Exclusive Report: Prime Minister Noda’s True Colors

“I am only thinking about how we can keep the Democratic Party government in place for a full 4 year term.”

Ayaori:            Do you really believe that if taxes are raised now, the Japanese economy is going to improve? Or have you given up on helping the economy improve?

Noda’s Guardian Spirit:    Right now I’m thinking about what can be done in a single fiscal year, but then we have the constitution, too, so it’s not that easy.
If we’re talking about a single fiscal year, it works out: bureaucrats think only in fiscal year units, so politicians are tied to a one-year budget.
If you think in terms of a one-year budget, first of all you need to know what the next year’s budget is, and then think about how to use it. How the budget is used is mostly fixed, and if no money is coming in, you basically have to think about where to get the money from. It’s the same as managing a company. As Japan is no longer a rapidly growing corporation, things have gotten tougher. That’s why the only choice we have is raising our prices (taxes).

Ayaori:            Mr Noda, you have suggested to raise the consumption tax rate to 10% by about 2015. If you raise the consumption tax rate, consumption tax revenue will certainly increase, but income tax and corporate tax revenues will go down, so won’t the overall tax revenue decrease? When the consumption tax rate was raised in 1997, this was the result we saw.

Noda’s Guardian Spirit:    In 2015 I won’t be prime minister anymore.

Ayaori:            So you don’t care what’s going to happen?

Noda’s Guardian Spirit:    I don’t care. I say ‘Let’s do this’, but it won’t happen while I’m still prime minister. And because it won’t happen while I’m still prime minister, my support ratings won’t go down. But by saying “We’ll do this in the future” I get the bureaucrats on my side. That’s how it works.

Ayaori:            So in other words, you’re going along with whatever the Ministry of Finance says to get the bureaucrats behind you, but you do not care what is going to happen next?

Noda’s Guardian Spirit:    Well, let whoever is prime minister in 2015 raise the taxes.

Tsuiki:            Is that not a breach of trust?

Noda’s Guardian Spirit:    Of course it is, but what can I do?

Tsuiki:            I don’t think it’s fair to let citizens suffer just to gain control over the bureaucrats.

Noda’s Guardian Spirit:    There’s only been about one prime minister in the last 20 years that has actually stayed in office for a full 4 year term. Nobody stays in office for 4 years. I’m just a link, so even if I try really hard, I’ll probably only last about a year, and whatever happens in 2015 has nothing to do with me.

Ayaori:            So just to make it through one year, you’re going through all the trouble to get the Ministry of Finance on your side and gain the support of the Liberal Democrats and Komeito?

Noda’s Guardian Spirit:    Anyway, if I can control the Ministry of Finance and get next year’s budget done, that’ll be the end of my job. We got over 300 seats in parliament, so we should somehow manage to get through these 4 years. So far, there have been two prime ministers this term – I’m already the third, right? Then we have Maehara, and Kaieda, so with 2 more candidates, we should make it through this term.
That’s really all the Democratic Party is thinking about right now: Shouldn’t it be possible to somehow make it through 4 years without having to dissolve the government, and gain an electoral power base during that time? (end interview)
Pages: 1 2 3 4
Exclusive Report: Prime Minister Noda’s True Colors
Copyright © IRH Press Co.Ltd. All Right Reserved.