Thursday, April 23, 2009

Money for nothing?

For those of you living in Japan this is old news, but for those of you in other countries you might be interested to know that the Japanese government is currently trying to help the poor economy along by giving cash handouts to every single person living in Japan..... that's right - cash handouts to every person in Japan (current population of about 127 million people). All you had to do was apply and the money was transferred into your bank account. Children and elderly people were given 20,000 yen (NZ$350) each and everyone else was given 12,000 yen ($NZ210) each. Every child who started school this year was also given a bonus 36,000 yen ($630). The government is saying that this will jump start the economy as people will then go out and spend it. The reality is that it is an election year next year and most people are putting the money into savings.
I am not really complaining, but I am wondering who is really going to end up paying for this big handout. I'm guessing our children in years to come when the governmental debts get so high that taxes will need to be increased greatly to cover it.
Another great scheme of the government to help the economy is that they have introduced "travel as far as you like for 1,000 yen on the highways in the weekends if you have the ETC machine in your car". At first I thought this was a good thing until someone reminded me that the world is currently battling to reduce CO2 emissions and therefore encouraging everyone to travel long distances every weekend isn't going to help that cause very much. I guess there are always positives and negatives to everything, but I think in both these cases the government here has only looked at the short term solution rather than the follow on effect. Perhaps I should go into politics... or perhaps I should just show my appreciation for our handout by going out for dinner with the kids tomorrow night. My husband has another meeting... always a good excuse for some revolving sushi courtesy of the government!


  1. Long time lurker here! (I found your blog via MIJ, I believe).

    Anyway, governments are notoriously short-sighted. The American government did this last year for tax payers ($600 per individual, $1200 if your married and I believe $600 per child). Look how well that worked for us!

    You're right, most people took that money and saved it. I know I did. I'm sure the idea looked good in paper, but in reality, it seems to fall very short of their expectations. Instead of investing that money in long term solutions, they toss it at the people in hopes that it quells any unrest and to possibly stimulate the economy.

    Bah. Of course, dinner on the government's bill isn't a bad idea either!

  2. Anonymous11:23 AM

    The money was very well received by me but in truth, when I sat and thought a about it- I feel it was a PURE political move on their end.

  3. Jenn: thank you for coming out of lurking... I am a bad lurker too! You would think that the Japanese government might have at least taken note of the "success" of the American scheme... I guess election now is much more important than long term stability all over the world!

    GJ: I definately didn't offer to return the money... a nice bonus is always welcome, but it does make you wonder who will end up paying for it... hope you enjoyed your bonus!