The coalition government led by the LDP and the Komeito forced with insistence to pass the so-called ‘war legislation’ last September. It raises policies to endorse ‘Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens’ and ‘Japan truly shine on the world’s center stage’ in its guidelines of the reshuffled cabinet. The draft budget for the Fiscal 2016 is compiled along this line and characterized by vote-buying measures to lead the scheduled Upper House election in its favor and putting priority of military and diplomatic affairs.
PORK-BARRELING, MILITARY-FIRST AND LAWLESSNESS
The general account budget amounts 96.7218 trillion Yen, the largest in the history as an initial budget. It totals over 100 trillion Yen when it is added with the supplementary budget of Fiscal 2015 amounting 3.3213 trillion Yen. The draft compilation is characterized by pork-barreling ahead of the Upper House election and a military-diplomacy-first imperative to cope with China. It is an expanded, lawless finance.
Dependence on Consumption Tax
Revenue coming from the consumption tax is projected as 17.1854 trillion Yen. The total is bigger than that of last fiscal of 17.1120 trillion Yen by 73.0 billion Yen when the 8% consumption tax covered all the months in 2015. This tax occupies 30% of the revenue and hits directly people to be victimized. A scheduled 10% rate due in 2017 is far beyond acceptable.
The draft anticipates higher revenue from corporate taxes and income taxes, boasting of a drop of new government bond issuance. However, a zero-growth rate or a minus-growth rate is predictable due to the decreasing population. Time is short to gain fiscal consolidation.
Vote-buying ahead of Upper House election
A symbolic example is a lump sum payment of 30 thousand Yen per person. It is to be paid in the strange name of ‘a benefit to promote purchase and social safety by the fruit of Abenomics economic policy’. In the supplementary budget compiled last year in total 339.0 billion Yen was allocated to pay to 11.30 million low-income pensioners. A similar scheme is seen in the budget for agricultural infrastructure; in the name to cope with the TPP (=Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade initiative.
Financing in the so-called public construction work, which has grown again vastly under the Abe government, counted 600 billion Yen in the supplementary budget and 6 trillion Yen is planned in the Fiscal 2016.
Military-Diplomacy Affairs First
Priority is definitely given to military and diplomacy affairs.
Defense (Military): defense-related budgets count 5.0541 trillion Yen, a record high for the fourth straight year. The figure exceeds a 5 trillion Yen line for the first time. It reaches 5.1520 trillion Yen when added with 97.9 billion Yen allocated in the supplementary budget. It indicates the nation has ushered in arms race competing with China as the government emphasizes ‘defense of southwestern islands’ and ‘response to ballistic missiles’.
Is increased a budget of host-nation support for the US military, too, though the Fiscal System Council advised ‘to shrink’. Incidentally, there is no obligation in the agreements on the side of Japan to pay for a host-nation support.
Military budgets in a broader sense are evident; in the development and operation of information-gathering satellites the draft allocates 14.2 billion Yen in the Fiscal 16 added with 5 billion Yen of the supplementary budget.
Diplomacy: a budget for ODA (=official development aid) has risen to 551.9 billion Yen, a surge after 17 years of absence. A 700 billion Yen-level budget is allocated for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To a fund for training pro-Japanese people and cultural exchanges 3.33 billion Yen is allocated, a surge from 2.88 billion Yen in the last fiscal.
Changes are necessary to improve social services
A budget for social services remains at a level of 31.9738 trillion Yen with an increase by 441.2 billion Yen in underestimation of a natural growth. An increase is made in a child care benefit for single-parent families, but more drastic changes should be made to improve social services in general. Provisions in the Articles of 25, 26 and 27 of the Constitution say ‘public guarantee of work and livelihood throughout one’s lifetime’. From this point of view we must struggle to demand ‘minimum guarantee of humanely life based on the basic fixed-amount pensions’ and ‘free-of-charge education up to university’.
January 12, 2016