Japanese Vice Finance Minister Koji Yano showed his criticism in “Bungei Shunju,” a monthly political magazine released on Friday, by leveling at political leaders scrambling to churn out pork barrel policies. He added that such wasted competition can lead to national financial bankruptcy. It is deemed an unprecedented instance where one of the highest ranking officials uses a strong tone of voice to express his viewpoint.
As part of COVID-19 measures taken by the Japanese government, a total of 100,000 yen or 1.1 million won was handed out per person as of last year. “Voters may welcome this policy but I see it as a meaningless economic measure,” said the vice minister. “We are required to review if we really need such a money-consuming economic policy and what cost and damage may follow.”
Mr. Yano pointed out that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s leadership election on Sept. 29 and the upcoming general elections on Oct. 31 are characterized by a variety of populist policies, likening Japan's fiscal status quo to a Titanic vessel hit by an iceberg of indebtedness. The original Titanic ocean liner did not realize a risky iceberg until it collided with the obstacle, but Japan is already aware of such a mountainous debt with little effort paid into shunning it, according to the vice minister. "Japan is in a severely dangerous situation as it gets more insensitive of risks over time.”
The Komeito Party, a coalition partner with the ruling LDP, has pledged in the national election campaign to provide 100,000 yen to every single child aged younger than high school students as the weak deserve consideration and understanding. In response, there is controversy over whether the underage are supposed to be considered weaker than the rest of the population and why minors get paid this year as well although 100,000 yen was already paid to them last year.
The vice finance minister of Japan shared a critical view of political leadership not trying to reduce a national debt higher by 2.2 times than the nation's GDP, making Japan one of the most deeply indebted nations in the world, but making choices that can worsen the situation. "Other advanced global leaders than Japan always review economic resources as part of economic policy discussions,” he said. “Japan is the only government that expands public support with no vision of fiscal impact.”