Business / Economy

Government says labor investment, reform key in economic policy blueprint

Kyodo

The government proposed stepping up investment in human resources development and promoting labor reform in its overview of an economic and fiscal policy blueprint Tuesday, as the graying nation tries to boost its productivity and growth potential.

The government hopes to finalize the policy blueprint next month, which aims to address a series of challenges facing Japan such as enhancing child-rearing support, boosting sluggish consumption, revitalizing regional economies and changing work practices.

While trying to boost consumption, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is spearheading labor reform to change the country’s deep-rooted culture of overwork, putting a binding cap on overtime hours and setting rules to eliminate discrimination between regular and nonregular workers.

The final document will be used to compile a budget for fiscal 2018 starting April.

Government data show that the economy has recorded its longest growth streak since 2006, but it has been largely driven by robust demand overseas.

The country also needs to restore its tattered fiscal health.

The blueprint is not expected to call for a revision of the government’s goal of achieving a primary balance surplus in fiscal 2020, leaving the discussion to an interim target review next year.

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