Corporate tax breaks floated to aid growth

Kyodo

Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Wednesday proposed measures including corporate tax breaks to exploit new markets in a bid to bolster private investment and escape from chronic deflation, according to government officials.

During a meeting of the industrial competitiveness council that was closed to the media, Motegi also proposed that the government promote business restructuring and pledged to draw up a bill to implement the measures as a centerpiece of the government’s growth strategy scheduled to be finalized in mid-June, they said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Japan will set a target for boosting total business investment by 10 percent over the next three years to bring it up to around ¥70 trillion each year, equivalent to the level seen prior to the 2008 global financial crisis.

Abe’s administration, formed Dec. 26, will submit the bill to an extraordinary Diet session slated for this fall at the earliest, the officials said.

“We’ll make efforts to create a virtuous cycle, where robust investment and improvement in productivity lead to increased national income,” Abe said at the end of the meeting of the key government panel that has been discussing the growth strategy. The prime minister’s remarks were open to the media.

The growth strategy is one of the “three arrows” of economic policies, dubbed “Abenomics,” to pull Japan’s economy out of nearly two decades of deflationary recession, along with aggressive monetary easing and large-scale public works projects.

Motegi proposed that the government support a system under which entrepreneurs are exempted from the burden of securing personal guarantees when they try to obtain initial funding, the officials said.

The economy minister also called for the launch of a “clean-energy finance system,” which would enable households and smaller companies to install solar panels and storage batteries without any initial cost, they said.

The council, meanwhile, invited Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose to exchange views on “special economic zones,” which Abe’s government plans to establish in the country’s three main metropolitan areas, in an attempt to attract foreign firms and human resources.