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I have been reading a lot of stories in the British and American press recently about the idea of “Abenomics.” I know that some of you don’t really like talking about the economy, but please bear with me – I promise it won’t be too difficult!

The basic idea of Mr. Abe’s plan is quite simple: he is going to spend a lot of money in an attempt to stimulate the economy. Of course, the Japanese government doesn’t actually have very much money, so he is going to borrow more to pay for his plan. This is attracting a lot of attention in the UK because some people are saying that the British government should be doing the same thing instead of cutting government spending so sharply.

Critics of the plan say that this is just the LDP doing the same thing they have been doing for the last 20 years, and that it will be just as ineffective this time.

Some foreign governments are also angry because they say that Japan is just trying to weaken the yen in order to help Japanese exporters. Mind you, that is a double-edged sword, because weakening the yen will make it much more expensive to import the fuel that is needed to generate electricity now that most of the nuclear reactors have been shut down.

Anyway, I know that most of you are not very interested in economics, but all I want to ask this week is your feeling about Mr. Abe’s plans. If you understand the issues, please feel free to write more, but even if you don’t, I would be interested to get a sense of how regular Japanese people are responding to the new government and its “new” policy. Here is the survey. The question is just “What do you think of Abenomics?”

[polldaddy poll=6859310]

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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25 Comments

  1. YU on Monday January 28th, 2013 at 07:53 PM

    今週のエントリーの訳です。

    Abenomics

    I have been reading a lot of stories in the British and American press recently about the idea of “Abenomics.” I know that some of you don’t really like talking about the economy, but please bear with me – I promise it won’t be too difficult!
    最近私は「アベノミクス」に関するギリスやアメリカの報道記事をたくさん読んでいます。
    皆さんの中にはあまり経済について話すのが好きじゃない人がいるのは分かっているのですが、どうかちょっと我慢してください。そんなに難しくしないとお約束しますから!

    The basic idea of Mr. Abe’s plan is quite simple: he is going to spend a lot of money in an attempt to stimulate the economy.
    安倍総理の基本的な考え方は非常にシンプルです:彼は景気を刺激すべくたくさんのお金を使おうとしています。

    Of course, the Japanese government doesn’t actually have very much money, so he is going to borrow more to pay for his plan.
    もちろん実際には日本政府にお金はあまり有るわけではないので、彼の計画のためにお金を借りようとしているのです。

    This is attracting a lot of attention in the UK because some people are saying that the British government should be doing the same thing instead of cutting government spending so sharply.
    この彼のやり方はイギリスで大いに注目を集めています。なぜならイギリス人の中にはイのギリスも政府の歳出をカットするばかりでなく、日本と同じことをするべきだ、と言う人もいるからです。

    Critics of the plan say that this is just the LDP doing the same thing they have been doing for the last 20 years, and that it will be just as ineffective this time.
    このプランは自民党が過去20年やってきた(ばらまき)の繰り返しに過ぎず、今回も効果はないだろう、という批判もあります。

    Some foreign governments are also angry because they say that Japan is just trying to weaken the yen in order to help Japanese exporters.
    日本は日本の輸出企業を助けようと円を弱くしようとしてるだけだ、と憤慨している国もあります。

    Mind you, that is a double-edged sword, because weakening the yen will make it much more expensive to import the fuel that is needed to generate electricity now that most of the nuclear reactors have been shut down.
    いいですか、でも考えてみてください、これは諸刃の剣ですよ。なぜなら円安になるとこのほとんどの原子炉が停止されている今、電力を作るのに必要な燃料の輸入コストが格段に上がってしまうわけですから。

    Anyway, I know that most of you are not very interested in economics, but all I want to ask this week is your feeling about Mr. Abe’s plans.
    とにかく、皆さんのほとんどがあまり経済に関心がないのは分かっていますが、私が今週聞きたいのは安倍総理の計画に対する皆さんの考え、意見です。

    If you understand the issues, please feel free to write more, but even if you don’t, I would be interested to get a sense of how regular Japanese people are responding to the new government and its “new” policy.
    この問題がわかる人はどうぞ自由に意見を書いてください、でも分からない場合でも一般の日本人が新政権と新しい政策に対してどのように感じているのか知りたいです。

