Connect to share and comment
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Wall Street on Wednesday that alongside his push for deregulation and empowering women to spur the economy, Japan will contribute its nuclear safety technology to the world by overcoming the Fukushima crisis.
Abe also said Japan, together with the United States, should lead multilateral efforts toward concluding the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade pact by the end of this year.
"Buy my Abenomics," the prime minister said in a speech delivered at the New York Stock Exchange, touting a set of measures he has taken since assuming power in December to jump-start the Japanese economy that for years languished in deflation and recession.
Describing the third largest economy in the world as in "extremely good" shape, the prime minister said he came to the heart of the U.S. capitalism to say that "Japan is back."
Abe noted growth of annualized 3 percent or higher in two consecutive quarters this year in stark contrast to a contraction in the third quarter of last year just before he took power.
Manufacturing, consumer spending and finally corporate capital investment have turned positive, he said. Business confidence is also steadily changing after it was drained by long years of deflation.
Abe pitched nuclear safety technology while boasting Japan's strengths in energy technology such as lithium ion batteries used for cars and energy-saving LED illumination.
"Japan will keep contributing to the world in the area of safety technology for nuclear power plants," the prime minister said. "We will never abandon it. I believe we have the responsibility and obligation (to provide) the world with the world's highest standard of safety by overcoming the Fukushima accident."
Abe said he wants to see Japan become a country of venture spirit and entrepreneurship like the United States.
In that context, "I believe deregulation will be a breakthrough to everything," Abe said, revealing an idea for a new mechanism where businesses testing advanced frontier technologies may be exempted from regulatory constraints so long as they take measures to ensure safety on their own.
He said developers of fuel cells had to clear many regulatory hurdles and that could dampen challenges for innovation.
On the trade front, Abe said it is a historical destiny that Japan and the United States, which share basic values, must lead efforts to conclude a TPP. "Together with the United States, we would like to build a major market filled with freedom and creativity in this Asia-Pacific region," he said.
The prime minister said the power of women is another source of major potential for Japan that has not been fully utilized with many talented women leaving the work force when they get married or give birth.
"If these women rise up, I believe Japan can achieve strong growth," he said.
Quoting Wall Street legend Muriel Siebert, the first woman to join the New York Stock Exchange more than 40 years ago, Abe said he will undertake to make a major shift in a Japan that is facing a sense of stagnation because of its sole reliance on men accounting for only half the population.
Abe promised to take measures to increase facilities to take care of about 400,000 children within five years while their parents are at work in order to address shortages of child care services.
Abe also promoted Japan's magnetically levitated trains, saying they could link New York and Washington with a one-hour ride. While a plan is under way in Japan to link Tokyo and Nagoya, he suggested that Baltimore and Washington D.C. be linked first in the United States using this high-speed rail.
Copyright 2013 Kyodo News International.
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.