In Japan, growth trend is set to be maintained in 2018, but weaken thereafter as fiscal policy will benefit from planned consumption tax increase. I revised the growth less than 1% for the next years. As I think there is only one possibility to climb at 1% on even more is the expected growth of Global Demand, obviously from Main 3 (USA, China, EU). As per the USA and China - new incentives over softening of tax burdens on corporates - expected to be aggressive using Trump's words. Thus, import is the main driver for the economy of Japan. As It is easy to overestimate the influence of imports, I would tag neutral on the economy of Japan.
I expect that Japan economy will continue to grow with growth rate approximately equals to average growth rate in 2012-2017 (Abenomics beginning). The key driver for this is export growth (machinery, chemicals, and non-ferrous metals) due to weak yen and global economy growth. Monetary situation remains healthy as well: despite recent acceleration in inflation, its forecast is still below BoJ target. However, one should note several challenges for Japan economy: 1) Near-term challenges: (1) recent strengthening of yen that increases Japanese exporters concern, (2) weakness in consumer spending due to wages decreasing, as well as new housing construction falling. 2) Fundamental long-term challenge: planned increasing of national sales tax in 2019 from 8% to 10% to cover deficit in pension system (due to Japanese demographic situation). I assume that this will lead to economic growth slowing down (as in 2014 when this tax was increased from 5% to 8%)
I think the government will continue the course of economic revival, which provides bold monetary and flexible fiscal policies, as well as structural reforms. Extension of these policies in 2018-2019 will mean that by 2020 Japan will have completed its longest period of economic recovery since the 1980s. The government will continue to implement structural reforms, however, I think it will be difficult for the country to achieve its ambitious goal of expanding the economy to $6 trn to 2021. In spite of the last weak results of private consumption and investment spending, I expect that Japan's real GDP will show stable growth averaging 1.2% a year in 2018-2022, given by the continued support of flexible fiscal policy and steady growth in external demand. In addition, in 2018-2022 I expect surplus in trade account provided by global goods export growth, restarting of more nuclear power plants, as well as increasing tourist arrivals, especially due to Olympics in 2020.
The government announced a new annual economic policy package in June, which were added economic reforms and an investment strategy for revitalization of the country. However, I don't expect that this year's plan to stimulate the economy and decrease the fiscal deficit will be achieved, due to pressure from an ageing population. Anyway if implementation of the policy would be successful, I think all growth prospects would be overlapped by increasing tensions in global commerce caused by destructive US trade policy. Therefore it's not clear for me how this year's economic results could recover Japan's economy and achieve the government's measures to stimulate growth and inflation.