Go To tourism drive ‘ill-timed’

Cape Argus - - WORLD -

JA­PAN’S multi­bil­lion-dol­lar cam­paign aimed at re­viv­ing do­mes­tic tourism is ill-timed and not the best use of tax­payer money, said Yu­taka Harada, a for­mer cen­tral bank board mem­ber and vo­cal ad­vo­cate of premier Shinzo Abe’s “Abe­nomics” poli­cies.

Harada, who served on the Bank of Ja­pan’s board un­til March, said that the cen­tral bank had taken suf­fi­cient steps to cush­ion the pan­demic’s im­me­di­ate blow to the econ­omy, and that fis­cal pol­icy must now take a lead role in sup­port­ing growth.

“I’m not sure whether fis­cal pol­icy is do­ing the job right,” he said yes­ter­day, crit­i­cis­ing Abe’s $16 bil­lion (R276bn) “Go To” tourism cam­paign to pro­mote travel across the coun­try.

“The pur­pose may have been to en­gi­neer a ‘V-shaped’ eco­nomic re­cov­ery once the pan­demic is con­tained. By launch­ing this cam­paign now, it risks caus­ing a ‘V-shaped’ re­bound, not just in the num­ber of tourists but that of in­fec­tions,” he said.

The cam­paign was launched to res­cue Ja­pan’s tourism in­dus­try, which has been hit hard as the coro­n­avirus keeps for­eign vis­i­tors at home.

Abe ex­cluded Tokyo from the pro­gramme as record num­bers of in­fec­tions in the cap­i­tal sparked con­cern it could spread to other ar­eas.

If fur­ther mon­e­tary eas­ing was needed, the cen­tral bank could ramp up bond buy­ing or cut in­ter­est rates, in­clud­ing push­ing short-term rates deeper into neg­a­tive ter­ri­tory, Harada said.

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