TOKYO – The Japanese government said on Tuesday that the national economy is possibly going through its longest expansion since the end of World War II, thanks mainly to the recovery of domestic demand.
This is demonstrated by preliminary economic data included in a monthly report presented Tuesday by the government, the deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso said at a press conference after attending a cabinet meeting.
Aso said that Japan in December 2018 had its 74th consecutive monthly advance, owing to the anti-deflationary measures that the government has applied in the last six years.
If data confirms that economic activity grew again in December 2018, it would be the longest expansion since the post-war period in Japan.
The Office of the Japanese Cabinet is scheduled to release the GDP data for the last quarter of 2018 on Feb. 14, but it would take about a year and a half to review all data from previous years and confirm that it is a record streak.
In its monthly report, the government maintained its assessment of the economy which continued to recover at a moderate pace as well as its assessment of domestic consumption which is going through a rebound after showing persistent signs of weakness that have slowed down growth.
The main challenge facing the Japanese economy is the difficulties in achieving the 2 percent inflation target set by the central bank, owing to insufficient rises in prices and wages, as well as the reluctance of Japanese citizens to spend more.
Taro admitted that the China-US trade conflict could also have a negative impact on the national economy, adding that Tokyo is monitoring the situation and is prepared for that eventuality.
In addition, the government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to increase of consumption tax from the current 8 percent to 10 percent in October, a measure that could be a new burden for household spending and economic growth.