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Abe plans to add capital investment target to growth strategy

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will tout a rare growth plan next week that sets a numerical target for private capital investment over the next three years.

While Abe’s team has been steadily issuing grand announcements, it hasn’t put much economic legislation on the table and is waiting until just before the election in July to release its official economic plans.

In his latest proposal, due out Friday, the government is looking to increase private-sector investment 10 percent over the next three years until it reaches about ¥70 trillion a year, or about the same level Japan was at before the global financial crisis struck in 2008, government officials said Saturday.

To help address the sluggish investment and achieve the target, the government will promote deregulation and tax cuts, they said.

Abe’s government will also state that it will “try its best” to reverse the trend of falling capital investment and salaries within five years through fiscal 2017, the officials said.

The growth proposals Friday will also include steps aimed at increasing exports of pop culture and increasing the number of university students studying abroad, the officials said.

Abe’s previous economic announcements have touched on medical, child-raising and employment measures.

Another set scheduled to be announced June 5 will center on the promoting private finance initiative projects and special economic zones.

Abe’s government, formed in December, is still enjoying high approval ratings. It is hoping to rush into the House of Councilors election in July by officially announcing all its growth plans in mid-June.

Among other things, the government is considering setting up a new organization designed to pump funds into the private sector to increase cultural exports, including “anime” (animated films), gaming, movies and other popular content under the Cool Japan theme.

The government of Abe, who is also keen on changing the education system and revising history, also wants to internationalize Japan’s universities by encouraging students to study abroad while helping the schools attract more foreign students.

In a related development, education minister Hakubun Shimomura announced in April a new scholarship to promote overseas study by Japanese.

The government will also seek to double farmers’ income based on a 10-year plan crafted by Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party in April.