Will Abe's growth strategy make Japan's cups flow over?

Will Abe's growth strategy make Japan's cups flow over?

In a famous scene from the movie "Marusa no Onna" (A Taxing Woman), directed by Juzo Itami, a love hotel operator (Tsutomu Yamazaki) tells the senior investigator at a regional tax bureau (Masahiko Tsugawa) the secret of amassing wealth.

"Imagine you're collecting water by putting a cup under a stream of drips. You get thirsty, so you drink it all despite the cup being only half full. That's the worst thing you could do," says the operator, who is a king of tax evasion.

"You shouldn't drink even if the cup is full. You have to limit yourself to licking the water that overflows from the cup."

The way the Japanese economy is struggling to break away from deflation is similar to this cup story.

The two faucets of monetary easing and fiscal stimulation have been turned on so that the water of business recovery is gradually accumulating in a cup.

However, the yen's depreciation and high stock prices have benefited only big businesses and major cities. Will the water of business recovery overflow from the cup, spreading the benefits to small and midsize firms, and to regional areas?

This will be a focal point for the national economy in 2015.

The Abenomics policy package has spurred people's expectations and helped dispel the chilled deflationary mood.

Monetary and fiscal measures can prop up the economy temporarily but will not put businesses on the road to sustainable growth.

Despite the dim light seen on the horizon, the national economy's fundamental strength has weakened due to such factors as the declining population.

If such a case, a growth strategy aimed at bolstering economic strength itself will be extremely important this year as Abenomics enters its second act.

The growth strategy is like a third waterway that takes water into veins running deep below ground.

Whether it be agriculture or medical treatment, an abundant flow of water can only pour in if vested interests and bedrock-like regulations are broken.

The role of political and bureaucratic circles is to inspire the private sector's motivation and investment. That is not as easy as just turning on a faucet.

There is no alternative but to work steadily toward changing systems and regulations in various fields.

The growth strategy, in other words, calls for efforts to open up the future. Success or failure hinges on tenacious efforts by Japanese companies.

In interviews conducted late last year, corporate executives expressed a sense of crisis.

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