60 more deregulated zones OK’d

The government has approved the creation of 60 more special economic zones subject to preferential deregulatory treatment, including seven zones where English-language education will be promoted.

This brings the number of deregulated special economic zones to 117; the government approved the establishment of 57 zones in the first round in late April.

The government will issue related certificates Friday, officials said.

Among the new zones, the Niiza Municipal Government in Saitama Prefecture plans to offer English conversation education at all public elementary and junior high schools.

Sixteen zones were approved for corporations to engage in agricultural operations on leased farmland.

A planned government panel, which may be formed this summer, will evaluate progress in each special economic zone to determine which deregulatory measures should be applied nationwide and which zones should be terminated or allowed to remain, the officials said.

The government has received applications from 111 prefectural and municipal authorities seeking to set up 129 special economic zones.