Japan gov't panel asked for "urgent" economic proposals by early Nov.

© Kyodo News

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.

The proposals will include promoting the development of advanced technology for digitalization and decarbonization and economic security issues including securing semiconductor supplies as "top priorities," Kishida said at the end of the first meeting of the panel.

"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 debates over economic stimulus have been heating up among political parties vying for support in a general election on Sunday.

Some measures in the urgent proposals could be included in an economic package that Kishida plans to compile if, as expected, his party wins a majority in the House of Representatives election, a government official told reporters. 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 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Tokyo.

The panel aims to conclude discussions by June next year to have them reflected in its annual economic policy guideline for the next fiscal year, according to the official.