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Haruhiko Kuroda has been nominated by Japan’s government to be the next governor of the country’s central bank.

Haruhiko Kuroda is currently the head of the Asian Development Bank and is seen as a supporter of aggressive monetary easing to help revive Japan’s economy.

The government, which recently won a general election, wants the Bank of Japan to do more to boost growth.

Both the upper and lower houses of Japan’s parliament will now need to vote and approve the nomination.

Kikuo Iwata and Bank of Japan official Hiroshi Nakaso were also nominated to serve as the central bank’s deputy governors.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe won the general election on a platform of promises to help revive Japan’s economy, which has seen years of stagnating growth.

A more aggressive monetary policy stance by the central bank has been something that Shinzo Abe has been advocating for, citing it as key to spurring a fresh wave of economic growth.


During his election campaign Shinzo Abe had even hinted that the government may look at altering the law that ensures the central bank’s independence if it does not take adequate steps.

Although Shinzo Abe toned down his rhetoric later on, it did indicate how crucial the appointment of a new governor would be, not just to the relations between the government and the central bank, but also the BOJ’s independence going forward.

Analysts said that if Haruhiko Kuroda’s nomination is approved by the parliament, it would be a win-win situation.

“This clearly indicates that the government and the central bank will be working towards the same target and there will be an agreement on what direction the Japanese economy should take from here,” said Junko Nishioka of RBS Securities.

Junko Nishioka added that with Haruhiko Kuroda being a supporter of aggressive policies, it was unlikely that the government take the extreme step of altering the BOJ law.

“It does necessarily mean that the BOJ is not going to give up its independence,” she added.

Haruhiko Kuroda has been nominated by Japan's government to be the next governor of the country's central bank

Haruhiko Kuroda has been nominated by Japan’s government to be the next governor of the country’s central bank

Among the policies suggested by Shinzo Abe has been a call for stoking inflation as a means to boosting domestic demand.

Japan, unlike many other Asian nations, has been fighting deflation or falling consumer prices for best part of the past decade.

It has been a big hurdle in its attempts to boost domestic consumption as consumers tend to put off purchases in the hope of getting a cheaper and better deal later on.

Shinzo Abe has hinted that the central bank should print “unlimited yen” to help fight deflation and encourage price growth.

The idea being that with more money floating around, consumers will have more cash to spend and that will help drive up demand and consumer prices.

Under pressure from the government, the central bank doubled its inflation target to 2% last month, a move seen as key by many analysts to help revive domestic demand.

Haruhiko Kuroda, who is seen as a advocate of inflation target, has suggested that the central bank should try and achieve a 2% inflation rate within two years.

“Under Kuroda-san the BOJ will take a proactive approach towards achieving the inflation target,” said Junko Nishioka.

The government’s aggressive stance has resulted in a sharp decline in the yen.

The Japanese currency has dipped nearly 15% against the US dollar since November last year.

The yen fell further on Thursday, down by nearly 1% against the US dollar, after the government announced Haruhiko Kuroda as its nominee to head the central bank.

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Japan has hanged three death-row inmates, the first executions under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The three were put to death in the early hours of Thursday, the Justice Ministry has confirmed. One of them was convicted of killing a young girl.

Japan traditionally executes several prisoners at a time. These are the first executions since September 2012.

Japan is one of the few industrialized nations to retain the death penalty, usually reserved for multiple murders.

“I ordered the executions after giving careful consideration to the matter,” Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said in a press briefing.

“These were extremely cruel cases in which victims were deprived of their precious lives for very selfish reasons.”

The three men hanged were indentified as Kaoru Kobayashi, 44, who killed a 7-year-old girl, Masahiro Kanagawa, 29, who killed one man and injured seven others outside a Tokyo shopping mall in 2008, and Keiki Muto, 62, who killed a bar owner for money in 2002.

Japan has hanged three death-row inmates, the first executions under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japan has hanged three death-row inmates, the first executions under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Rights group Amnesty International’s branch in Japan has said that it “strongly condemns” Thursday’s executions.

Though the majority support the death penalty, rights groups say Japan’s death row is particularly harsh, with the condemned allowed few visits and little exercise.

Sometimes held for decades, they are not warned in advance of when they will be put to death.

Rights groups also highlight Japan’s 99% conviction rate, with most convictions based on confessions, as worrying, correspondents say.

There are currently more than 130 people on death row, including Shoko Asahara, the mastermind behind the 1995 sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway.

No executions were carried out in 2011, but they were restarted in March 2012 under the previous Democratic Party government. Shinzo Abe came to power in a landslide election win in December 2012.

Official figures in Japan as of 2011 put support for capital punishment at over 80%.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, an envoy for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has met China’s leader Xi Jinping in Beijing, amid a growing territorial dispute.

Natsuo Yamaguchi, head of the junior party in Japan’s ruling coalition, handed Xi Jinping a letter from Shinzo Abe – its contents have not been disclosed.

The envoy said the two had agreed it was important to maintain a dialogue.

Xi Jinping urged Japan to “work hard with China” to resolve the issue, a Chinese foreign ministry statement said.

As head of the New Komeito party, Natsuo Yamaguchi is the most senior politician to visit China since ties worsened last year.

Both countries claim sovereignty over a chain of islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

The islands, which are controlled by Japan, lie south of Okinawa and north of Taiwan.

After his meeting, Natsuo Yamaguchi told reporters that Japan “wishes to pursue ties with China while looking at the big picture”.

“It is important that both sides make efforts through political dialogue so that a summit meeting between Japanese and Chinese leaders can take place – this is the suggestion that I made,” he said.

“In response, Xi Jinping said there was a need for high-level dialogue and that he would consider it seriously.”

