces to bet­ter keep Abe’s rul­ing Lib­eral Demo­cratic Party-led coali­tion in check ahead of future elec­tions.

She slammed Abe’s de­ci­sion to fur­ther de­lay a planned con­sump­tion tax hike be­fore the up­per house elec­tion as be­ing de­ceit­ful and break­ing pledges he had­madeear­lier to peo­ple vot­ing.

The tax hike, al­ready de­layed, had been pitched to vot­ers as a ve­hi­cle for his govern­ment to drive the econ­omy clear from re­ces­sion by gen­er­at­ing more pub­lic rev­enue.

The econ­omy, how­ever, has es­sen­tially re­mained stag­nant, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est gross do­mes­tic prod­uct fig­ures, with the na­tion still mired by de­fla­tion.

The Ja­panese cur­rency con­tin­ued to re­main firm against its ma­jor coun­ter­parts, ham­per­ing ex­ports and sti­fling pro­duc­tion. Cor­po­rate earn­ings were not be­ing con­verted into wage in­creases, which has choked pri­vate con­sump­tion.

Un­der Abe, the world’s third-largest econ­omy is also buck­ling un­der an ever-in­creas­ing de­mo­graphic cri­sis. Ja­pan’s se­nior ci­ti­zens are con­tin­u­ing to in­crease in num­bers while the birthrate has dropped off in a so­cial phe­nom­e­non be­ing dubbed a “sil­ver tsunami.”

Mu­rata on Wed­nes­day chas­tised Abe for his so­cial wel­fare poli­cies, de­scrib­ing them as in­ad­e­quate and said the prime minister needs to do more to help those who are strug­gling in so­ci­ety.

In par­tic­u­lar, she told Abe he needed to do more for both the young and the el­derly in the so­ci­ety, as two of its most vul­ner­a­ble com­po­nents, and said his poli­cies thus far had been “in­suf­fi­cient.”

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