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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Growth plan goals: Jobs, no deflation


Staff writer

The government unveiled an economic growth strategy Friday for the next decade, aiming to eliminate deflation by the end of fiscal 2011, create ¥123 trillion worth of demand and 5 million jobs in four specific fields, as well as lower corporate taxes.

The plan puts priority on the environment, health care, Asian markets and tourism. The government will also emphasize science and technology, employment and human resources, and finance. Among the fields, the government will select 21 "national strategy projects," the paper said.

The projects include creating world-class environmentally friendly cities, accepting patients from overseas to promote Japan's quality medical care, actively entering infrastructure development markets in Asia, creating special business deregulation zones and a new exchange that provides unified services of securities, finance and goods.

"Prime Minister Naoto Kan mentioned the creation of a strong economy, strong finance and strong social security in a unified manner in his policy speech, and this growth strategy is a main pillar of a strong economy," Satoshi Arai, national policy unit minister, told reporters in Tokyo.

Kan has said the priority of the economic policy should be on the demand side rather than the supply side, and the growth strategy plan thus sets out to put more focus on creating demand.

"We will focus on why demand has not been really created. We will seek solutions," Arai said.

By designating the environment, health care, Asia markets and tourism as the four policy fields where more private demand is expected, the plan aims to grow the size of these fields to ¥123 trillion and create 5 million jobs in them.

"In general, global warming and the aging society have been thought to slow down economic growth, but we will turn them into the driving force of growth," Arai said.

In December, the Democratic Party of Japan-led government drafted the basic outline of the growth strategy that targets average annual economic growth of 3 percent in nominal terms and a gross domestic product boost to ¥650 trillion by 2020.

The plan disclosed Friday has been upgraded with more policy details and blueprints, as well as new elements.

The new plan stresses fighting deflation, saying "ending deflation is the most important task of macroeconomic management," and setting a goal to push the consumer price index to positive territory.

It also targets lowering the corporate tax.



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