Video: India’s Arc of Industry
5 hours ago
Marginalia on Japanese politics and society
I'm the Burning BushToday is six years to the day of the proposed start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The shade temperature at the site of the new main Olympic Stadium is at this hour a balmy 36ºC (97ºF for you of the U.S.A. persuasion). The temperature in the waterfront areas, where many of the Olympic venues are to be concentrated, is a brisk 35ºC (95ºF).
I'm the Burning Fire
I'm the Bleeding Volcano!
- Jagger & Richards, "She's So Cold" (1980)
It has been exactly one year since the end of the so-called "Twisted Diet" of two opposing parties, one controlling the House of Representatives and the other the House of Councillors. What has come about was an easy-to-understand failure coming at a time when the gradual trend seems to be the reappearance of the LDP of old. It would be good [for the party members] to remember their zeal during their time in opposition.
"Abe's shift in security policy will have a broader (yet minimal) impact on his national approval rating, but nuclear energy was the key issue in the Shiga gubernatorial elections, not CSD. The LDP is still the king of the land, and I suspect that future local elections will go in their favor. And with no organized or popular opposition party in sight (Mikazuki ran as an independent), Abe really doesn’t have anything to worry about."Nevertheless, there are aspects of the Shiga election Stapczynski does not mention which do have significant implications for revival of the fortunes of Japan's political opposition.
I never said that these tiny farms should be abolished. What I said was that the property taxes on farmland, particularly urban farmland, should be the same as those on other land, and that the assessments for tax purposes should be the same. What I suspect is that many of these would no longer be commercially viable without the tax break and would go out of business. If so, the farmers should be allowed to sell their land to agribusiness or even nonfarm uses.
I have as much appreciation for nature and fresh garden vegetables as the next guy, but I don’t see why the rest of taxpayers should subsidize the old farmer in your neighborhood or your food budget. If you want him to survive, pay him the price it takes to cover his costs, without getting help from other taxpayers. When I left the speech at Temple University where you heard my comments, one man came up to me and told me that, on weekends, he went out to the nearby countryside to do gardening on land owned by someone else who had become too old to use it. It was his hobby. His hobby is subsidized by other taxpayers. My dad had a vegetable garden in our backyard every year, as did many people in my small town. But none of them required the rest of the taxpayers in the town and state to subsidize his hobby.
What I also said was that, all over Japan, land use laws that make it difficult for farmers to sell their land for nonfarm purposes. They should be abolished. That way, farmers who survive only because of huge subsidies, and most of whom are part-timers anyway, could make some money by selling their land for other purposes, if they chose. As of 2010--the latest figures I have readily at hand—the ratio of abandoned farmland as of 2010 stood at 14% IN URBAN AREAS, 6% in flat farming areas, 14% in hilly farming areas, and 16% in mountainous farming areas. All of these figures are about double their levels in 1995 and will only increase as farmers age and pass away. Land that could be used for better purposes lies useless.
How does it benefit anyone to have 14% of urban farmland lying around useless, even with the tax breaks. One wonders how much would be abandoned without the tax breaks.