Wednesday, October 8, 2008

First Things First

Prime Minister Taro Aso was correct when he said, "The people want us to put priority on economic policies, not Diet dissolution." The problem is whether or not the Aso administration can come up with an effective policy. A majority of the Japanese people are very much in favor of taking urgent measures to revive the economy. If we don't do anything, there's a very good chance that many small and midsize businesses, including mom-and-pop shops, will not be able to hold on. The government must find a way to avoid this outcome. A lot of businesses need help preventing bankruptcy between now and the end of the year. This is the government's responsibility. Let me repeat: We must stave off a collapse of the Japanese economy. This is the government's most pressing concern. Dissolution of the Diet can occur later.

Stretching out the timing of the general election in a bid to postpone the inevitable is not wise. But the government should take at least two months to put all its effort behind urgent measures to boost the economy. The supplementary budget the government is focused on now is like a few drops of water on parched soil. For a supplementary package to have a positive effect, it would have to be much larger. The administration shouldn't hesitate to enact deficit spending to cover our shortfall. Politicians shouldn't restrain themselves just because of the foolish target of having a primary budget surplus by 2011. Instead, they should be focusing all their efforts on the urgent measures needed to steady our staggering economy. Bold action is the secret to success. Let me repeat: Japan's politicians should be focused on defending the nation's economy.