* Written by Eiji HARA, PPPC President
The ordinary session of the Diet has opened. Prime Minister Shinzo
Abe has called the session as “Diet to Realize Positive Cycle,” but
its substance is yet known so far.
Although Abe’s economic policy called “Abenomics” made a splendid
rocket-start in early 2013, it has idled since sometime around
The “Japan Revitalization Strategy” released in June was criticized
as lacking concrete action plans. Subsequently after the Upper House
election in summer, although it was expected that the Cabinet would
start putting the growth strategy into practices, the progress therein
has not been smooth at all, unfortunately. While the Cabinet called
the extraordinary session in autumn as “Diet to Implement Growth
Strategy,” publicly it was dominated by the special intelligence
protection act alone. In relation with the growth strategy, the
Cabinet released a group of;
・Inadequate legislation: e.g., bill to revise corporation act with
regard to outside board members (carried over to the ordinary
・Legislation adverse to reforms: ban on internet sales of medicines,
reregulation on taxi business, etc.
Also, with regard to the issue of civil service reform, though it is
not often regarded as part of the growth strategy but indeed forming a
basis of various structural and regulatory reforms, completely
inadequate plans or even adverse-reform bills were proposed to the
last extraordinary Diet session (carried over to the ordinary session).
Under such circumstances, while the question is whether and how the
Cabinet will regain momentum for the growth strategy this time, there
seems to be no key legislation that can be trump card among which are
scheduled to be proposed for that aim.
One of the very few hope is the National Strategic Special Zone
enacted in the last ordinary session; one of the few fruitful results
in the autumn Diet. Prime Minister Abe announced at Davos Convention
that he would drill through the country’s “bedrock” regulation with
the Special Zone in the coming two years; we might be able to rely on
this tool if Abe really means to tackle with such remaining “bedrocks”
within two years or so.
Nevertheless, in spite of Abe’s boastful remark, there seems to be no
schedule of submitting additional bill with regard to the Special Zone
to the ordinary Diet session at this moment.
It is far from worth calling as “Diet to Realize Positive Cycle.”
Public Policy Planning & Consulting Co. (SEISAKU-KOUBOU) is a public policy consulting firm based in Tokyo, covering broad policy areas such as economic policy, fiscal policy, regulatory policy, administrative reform, international trade and investment, etc.
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