Policy draft calls for vigorous pursuit of FTAs

Kyodo

The government hopes to boost trade with nations with which Japan has a free-trade accord to about 80 percent of the total by fiscal 2020, up from 18.6 percent in 2011, according to the draft of a long-term strategy to reinvigorate the country.

The draft’s wish list also states the government’s plans to end persistent deflation in the near future while focusing on strengthening environmental-, medical- and nursing care-related industries.

The government plans to include funding for these and other goals under the strategy in the fiscal 2013 budget. The National Strategy Council, headed by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, is expected to formalize the revitalization blueprint in August.

Under the long-term strategy, the government will promote economic partnerships, as Japan’s graying society makes strong growth in domestic demand unlikely.

Japan will advance negotiations to form FTAs with countries such as South Korea and Australia to establish the government’s envisioned Free-Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, the draft says.

The government also aims to launch FTA negotiations with the European Union in the near future while continuing preliminary talks with countries involved in negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership with an eye toward Japan’s eventual participation, it said.

To strengthen Japanese businesses related to environmentally friendly technologies, the government plans to promote the diffusion of storage batteries, according to the draft.