TOKYO (Reuters) - Following are key economic policy proposals that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled on Tuesday as the latest part of his three-pronged strategy for economic revival.
- Aims to cut the effective corporate tax rate below 30 percent over several years from the next fiscal year. Aims to secure "permanent sources" to fund the tax cut, such as by broadening the tax base, in order to maintain the goal of achieving a primary budget surplus in the fiscal year 2020/21.
Specific plans will be decided by the end of this year.
- Implements review of the basic portfolio of the $1.26 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund, the world's biggest pension fund, in order to ensure long-term health of pension finances while responding to changes in economic and investment environment. The government plan does not outline new asset allocations for the fund but says it should aim at a more flexible investment strategy to meet a changing environment.
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.
- The Tokyo Stock Exchange will compile by mid-2015 a Corporate Governance Code to improve oversight of listed companies. 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 end compulsory overtime allowance for workers earning more than a certain amount a year, suggests the line should be drawn at 10 million yen ($98,000). The change would affect less than 4 percent of Japan's workers and is subject to further debate with labour unions.
- Pledges expansion of a controversial foreign trainee programme, including the period of stay of workers and revision of the range of workplaces available to them. Stresses these steps are "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 centres by 400,000 by 2017 and adding after-school programmes for an extra 10,000 school-age children.
- Pledges to consider changes to tax and pension regulations, which now give preferential treatment to women who limit their work outside the home over full-time working women.
- Pledges to stabilise Japan's declining population at around 100 million - representing more than a 20 percent fall - over the next 50 years. Experts say this will be difficult without allowing more immigration.
- Pledges to encourage the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, which oversees about 700 regional agricultural cooperatives, to reform itself over the next five years, moving away from a proposal by a reform panel that the organization be abolished and more power be given to local cooperatives.
- Will allow non-food companies to own almost 50 percent stakes in farming entities, up from the current 25 percent.
- Aims to increase agricultural exports to 5 trillion yen ($49 billion) by 2030.
- Pledges to ease a ban on so-called "mixed medical treatment" under which patients who want to combine a new drug or treatment not included in the official health insurance package with a treatment that is ordinarily covered must pay out of their own pocket for both. Reforms are aimed at promotion of advanced medical technology.
FUEL CELL VEHICLES AND HYDROGEN ENERGY:
- Vows to boost use of hydrogen energy, based on a government timeline for the next three decades compiled in June. The government plans to offer ample support such as subsidies and tax breaks to popularize fuel cell vehicle technology as Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co prepare to launch a hydrogen-powered car in the United States, Japan and Europe in 2015. It also aims to ease regulations on hydrogen fuelling stations and, by 2020, cut building costs by around half.
- Pledges further debate on legalisation of casino gambling, a high-profile attempt to attract investment and tourism. Says "integrated resorts" are expected to contribute to bolstering tourism, regional activity and industry. Adds relevant ministries will continue the debate on the subject.
- Promises a "robotic revolution" in a bid to boost productivity and offset a shrinking, ageing work force. By 2020, Abe wants a 20-fold increase in the use of robots in the service industry and a doubling in the robotic manufacturing industry. He is also aiming to host a Robot Olympics alongside the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 to showcase Japan’s cutting-edge technology in the field.
- 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.
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.
($1 = 102.0500 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Antoni Slodkowski; Editing by Alex Richardson)