TOKYO (Reuters) - Following are key economic policy proposals that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to unveil around June 27. They are from an outline of basic macroeconomic policies released by the government on Monday and a draft of a “growth strategy” of structural reforms, seen by Reuters.
- Commits to “corporate tax reform” without specifying a cut in the tax rate. Abe has vowed to cut the rate, among the highest in the world, but the outline indicates the issue remains under discussion by officials as fiscal hawks seek other revenue to offset the cut.
- Does not detail Abe’s plans for the $1.26 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s biggest pension fund. Abe’s government is pushing GPIF to buy more stocks and invest less in government bonds; asset allocations are to be worked out in the coming months.
- Pledges a sustained commitment to quickly conclude an ambitious 12-nation Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership. A panel on direct investment in Japan will be tasked with consideration of specific proposals. The multilateral talks are stuck as Japan and the United States, by far the dominant economies in the TPP, remain at odds over issues such as access to Japan’s market for farm products.
- Pledges to boost employment of older workers and young people, but many politically sensitive issues are marked as still under debate. Unresolved issues include whether the government will make it easier for companies to dismiss workers.
- Pledges “complete overhaul” of a controversial foreign trainee program, including the period of stay of workers and revision of the range of workplaces available to them. Says the trainee program “is not an immigration policy.”
- Targets raising the proportion of women corporate managers to 30 percent by 2020 from last year’s 7.5 percent. Requires listed companies to disclose their women-in-management ratios. Targets expanding places at Japan’s day-care centers by 400,000 by 2017.
- Pledges to stabilize Japan’s declining population at around 100 million - representing more than a 20 percent drop - over the next 50 years. Experts say this will be difficult without allowing more immigration.
PRIVATE-SECTOR, FOREIGN INVESTMENT:
- Targets opening up $30 billion in public infrastructure projects such as airports to management by private investors. Targets tripling the value of projects financed through public-private partnerships by 2022 from $39 billion in 2012.
- Targets doubling annual foreign direct investment to nearly $345 billion by 2020. Japan’s inbound direct investment is the lowest among OECD countries at 3.5 percent of GDP.
- The Tokyo Stock Exchange will compile by mid-2015 a Corporate Governance Code to bring oversight of listed companies into line with international standards. The plan calls for banks to have at least one outside director; this is weaker than previous recommendations from within Abe’s party to have multiple outside directors for all listed companies.
- Pledges to reform the electricity market by 2020, ending monopoly control by utilities. Promotes import of U.S. liquefied natural gas. Reiterates Abe’s plan to restart nuclear power plants that pass tougher safety checks imposed after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
- Abe’s push to legalize casino gambling, a high-profile attempt to attract investment and tourism, is not in the draft. Parliament is expected to begin debating a casino bill next week, but supporters hope it will also be in Abe’s growth strategy, signaling that it is a policy priority.
- Vows to ease curbs on hydrogen fuelling stations. Toyota Motor Corp is preparing to launch a hydrogen-powered car in the United States, Japan and Europe in 2015, a major bet on fuel-cell technology by Japan’s top automaker.
- Promises a “robotic revolution” forum in a bid to boost productivity. By 2020, Abe wants a 20-fold increase in the use of robots in agriculture and a doubling in manufacturing.
- Does not address whether corporations will be allowed to own farmland, considered key to opening up Japan’s cosseted farm sector.
Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by William Mallard and Ron Popeski