(HARA Eiji, PPPC President)
While the media are full of reports regarding the Cabinet reshuffle, the more important question is what kind of challenges will a new Cabinet will cope with.
Prime Minister Abe’s intension seems to be going back to the economic policy in this autumn while setting aside national security legislation until the next ordinary Diet session.
There are a bunch of challenges in economic policy. The revised growth strategy released in this June announced basic ideas in corporate tax reduction, GPIF, JA reform, etc., which caused applausive reactions by the media. It indeed stepped into particulars compared to the last year’s edition which merely entailed general remarks, however, specific rates of corporate tax are to be discussed hereafter. Likewise, regarding the JA reform, which is only a part of tasks in Japan’s agriculture, any specific plans are to be discussed in the future; for example, the strategy did not touch upon the longstanding goal of private company’s entry into agriculture. In short, the revised growth strategy in June is still immature both in terms of completeness in individual policy area and inclusiveness as a whole, and its sequence simply depends on future efforts to expand and deepen the discussions.
Meanwhile, some government officials say this autumn’s most urgent political task is the local revitalization. Needless to say, it is important to deliver the positive results of Abenomics to every local economy. Yet, there indeed is a possibility that the politics gets back to the traditional, budget-allocative style under the slogan of “local revitalization” while leaving behind such demanding challenges as regulatory reforms or tax reforms.
So, let us note below a list of economic policy challenges the Cabinet should tackle after this autumn.
l What do with the consumption tax (hike to 10%)
l Tax rate of corporate tax reduction
l Others (expansion of tax measures on contribution, women’s promotion, tax imposition on assets, etc.)
2. Regulatory reforms
l Employment, foreigners
l Agriculture, forestry, fishery
l Medical care, nursing care, nursery school
l Infrastructure (transport, water, energy, etc.)
3. Framework on companies and others
l Enhancement on corporate governance (regulation on mutual-funding, etc.)
l GPIF reform
l Relooking on bankruptcy legislation
l Relooking on monetary-supervision administration
l Relooking on support policy to mid- and small-sized enterprises
4. Utilization of infrastructure, private entry into governmentally-undertaken business
l Airport, road, water
l Privately-managed public school
l National forest, fishery license, radio license, etc.
5. Energy policy
l Electricity reform, gas reform
l Reconstruction of energy strategy including nuclear power
6. Social security reform
l Effective delivery of medical care, nursery care and nursing services (overlapping with regulatory reform)
l Relooking toward sustainable delivery
7. National Strategic Special Zones, decentralization
l Local experiments to advance efforts in the fields listed above (NSSZ)
l (in eye of) transference of authority and tax/financial source to local governments