作者の連絡先⇒ monoshirin@gmail.com


The yen is depreciating rapidly. This is a side effect of the Shinzo Abe's ``Abenomics.''


I will explain the side effects in a separate article at a later date. This time, I will explain ``Sonotanomics'', which was created to cover up the failure of ``Abenomics''.



Sonotanomics refers to the suspicious statistical manipulation that took place during the December 2016 GDP revision.

On December 8, 2016, the Japanese government changed the method of calculating GDP and revised all GDP since 1994.

This revision emphasized compliance with the 2008 SNA, the international GDP calculation standard.

Previously, Japan's GDP was calculated based on the 1993SNA, but it was changed to the 2008SNA.

The government emphasized that this change would increase nominal GDP by about 20 trillion yen compared to before, as research and development expenses would be added.

However, what is more important is that an abnormal adjustment was made to the ``Other'' item, which has nothing to do with the 2008 SNA.

Others is called "sonota" in Japanese. That's why I named this adjustment of numbers "Sonotanomics."

Let me emphasize once again that this "Other" item has nothing to do with the 2008SNA and is unique to Japan.

Now, let's check how much the numbers have changed due to the GDP revision.

This graph is before revision. The nominal GDP in 2015 was 20.7 trillion yen different from the previous record high in 1997.

Data source

However, the difference after the revision was only 0.9 trillion yen, as shown in the graph below. In other words, the figures for 2015 have almost caught up with the all-time high of 1997.

Data source

After that, as shown in the following graph, it reached a new all-time high in fiscal 2016, and continued to update its highest value until fiscal 2019, before the outbreak of COVID-19 (for fiscal 2015 and earlier, Figure 2 shows There is a slight deviation from the figures immediately after the revision. This is likely due to minor corrections to the figures.)

Data source

Without the GDP revision, it would not have been possible to reach a new all-time high. History has changed.

Now, let's take a look at this graph that shows the difference between GDP before the revision and GDP after the revision.

The amount of increase is most noticeable After the start of Abenomics. For example, the 31.6 trillion yen increase in fiscal year 2015 is 1.5 times the amount just before Abenomics (2012).


And if you look at the 1990s, all increases were low. The lowest figure was 6.8 trillion yen in 1994. This is abnormally low compared to 31.6 trillion yen in 2015.

The Japanese government has released the table below showing the breakdown of this difference.

Data source

Broadly speaking, there are two reasons: (1) due to 2008 SNA compliance, and (2) other factors.

For the 2008SNA compatible part, the breakdown is written in detail, but for the rest there is only one line. In other words, the more detailed breakdown of "other" is unknown.

First, let's look at the amount of increase in the portion corresponding to 2008SNA.

Even though the revision was made based on the same standards, the amount of the increase has been steadily increasing.This is also very unnatural, but the "other" part is even more unnatural. As shown in the following graph.

In this way, only the figures after the start of Abenomics have been rapidly inflated. The average increase since the start of Abenomics has been 5.6 trillion yen.

On the other hand, the figures for the 1990s are all negative, with the average being minus 3.6 trillion yen.

In this way, GDP in the 1990s was significantly reduced, and only GDP after the start of Abenomics was significantly inflated.

This strange adjustment of numbers is called "Sonotanomics."

The magnitude of the impact of "Sonotanomics" can be clearly seen by subtracting "Other" from the revised figures. This is the following graph.

In this way, if we subtract "others," the GDP in fiscal 2015 is far from the GDP in fiscal 1997. The difference is 13.4 trillion yen.

It can be seen that the 2015 GDP has almost caught up with the 1997 GDP due to the large adjustment in the figures for ``Other''.

Japan's nominal GDP was generally higher in the 1990s, and the nominal GDP in 1997 was the highest ever.

That nominal GDP in the 1990s was significantly reduced by "Sonotanomics," but after the start of Abenomics, nominal GDP was inflated.

