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Japan commits to digital transformation and a greener society
Shoppers on a street in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Reuters

Tokyo’s mid-year blueprint contains pledges to focus resources on the tech revolution, creating a climate-friendly future, revival of its regions and childcare support to cope with a fast-ageing population

 

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has revealed plans to accelerate investment in the country’s green projects and digital transformation, in a key statement designed to show Tokyo is looking beyond post pandemic revival.

The first mid-year blueprint for the coming fiscal year, released on Wednesday, saw a shift away from the crisis mode seen last year when the focus centred on efforts to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a step in the right direction to spend money in the most promising areas,” said Masaki Kuwahara, senior economist at Nomura Securities. “The question is, how they will follow up with concrete steps.”  

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The blueprint was presented at the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the premier’s top advisory panel comprised of ministers, ruling party lawmakers, central bank governor and private-sector advisers.

Though it does not set out specific spending recommendations, the framework serves as a backbone for this year’s economic policymaking and provides the basis for the coming fiscal year’s draft budget to be compiled in late December. It will be approved by the cabinet on June 18 after deliberations by the ruling bloc.

FISCAL TARGET

“We will aim to achieve our fiscal target including the goal to bring a primary budget surplus,” Suga told a panel meeting, adding the government also will strive to bring nationwide average minimum wage to 1,000 yen ($9.13) per hour to fix disparities.

For next year’s budget, the blueprint urged directing more resources to four areas: digital transformation, a greener society, the revival of regions and childcare support to cope with the fast-ageing population.

“We must accelerate investment that will lead to sustainable growth in a post-coronavirus era,” the blueprint showed. “We will achieve changes in socioeconomic structure by spurring bold investment and innovation at the private sector.” 

 

  • Reporting by Reuters

 

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Sean OMeara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.

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