Kishida’s weak leadership: Covid, current account deficit, Yen decline, and Russia
Kanako Mita, Sawako Utsumi, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, continues to witness negative statistics during the early period of his leadership. Kishida declared (before being elected) that he would create a more equal society based on a gentler style of capitalism. However, it seems to have bypassed the people of Japan.
By the time Kishida finishes his first six-month period, approximately 50 percent of all deaths from coronavirus (Covid-19) will have occurred under his leadership. This is despite the Omicron coronavirus variant being deemed weaker than other variants. Therefore, despite Kishida witnessing the increase in Omicron daily infections, he responded slowly to the crisis and did little during the important New Year period.
Recently, Japan logged its second-largest current account deficit (since statistics began in 1985). This concerns the 1.2 trillion yen deficit that was announced in January. Hence, with Japan being blighted by approximately 1.4 quadrillion yen in debt (roughly $13.1 trillion US dollars and 260 percent of GDP) and the second-largest current account deficit since records began in 1985 – it is presumed that Kishida would be more prudent.
On the contrary, Kishida approved the highest initial budget planned for 2022. This entails approximately one-fifth of Japan’s entire GDP. Defense spending also reached its highest figure under Kishida. Therefore, approximately 107.6 trillion yen (940 billion dollars) will further burden this indebted nation – without altering the economic malaise.
The latest negative news concerning the Kishida administration is the yen plunged to its lowest figure for roughly five years. Hence, by afternoon trading, the dollar reached 117.83 to the yen.
Kishida is also on an anti-Russian Federation crusade while focusing on Taiwan to appease the anti-China brigade. Other issues concerning human rights aren’t brought to the fore. Thus cozy relations with America (Agent Orange to Iraq), Indonesia (West Papua and extrajudicial killings of children and adults), Saudi Arabia (Saudi-led war in Yemen), Turkey (occupies North Cyprus and North Syria while persecuting the Kurds), and so forth hold little importance to Japan.
Modern Tokyo Times recently said, “…his administration is merely a hotbed of anti-China and anti-Russian Federation members, who earnestly abide by nationalism and an almost slavish approach to America.”
Kishida’s administration is increasing political barriers in Northeast Asia. This is aimed at China and the Russian Federation. Hence, he threw sensitive dealings with the Russian Federation out the window concerning the Kuril Islands (Northern Territories).
Japanese companies – already feeling the convulsions of the coronavirus crisis – now have the American-led sanctions on the Russian Federation to deal with related to Kishida’s anti-Russian Federation policies (most nations in Asia have abstained from his approach to the crisis in Ukraine).
The poorest in society felt the coronavirus convulsions more than wealthier members. Hence, given Kishida’s foreign policy aimed at the Russian Federation, this looks set to impact the rising prices of certain foodstuffs and other important areas of the economy. Therefore, Kishida’s early period is blighted by endless negative news.
If the stock market continues to decrease, then expect a future budget infusion that helps the stock-owning class and the moribund banking sector – this is a tried and tested aspect of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. However, for the poorest in society, little comfort awaits.
Kishida is currently more like Junichiro Koizumi (leader from 2001-2006) but a more nationalist version and backer of the mega-rich – while rubber-stamping America’s foreign policy at the drop of a hat.
Kishida promised new caring capitalism to help ordinary people in Japan. However, his current administration looks set to follow other administrations but with nationalism (anti-China and anti-Russian Federation) at the center of its policy. Therefore, bread and butter issues are neglected while he finds money at the drop of a hat for Ukraine, G-7 environmental causes, and so forth.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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