PM urges Japan’s govt panel to craft proposals for “new capitalism” soon

Fumio Kishida, former foreign minister of Japan and the newly-elected leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, at his office in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept. 3, 2021. Shoko Takayasu—Bloomberg/Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Oct 26, 2021, Kyodo. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tuesday he instructed a government economic policy panel to compile “urgent proposals” by early November to flesh out his signature “new capitalism” vision, Kyodo News Agency reported.

The proposals will include promoting the development of advanced technologies for digitalization and decarbonization and economic security issues, including securing semiconductor supplies as “top priorities,” Kishida told the panel’s first meeting.

“We shared the view of aiming to improve productivity through growth strategies and increase the levels of people’s income through redistribution of the fruits” of that growth, Kishida said, repeating his mantra of creating “the virtuous cycle of growth and distribution.”

The request comes as a debate over economic stimulus has been heating up among political parties vying for support in Sunday’s general election.

Economic and fiscal policy minister Daishiro Yamagiwa told a press conference after the meeting that the proposals will be reflected in an economic package that Kishida plans to compile if his party, as expected, wins a majority in the election for the House of Representatives, the powerful lower chamber of parliament.

The prime minister has vowed an economic package worth “tens of trillions of yen,” or hundreds of billion dollars, to support the coronavirus pandemic-hit economy.

As the head of the panel, Kishida, along with 15 business leaders, researchers and his Cabinet, will discuss policy measures for economic growth and redistribution of wealth under his “new capitalism” policy.

The panel will focus on issues such as expanding the middle-class through wage hikes and improving working conditions for nonregular employees and freelancers, as Kishida pledged when being inaugurated as prime minister on Oct. 4.

The 15 members include seven women, differentiating it from the now-defunct growth strategy panel set up by Kishida’s predecessor Yoshihide Suga, where just two women out of eight private sector experts were included.

Among the seven are Tomoko Yoshino, the first-ever female chief of the nation’s largest labor organization Rengo, who took the post early this month, and Yumiko Murakami, former head of the Tokyo office of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The panel aims to conclude discussions by June next year, in time for them to be reflected in its annual economic policy guideline for the next fiscal year, a government official told reporters.

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