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The 2014 All-Japan Research Team: Economics, No. 1: Nobuyuki Saji

< The 2014 All-Japan Research Team
Nobuyuki Saji
Mitsubishi UFJ
Morgan Stanley Securities Co.
First-Place Appearances: 13

Total Appearances: 17

Analyst Debut: 1997

Every year since 2002, as Japan has experienced episodic growth and contraction along with persistent deflation and almost continuously escalating debt, investors have deemed All-Japan Research Team Hall of Famer Nobuyuki Saji the nation’s best economist. And at 13, his total number of top finishes outstrips those of all his currently ranked peers and puts Saji alone at No. 3 on the list of all-time winningest analysts in Japan. The Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. researcher continues to be skeptical that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s proposals to revitalize the economy will work. “It is hard to exit from deflation while having significant tax increase plans,” explains the 56-year-old. Although local companies could become more competitive worldwide if the corporate tax rate is reduced as substantially as Abe wants, the consumption tax increases to 8 percent from 5 percent on April 1, Saji notes, and could reach 10 percent next October. Individual and inheritance tax rates are likewise scheduled to rise next year. So, with the household tax burden getting heavier in the run-up to nationwide local elections in spring 2015, he observes, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is “not likely to submit policies to lighten the corporate burden.” In addition, despite improved earnings at Japanese companies resulting from the yen’s weakness, Saji advises, “it is likely that the yen depreciation will raise importing costs and hinder the growth rate of the Japanese economy.” The administration’s agenda, moreover, could increase a national debt that already stands at more than twice the country’s nominal gross domestic product, he warns, encouraging people to save instead of spending. All told, he believes that the prime minister’s policies will “lead the Japanese economy to further deflation.” Saji continues to earn client loyalty because, one supporter says, he “highlights the main issues about what’s really happening and will happen globally and in Japan, from a mid- and long-term perspective.”

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