Public Policy Planning & Consulting Co. (SEISAKU-KOUBOU) is a public policy consulting firm based in Tokyo, covering broad policy areas such as economic policy, fiscal policy, regulatory policy, administrative reform, international trade and investment, etc.
PPPC provides consulting and briefing services to the clients in the central/local governments, Diet, local assemblies and the private sector.

This blog is aimed at providing general information, latest updates and some of our analytical reports about Japan's public policy in English.
The contents include;
- updates on some important government councils, especially those in which our executive officers serve as the members,
- weekly reports on latest news in Nagata-cho, the political center in Japan, (partially).
- analytical reports and articles by our members and distinguished experts outside the firm,(partially).


This Week’s “Nagata-cho” ( 1-8.Oct, 2013)

 The Cabinet approved on Oct 1 the plan to raise the consumption tax
rate from five to eight percent on Apr 1 as scheduled in the
legislation passed under the former Democratic Party of Japan
administration. At the same time, the Cabinet agreed to sketch a \5
trillion economic stimulus package to mitigate potential negative
impacts of the tax-hike on the countrys nascent economic recovery.

 Bank of Japans survey on the economic sentiment released on the
same day marked the record +12 in the post-Lehman years. Along with
the other economic indicators showing positive signs that the economy
has picked up, it had propelled the governments Council on the
Economic and Fiscal Policy to show a green-light on the tax-hike.
Accordingly, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced he will raise the tax
rate as scheduled on Oct 1. Abe also announced the \5.1 trillion of
government revenue expectedly increasing from the next fiscal year by
the tax rise will be allocated to the social security alone as pledged.

 Over an idea to end special corporate tax surcharges for
reconstruction in disaster-hit Tohoku a year earlier than planned, the
ruling Liberal Democratic Party failed to obtain its coalition partner
New Komeitos agreement and the two parties merely agreed to revisit
the proposal by years end. Abe has also repeatedly announced
corporate tax reduction to boost the broader economy and to attract
more foreign business investment, but many lawmakers in LDPs tax
panel and Komeito do not buy the idea. Meanwhile, the Ministry of
Finance, led by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, insists of some
alternative tax targets in case of the corporate tax cut. It is to see
how Abe and his Cabinet will negotiate with the lawmakers and the

 The minor coalition partner Komeito has suggested an earlier
designing of reduced tax rates on the daily necessities like food
prior to the next elevation to 10 percent in October 2015 and urged
Abe to announce an introduction of the design within this year. But
many Cabinet and LDP members voiced cautiously on the notion. The
interparty talks will likely continue.

 Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told the Rules and Administration
Committees in both Houses officially that the Cabinet will convene the
next extraordinary Diet session on Oct 15. The session will be for 53
days until Dec 6. Although the ruling and opposition parties are yet
to reach an agreement on the schedule of Prime Ministers general
policy speech and Q&A by the party leaders, the main policy issues in
the session will likely include the tax-hike and economic stimulus,
social security reform, employment regulation, diplomacy and national
security, TPP talks, the contaminated water leaks in Fukushima, etc.

 Abe and his Cabinet plans to submit the bills regarding the third
arrow growth strategy one after another based on the Course of
Action officially approved on Oct 1, such as the bills on industrial
competitiveness, power industry reform and farmland management, etc.
On the other hand, the opposition parties, while having diverse
attitudes on the tax-hike, are preparing to question the Cabinet on
the legitimacy and reasonability of the tax-hike and economic stimulus
package. While DPJ will challenge the Cabinet centering on the social
security issues, Your Party will demand the government to tackle with
other challenges like the civil service reform and administrative
reforms. The Communist Party is strongly repelled by the governments
policy to end the special corporate tax deduction in Tohoku and the
deregulatory measure in labor suggested by the governments panel on
the regulatory reform.

 In the field of diplomacy and national security, the Cabinet plans to
submit bills to enable SDF to transport Japanese living abroad, to
establish Japanese-version of National Security Council, and on long
prison terms mandated for leaks of top-secretary information. The
third, secret-information bill has caused a particularly strong
opposition. The duration of time to be allocated for discussion on the
bills regarding the NSC and secret-information will likely be for only
about 5 weeks. For there are many bills the Cabinet plans to submit in
the next Diet, the ruling camp risks walking a tightrope in
time-managing the session although it dominates the majority in both
Houses. For this, the ruling camp plans to establish Special
Committees in both Houses to discuss on the bills instead of referring
the bills to the existing committees. Adversely, the opposition camp
requests an establishment of a Special Committee on the TPP instead.

 LDPs intraparty discussions on the TPP and exceptional items on
tariff policy are to be resumed soon, according to chairman of the LDP
s TPP committee Nishikawas press comment on Oct 7. Also the
lawmakers will consider countermeasures regarding Japans agriculture
in case the tariffs are eliminated. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
stressed that the Cabinet will act in concert with LDP. While some
lawmakers are showing the attitude accepting parts of the focal five
items to be excluded from the exceptions, the oppositions from more
protective lawmakers seem to be inevitable. On Oct 3, a group of LDP
lawmakers passed a resolution to demand the Cabinet to retreat from
the TPP negotiations in case the sanctuary fields are not to be
maintained. Intraparty bargaining will likely be accelerated toward
the reconsideration. The opposition parties will strongly censure the
ruling camp from both sides of pros and cons of the TPP.

 The extraordinary session will start from the next week. There will
likely be active negotiations and bargaining behind the scenes. Also,
what will Abe speak in the general policy speech and what sort of
attitude will Abe state over the important legislations to be
proposed? Lets watch the prospects carefully.

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