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Abenonomics led to fund loss

Updated: 2016-08-02 07:20
(China Daily)

Abenonomics led to fund loss

People rally during a protest denouncing the policies of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Japan, June 5, 2016. The placards read: "Citizen change politics." [Photo/Agencies]

On Friday, the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund publicized its 2015 financial year report, which showed a 3.8 percent loss of 5.3 trillion Japanese yen ($51.2 billion). Both the media and opposition political parties blamed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the loss because it was his idea to increase the percentage of the fund invested in the stock market.

In 2014, when Abe made the decision for the fund to double its investments in both the domestic and overseas equity markets and cut its investment in the securities market, there was wide opposition, yet he insisted on going ahead with his decision.

Japan's pension system did need changes because of the country's accelerated aging. An official survey in 2015 found that 26.7 percent of the Japanese population is more than 65 years old, the highest among all industrialized countries.

But investing the pension fund in the equity market was not the only option; other measures include delayed retirement and subsidizing the pension fund with government money. The equity market is a risky choice since it depends on the prosperity of the economy.

The fact that Abe decided to put more of the pension fund in the equity market shows he was rather confident in his administration's economic policy, the so-called Abenomics, and believed it would revive the Japanese economy. It is good to have confident politicians, but if the fate of the incomes of tens of millions of elderly people depend on confidence yet to be proved justifies that it is a risk for the whole nation.

Having suffered losses in 2015, the pension fund still maintains a favorable balance because of the profits it made in 2014. But there is no sign of the Japanese economy reviving in the near future.

If Abe continues taking radical, risky measures, he will pay a heavier price for his over-confidence in the future.--Beijing News

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