As a result, nominal GDP reached a new all-time high in 2016.

By the way, where in nominal GDP was the amount inflated by "Sonotanomics" allocated?

More than half of Japan's nominal GDP is private final consumption expenditure. This is the sum of private consumption expenditure in Japan.

Regarding this nominal private final consumption expenditure, let's look at a graph that shows the difference between the figures before and after the revision and the amount inflated by Sonotanomics.

In this way, only after the start of Abenomics, the results have been almost the same for three consecutive years.

Therefore, the inflated numbers in Sonotanomics appear to have been allocated to private final consumption expenditures.

Private final consumption expenditure was a figure that symbolized the failure of Abenomics.

Before the revision, real private final consumption expenditure, excluding the effects of price fluctuations, had fallen for two consecutive years from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2015. This was the first abnormal situation since the Pacific War.

Data source

This is due to the consumption tax increase in fiscal 2014, as well as the rapid depreciation of the yen due to Abenomics.


Real wages plummeted because nominal wages could not keep up with the rise in prices. Let's take a look at its progress.



This is an index of nominal wages, real wages, and consumer prices, with 2012 (just before the start of Abenomics) set at 100.


Data source wage

Data source CPI

This sharp decline in real wages directly led to a decline in consumption, and real private final consumption expenditure fell for the second consecutive year.


This drop in real private final consumption expenditure had a major impact, and real GDP in FY2015 was lower than that of FY2013. The phenomenon of "real GDP falling below that of two years prior" was also the first abnormal situation since the Pacific War.


However, when looking at the revised real private final consumption expenditures, the figures for fiscal 2015 exceeded those for fiscal 2014, and the abnormal phenomenon of ``a decline for two consecutive years'' has disappeared.

Data source


And the phenomenon of "real GDP falling below that of two years ago" has also disappeared.



The growth rate was also inflated. Before the revision, the average annual growth rate of nominal GDP in the three fiscal years since the start of Abenomics was about 1.8%. After the revision, it became about 2.5%.

If this growth rate is maintained, nominal GDP will reach 600 trillion yen in fiscal 2020. (532.2×1.025×1.025×1.025×1.025×1.025≒602.2)

Mr. Abe has publicly announced his goal of ``achieving a nominal GDP of 600 trillion yen by fiscal 2020.''

This GDP revision appears to be tailored to Mr. Abe's goals.

However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the nominal GDP of 600 trillion yen has not yet been achieved.

Regarding the breakdown of ``Others'', ``numbers close to the breakdown'' were released more than a year after the GDP revision.

Data source

Even if the published numbers are added up, they do not add up to "other." Therefore, it is just a figure that is "close to the breakdown."

According to the Japanese government, the reason the numbers do not match is that it is difficult to isolate the exact factors behind the revision.

However, there is no explanation as to why the rate has increased significantly only after the start of Abenomics, and on the contrary, it has decreased significantly in the 1990s.

After that, GDP was revised again in December 2020. Let's compare GDP before the 2016 revision, GDP after the 2016 revision, and GDP after the 2020 revision.

Data source befor rivision

Data source 2016 rivision

Data source 2020 rivision

Looking at the figures for 2015, the nominal GDP before the 2016 revision was only 500.6 trillion yen, but after two revisions, it has increased by 40.1 trillion yen to 540.6 trillion yen.


Looking at real private final consumption expenditure, the approximately 306 trillion yen in fiscal 2013 is still the highest. Since then, the stock has continued to be unable to reach new highs for ten years.

The last four years have been affected by the covid-19 pandemic. However, for the six years prior to that, real private final consumption expenditures had not reached a new high.

This was the first time since the Pacific War that Japan had not been able to update its real private final consumption expenditure for six years. In other words, the worst consumption stagnation since the war had occurred.

And this number is after being greatly inflated by "Sonotanomics". There is no doubt that the numbers would have been even worse if they had not been raised.

Is Japan's currently published GDP reliable?