    Here is the survey. The question is just “What do you think of Abenomics?”
    アンケートをつけました。「アベノミクスについてどう思いますか?」という質問です。

    Abenomics

    I think that Abenomics will make Japan strong again.
    アベノミクスはまた日本を強くすると思う。

    I think that Abenomics will lead to a short-term boost only.
    アベノミクスは短期的に景気を回復させるに過ぎないだろうと思う。

    I think that Abenomics is a very dangerous gamble for the Japanese economy.
    アベノミクスは日本経済にとってとても危険な賭けだと思う。

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
    皆さんの意見を聞くのを楽しみにしています。



  2. Cocon on Monday January 28th, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Hi David and everyone
    This week topic is too difficult for me. I’m not specialized in economy for my own living.
    But, I try to write comments with my own words.

    Abenomics
    I vote, “I think that Abenomics is a very dangerous gamble for the Japanese economy.”
    I agree with David because weakening the yen makes expensive the fuel or electricity bill.
    So, I don’t understand Abenomics makes everything wonderful in our life.
    But, The Japanese weak economy is real. Also, All people can’t see what happens in Japanese economy.
    So, I think we Japanese have no choice to implement policies with high or low risk, even if its policy is dangerous gamble for us.



  3. Mika on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 09:25 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    To be honest, I don’t like talking about the economy, but I know that we have to repay the money we borrowed. So, how can the Japanese government do it? What does Abenomics think about to leave the negative legacy to future generations?

    Have a nice day.



  4. Biwa on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Hi Cocon,

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen your comment. Anyway, nice to have you with us!

    Hi everyone,

    I have a terrible headache since yesterday. I hope it’s not the flu.
    However, how can I miss this interesting topic! Thanks David, your question is exactly what I always wanted to know since the last election.

    As most of you already know, I don’t support Mr. Abe’s idea, because for the same reason as Mika. I can’t help thinking that he’s just trying to rob money from our future generation.
    What’s more, I don’t really understand or trust his easy-money policy nor 2% inflation target. Japan is a country with almost no resources, not only fuel but also many other materials for producing goods. I don’t think that many companies can bear too weak yen. That means it wouldn’t be so easy for them to raise their employees’ salaries, and that would be just worse than now. We might have to buy everything 2% more expensive with the same salary. That’s awful!

    Well, I might be misunderstanding his policies, and it’s also interesting that some people in the UK should think they need to do the same. I’d love to hear other opinions!



  5. YU on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Hi Cocon,

    Nice to have you with us!

    Hi David and everyone,

    > So, I think we Japanese have no choice to implement policies with high or low risk, even if its policy is dangerous gamble for us.

    I agree.
    If you compare the current Japanese economy to a human body, it’s something like you have an incurable disease and you’re just waiting for death. But one day, your doctor asks you if you want to use an investigational drug which “might” work for your disease, but of course, the use of the drug has a great risk of taking away your life.
    同感です。
    今の日本経済を人間の体に例えるなら、不治の病にかかっていて何もしなければ死を待つのみの状態。そこへある日、主治医が臨床試験段階の薬の使用を勧めてくる。その薬で病気が治る可能性もあるけど、もちろん逆に命を奪われる危険性もはらんでいる。

    I don’t think most of us fully agree with Mr.Abe’s plan, but we just don’t want to die without doing anything for our crisis.
    ほとんどの日本人は安倍総理の計画を全面的に支持している
    わけではないけれど、でも何もせずに死ぬのは嫌だ、と思っているのでは?

    > Some foreign governments are also angry because they say that Japan is just trying to weaken the yen in order to help Japanese exporters.

    I heard so, too.
    I read an article that Minister of Finance, Mr.Aso(ex-PM) objected to the criticism from other countries. He said, “The yen had been “extremely” strong until very recently since the Lehman shock, it was an unusual situation, but now it’s just returning to the normal state. When the dollor or the euro dropped after the Lehman, Japan never complained about that, so I wonder why only Japan have to become the target of criticism.”
    わたしも聞きました。
    財務大臣の麻生氏がそれに反論している、という記事を読みました。彼はこんなことを言ったそうです。「円はリーマン以降今までずっと極端な円高の状態が続いていたが、それは異常な状態だった。それが今は正常な状態に戻ろうとしているだけだ。リーマンショック後にドルやユーロが下落した時に日本は何一つ文句を言わなかった。なのになぜ日本だけ批判の矢面に立たされるのか理解できない。」

    What do you think?
    どう思いますか?

    http://jp.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idJPTYE90R01C20130128?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

    > Mind you, that is a double-edged sword, because weakening the yen will make it much more expensive to import the fuel that is needed to generate electricity now that most of the nuclear reactors have been shut down.

