Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled on Friday strategies for economic growth, ranging from promoting exports of infrastructure systems and developing measures to help create startup ventures to easing tourist visa regulations to bring in more foreign visitors.
Abe discussed these goals and measures in a speech at a Tokyo hotel laying the groundwork for the Upper House election in July.
Among various promises, he pledged to double the number of full-time non-Japanese lecturers at eight national universities to 1,600 and create a fund to help more Japanese study overseas.
Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party have argued that Japan needs more people who can adapt to the global business environment and seek more opportunities for growth.
“I want to give all of the motivated and talented young Japanese people an opportunity to study abroad,” he said. “For that purpose, I will create a system to reduce the financial burden on (Japanese) students abroad in cooperation with the private sector.”
Abe said he will increase foreign tourists by easing visa requirements, in particular for people from Southeast Asian countries.
He didn’t elaborate but did mention that tourists from Thailand and Malaysia are currently required to carry a visa.
Desperate to see the LDP win the Upper House election, Abe has advocated a radical monetary-easing financial policy and appointed Haruhiko Kuroda as the governor of the Bank of Japan in April. Stock prices have surged as Kuroda advocates aggressive credit-easing operations.
But he is being pushed to hammer out measures to promote growth in the real economy as many economists remain skeptical that the effects of optimism over “Abenomics” will be sustained.
In his speech, the prime minister argued it is difficult to launch a venture in Japan because the founder of a new company is often asked to guarantee the debts of the business.
The government will draw up guidelines to separate founders’ assets from those of the company and urge lenders not to have individuals guarantee corporate debts, Abe said.
He also said the government will support companies that boldly try innovations.
For example, Abe pledged to drastically simplify the web of regulations for private companies to set up hydrogen stations on streets for fuel-cell automobiles.
“We will revise them once and for all,” he said.
Abe set a new goal to increase exports of infrastructure systems to ¥30 trillion by 2020, up from ¥10 trillion, with diplomatic efforts to help Japanese companies.
The government will help farmers more than double food exports from ¥450 billion to ¥1 trillion, he claimed.
“Finally we will have an election of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly next month, and an Upper House election in July,” he said. “Restoring a strong economy. That’s the voice of the people.”