“Limited Freedom of Speech” For Japanese Bureaucrats To Cover Up The “Dire Fiscal Condition”

Saturday, August 24, 2013
By Paul Martin

Wolf Richter

He came out and said what no one in the Japanese power structure is allowed to say. It was outright blasphemy against the new religion of Abenomics that rules the Japanese media and governmental thinking, and even the foreign mainstream media. Abenomics wouldn’t solve Japan’s fiscal and economic problems, he said. And the recent governmental outlook to that effect was way too rosy.

That man is Kazumasa Oguro, formerly Senior Economist at the Ministry of Finance’s Policy Research Institute. He’d joined the MOF in 1997, but apparently, he is a free spirit that didn’t want to be reined in, and so he quit in 2008 and moved on to the Institute for International Policy Studies. He is now an Associate Professor of Economics at the Hosei University and a consulting fellow at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade & Industry.

“The limited freedom of speech bureaucrats have when handling controversial issues,” was one of the reasons he quit, according to Japan Real Time, which interviewed him. Instead of being cooped up in the MOF, he wanted to “talk openly about the country’s dire fiscal condition.” And he questioned if it’s a good idea for the country to pressure “government bureaucrats to put a positive spin on information.”

He is good company: the Bundesbank, which still doesn’t know how to toe the line apparently, has revealed a shocking lack of faith in Abenomics. In its Monthly Report for August (162-page PDF), it dedicated a whole section to the “new economic policies in Japan.” It found that “the bundle of monetary and fiscal measures might be” – emphasis mine – “suitable for stimulating the Japanese economy in the short term. But if these are not flanked by far-reaching structural reforms, any positive effects would ultimately turn into a straw fire.”

The Rest…HERE

Leave a Reply