    I’ve been reading a lot of stories like that, too.
    I think Mr.Abe is very aware of the fact, but he just prioritizes his policies in Abenomics. His first priority is to make Japanese economy strong, and then probably it could make up all other minor problems….
    そういうことを懸念する記事を最近良く見かけます。安倍総理はそういうことは百も承知で、アベノミクスの政策に優先順位をつけているのでは?彼の政策の最優先事項は日本経済を再生させることで、それが達成できればその他のマイナーな問題は乗り越えられると考えているのではないでしょうかね。

    I’m not sure whether his plan will succeed that perfectly, but I just hope it will work out.
    安倍総理の計画がそんなにパーフェクトにうまくいくかわかりませんが、うまく事を願うのみです。



  6. David Barker on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    Hi YU,

    I think the problem is that Japan needs to undergo major structural reform. It cannot possibly continue as it is. I agree that it might be worth taking a gamble on something that has a chance of working, but until the structural reforms are made, I can’t see any possibility of Japan’s economy reviving.

    I remember reading an interview with a foreign businessman recently who said that when you talk to someone from a company in Taiwan, you can get 14 decisions made with one phone call; when you talk to a company in Japan, however, it seems as though no one is authorised to decide anything by themselves.

    I filled in an application for a government grant recently.I normally avoid these like the plague because I hate the paperwork, but I have to do it now that I work at a national university. It took me hours to do it, and it had lots of different sections that basically asked me to write the same thing in different ways. When I submitted it, someone in the office checked it and sent it back a few days later because I had not written a figure in one of the “total” columns. I said, “That’s because there is nothing in the column,” but she said, “In that case, you have to write “0.”

    So many people in Japan waste so much time every day doing stupid stuff like this that has no meaning. There is a culture of “as long as all the paperwork is in order, it doesn’t matter if it works in reality,” and “as long as I follow the manual, I will not be blamed for anything that goes wrong.” What Japan desperately needs is people who can think outside the box, but the Japanese education system makes sure that people like that are squashed from a very young age.

    The “Japanese way” of doing things (lots of bureaucracy and silly rules, lots of paper, and lots of pointless meetings) worked really well for one specific period of history. Japan’s downfall has been its inability to adapt and change, and until it learns to do that, I can’t begin to be hopeful about the future.

    I think the main problem is that Japan and everything in it (schools, hospitals, universities, companies, local government) is run by old men, and they hate change.

    I’m afraid to say, therefore, that I am not optimistic about “Abenomics.” I think it is just more of the same from the LDP. It will mean a lot of money for construction bosses and lots more amakudari for politicians, but less and less for everyone else. I don’t mind people gambling with their own money, but Mr. Abe is gambling with money that the next generations will have to pay back.



  7. YU on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    > What’s more, I don’t really understand or trust his easy-money policy nor 2% inflation target. … I don’t think that many companies can bear too weak yen. That means it wouldn’t be so easy for them to raise their employees’ salaries,

    I’m very skeptical about his easy-money policy or 2% inflation target, either. However, I heard a story of an economist on TV last night. He said, “If the price level increases by 2%, the unemployment rate will fall by 2%(now around 4.1%). It causes a seller’s market and stimulate the competition principle of firms and in consequence, their employees’ salaries will raise.
    Apparently, this is one of the economic principles, and called ほにゃらら曲線. I forget what it is called, though….
    私も安倍総理の2%のインフレ上昇設定には懐疑的です。でも昨晩テレビでこんなことを言っているエコノミストがいました。
    「物価が2%上昇すると失業率が2%下がる。すると労働市場が売り手市場に傾き始め、企業が労働者を確保しようとする競争原理が発生する。その結果企業の従業員全体の平均給与が上昇する。」
    これは経済原理の原則のひとつでなんとか曲線と言うらしいです。忘れちゃったけど!

