Monday, February 16, 2009

The DPJ Response to the Economic Crisis or Lack Thereof


The DPJ is taking the Aso administration to task for talking about yet another multi-trillion-yen budget well before the second stimulus package and the FY2009 budget have been enacted by the Diet. This lack of foresight on the part of the Aso administration may not be unique from a global perspective and given the rarity of the economic situation, but it’s still fair game politics-wise.

What makes me uneasy, given the increasing likelihood that the DPJ will take over in the next Lower House election, is the fact that the DPJ is even less reluctant to address the current, escalating economic problems. It came out last year with a plausible plan to deal with the financial crisis, but it never went on to push it with the Japanese public. More significantly, it is sticking to its four-year rollout plan for the 2007 DPJ manifesto plus a few big-ticket items that it subsequently promised, such as the discontinuation of the “temporary” gasoline surtax.

If the Aso administration suffers from a case of making-it-up-as-you-go-along frivolity, the DPJ is welded to a partly-sound, part political-expediency set of measures that may have been superseded by the dramatically altered economic landscape, in Japan and globally.

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