In addition, in the most recent fiscal year 2023, both nominal GDP and real GDP are set to reach "all-time highs."


In October 2017, I published "Give my regard to Abenomics,'' which discussed the problems with Abenomics, and in it I pointed out Sonotanomics.


Incidentally, before this book was published, the editor in charge asked the government whether there was a breakdown of "other."



The government's response at that time was that there was "no breakdown."



However, as I mentioned earlier, the government subsequently released "figures that are close to the breakdown."



In fact, shortly before this announcement, I had been scheduled to appear on a certain BS broadcast program to talk about "sonotanomics." However, the recording of the program was postponed at the last minute, and in the meantime the "figures that are close to the breakdown" were released. The recording of the program was done after that.



The announcement was made almost as if it was timed to coincide with my appearance on the program.


When the government's statistical fraud became a hot topic in 2019, the opposition parties also took notice of Sonotanomics, and Diet member Yamai submitted a questionnaire to the government on March 20, 2019.

Section 2 of this questionnaire contains the following:

Quote source

[With regard to "Others," there has been a significant increase only since 2013 (Abenomics) (an average of +5.6 trillion yen), and in the 1990s, on the contrary, there has been a significant decrease (an average of -3.8 trillion yen). There is no explanation, but please provide the government's opinion as to why there is such a large difference. ]

The government's response to this was as follows.

[It is difficult to answer your question because it is not clear what you mean by "significant increase in height" and "significant decrease in height," but the supplementary material explains the main factors of "other" you pointed out. This is where it is explained. ]

This answer does not answer the question, ``Why did it increase significantly only after Abenomics, but conversely was it significantly lowered in the 1990s?''

The ``supplementary materials'' that the government refers to are the ``numbers that are close to the breakdown'' that I pointed out earlier. The document also does not explain the reason for the large difference.


In other words, the government did not answer the reason for the large difference between post-Abenomics and the 1990s.

In this way, Sonotanomics is an issue that was also pursued in the Japanese Diet.

I myself was called to the Diet as a public speaker and pointed out the problems. This is the video from that time.


However, in that year's Diet session, the issue of wage increases was the main focus, not Sonotanomics.

Simply put, this is a problem in which the government changed the calculation method so that wages would be calculated higher, and then connected it to past figures, making it appear that wages had skyrocketed.

Normally, when a calculation method is changed, revisions are made going back several years to maintain continuity with past numbers. However, the government did not do this intentionally when making the changes in 2018.

As a result, nominal wages increased by 1.4% in just one year in 2018, compared to only 1.4% in the five years from 2013 to 2017. This was a five-year increase in just one year. This does not reflect the reality at all.

In cooperation with opposition members, I attempted to pursue the Sonotanomics issue using the wage increase issue as a prelude, but due to the limited time available for deliberations in the Diet, I was unable to fully pursue the issue.

After that, Sonotanomics was never brought up in Congress again. This was probably due to the fact that Covid-19 countermeasures were prioritized.

I will once again show the graph of the adjustment amount for "Other".

This is clearly an odd adjustment to the numbers, but as far as I know this issue has never been brought up in any major Japanese media.

I decided to write this article in English because I thought that overseas media might be interested in Sonotanomics.

Japan's major media cannot be expected to report on this issue. This is because they avoid reporting that would displease the government.

In addition to Sonotanomics, other Japanese statistics are also subject to suspicious manipulation. The same goes for the issue of wage increases that I pointed out earlier. These are just some of the many problems surrounding Japan's statistics.


According to a report by Representative Ogawa at the House of Representatives Budget Committee on February 18, 2019, since Mr. Abe became prime minister for the second time, a total of 53 statistical methods have been revised, of which 38 have an impact on GDP.


Quote source


It is a common phenomenon for companies facing bankruptcy to falsify their financial results, and this country appears to be doing the same.




Click here for an explanation of the side effects of Abenomics