    > We might have to buy everything 2% more expensive with the same salary. That’s awful!

    Actually, 5% more expensive after Apr. 2014, and 7% more expensive after Oct.2015! LOL!! ひえ~!



  8. YU on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your comment!

    First of all, as I wrote in the comment to Biwa, I’m not optimistic about “Abenomics”, either. I totally agree with you that “Japan needs to undergo major structural reform”, too.
    I think structual reforms and economic reforms should be done simultaneously, but Mr.Abe thinks that it is not that easy. Actually, Mr.Watanabe(the leader of みんなの党) tried it some years ago when he was still a member of LDP, but he finally failed it and left LDP. I think Mr.Abe thinks that the same thing would occur if he did it before he starts to reform Japanese economy. That’s why I wrote “he just prioritizes his policies in Abenomics”. I know well that both are very inportant reforms, though.

    By the way, I don’t support Mr.Abe(LDP). I didn’t vote for LDP in the last election. However, Japansese people chose LDP for the government party. And it seems that no party has a better idea than Abenomics.
    If you say you’re not for Abenomics, do you have any better ways Japan’s economy to revive?!



  9. Biwa on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 01:56 PM

    Hi YU,

    I googled the “curve” you were trying to talk about with the keywords “インフレ率上昇” and “失業率”. Is it “Phillips Curve(フィリップス曲線)”? It’s so difficult that I don’t get the meaning even in Japanese! Are they saying that the hiring rate increases because of the gap between the real pay and the supposed-to-be(inflation) pay? If so, it just sounds like an imaginary theory (机上の空論)to me. I wonder if those economists really believe in this.

    >If you say you’re not for Abenomics, do you have any better ways Japan’s economy to revive?!

    This is your comment to David, but do you mind if I write my idea?
    I think one of the best ways is to open up and activate the country. That might mean they(the LDP) will have to give up the votes from certain people such as rice-farmers, dairy-farmers or those who work in the consruction business and many others, including the things David mentioned like schools and universities. As long as they’re protected, they will never learn to change their old ways of doing things just like people in the Edo-era didn’t until Perry’s squadron came. Am I being too extreme? lol!
    However, I think it’s better than Abenomics because if you want to survive, it’s up to you whether you change or not. I don’t like him gambling with people’s money!



  10. Biwa on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 01:59 PM

    Sorry, “consruction” should be “construction”!



  11. YU on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 03:49 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    > Is it “Phillips Curve(フィリップス曲線)”?

    I’m not sure, but I guess that it was!
    I’m getting old….
    覚えてなくてごめんなさい、でも「それ」だった気がします!

    > If so, it just sounds like an imaginary theory (机上の空論)to me. I wonder if those economists really believe in this.

    I felt the same as you, but the economist sounded pretty confident of the theory!
    私もそう思いました、けどそのエコノミストは自信たっぷりに説明してました!

    Hi everyone,

    Regarding to leave the negative legacy to future generations :
    次世代に負の遺産を残すことに関して:

    I agree with you and Mika, however, there’s another economic principle. It might sound just a 机上の空論 to you again, though!! ^^;)
    私もMikaとBiwaの意見に賛成です。でももう一つ経済の原理があるんです。これもまた机上の空論に過ぎない、思うかもしれないけど!

    When inflation occurs, the value of money falls, but you receive more salary and so tax revenue increases.
    インフレが起こると貨幣価値が下がる。でも給与は上昇し、税収も増える。

    This means that it will be easier to repay a debt because the balance of national debt remains the same even if the value of money falls by inflation.
    これは借金が返しやすくなることを意味する。なぜならインフレで貨幣価値が下がっても借金残高はそのままの額で変わらないからです。

    In other words, as long as Japan is in deflational economy as now, the debt just keeps growing.
    言い換えれば今のままのデフレ経済から何とか抜け出さないと(そして名目成長させないと)借金は膨らむ一方だということ。

    So I don’t think the basic idea of Mr.Abe(to keep inflation by 2%) and stimulate the Japn’s economy is a very bad idea, but the point is “how”. I also wonder if borrowing money was the right choice to create inflation.
    だから私は安倍総理の「2%の物価上昇を維持させる」という基本的な考えはそんなに悪いアイデアではないと思います。でも問題はどうやってインフレを起こすか、だと思います。私もまた借金をすることが唯一の正しい選択だったのかなあ、と疑ってしまいますけどね。



  12. David Barker on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 04:12 PM

    Hi YU,

    It’s not surprising that Japan is in a deflationary spiral when they keep cutting everyone’s salary. And now they are going to raise consumption tax as well! If people have less disposable income, they will spend less – it’s just common sense. Making prices go up without a corresponding rise in salaries will just put even more pressure on people and make them tighten their belts further.