Natsuo Yamaguchi, an envoy for Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has met China's leader Xi Jinping in Beijing, amid a growing territorial dispute

Natsuo Yamaguchi, an envoy for Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has met China’s leader Xi Jinping in Beijing, amid a growing territorial dispute

Xi Jinping, meanwhile, speaking before the talks, said the visit came “at a period in which Sino-Japanese relations face a special situation” and that China attached “great importance” to it.

“The Japanese side ought to face up to history and facts, take practical steps and work hard with China to find an effective way to appropriately resolve and manage the issue via dialogue and consultations,” a foreign ministry statement later quoted him as saying.

The dispute over ownership of the islands has been rumbling for years, but it reignited in 2012 when the Japanese government purchased three of the islands from their private Japanese owner.

The move triggered diplomatic protests from Beijing and Taipei, and sparked small public protests in China, affecting some Japanese businesses operating in the country.

Chinese government ships have since sailed many times through what Japan says are its territorial waters around the islands. Late last year, a Chinese government plane also flew over the islands in what Japan called a violation of its airspace.

In response, Tokyo has moved to increase military spending for the first time in a decade and Shinzo Abe recently embarked on a diplomatic offensive in South East Asia, where several nations are also embroiled in maritime disputes with China.

The tensions between the two Asian giants have raised concern, with the US calling for calm and restraint.

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Japan’s government has approved a fresh 10.3 trillion yen ($116 billion) stimulus package in an attempt to spur a revival in its economy.

The package will include infrastructure spending, as well as incentives for businesses to boost investment.

Tokyo estimates that the stimulus will boost Japan’s economy by 2% and create 600,000 jobs.

Japan’s economy has been hurt by a dip in exports amid slowing global demand and subdued domestic consumption.

The world’s third-largest economy is currently in a recession, having contracted for two quarters in a row.

“Unfortunately, the previous administration failed to work out how to boost growth and expand the economic pie,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

“It is vital that we have an economic strategy that can create jobs and raise incomes to sustain growth.”

Included in the spending package are plans to rebuild areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, support for regional economies, and more investment in education and social security.

Shinzo Abe, who took office in December, has promised to take aggressive measures to help put the economy back on a growth track.

Among those has been a pledge to take measures to weaken the yen.

Japan’s government has approved a fresh $116 bn stimulus package in an attempt to spur a revival in its economy

Japan’s government has approved a fresh $116 bn stimulus package in an attempt to spur a revival in its economy

A weaker Japanese currency bodes well for the country’s exporters as it makes their goods less expensive to foreign buyers and also helps boost their profits when they repatriate their foreign earnings back home.

The yen has weakened nearly 12% against the US dollar since November last year on hopes of such moves. It was trading close to 88.97 yen against the US dollar in Asian trade on Friday.

The government said that it would continue to keep a watch on the currency’s movements and “respond as appropriate”.

Japanese shares rose on the news of the stimulus with the Nikkei 225 index gaining 1.4%.

The Japanese government also hopes the latest stimulus spending will help to tackle deflation. Japan has been fighting deflation, or falling prices, for many years. It has been a big hurdle in policymakers’ attempts to boost domestic demand because consumers tend to put off purchases in the hope of a better deal in the future.

However, some analysts said the stimulus was only a short-term solution to Japan’s economic issues.

They said that while such an big amount of money being injected into the economy was likely to help spur growth, further steps were needed to sustain it in the long run including measures to help exporters and reforms aimed at boosting domestic consumption.

“So far what we have seen is measures to kick-start the economy,” said Martin Schulz of Fujitsu Research Institute.

“But once the stimulus boost is over, the coffers will be empty again and Japan will have no more money to spend.”

Japan’s exports have been hurt by a slowdown in demand from key markets such as the US, eurozone and China.

While sales to the US and eurozone have been hit by economic issues in those markets, those to China have been affected by a territorial dispute between the two countries.

China is Japan’s biggest trading partner and is also among the fastest growing consumer markets.

Martin Schulz said Japan needed to improve its relations with China to help its exporters’ sales in the country, not least because demand from the US and eurozone is likely to remain subdued in the near term.

On the domestic front, Japan needs to ease regulations in key sectors such as construction, healthcare, retail and agriculture to make them more attractive for investors, Martin Schulz added.

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Former Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been voted in as prime minister again by MPs, after his party’s poll victory earlier this month.

Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner have a two-thirds majority in the lower house.

The governing Democratic Party (DPJ) suffered major losses in the poll, with leader Yoshihiko Noda stepping down.

Conservative Shinzo Abe, who was prime minister in 2006-07, is expected to form a new cabinet later on Wednesday.

He is seen as a hawkish, right-of-centre leader whose previous term in office ended ignominiously amid falling popularity and a resignation on grounds of ill health.

The grandson of a former prime minister and son of an ex-foreign minister, Shinzo Abe, 58, has pledged to take a tough line in a territorial row with China.

China has urged the new government to take “practical steps” to deal with the dispute over islands in the East China Sea.

Former Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been voted in as prime minister again by MPs, after his party's poll victory earlier this month

Former Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been voted in as prime minister again by MPs, after his party’s poll victory earlier this month

Shinzo Abe has also called for Japan’s pacifist constitution to be revised and patriotic sentiment nurtured.

The DPJ was elected in 2009 on its promise to increase welfare spending and break ties between the bureaucracy and big business.

But its failure to deliver on the economy and response to the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami lost it support.

This time round Shinzo Abe campaigned on a platform promising an end to years of economic stagnation, with more public spending and a looser monetary policy.

But some economists say there is little new in Shinzo Abe’s policies, or “Abenomics” as they have been called.

He has also said he would allow nuclear energy a role in Japan’s future despite last year’s disaster.

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