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Abe casts wide net for growth strategies

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday called on his Cabinet members, corporate leaders and economic experts to cooperate in mapping out growth strategies to “regain a strong economy” through the combined efforts of the government and private sector.

During the first meeting of the Industrial Competitiveness Council, founded to discuss the country’s industrial growth strategies, members exchanged views on regulatory and tax reforms to create new markets around 2030 in such fields as health care, environment and energy, next-generation infrastructure and regional resources.

“Regardless of past discussions, we’ll aim to become No. 1 in the world” by boosting the competitiveness of manufacturers and other business areas, as well as grappling with the hollowing out of Japan’s industry by the stronger yen, Abe, who took office Dec. 26, said at the end of the meeting.

Growth strategies, expected to be crafted in succession by June, are among Abe’s key economic policies dubbed the “three arrows,” along with bold monetary policy and flexible fiscal spending, including large-scale public projects works.

These strategies are likely to involve measures to rehabilitate sluggish industries at home and help Japanese companies bolster their international competitiveness, in line with the campaign pledges made by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party that helped it win the Dec. 16 general election.

In future, council members also plan to discuss Japan’s potential participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade accord and corporate realignment to survive global competition.

The panel includes Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of the major business lobby Japan Association of Corporate Executives, and Keio University professor Heizo Takenaka, who previously served as economic and fiscal policy minister.