Japan likely to revise proposed budget due to wage-data errors

Labor ministry officials have admitted issuing monthly wage data without meeting sampling standards for years. (AFP)
Updated 11 January 2019
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Japan likely to revise proposed budget due to wage-data errors

  • The data error has caused the ministry to underestimate payments made under Japan’s employment insurance program
  • Labor ministry officials admitted issuing monthly wage data without meeting sampling standards for years

TOKYO: Japan’s government is likely to revise its budget draft for the next fiscal year to pay for a shortfall of employment insurance benefits caused by errors in the country’s wage data, Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Friday.
The likely budget revision — a rare move — would follow the revelation that the labor ministry miscalculated workers’ average wages for years.
The data error has caused the ministry to underestimate payments made under Japan’s employment insurance program, which includes unemployment benefits, and another insurance covering compensation for workplace accidents.
Labor ministry officials admitted on Wednesday that they have issued monthly wage data without meeting sampling standards for years, hurting the credibility of a key gauge of the success of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies.
“Economic indicators provide the basis for decision on fiscal and economic policies and they must always be accurate,” Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting. “It’s very regrettable that the wages data will be recompiled.”
Aso said the wage data flaw has caused the labor ministry to underestimate benefits for employment insurance and workpeople’s accident insurance. As a result, it needs to pay for additional benefits to make up for past shortfalls by adding necessary funds to the budget for the fiscal year to begin April 1.
“It’s highly likely that the budget draft will be revised,” Aso said, adding that the amount of extra spending has not been fixed yet.
In compiling the monthly data, which covers some 33,000 firms with five or more full-time employees, the labor ministry is supposed to collect samples from all the companies that employ 500 or more workers.
But it turned out that the data sampling failed to cover two-thirds of some 1,400 businesses in Tokyo for an unspecified period of time, ministry officials said. Domestic media reported the sampling error extends back for 15 years.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday the government would examine all economic indicators.
The budget draft was compiled in December and was due to be sent to the parliament later this month for approval before April 1.
Abe’s cabinet last month approved a record ¥101.5 trillion ($937.12 billion) annual budget draft, featuring spending to offset the pain of a planned sales tax hike scheduled for October.


China’s Huawei books record sales in its smartphone business

Updated 24 January 2019
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China’s Huawei books record sales in its smartphone business

  • Huawei last month flagged that total revenue in 2018 rose 21 percent to $109 billion without providing a breakdown of segment performance
  • Some countries such as the United States and its allies, including Australia and New Zealand, have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets

BEIJING/HONG KONG: China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. said on Thursday its consumer business sales exceeded a record $52 billion in 2018, on strong demand for its premium smartphones, even as it continued to face heightened global scrutiny of its activities.
The jump of around 50 percent in the technology giant’s consumer business revenue saw that unit replace its carrier business as its largest segment by sales, Richard Yu, the head of the consumer division, said in Beijing.
Huawei last month flagged that total revenue in 2018 rose 21 percent to $109 billion without providing a breakdown of segment performance.
Huawei on Thursday also unveiled its first 5G base station chipset called Tiangang as well as its 5G modem Balong 5000, which it described as the most powerful 5G modem in the world.
Yu said it was the world’s first 5G modem that fully supports both Non-Standalone (NSA) and Standalone (SA) 5G network architecture.
The firm has been using its chipsets in its high-end phones and server products, though it has said it has no intention to become a standalone semiconductor vendor that competes against the likes of Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc.
Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has been facing intense scrutiny in the past year over its relationship with China’s government and US-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for spying. The firm has repeatedly denied the accusations.
Some countries such as the United States and its allies, including Australia and New Zealand, have restricted Huawei’s access to their markets.
The firm’s finance chief Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, also daughter of its founder, was arrested in Canada last month at the behest of the United States.
She has been released on bail but is still in Canada as the United States pursues her extradition on allegations she defrauded banks with Iran-related sanctions. Huawei has denied wrongdoing.