Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 10 (December 11, 2009)
Yukio Hatoyama's "Yu-Ai" -- Message from the Prime Minister
I am sure that many of you in Japan have been turning a skeptical eye toward news reports that claim, "Economic recovery is underway," saying to yourselves, "Really? It does not feel that way."
The government feels exactly the same way. To be sure, the numbers appear to show that the worst of the economic downturn is behind us, but that is only because of the external demand generated by economic growth in China and other Asian nations. In fact, the nominal growth rate, which better reflects our sense of reality, has been negative for some time; there is far too much supply chasing too little demand.
In addition to this deflationary -- albeit mild -- environment, the yen's recent rise in the currency markets is also worrisome. This is why the government has put together the Emergency Economic Countermeasures for Future Growth and Security as the first economic package of the new regime.
First and foremost, we need to reinforce employment countermeasures. At the top of the list comes easing conditions for the employment adjustment subsidies. Under the employment adjustment subsidies system, the government provides a firm with subsidies to make up for the deficiency in wages when it only has enough work, for example, for three days a week instead of the normal five for its employees. The firm will thus be able to keep them on the payroll and will not have to conduct lay offs. We have decided to ease requirements so that a firm operating at a loss will be able to receive the subsidies regardless of the size of the firm if its production volume is down 10 percent or more from the year before the previous year.
Next, we will strengthen support for students graduating next spring who have not yet been able to line up a job. We will deploy job-search advisors in universities and colleges, and increase the number of high school and college graduate vocational supporters. We will also identify firms that are eager to take on new hires, support internships in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and request business associations to increase job offers.
We will do our utmost to secure financing, including offering more flexible repayment extensions, so that SMEs in severe business conditions can tide over the year's end safely. We will remodel the emergency credit guarantee system as a counter-recessionary emergency credit guarantee system, making it more accessible so that SMEs in all industrial sectors in principle can use it. Moreover, we will raise the guarantee limit by six trillion yen and extend the deadline to March 2011. Safety-net lending will also be expanded by four trillion yen and its deadline similarly extended.
We will also seek to simultaneously achieve global-warming countermeasures and economic recovery. First, as the three pillars of eco-consumption, the home appliances eco-point system will be extended until the end of December 2010 with improvements that lead to increased use of LED light bulbs; the eco-car subsidy will also be extended to the end of September 2010; and an eco-point system for housing shall be newly created, giving eco-points for eco-housing construction and retrofitting.
With this new set of countermeasures, in addition to emergency responses, we take laying the foundations of a growth strategy into account for the middle and long term. For example, in the environmental field, we will encourage the regeneration of Japanese forests and forestry, and aggressively promote green innovation -- the accelerated development of revolutionary environmental/energy technology such as the development of materials indispensible to the realization of a low-carbon society.
We will swiftly move forward with the formation of the
supplementary budget so that we will be able to implement these
measures quickly. In addition, the entire government will be
devoted to the formation of the budget for the next fiscal year and
tax reforms. In our determination not to allow a double dip to
occur, we will devote ourselves to managing the Japanese economy so
that the lives of the people of Japan are put first and foremost,
by maintaining the economy and employment and, at the same time,
laying the foundations of our future growth strategy.
* Profile of the Prime Minister
- Council for Science and Technology Policy (December 9, 2009) and other topics
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