    And of course, when people don’t have any money, they put off getting married and having children, so the population falls and the vicious cycle continues. The older generation are fine, though. They took all the advantages of low tax and high salaries, and now they expect the younger generation to pay their pensions and medical costs. That is one good reason why old people should not be in charge of the country. President Obama is 51; the prime minister of the UK is 46; I know that Abe is “only” 58, but In Japan, most people who are in a position of power seem to be a) male, and b) over 60, if not 70.

    My solution to the problems would be simple – fire all the Japanese politicians and managers and replace them with Germans! Seriously, though, the economy will never recover as long as people’s salaries keep going down and they (we) keep feeling worse off.



  13. YU on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 05:41 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your ideas!

    > My solution to the problems would be simple – fire all the Japanese politicians and managers and replace them with Germans!

    May I ask you why with “Germans”?!

    > If people have less disposable income, they will spend less – it’s just common sense. Making prices go up without a corresponding rise in salaries will just put even more pressure on people and make them tighten their belts further.
    > the economy will never recover as long as people’s salaries keep going down and they (we) keep feeling worse off.

    I know it well, but I think that’s why Mr.Abe tries to create inflation by design to rise people’s salaries. I’m very skeptical about his plan, though…
    Many economists point out that our salaries will probably start to go up first after 2,3 years, and until then we have to bear with both the low income and the tax hike.

    > when people don’t have any money, they put off getting married and having children, so the population falls and the vicious cycle continues.

    Whenever I think about Japan’s economy and future, I always feel that the solution is to increase the number of children, after all.

    > That is one good reason why old people should not be in charge of the country.

    I agree, but I don’t really think why we don’t have money now is because of the current older generations themselves, but it’s because politicians in the past pretended not to see the problems in the coming aging society. And maybe it’s also because Japanese people(including me!) were(are) too indifferent to the politics.



  14. David Barker on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 05:48 PM

    Hi YU,

    I forgot that you used to live in Germany! I just said “Germans” because they have a reputation for being very organized and efficient.



  15. YU on Tuesday January 29th, 2013 at 06:04 PM

    Hi David,

    > I just said “Germans” because they have a reputation for being very organized and efficient.

    I see.
    I agree with you that they are very organized and efficient.
    I always thought that most British people didn’t like Germans’ ways of doing things. I remember there was a British teacher who asked me, “Why did you study in Germany, in such a strange country??” I was very shocked at the time.



  16. Biwa on Wednesday January 30th, 2013 at 02:26 PM

    Hi YU and everyone,

    >Many economists point out that our salaries will probably start to go up first after 2,3 years, and until then we have to bear with both the low income and the tax hike.

    Hopefully, I think so, too. But if things come to the worst, it might take longer, and many companies and employees might go bankrupt before that. This is the point I don’t really understand. Were the people who voted for Mr. Abe ready for this? I mean, do you think they were really okay to take the risk?

    Hi David,

    >That is one good reason why old people should not be in charge of the country.

    I agree. People over 70 pay only 10% of their medical costs while we pay 30%. The government says they’re going to raise it to 20% by April 2015, but they should have done it earlier. I think they have more money than we’re supposed to have when we are 70!
    I wonder what these old people think about expecting too much from their children or grandchildren.



  17. YU on Wednesday January 30th, 2013 at 04:58 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    > But if things come to the worst, it might take longer, and many companies and employees might go bankrupt before that.

