Japan's Suga vows stimulus package focusing on green, digital innovation

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective mask walks past the headquarters of the Bank of Japan amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan, May 22, 2020.REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged on Friday to compile a stimulus package focused on pulling the economy out of a pandemic-induced slump through green investment and digital innovation.

“We are looking into a package sufficient to underpin an economic recovery while achieving a digitalised, carbon-neutral post-pandemic society,” Suga said during a meeting of the government’s top economic council.

Suga did not offer any details on how big the stimulus package could be.

Members of the private-sector participating in the meeting called for spending big enough to prevent economic conditions from worsening further.

“The government shouldn’t be bound by precedents. It must deploy all budgetary, tax and deregulation means available to boost growth,” the members said in a written proposal presented to the council’s meeting.

They also expressed hope that the Bank of Japan would take appropriate action to cushion the economy from the impact of the pandemic.

The members proposed creating a large-scale fund to help firms that invest in digitalisation and carbon-neutral technology.

The private members’ proposals tend to lay the groundwork for discussions on the government’s economic policy.

Japan’s ruling party will also urge the government to lay out a big spending programme to promote green investment, a draft proposal obtained by Reuters showed.

Reporting by Leika Kihara and Takaya Yamaguchi; editing by John Stonestreet & Simon Cameron-Moore