Aging Japan faces 25% drop in GDP, IMF warns
Nikkei -- Nov 29
Japan's gross domestic product could fall by over 25% in the next 40 years as its population declines, the International Monetary Fund said Wednesday, urging the government to boost productivity through structural reform to mitigate the damage.

A rapidly aging and shrinking population "implies a commensurate drag on real output" under current policies, the IMF said in its annual report. The organization consults every year with member countries to get a sense of their economic conditions.

Structural reforms are crucial to keeping the economy from slowing too much, the report said. It specifically pushed for a commitment to equal pay for equal work between permanent and irregular workers, on which Japan passed a law in June, and changes to tax and social benefit rules that discourage married women from seeking full-time work.

Such efforts, combined with corporate governance reforms and trade liberalization, could "boost real GDP by as much as 15% in 40 years," compared with the baseline scenario, the IMF said.

The organization predicted that Japan's economy will grow 1.1% in 2018 but just 0.9% in 2019, due to the consumption tax hike planned for October. While the IMF has pushed for the hike, it still warned that the move could cause the economy to contract. It backed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's proposal to cut auto and housing taxes to soften the blow.

News source: Nikkei
Feb 21
Japan recorded its biggest trade deficit in almost five years in January, extending its run of red ink to a fourth month as exports to China tumbled. (NHK)
Feb 20
Rising resource costs, a worsening labor shortage and a flood of easy money are pushing property prices in Tokyo to near-historic levels. (Nikkei)
Feb 10
Japan's national debt has reached a new high, despite government efforts to restore fiscal health. (NHK)
Feb 01
A comprehensive free trade deal between Japan and the European Union has come into force. The pact will eventually remove tariffs on more than 90 percent of imports from both sides and liberalize rules in a broad spectrum of fields. (NHK)
Jan 31
Whatever your stance, Brexit has and will continue to raise questions than answers as we move closer to the March 29, 2019, deadline. With the future of Britain and Europe only slightly clearer now than it was two years ago, political leaders are scrambling for position ahead of the forthcoming split. (newsonjapan.com)
Jan 31
To mark the ascension of Japan's new emperor, the government has declared an unprecedented 10-day holiday from late April to early May, worrying investors, who say a market shutdown could cause disruption and unsettle the yen. (Japan Today)
Jan 30
The Bank of Japan has given a glimpse into the dark days it faced following the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers. Officials released the minutes from their meetings after the crash. (NHK)
Jan 24
A data scandal at Japan's labor ministry has created further headaches for the Abe government in its protracted attempts to spur inflation. (Nikkei)
Jan 20
The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11), a trade pact among 11 Pacific Rim nations, officially opened its doors to new members on Saturday in a move aimed at bolstering free trade at a time when the U.S. and China remain locked in a trade war. (Nikkei)
Jan 19
Overseas dependents of foreigners working in Japan would no longer be covered by medical insurance come 2020 under a legislative proposal that seeks to restrain ballooning health care costs. (Nikkei)