The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday it has finalized a strategy document that it believes will help Japan achieve real economic growth of 2.2 percent on average between fiscal 2004 and 2015.
The strategy is aimed at maintaining economic growth as the population ages, by improving Japan’s international competitiveness and rejuvenating regional economies.
The blueprint will form the basis for a broader growth policy package to be drawn up this month by the government and the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito.
METI officials said the broader government plan, which will be reflected in the economic and fiscal policy guidelines for this year, will be “one of the two wheels” that keep the economy rolling, along with an overhaul of taxation and spending aimed at shoring up the country’s debt-ridden finances. The guidelines are due out in July.
Taizo Nishimuro, head of METI’s New Growth Policy Committee, called the debate on fiscal reforms, including a consumption tax hike, “rather backward-looking,” but said the growth strategy is needed to create a “a dream for the future.”
“For the Japanese economy, just implementing fiscal reforms is not enough. We would like to push the growth strategy,” he said. Nishimuro serves as an adviser to Toshiba Corp. and is chairman and president of Tokyo Stock Exchange Inc.
To enhance Japan’s competitiveness, the long-term economic growth strategy calls for boosting an “innovation superhighway,” under which strategic research areas will receive financial, personnel and technological support.
It calls on Japan to create world-leading industries in such areas as robotics, fuel cells and medical equipment and technology.
In order to revitalize regional economies, the paper also calls for 40,000 new projects over five years, based on the government’s “industrial cluster policy,” which seeks to foster networks between local businesses and academic institutions.
The document urges productivity enhancements in the service sector, which continues to lag behind those of the U.S. and Europe, through wider use of information technology.
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