Japan’s PM unveils ‘third arrow’ policy

Japan’s PM unveils ‘third arrow’ policy

TOKYO - Reuters
Japan’s PM unveils ‘third arrow’ policy

Reviving Japan’s growth will depend on opening the economy and tapping the potential of women and advanced technology, PM Shinzo Abe says. AP photo

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 19 previewed the “third arrow” of a three-part economic policy aimed at boosting growth in the long-stagnant economy, promising to open the economy through free trade deals, make it easier for women to work and promote growth sectors with private and public support.

Abe, now riding high in opinion polls after launching the first two pillars of his economic prescription - hyper-easy monetary policy and big spending - is to announce a growth strategy in June, including structural reforms such as deregulation and public-private support for key sectors.

Scepticism runs deep about his appetite for economic reform, which experts say will be the acid test after his first two policy “arrows”, which spurred a stock market rally, weakened the yen and bolstered Abe’s popularity ratings.

Noting that there were signs that the economy was improving, such as a rapid return in companies’ appetite for capital investment, Abe said: “But we cannot be satisfied with this. We must make these bright signs all the stronger and sustainable. Now is the turn of the growth strategy, which is the ‘third arrow’.”

Among the steps Abe said were in the pipeline were plans to foster growth in sectors such as medical technology, where Japan can compete globally, with public and private backing.