Post COVID: Japan’s Trade Trajectory Beyond Abenomics
After being hit early by COVID-19, Japan has demonstrated impressive resilience throughout the pandemic, keeping death rates below 1,000 and plotting a course for economic recovery this year. Despite this success, external factors continue to threaten not just Japan’s economic prospects, but its very place in the world order, as the established global system in which it has thrived comes under increasing strain from the pandemic and evolving geopolitical tensions.
Throughout his long tenure as Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe has built his economic agenda around “Abenomics”- a mix of fiscal and monetary stimulus and structural reforms aimed at revitalising the Japanese economy. As the Abe government enters its final stretch, there are growing calls for a renewed approach to economic and trade policy, including overriding Abenomics.
Abe has also sought to shore up the global system in the wake of a retreating US, stepping in to see the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) over the line. But with the COVID-19 crisis accelerating pre-existing global trends, from the widespread adoption of digital technologies to the securitisation of global supply chains, there are limits to Tokyo’s ability to hold the established system together.
In this off-the-record briefing, Toyoaki Fujiwara, Politics and Economy News Editor at Nikkei Asian Review, will share his insights on the impact of COVID-19 on Japan’s economic and trade policy. Speaking from Tokyo, Fujiwara-san will discuss how US-China tensions and China’s new National Security Law for Hong Kong are shaping the East Asia region, and the calls in Japan to revise existing trade policy against this backdrop of rising anti-globalisation and nationalism.
Fujiwara-san is currently Politics and Economy News Editor at Nikkei Asian Review. After earning his undergraduate degree in nuclear engineering at Kyushu University, he joined Nikkei as a staff writer in Tokyo, covering technology companies, monetary policy, fiscal policy, and politics. In 2014, he was transferred to Bangkok to serve as Deputy Editor at the editorial headquarters for Asia. The Thai HQ was set up in response to the launch of the Nikkei Asian Review, Nikkei’s new English publication. Fujiwara-san relocated to Tokyo in 2017 to join the main newsroom.
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