Prime Minister Shinzo Abe established 3 new pillars and set the aim for Japan’s GDP to 600 trillion yen. It is estimated that it will be achieved in around 2020. In 2014, Japan’s GDP was 490 trillion yen, so there is a need for a 20% increase. It also means a 20% increase in pay for the people.
Reason Behind Stagnant GDP
1. Fear Of Overtaking America
The problem lies in the fact that in the last 25 years, Japan’s GDP has stopped at around the 500 trillion yen mark. We must find out why before coming up with a strategy, or else reaching 600 trillion yen will not be an easy task. China whose GDP overtook Japan has increased thirtyfold since 1990, and America’s has increased by threefold. It looks as though Japan has been working hard to not let their GDP increase since around 1991.
Why has such a strange thing occurred? Master Ryuho Okawa, founder of Happy Science said the following in a 1997 lecture entitled “The Path to Prosperity”:
“it was easy to find a country to aim for in terms of overtaking their GDP, but the Japanese people have a group psychology – a deeply rooted psychology – that overtaking is a fearful thing. [From the book “The Laws of Miracles”.
As Japan foresaw an overtaking of America’s GDP in the 1990s, Japan chose to bring up historical issues such as the 1993 Kono Statement and the 1995 Murayama Statement where they apologized that Japan was a bad country. It was almost as if they were determined not to antagonize the U.S.
The Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan revealed the same attitude. They showed excessive subservience to the U.S. by creating pro-American economic policies.
In the late 1980s, Japan accepted America’s request to continue an easy monetary policy, and continued to buy U.S. government bonds with leftover money. This excessively pro-American stance still continues to this day.
2. The Wounded Spirit of Capitalism
A long-term monetary easing leads to a bubble economy, but the ‘fear of overtaking America’ group psychology triggered the bubble burst. The Japanese stock market peaked in 1989 around 39000 yen, but now 25 years after the burst, it has yet to reach half that value. A social climate came about where economic growth was considered evil, which greatly wounded the Japanese capitalist spirit. This has yet to heal.
Due to this, when signs of good economic conditions appear, we hear a chorus of criticisms for economic disparity. These ‘disparity’ criticisms are namely, demands to place heavy taxes on the wealthy, and share it amongst the poor. Thus the dark shadow of socialism looms over Japan.
Prime Minister Abe has also been swallowed by this social climate: the introduction of the ‘my number system’ serves as proof.
The ‘my number system’ is a system whereby each citizen is allocated a number for the duration of one’s life, and all of his or her private information is stored and organized under that number. The Ministry of Finance and Tax Authorities aims to grasp every piece of information regarding citizen-owned property, and to place taxes on them.
‘My Number’ and Property Taxes
The Ministry of Finance and Tax Authorities is trying to gather information about property, including privately owned financial property, the total of which exceeds ¥1.7 Quadrillion. In order to achieve this, there are plans to oblige the linking of ‘my number’ and accounts at financial institutions by 2021. They also intend to take it one step further and additionally link real estate registration information.
With this, the tax authorities will be able to get their hands on most of the citizens’ stock and flow. The next step will be that the tax authorities would calculate gift and inheritance taxes and start systematized notifications. Company income and property will be completely laid bare to the authorities, and those companies will begin to get annual notices to pay their relevant taxes.
This is a world very much like George Orwell’s “1984″, where everything is under surveillance and controlled by higher authorities, with the loss of freedom in thought and speech. Just as this novel was based on the Stalinist Soviet Union, Japan is now headed towards state socialism.
How to increase GDP
1.Overcoming Historical Issues
We need to overcome these factors that lie behind Japan’s economic stagnation. First there is a need to overcome the feeling of guilt that Japan was an evil country. In the recent Abe Statement, Prime Minister Abe announced his intension to carry on the Kono and Murayama Statements. On the contrary, Abenomics should have been based on the notion that the latter two statements were invalid.
2. Protecting The Diligent Spirit And Property Of The Citizens
Secondly, the problem is how to regain the spirit of capitalism.
Master Okawa explained that the spirit of capitalism is the ability to create jobs, and that the jobs and subsequent wealth created by the business owners are given purpose when used to help those weaker ones.
In this regard, Japan has a particular tradition. Sontoku Ninomiya, an agricultural administrator of the late Edo period, said, “do not blindly ask for help, but work with diligence, and help the wretched”. He put those words into practice, and advised many others to do the same. This is the epitome of the spirit of capitalism.
The citizen’s properties are the fruits of hard labor. The ‘my number system’, which aims to lay them bare and take from them, is the true hindrance to GDP growth. In conclusion, the ‘my number system’ must be stopped, and a different philosophy must prevail; one where we realize how precious businesspersons who create jobs and how valuable citizen’s property is; and that it is the government’s job to protect and nurture the citizens’ diligence and property.
3. Raise ‘Creative’ Businessmen
The 2 solutions mentioned above, however, are not enough to increase GDP. In September this year, Master Okawa gave a lecture entitled “The Mind that Calls Forth Miracles”, and in the Q&A session, he analyzed the reason behind stagnant GDP as follows:
“It signifies that there is no progress left for factories and commercial business working on the grounds to simply ‘fulfill needs’. This is because in Japan most needs have already been fulfilled.”
Most people have become wealthy, and society no longer especially desires anything. Companies have no ideal investments to make, and are carrying too much money. This is the reason why Japan’s super low interest rates have continued after the bubble burst. If companies continue to be passive in the act of moneymaking, it will mean the end of capitalism as we know it.
In the lecture Master Okawa provided hints on the future of capitalism. For instance, not thinking about supplying things that are necessities, but to supply things, goods and services that will move and impress people. This will expand the market.
It is up to whether we can create a new industry where goods and services aim to touch people’s hearts and impress them. The success of such an industry, Master Okawa said, is determined by whether we can raise people that are able to connect and draw inspiration from different dimensions (such as the spiritual dimension or the subconscious).
Until now, capitalism had created goods and services through combining the four administrative resources of ‘people, things, money and information’. Management consultant Peter F. Drucker advanced the inclusion of ‘wisdom’ to the above four factors, but that ‘wisdom’ should also be ‘inspiration’ and ‘holy wisdom’ that comes from the spiritual world.
Japanese Economy Can Advance Forever
Inspiration is not an idea one has on a whim. It is the vision and idea that comes from desiring to create a future society where the Japanese people, and the rest of humankind can become happier.
Master Okawa has revealed the future industries and approaches that humankind needs:
- A ‘transportation revolution’ that will save time and add more substance to life and work.
- Space development and ocean development that will break through the frontiers of man.
- Things that will solve issues that will arise when the population reaches 10 billion, such as food production and energy problems.
All are instances that will move and impress people. From now on, businessmen will take on the role of creating enterprises that move and impress people, through using the power of the subconscious to the full. It will become the government’s most important job to raise and provide maximum support to these able businessmen.
The 3 new pillars will only serve to bring the GDP down. The above 3 points are the true ‘3 pillars’ that will raise Japan’s GDP. There is room for infinite progress in Japan’s economy. Let us all aim for a threefold increase in GDP: 1.5 quadrillion yen.