'Emergency reform period'

Three-year investment push planned

Kyodo

The coming three years will be an “intensive investment-prompting period” to accelerate an economic growth strategy aimed at conquering nearly two decades of deflationary recession, the government said Wednesday.

In the outline of the growth strategy, presented by economic and fiscal policy minister Akira Amari earlier in the day, the government also deemed the next five years an “emergency structural reform period,” pledging to bring about industrial reorganization by taking such steps as promoting labor market flexibility.

After a meeting of the industrial competitiveness council, which has been discussing the strategy, Amari told reporters that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration will present a rough draft of the strategy at the next gathering of the panel, scheduled for next week.

The growth strategy, one of the “three arrows” of Abe’s economic policies, dubbed “Abenomics,” along with drastic monetary easing and massive fiscal spending, will be adopted by the Cabinet in mid-June, with the aim of activating the economy through private investment and achieving wage hikes and higher employment.

Amari said the strategy has been “80 percent” completed, but he added the government “will continue to discuss some areas,” including agriculture and employment rules, as private-sector members of the panel, such as academics and company executives, have called for more sweeping deregulation.

According to the outline, the government will try to encourage private investment during the three-year period by providing state support to growing industries and promoting deregulation in those areas.

Abe’s government plans to create a gauge to assess progress of key policies in the strategy for three years from fiscal 2013. It will also present another plan on how Japan will bolster growth of the four promising areas through 2030 — health and fitness services, next-generation infrastructure, energy, and regional resources.

Aiming to spur the economy by boosting investment and attracting foreign businesses to Japan, the growth strategy calls on the government to introduce special zones, in which management of public facilities, such as airports, are opened to the private sector.

For the exploitation of new markets, Abe’s administration decided to support scientific research, while focusing on greater fluidity in the labor market.

In addition, there will be a focus on fostering human resources capable of operating effectively overseas and creating better working conditions for women.

As Abe is eager to become the top salesman of Japanese state-of-the-art technologies and products, his government will aim to triple exports of infrastructure-related business to ¥30 trillion by 2020.

The government also promised to expand free-trade agreements and take steps to help increase exports of “anime,” music and other popular culture under the theme of “Cool Japan.”