Regular Diet Session
The situation requires prompt passage of the fiscal 2014 supplementary budget at the regular Diet session and it should be followed by swift implementation of policy such as the emergency economic stimulus package. It is also important that the annual budget for fiscal 2015 as well as bills to reform the tax system should be passed within this fiscal year.
Prime Minister Abe says the Diet session has begun to put reform plans into action. Although the reforms in the fields of labor, agriculture and medical service are the most serious difficulties for the Japanese society because they will never be done without bringing hardship on the people and causing social friction, the key issues are firmly on the government's policy agenda and no retreat is allowed. The political leaders are anticipated to take the initiative in tackling the tough challenges without delay or hesitation.
The European Economy
The political party calling for less fiscal austerity won the recent Greek election. It is hard to imagine that the European economy will become unstable in a moment simply due to what happened in the country last weekend. Attention should be paid to forthcoming discussions between Greece's anti-austerity government and European political leaders because the election result and the extension of the current bailout program for Greece which is to expire at the end of February are not independent of each other.
There are some potentially financially-challenged nations in Europe and Greece is one of them, but I hope the quantitative easing measures that the European Central Bank has decided to introduce will prevent the eurozone falling into deflation, expand business activities, boost commodity prices and improve the economic situation.