Secretary-General, The Democratic Party of Japan
Friday, November 21, 2014, 10:00 - 11:00
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called a snap general election following the release of shocking data this week showing the world's third-largest economy is in recession. The recession has thrown Abe's ambitious plans to revive the economy into doubt and prompted his critics to declare "Abenomics" dead.
Abe's government wants to cut corporate taxes, boost defense spending and reduce Japan's huge public debt by raising the sales tax by two percent. His opponents say two years after he returned to power with his shock-treatment program for reviving the economy, only the rich have benefitted.
Rising prices and the weaker yen have boosted the fortunes of Japan's giant exporters but made imports more expensive, leaving ordinary people feeling poorer.
The country has seen a fall in real wages but a surge in the number of millionaires. Profits at Japan's biggest corporations, meanwhile, have swelled – private companies sit on one of the world's biggest reserves of cash and deposits.
Japan's largest opposition party, the DPJ, hopes that Abe has miscalculated by calling the election. "It is clear that Abenomics has not had any positive impact on people's lives at all," party head, Banri Kaieda said this week. But the DPJ is a shadow of the united political force that swept into power in 2009. Does it have what it takes to capitalize on Abe's difficulties?
Yukio Edano, the DPJ's secretary-general, believes it does. He says Abe's recent scandals have weakened the government, and that two quarters of economic decline show Abenomics is not working. He will come to the FCCJ to explain why.
Edano is a well-known political face, thanks to his time as chief cabinet secretary during the Fukushima nuclear disaster. He was Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry.