Dec 21, 2016 09:32 PM EST

Abenomics' Misunderstood By Critics: Japanese Employment Has Dropped; Foreign Agricultural Workers Needed

By JC Santos

Economists are split over the successes and failures of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics." Critics argue that the combination of fiscal stimulus, structural reforms and quantitative monetary easing did not meet the target 2% inflation target. Supporters said "Abenomics" has heightened Japanese employment to the point the country needs foreign agricultural workers for rice production.

According to Forbes, written by Waseda University Economics Professor Masazumi Wakatabe, recent attacks on Shinzo Abe's economic policies only highlights Bank of Japan's failure to increase the Japanese inflation rate to 2 percent. Professor Wakatabe said the issue had to do with the consumption tax hike in 2014, leading "Abenomics" expert and former Yale University economics professor Koichi Yamada to improve fiscal policy to attain balance.

Professor Wakatabe highlights employment figures as an upside to "Abenomics." Japan's unemployment rate has dropped to 3% last October 2016 adding a further 1.7 million jobs to 2013's 62.8 million increasing it to an estimated 64.5 million by the end of 2016's third quarter. The professor said the good employment rate in the country has also reduced suicide rates from 27,283 in 2013 to only 24,025 in 2016.

Japan's high rate of employment has created deficiencies in the agricultural sector. As most Japanese trade focuses on manufacturing, trading and the services sector, the Japanese government will allow skilled non-Japanese workers in its agricultural sector in special economic zones.

According to Japan Times, applicants can expect strict criteria. They must be university graduates with degrees focused on agriculture in their own countries and learn the Japanese local dialect Nihonggo. While the Japanese government intends to use the program to address deficiencies, critics view it as outsourcing cheap labor from other countries as Japan itself is controversial in taking care of migrant workers.

The inability to meet the target 2 percent inflation is due to the Bank of Japan's introduction of negative interest rates a few years ago. The additional 0.1 percent fee would urge banks with large cash reserves that are idle to lend more to investors and borrowers in the country -- a move which has yet to see success.

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