Initial polls conducted on 2 and 3 December by the Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun and Nikkei Shimbun suggest a landslide victory for the LDP. Yomiuri Shimbun predicts that the ruling coalition may secure more than 300 of the 475 seats in the upcoming lower house election, while the polls from Asahi and Nikkei indicates LDP alone could win over 300 seats.
Moody's Investors Service have downgraded the Japanese sovereign debt over the decision of the Japanese government to postpone the planned increase of the consumption tax until April 2017. The Nikkei Asian Review reports that Moody’s decision is based on doubts whether the country can reach primary balance fiscal surplus by 2020, which was one of the main goals of the current administration.
According to the Nikkei Asian Review, effective from 1 December, the Japanese Financial Services Agency removes a number of restrictions to M&A activities for bank holding commpanies. The changes are primarily inteded to encourage consolidation of Japan's regional banks and ultimitaely a greater access to loans for small and medsize enterprises, which unlike big corportations depend primarily on banks for funding.
The Nikkei Asian Review examines the results of Abenomics so far, by comparing the progress in five areas - the Nikkei stock average, unemployment rates, GDP growth rates, conumption expenditure levels and national debt - between 2012 and 2014.
Released minutes reveal the Bank of Japan board doubts regarding the additional quantitative easing, voted 5 to 4 by the board earlier this month. Read more in the 26 November edition of the Nikkei Asian Review.
On 25 November the LDP released a document with key election policy pledges, putting focus on the economy. Even though the document sets more numerical target than the platforms of other parties, commentators point out that it does not answer some basic policy conundrums and it still remains to be seen whether the basic targets are attainable.
On 24 November, the embattled opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) announced its election manifesto with focus on reviving a wealthy middle class and reducing the wealth gap, effectively calling for a reversal of Abenomics, which the DPJ claims to have exacerbated the living conditions in the past years.
Mainichi Shinbun reports that at a meeting on 19 November, the LDP Chairman of the Research Commission on the Tax System, Takeshi Noda and Komeito’s deputy head Kazuo Kitagawa agreed on a reduced tax rate for some basic commodities, probably to be introduced together with the sales tax hike in April 2017.
In what is purportedly the first forecast for the upcoming lower house election, a Toyo Keizai article form 18 November nails the numbers for Japan’s top two parties, LDP and DPJ at 271 (from 294) and 86 (from 55) respectively, while dubbing the upcoming vote “Elections in time for a win”.