Monday, 26 December 2011

Review of Japan's Public Finance 2011

People walking passby electronic stock trading board in Tokyo.

Display of 10,000 yen note in Money Museum in Tokyo

Even though some European countries are struggling with public debts and other economic woes, economic recovery is back on track for developed countries and emerging economies after the global economic and financial crisis started in late 2008. So does Japan. However, Japan’s government is currently facing many challenges such as budget deficit, over-expenditure, declining revenue, recent appreciation of the Yen, and deflation, which make it very difficult for the economic recovery from the world financial crisis. The change of government from Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) also complicates these crises since there is a lack of continuity, and the introduction of new strategies and reforms by the new government which, to some extent, has negative impact on overall economic activities. DPJ administration has made some reorganization of government structure and laid out some reforms on national budget and public expenditure in order to keep its promise made during the election campaign. All of these challenges by the national government have put Ministry of Finance in the forefront as there are a lot of works to do with budget making and resubmission of budget in aligning with the target set by the Cabinet. In general, Ministry of Finance play major role in financial matters and budget planning, and cooperation with major international banks in the world, such as World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB). In order to touch upon the financial issue of Japan’s government and also responsibilities of Ministry of Finance, I am going to provide my briefing and analysis on financial reforms as follows:

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Importance of Human Resource Development: A look at Education in Japan

Education is compulsory for all citizens as stated in most constitutions of all countries which recognize the importance of human resource development for socio-economic development and nation building. A nation can lack of natural resource due to its geographical location and condition, but it cannot fall short of human resources. In another word, a knowledge-based society is better than resource-rich society since the natural resources (for example, oil and gas) will be depleted due to extraction and consumption. So, it is better to invest and depend on human resource for survival and development in the future. In a national budget for a government, a specific percentage of total annual budgets are allocated for education sector and the government has to make sure that such amount of money is used efficiently and effectively according to national education plan and strategy. 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Understanding the Principles of International Relations

Photo courtesy of Gala Diner in the evening of 20th November 2012, Diamond Island, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

I. Realism and Liberalism

Realism and liberalism have been the two main dominant ideologies of international politics. Now the two theories have received more strength in the contemporary world, especially in the 21st century. Realism and liberalism have their own features as follows:

In realism, states are the central factor in international politics in which anarchic system exists and one can control or is above states. Military capability and use of force is pursued in conducting foreign policies and states must be self-help to solve their own problem and to achieve and maximize its national interest. So, power and national interest are the central values to be considered first by statesmen in engaging with other states which can or cannot pose threat to each other in pursuing their own ends. In realist’s view, these ends can be achieved through cooperation, but there is potential for conflict.