• Jiji

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The government said Friday that it will launch a panel to discuss a new form of capitalism, a key policy platform of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, aiming to realize a series of measures proposed by the new leader of the country.

The panel, which is expected to hold its first meeting Oct. 26, is expected to focus on the creation of a virtuous cycle of economic growth and wealth distribution, and the development of a new society after the COVID-19 pandemic is brought under control.

Discussions at the panel will be reflected in economic measures that Kishida, who took office Oct. 4, plans to compile if the ruling bloc, led by his Liberal Democratic Party, wins the Oct. 31 general election for the House of Representatives, the all-important lower chamber of the Diet, Japan’s parliament. The panel would draw up specific measures by spring next year.

The panel, headed by Kishida, will be comprised of related ministers and 15 representatives from the private sector, including Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), the country’s biggest business lobby, Kentaro Kawabe, president of Z Holdings Corp., the parent of internet portal Yahoo Japan Corp., and Shibusawa and Co. executive Ken Shibusawa. Shibusawa is a descendant of the late Japanese industrialist Eiichi Shibusawa, a portrait of whom will be used for the country’s new ¥10,000 bill, seen to be distributed from the first half of fiscal year 2024.

Seven of the private-sector members are women, among them Tomoko Yoshino, who recently became president of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo.

Economic revitalization minister Daishiro Yamagiwa, deputy head of the panel, noted at a news conference Friday that the group will have veteran to young members with various backgrounds. “I expect the panel will have meaningful discussions,” he added.

The new panel is set to replace the growth strategy council set up in October last year under the administration of then-Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Kishida is seeking to rebuild the country’s middle class through income redistribution, in a shift from neoliberalism, which puts emphasis on competition.

The new council will specifically discuss giving tax incentives to companies raising wages and improving work conditions for caregivers and nursery workers, and strengthening the supervision of business deals involving subcontractors to better protect them.

Other agenda items are expected to include measures to help nonregular workers losing jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis find new ones and legal steps to protect freelancers.

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