Ishiba could clear path for Kono to become PM

Kono Taro is emerging as the favourite to succeed Mr Suga as PM. While Kishida and Takaichi are viewed as safer hands by LDP party elders, the outspoken Kono’s popularity with the public gives him the edge on the eve of a general election where the ruling coalition fears losing seats. And if rumours that Ishiba Shigeru will not stand and instead back Mr Kono turn out to be true, then that would leave neoliberal reformer Kono as the clear frontrunner. While we expect a relatively large supplementary budget to be compiled in October regardless of who wins, each of the four main contenders are likely to take differing approaches to structural reform.
Tom Learmouth Japan Economist
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Japan Data Response

Labour Market & Industrial Production (Oct. 2021)

Employment fell sharply again in October despite the lifting of states of emergency declarations at the start of the month. However, it should rebound sharply across November and December in line with the revival in face-to-face service sector activity. And while industrial production only edged up in October, we think it too will rebound more strongly this month and next, potentially approaching its recent April peak in December.

30 November 2021

Japan Data Response

Japan Retail Sales (Oct. 2021)

Retail sales kept rising in October despite another drop in motor vehicles sales. With supply disruptions now starting to ease and mobility picking up, they should continue to increase.

29 November 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Government seeks to revive soggy chip industry

The breakdown of PM Kishida’s new supplementary budget released today showed that ¥600 billion has been allocated to reviving semiconductor manufacturing in Japan. The centrepiece of the plan is a new TSMC factory in Kumamoto Prefecture that will produce the mid-range chips critical for car production. Given recent supply disruptions caused by chip shortages, beefing up local production makes strategic sense. We think the government’s new interventionist approach to stimulating mid-range chip production may succeed, but plans to make inroads into high-range chip production are likely to fall flat.

26 November 2021

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Japan Data Response

Japan Wages & Household Spending (Jul. 2021)

Wage growth recovered in July and it should strengthen further over the coming months as the labour market tightens and vaccines fuel a further recovery in overtime pay. Meanwhile, the drop in household spending in July supports our view that consumer spending will fall across Q3.

7 September 2021

Japan Data Response

Labour Market & Industrial Production (Jul. 2021)

While the Delta wave may reverse some of July’s jump in employment, we think vaccines will allow employment to surpass its pre-virus level by the end of this year. Meanwhile, the fall in industrial production in July suggests that supply shortages remain a constraint for firms in certain sectors, though manufacturing output is still on course to rise across Q3.

31 August 2021

Japan Economics Weekly

Delta may soon peak, Kishida seeks to replace Suga

The government this week expanded state of emergencies to nearly all prefectures and consumers are responding to the surge in virus cases with renewed caution. We’ve therefore pencilled in a renewed fall in consumer spending this quarter. However, there are early signs that the Delta wave is peaking in Tokyo and we still expect a strong rebound in consumption in Q4 as the majority of the population will be vaccinated by then. Meanwhile, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Kishida Fumio will run against PM Suga in next months’ LDP leadership election but his chances of winning are slim.

27 August 2021
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