Japan Cabinet alters Kishida’s child support pledge: Poor fiscal health
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan seems to be in a rush to crush working people in Japan. He seems ill-aware that Japan’s fiscal health is the poorest of all highly developed nations. However, from doubling the military budget (it will likely go beyond more than doubling) to promising to double the childcare budget, Kishida is responding like Japan’s fiscal health is dynamic – it isn’t!
Naturally, while the doubling of the military budget seems less contentious – given the pro-American line in containing China and the Russian Federation; the doubling of the childcare budget at the same time was too much even for the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Real wages in Japan declined by 3.8% in November when adjusted for inflation. This comes at a time when Kishida seeks to double military spending – despite the horrendous mountain of debt – and when promising to help Ukraine. Therefore, when Kishida pledged to double the childcare budget, his pledge was rejected swiftly.
Kyodo News reports, “Japan’s fiscal health is the worst among major developed nations, with debt more than twice the size of its economy, the world’s third-largest.”
Unlike Kishida, other members of the LDP Cabinet understand that vast numbers of the general public fear tax hikes – especially after several decades of static wages (recent hikes related to inflationary pressure – but still can’t keep up, especially for poorer members of society – including the working poor) and rising inflation (food to utilities).
Japan spends less on childcare than highly developed European nations. Also, single parents and working poor mothers and fathers aren’t seeing the end product to any great extent. Therefore, life is a constant struggle.
Japan neglects children in areas outside of economics. For example, Reuters reports, “Unlike most developed countries, which place the majority of children who are abused, neglected, or can’t live with their parents for other reasons in foster homes, Japan puts more than 80% of the 38,000 such children in residential-care facilities, according to government figures.”
Yasuhisa Shiozaki, a member of the ruling LDP party, said (2019), “Everyone here says, ‘Children are important,’ but that’s bogus…Children have always taken a back seat to adults’ interests in Japan. That has to change.”
According to the OECD (2021), Japan’s average wages now rank 24th in the world out of 35 nations. Alarmingly, Japan is now 20% below the OECD average wage.
Japan – during the golden economic period – neglected many areas that were needed to support the fiscal health of the nation. Hence, with the highest government gross debt in the world of all major economies, Japan is putting further burdens on people already struggling. For example, the rise in consumption tax in recent years despite static wages – why wasn’t this implemented during the golden economic period?
Jiji Press reports (late last year), “Japan’s health ministry Friday proposed raising the upper limit on health insurance premiums paid by high-income earning people aged 75 years or older from 660,000 yen per year at present.”
At the same time, the government is seeking to increase health insurance paid for by all people aged 75 and over. At the moment, 90 percent is covered by the government. Therefore, the dire economic situation seems to be outside the understanding of Kishida concerning doubling the military budget and childcare.
Kishida is good at utilizing “American style over-hyped words” while doing little. Accordingly, his pledge of doubling the childcare budget was rebuked by his party.
The doubling of the military budget seems a different issue given the scaremongering of Kishida and the warmongering policies of President Joe Biden of America.
Sadly, the next generation representing the Kishida and Kishi political clans – and others – are being groomed to take over once the older generation retires.
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