    I guess most of us are worrying about the point and they think the same way. The press take up this topic every day, but no matter how many times they ask about this to celebrated ecomomists or scholars, no one can promise anything about our future.
    みんなその点を心配してBiwaと同じように考えていると思います。報道機関は連日その話題(「いつ給料UP?本当に給料は上がるか?」)を取り上げているし。でも何回著名なエコノミストや学者に聞いたところで誰も今後どうなるかは断言できない。

    > Were the people who voted for Mr. Abe ready for this? I mean, do you think they were really okay to take the risk?

    I don’t think they were ready for that when they voted for the LDP, but they just voted for them by elimination.
    前回の選挙で自民党に投票した人はその点に関して覚悟を決めて投票なんてしてないと思います。ただ消去法で自民党に入れただけ。

    However, as many economists say, 景気 is easily influenced by people’s mood, so I think too much negative information about Abenomics by the press would lead the economy cool down again. In fact, I heard that the government requested the press to cooperate with them to realize the early economic recovery at the beginning of the year.
    でも多くのエコノミストが言うように、景気は人のムードに簡単に左右されるので、あまりにもアベノミクスに関してネガティブな面ばかりを報道すると折角上向きかけた(ような気のする)景気をまた下降させてしまうことになりかねないと思います。
    事実、年頭に政府は早期景気回復のために報道機関に協力を要請した、と聞きました。

    To be honest, I was completely taken in by the economic recovery mood and spent a lot of money at the beginning of this year, as I mentioned! If everyone was “stupid” as my husband and I, Japanese economy would recover very soon!! hahaha….
    実を言うと私もそんな景気回復ムードにまんまと乗せられてお正月に買い物をしまくってしまいました。もし日本人みんなが私たち夫婦のように「アホで間抜け」なら日本の景気はすぐに良くなるでしょう!(*゚▽゚*)



  18. YU on Wednesday January 30th, 2013 at 05:38 PM

    Hi everyone,

    This has nothing to do with the topic, but I was very surpried to see irresponsible mothers today.

    Today, I had lunch at McDonald’s near my house with my mom friends and their children. The MacDonald’s has a large kids play room and it is always crowded with mothers and children.
    I think at first there were about 15 pairs of mothers and children today, but my friends and I suddenly noticed that some of the mothers were not there, although their children were still playing there. They all looked about 2 to 4. Finally, their mothers came back about 10 minutes later carrying hamburgers.
    My friends and I really wondered how they could leave their children alone. The play room has a big slide, but I think parents must watch over their young children playing all the time. I would understand them, if one of the mothers in the group stays and the others go to buy humburgers, though…
    Anyway, I wonder if they expected us to watch over their children instead of them during their shopping.
    Needless to say, we didn’t know the mothers’ group at all!!(赤の他人ですよ!)



  19. Fumie on Wednesday January 30th, 2013 at 09:59 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Thank you for choosing the timely topic!
    I’m not good at economics so please correct me if I write something incorrect. It’s too early to tell if Abenomics is effective plan or not yet. I just don’t want them to waste our money on building unnecessary roads and bridges. One of Mr.Abe’s plans that I don’t agree on is cutting down on welfare (financial support) for deprived people. That just make their life harder. I really hope Abenomics works and we will have a better life in a few years!

    Hi Biwa,

    How is your headache? I hope it’s already gone!
    About mothers at Macdonald, I wonder why they don’t worry that their precious children might get injured while they leave them alone.

    Hi David, YU and Biwa,

    You are all know much about economics. I admire you. I’ll read all your comments later when I have time and learn about economics.



  20. Biwa on Thursday January 31st, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    Thanks, I’m okay with the headache, but I have a slight cough now. I hope it doesn’t get worse! How about your backache?

    The story at McDonald’s was from YU, but I feel exactly the same as you. Moreover, I wonder if they ever think about causing trouble to other mothers(YU and her friends) if their children actually get hurt. I think I see more and more of those kinds of young mothers, but I hesitate to say things to them because I know they would never react nicely.

    Hi YU,

    >In fact, I heard that the government requested the press to cooperate with them to realize the early economic recovery at the beginning of the year.

    Maybe I’ll go shopping this weekend!

    By the way, I found another “desk theory” in the newspaper yesterday. What the press is trying to do makes sense in a way.
    It goes like this: People “think” or “hope” the inflation will happen.(I’m not sure if “happen” is the appropiate word.) ⇒They think that yen weakens and it wont be good to hold too much yen. ⇒They start buying stocks, real estate or dollars. ⇒Yen really weakens. ⇒Prices will rise.

