【Global Governance】2010.6.02 (Wed)Mr. Kazushige Taniguchi World Bank Representaive Explains Implications of Japan `s Declining Population for Developing Countries

Global Governance

■テーマ : Global Financial Crisis and Japan
■講 師 : 谷口 和繁 氏 世界銀行駐日特別代表
■日 時 : 2010年 6月 2日(水曜日)13:30~15:00
■場 所 : 法政大学市ヶ谷キャンパス 外濠校舎 307教室
■作成者 : 高橋 孝太朗 法政大学法学部政治学科2年


1. The depression and the developing countries
(1) What is the cause of the worldwide depression which is said that will occur once in a century? Subprime Loan Crisis took place 3 years ago in the United States, and financial crisis became realistic around fall of 2008. The fundamental cause is the financial problem.
(2)There was the bubble economy of real estate as the background. When people are expecting the value of real property will increase, they will pledge their real property for a loan. If the value of real property increases even more, more money can be yielded by selling it. Bubble economy appears by this sequence. This time, the low reliable borrower became the target of investment, too. The loan itself was low reliable, though they combined or divided the loan and sold to investors. Low reliable people borrowed money to buy real property since the hope that the value will increase. But when the price of real estate doesn’t increase enough, the structure which enables loan without interest will collapse and banks will possess nonperforming loans. Such began the Subprime Loan Crisis.
(3)Although the Subprime loan crisis occurred in developed countries, it heavily affected developing countries like Africa and Asia which haven’t a mature financial market as well. There are 3 reasons why it affected developing countries; firstly, because the shrinking credit caused the shrinking economy, investment in less credible developing countries decreased. Secondly, as a result of shrinking production in developed countries, the balance of trade of developing countries decreased since the amount of exporting raw materials and components shrank. Thirdly, remittance from migrant workers diminished because the shakiness of job opportunity in developed countries.

2.The collapse of the bubble economy in Japan
(1)Japanese bubble economy collapsed in late 1989 and long-term slackening followed after the 1990s. Nikkei stock average fluctuated between 20,000 and 30,000 yen in the prime of time, though it went down after the end of 1989. Japan has almost lost 5 years worth of boost in following 10 years. The price of land declined after 1990 to 1991 and lost its value as Nikkei stock average did.
(2)Public investments were made to dissolve the stagnation. At the same time, Japan multiplied the national debt by issuing huge amount of national bonds. Now Japan’s national debt is about 1,000,000,000,000,000 yen.
(3)The population of Japan is about 125,000,000, though since 3 years ago it began to decline. One reason for it is low birth rate. More than 2 in birth rate is needed to maintain the population, though now in Japan is only 1.3. The dropping rate of population is not so striking, because as the birth rate drops, so do the death rate, too.
(4)Now the annual newborns is about 1,100,000, however about 2 million people in a same age is in a middle age and will die in not so far future. Meanwhile, the generation that creates the next generation decreases, so annual newborns to be under 1 million is likely. Then the worst case is to dwindle down to 38,000,000 of population in Japan.
(5)The range of decrease of price of real estate in collapsing bubble economy in the USA seemed to bear comparison with Japan’s, so if the USA having the same process of Japan, then shrinking of the economy probably will continue little more.
(6)Japan’s react to stagnation was too late while economic reaction is conducted swiftly worldwide this time. Therefore, the world financial crisis may get better rather than making the same mistake as Japan.

3. Japan’s economy and international economy
(1)Comparing the economic scale and the amount of national debt in Japan, Europe and the USA from macroeconomics point of view, these countries had about the same amount of debt in the 1990s. Only Japan has increased its amount of national debt compared to its economic scale since then, and now in the worst situation among developed countries. Although Japan’s economy certainly in recession after the collapse of bubble economy, GDP rather increased since then.
(2)The population is decreasing while the budget deficit is getting worse from now on. The number of people who will repay it will dwindle, that is to say the amount of debt per capita will rapidly increase. Therefore, it has to be solved as quickly as possible.
(3)Even Japan is in such situation, Japan still continue its aid to developing countries. That money is not from taxation but debt, which means that Japan is borrowing from future generation in advance to provide assistance to developing countries. However, this policy can be read in another way that it is a prior investment in the name of aid to get return from grown countries in the future, which will help each other. It may increase the debt though at the same time will be the investment for the future generation. Japan will also gain the trust of countries in trouble, which will build the foundation of Japan’s relationship with another country. Therefore, even the situation now in Japan, it is very important to provide assistance to developing countries from the global point of view.

Q. How can the national debt be reduced?
A. There are two ways to reduce the national debt. One is to cut the funds for social welfare which accounts for the biggest part of the government budget. But it is very difficult to get support to practice this policy, so it is needed to find out another part of funds together that is possible to be cut. The second way is to raise tax rates such as in Europe not to leave any debt for the future generation. It is needed to argue the tax increase in Japan as well. The balance between receiving generation and giving generation of the profit is important, and everybody has to think about the national budget.

Q. How do you think the global economy will be in the future?
A. The financial crisis this time showed the negative aspect of the global economy, though it yields innumerable profits as well. Therefore, the finance and trade as a globalization should keep its progress. There are some places where even minimum distribution system or infrastructure is not established yet in many developing countries. Assistance that helps gaining the profits from global economy in such places is needed, thus worldwide growth will be achieved.