Last week on January 19, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave an address at
the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s convention held in Tokyo. Abe’s
speech spent most of the time on economic measures and stressed the
achievements of “Abenomics”, not mentioning his longstanding
policies of revising the pacifist Constitution and lifting Japan’s
self-imposing ban on the right to exercise collective self-defense.
Abe then emphasized his determination toward a strong economy.
Since the consumption tax rate is going to be hiked to 8% from this
April, Abe would like to prevent possible negative impacts of the
tax-hike on the nascent Japanese economy. For that purpose, the 5.46
trillion yen of supplementary budget for this fiscal year to provide
financial backgrounds to the economic stimulus package will be
submitted to the ordinary Diet session convening on January 24, in
line with the 95.88 trillion yen of initial budget for FY 2014. The
Cabinet and ruling camp plan to enter discussions on the supplementary
budget in the Lower House’s Budget Committee as early as on January
31. The Cabinet’s scenario is to pass the initial FY 2014 budget by
March subsequently. Also, Abe will keep requesting the economic world
to raise wages.
The meeting of the Industrial Competitiveness Council held on January
20 compiled basic guideline for revisions on the growth strategy
scheduled in June. Abe instructed that the Industrial Competitiveness
Council and the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy will jointly
elaborate the policy by setting common thematic strategies in revising
the growth strategy.
The basic guideline entails a corporate tax reduction that Abe has
insisted, as well as reforms on the agricultural cooperative
association and medical corporations. It also emphasized active
promotion of women, in particular, setting targets of female
executives and managing directors in private companies, providing
subsidies to corporations that fulfilled the targets, and eradication
of waiting lists for child-rearing nursery facilities. Furthermore,
the government will likely start considerations on expansion of
reception of foreign professional workers like nurses and extension of
their working terms, as well as revisions to tax-deduction and pension
Prime Minister Abe schedules to attend the annual meeting of the
World Economic Forum (Davos Convention) on January 21-23, and to give
an address at the opening session on 22 to explain basic ideas and
concrete plans on his growth strategy.