Thursday, January 1, 2009

A stormy start to 2009

In an editorial published on New Year’s Day, the Asahi Shimbun called for a “drastic overhaul” of the country.

According to the newspaper, the Koizumi reforms “produced some totally unexpected disastrous social effects.” The number of “working poor” in Japan had increased dramatically. The gap between the rich and the poor had widened. The spending cuts that America wanted had “weakened the social safety net.” Benefits such as unemployment insurance, health care, and public financial aid had been cut.

“The Japanese people long for a bold policy vision that transcends simple short-term measures to stimulate job creation and economic growth,” said the Asahi Shimbun. “They also want strong political leadership that will realize the vision.”

According to the Asahi Shimbun, Japan must meet this challenge using “its own wisdom and abilities” and must not “cave in to outside pressure” like the country did during its previous two crises.

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