PM Kishida of Japan and “new capitalism” aimed at the rich

PM Kishida of Japan and “new capitalism” aimed at the rich

Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hinted at a “new capitalism” that would create a greater distribution of wealth and help people left behind after three squandered decades. These three squandered economic decades have mainly materialized under the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Kishida belongs to the long line of family-dominated politics within the ruling LDP. Hence, he was born into economic and political privilege – like so many others. Thus he knows little about the reality of over two decades of static wages, three squandered economic decades under the watch of the ruling LDP, and how many homeowners were left with extremely high mortgages when the housing market took a turn for the worst in the 1990s. 

Japan isn’t a capitalist nation in the true sense. For example (by 2020), the holdings of the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) and the Bank of Japan were nearly one-eighth of the market capitalization of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (the First Section). Hence, the recent buoyancy of the Japanese stock market is extremely misleading. In essence, the government is utilizing public money to assist mega-corporations – and the wealthy share-owning class. 

Kishida spoke about the “reinforced distribution” of wealth concerning his alleged “new capitalism”that would create a fairer society. Yet, now it is about people with assets making more money. Of course, the working poor and lower-end middle class don’t have assets to exploit – unlike the wealthy family political class to which Kishida belongs. 

This isn’t unique to Japan. For example, in America, the family members of Biden, Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Kennedy, Obama, and other families have got mega-rich from the political system. It is a perennial problem in many nations – from Bangladesh to Nigeria. However, after three squandered economic decades, it is irksome for Kishida to manipulate language because his “new capitalism” is aimed at the asset-owning class who are already wealthy. 

Kishida’s initial “distribution strategy” is now the “investment for growth.” Hence, Kishida hopes to encourage the asset-owning class to “doubling of asset incomes” based on capitalists being more dynamic in their new options to increase wealth. It should be stated, cynically, that government money floats around in the internal stock market to a much higher level than other G7 nations – yes, the taxes of all – from rich to poor – are being manipulated by the state apparatus to boost the share owning class.

The Asahi Shimbun says, “But letting the market call the shots will not advance the actual distribution of the shares of the pie. It will only leave the enlarged pie in the hands of large corporations and wealthy individuals.”

NHK reports, “The government also plans to have a support program covering around 1 million workers, including non-regular ones, to develop their skills and find them new jobs.”

This begs the question – in a nation where the population is decreasing because of the low birth rate and a political class opposed to immigration – and a growing imbalance of the elderly population compared with the younger population – then who is going to do these jobs? 

Kishida makes soundbites like other international politicians. However, words come cheap to the political class. In essence, more grand LDP ideas. Yet, little to address real problems concerning static wages, the rights of workers, gender gaps in wages and upper management, social mobility, pension concerns, and redistributing the wealth of society that are failed by the economic system. 

Hence, the aim of Kishida’s pro-capitalist asset-based engine for increasing wealth will do three things: the first, it will make the rich get richer – secondly, it will do zilch to help the non-asset owning class – and lastly, it will generate more social inequality. 

The government under the ruling LDP before Kishida took office was helping mega-corporations and the share-owning class from public funds. Under Kishida, he now aims to generate more wealth for the asset-owning class. 

Therefore, Kishida’s “new capitalism” is literally “helping the capitalists” even more!

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