    This is called a “hope-channel(期待チャンネル)”, and it seems like the most important point is the first part, which is to actually make people “hope”. So this is what they’re trying to do, and maybe they’re succeeding so far. In that sense, I have to admit that Mr. Abe was really good at making the people “hope”. Maybe that’s the most essential talent to become a politician!



  21. Fumie on Thursday January 31st, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Hi David,

    >So many people in Japan waste so much time every day doing stupid stuff like this that has no meaning.
    -I agree with you. It’s just waste of time and energy. I don’t understand why they can’t make procedures simplify.
    >Japan’s downfall has been its inability to adapt and change, and until it learns to do that, I can’t begin to be hopeful about the future.
    -I think what Japan really need to do is a major structral reform too.



  22. YU on Thursday January 31st, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    > One of Mr.Abe’s plans that I don’t agree on is cutting down on welfare (financial support) for deprived people. That just make their life harder.

    I agree with you.
    Those who receive 生活保護費 often earn much less than others or some of them are even unemployed, but they will have to bear tax increase and low income besides the welfare cuts in the same way with others, too. Isn’t it a one-two-three punch for them?!
    生活保護費を受給しているのは一般の人よりずっと収入が低かったり失業したりしている人たちです。でもそういう人たちは受給費カットに加えて更に私たちと同じように増税、低収入耐えなくてはならない。それってトリプルパンチじゃないでしょうか?

    There’s an outcry against those who receive welfare dishonestly, but I think it is only a very small part of the whole.
    不正受給者に反発する国民の声もありましたが、でもそういう人は本当に困っている人の中のほんのひと握りの人間たちに過ぎないと思います。

    Those who is employed and recieves salary every month “MIGHT” get some benefits someday if Abenomics worked, but I think they will get less, nothing or even lose.
    働いていて毎月給料をもらっている人は「もしかしたら」アベノミクスがうまく行ったあかつきには給料が上がったりして何かしらの恩恵に預かれるかもしれないけど、そういう生活弱者の人たちはどうなんでしょう?ちょっとは預かれるか、何もないか、もしくは今より苦しくなるのだけでは?

    Hi Biwa,

    > This is called a “hope-channel(期待チャンネル)”, and it seems like the most important point is the first part, which is to actually make people “hope”.

    I think so, too.
    Hearing the news about “stock price rise” and “rise of exchange rate of yen”, even a poor person who has nothing to do with investment like me felt happy and spent money!! hahaha…
    私もそう思います。「株価上昇」、「円相場上昇」のニュースを聞いて投資など全く縁のない貧乏人の私でさえ気持ちが高揚してお金をつかってしまいましたものね!

    Hi Fumie and Biwa,

    Actually, I’d seen lots of mothers who were absorbed in chatting and payed no attention to their children in the past, but at least they were in the same place with their children. However, yesterday I saw mothers who left their children totally alone and went shopping for the first time!
    過去におしゃべりに夢中になりすぎて子供を見てない母親は沢山見てきました。でも少なくとも彼女たちはまだ子供たちと同じ場所にいたけど。でも完全に子供を置いて買い物に行く(ハンバーガーを)母親は初めて見ました。

    > Moreover, I wonder if they ever think about causing trouble to other mothers(YU and her friends) if their children actually get hurt.

    Exactly!
    I know it is always the case mothers like them would surely blame those accidents on others! Probably on us who were at the scene of the accident or on MacDonald’s!
    まさにおっしゃる通り!
    そういう母親に限って事故が起こったら他人のせいにする。多分その場にいた私たちかもしくはマックのせいに(この滑り台は危険すぎるとかなんとかいちゃもんをつける)!



  23. Fumie on Thursday January 31st, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Hi YU and Biwa,

    Oh, I’m sorry, I made a mistake. The story about Macdonald was YU’s. I was kind of rush last night and this morning. And I saw Biwa’s this morning comment straight after I had posted mine.
    YU, “one-two-three punch” is new to me. Thanks!



