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Abe meets visiting U.S. investor Soros as he seeks new ideas for Abenomics

Kyodo

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met U.S. investor George Soros and British economic and financial thinker Adair Turner in Tokyo on Friday, having indicated in speeches earlier this week he wants to find fresh ways to try his Abenomics program this year.

The fiscal spending under Abenomics, which is designed to pull Japan out of a two-decade deflationary trend, faces constraints as the country takes on ballooning debts to cover social security for its rapidly graying population.

Soros and Turner are among proponents of the idea that central banks in economies like Japan’s could directly purchase government bonds to effectively finance fiscal stimulus — a concept often called “helicopter money.”

According to Yoichi Funahashi, who was present at the roughly 30-minute meeting, Soros has also held meetings with Finance Minister Taro Aso and Bank of Japan Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda during his trip. Funahashi leads the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a Tokyo-based think tank.

Turner chaired Britain’s Financial Services Authority from 2008 until it was split up in 2013 in the wake of the global financial crisis. He is now part of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a think tank set up by Soros.