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The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a bill Tuesday to urge companies to promote realignment and capital investment during a five-year period from the current fiscal year.

The bill to enhance industrial competitiveness, aimed at facilitating the growth strategies of the Abe administration, also eases regulations to help companies pursue new strategies as long as they can ensure safety.

Under the new legislation, for example, a company can use unapproved new steel for the hydrogen tank of a fuel-cell vehicle to promote use of the car.

The bill also says investments in venture businesses, business restructuring and state-of-the-art facilities will be encouraged through tax breaks, while municipalities are urged to support the creation of new businesses in their own areas in cooperation with business operators.

The government will submit the bill to the extraordinary Diet session that started Tuesday to get it passed during the current fiscal year through March.

TPP sake tariffs

Kyodo

Farm minister Yoshimasa Hayashi indicated Tuesday he will urge other countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations to eliminate tariffs on sake.

“Whether it is a tariff or not, we will work broadly on what we need to do to promote exports of Japanese sake,” Hayashi said at a press conference.

The United States and Vietnam are among TPP countries that impose tariffs on imported Japanese sake.

Hayashi, however, declined comment on whether the tariffs levied on sake imported to Japan from other countries should be eliminated, noting the Finance Ministry is responsible for such decisions.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is aiming to double exports of farm and fishery products to ¥1 trillion by 2020.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has designated rice and sake as some of the products the government should put priority on in expanding exports.

The 12 countries in the TPP talks are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

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