  24. amo on Thursday January 31st, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I already gave up on Japanese government. Anyway, I googled “Abenomics,” and the more I read the articles, the more I get worried. Like YU said, no one can promise anything about our future, though I can’t look at the bright side.

    >Making prices go up without a corresponding rise in salaries will just put even more pressure on people and make them tighten their belts further.

    I totally agree with you, but as for me, I can’t help myself and buy what I want(lol)

    Hi Fumie and YU,

    > One of Mr.Abe’s plans that I don’t agree on is cutting down on welfare (financial support) for deprived people. That just make their life harder.

    >There’s an outcry against those who receive welfare dishonestly, but I think it is only a very small part of the whole.

    I think so too. I watched a TV show the other day, and a commentator said the same thing as YU said. He also said that there are some people who really need welfare hesitate to take that and bear with a tough situation.

    Stay warm and cozy,

    amo



  25. YU on Friday February 1st, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Hi David, amo, and everyone,

    > Making prices go up without a corresponding rise in salaries will just put even more pressure on people and make them tighten their belts further.

    > I totally agree with you, but as for me, I can’t help myself and buy what I want(lol)

    I think so, too, however, I heard that the government has incorporated some ideas against those problems in Abenomics.
    For example, companies that increased their employees’ salaries can get corporation tax credit, R&D tax credit, and investment tax credit. This may be effective mainly on large firms, though…
    Anyway, what I want to say is that I don’t think that the government has no measures for dealing with those problems.
    私もそう思います。でも政府は緊急経済対策(アベノミクス)の中にそういうこと(国民の給与アップ)に対するいくつかの対策を盛り込んだ、と聞きました。
    例えば従業員の給与を上げた企業は法人税減税、研究開発費減税、投資減税を受けられるとか。もちろんこれは主に大きな企業にしか効果がないかもしれませんが。。。
    とにかく、私が言いたいのは政府はそういう問題に関して無為無策ではないと思う、ということです。

    Fumie, amo, and everyone,

    Popular comedian Junichi Kohmoto’s mother used to receive welfare and it gave rise to a public controversy last year is still fresh in our memory, isn’t it?
    人気お笑い芸人のて河本準一さんのお母さんが生活保護費を受給していたことが発覚して昨年議論を呼んだことは記憶に新しいですよね?

    At that time, Ms.Satsuki Katayama, a member of the LDP brought Kohmoto before a kangaroo court. I didn’t like Ms.Katayama’s ways of doing things. It has surely evoked a serious public distrust in the whole welfare receivers including the innocent ones.
    その時、自民党の片山さつき議員が河本さんを徹底的につるし上げました。私は彼女のやり方に疑問を感じました。彼女の行動が本当に生活に困っている人々も含めた生活保護費受給者全体に対する不信感を生じさせたのは間違いないと思います。

    Moreover, Ms.Katayama also said that they should ask financial help for their family members or relatives first before using governmental money.
    更に片山議員は政府のお金を使う(=生活保護費を申請する)より前にまず家族、親戚に生活の援助を頼むべき、だとも言っていました。

    It might be right in some cases, but I wonder whether I really need to offer even our family’s small amount of savings preparing for my son’s education or the worst(family’s financial crisis) if, for example, my brother met financial hardships, even though we owe a lot of money(home loan)…
    彼女のいうことが正しいケースもあるかもしれないけれど、我が家のような一般家庭にもあてはまるのでしょうか?例えば、私の兄が生活保護を申請するような状態に陥った場合、子供の将来の学費や万一のためにコツコツためたわずかな貯金まで提供しなくてはならないのでしょうか?我が家には住宅ローンという莫大な借金もあるのに。

    Of coure, I want to help my brother, but everyone has their own living and family, especially when they are married.
    もちろん、兄を助けたいとは思いますが、人にはそれぞれ自分の暮らしや家族があります、特に結婚後は。

    If Ms.Katayama was right, why we need to pay tax for our social security? And for what my husband and I work every day and save money? I wonder how people from other countries think about this.
    もし片山議員の言うことが正しいなら、私たちは何のために社会保障のために税金をはらっているのでしょうか?そして主人も私も何のために毎日あくせく働いて貯金しているのでしょう?
    ほかの国の人たちはこのことに関してどう考えるのでしょうか。

    脱線してすみません。。。



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