Japan Launches Spending Program to Boost Economy

September 29, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. plummet / ˈplʌm ɪt / (v.) – to drop
Example: The company’s profit plummeted after losing investors.

2. deflation / dɪˈfleɪ ʃən / (n.) – reduction in the cost of goods and services
ExampleDeflation is a common economic issue.

3. monetary / ˈmɒn ɪˌtɛr i / adj.) – concerning money
Example: The investment plan has a high monetary value.

4. collaborative / kəˈlæb əˌreɪ tɪv / (adj.) – describing something produced by two or more individuals to achieve a certain result
Example: The collaborative effort between the foreign affairs and trade sectors generated good results. 

5. attempt / əˈtɛmpt / (n.) – an effort to address an issue
Example: The project is an attempt at establishing law and order.


Read the text below.
The Japanese government has introduced a spending program that aims to improve the country’s economic condition.

According to an annual report, consumption in Japan has plummeted, especially among households with children and unemployed individuals over 60 years of age. As a result, there is a need to establish policies that can speed up wage hikes and increase household incomes.

Under his efforts to achieve economic stability and prevent deflation, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has introduced a multi-trillion-yen initiative focused on increasing spending for security and infrastructural concerns. Dubbed as a stimulus plan, the project entails a monetary package that costs ¥28.1 trillion.

Based on recent data from Japan’s Statistics Bureau, the average monthly consumption of a Japanese household with two or more individuals amounts to ¥261,452, or around $2,500, which is a 2.7% drop from the previous year. Food ranks first in the list of household expenses, while housing costs come in second.

According to Japan finance minister Taro Aso, the stimulus program is a collaborative project with the Bank of Japan. He asserts that the plan intends to promote Abe’s three-arrow strategy, more commonly known as Abenomics. The said approach, which integrates government revenue, monetary policy, and structural reforms, strives to reestablish Japan’s economy.

Among the three “arrows” of Abenomics, structural reform was considered by most analysts as the one that would drive Abe’s plan to success. This involves tax reform, corporate governance, labor reform, and opportunities for women.

However, despite Abe’s attempt at providing long-term solutions to Japan’s economic decline, there has been no significant increase in household incomes.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think are some points of improvement for Abe’s three-arrow strategy? Please explain.
·        Do you think that increased personal consumption is the solution to economic growth? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What other factors can cause economic decline?
·         How can the government prevent economic decline? 

September 29, 2016