Japan PM sets targets in latest growth strategy tranche

TOKYO Fri May 17, 2013 5:55am EDT

TOKYO May 17 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, unveiling the latest tranche of his growth strategy on Friday, set targets to triple infrastructure exports, double sales of agriculture products overseas and boost private-sector investment to the level seen before the 2008 financial crisis.

Measures to promote growth constitute what Abe calls the "third arrow" in his quiver as the government battles to end 15 years of deflation and jolt the long-sluggish economy back to robust growth. The first two arrows of "Abenomics" are massive monetary easing and a burst of stimulative government spending.

Abe has promised to make structural reform and deregulation a key part of his growth strategy. But the package of steps, to be unveiled in June, also includes a significant role for government in generating investment and innovation in key sectors, a stance some critics see as outdated and ill-advised.

The monetary and fiscal stimulus has already sparked Japan's fastest economic growth in a year in the first quarter, but corporate investment has yet to follow suit.

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