Additional Measures Requested by Keidanren
for Structural Reform and Economic Recovery

February 9, 1998
(Japan Federation of Economic Organizations)

It is understood that the Liberal-Democratic Party is studying further measures for economic recovery to be announced on February 20 before the 1997 fiscal year closes. The business community watches with serious concern how better stock prices are at the end of this year and what the economy looks like for the new fiscal year. To help regain economic stability for the Asian region as well, we strongly hope that the Diet's passage of the budget will be secured in time for the start of the next fiscal year, with the additional economic measures having also been put in place. It is important to ensure that they will produce the structural reform and economic recovery.
The LDP is, therefore, requested to give full attention to the following points:

  1. Early implementation of previously announced measures
  2. A variety of measures, including the package of urgent economic measures of last November 18, have already been made public or proposed by the government and the LDP. Some of them, however, have not gone into effect because of the delayed work of legislation. Relevant bills should be presented without further delay to the Diet for approval and enforcement in order to facilitate recovery in business activity.
    Some examples in need of early legislative action are: (1)Two financial sector-related bills; a measure enabling inclusion of book gains from the reevaluation of land holdings to Capital, and a measure permitting the write off of buyback stocks by capital reserves, (2) revisions of the lease land and lease housing law, (3) the worker dispatching law, and (4) the national land use planning law.

  3. Improvement of public information on adopted and planned policies
  4. Inadequate public information prevents the advantages of even important measures, for example, the special income tax cut, from being appreciated as widely as they should. Information activities need to be stepped up to promote a better public understanding of the purposes and merits of such measures. Some other examples in need of more effort in public information are the planned tax relief in the area of housing and land and the introduction of self service gas stations.

  5. New 3-year Deregulation Action Program(DAP)
  6. At present, the government's Headquarters for Promotion of Administrative Reform is in the process of drafting a new 3-year DAP. We believe that the new plan should be such as to usher in the next phase of drastic reform focused on items and areas promising a strong economic impact.

  7. Clear direction for taxation and other structural reforms
  8. A sense of unease persists among the business community and the public at large over the tax system and other economic structural reforms being pursued by the government. This is because the direction or road map of reform still remains insufficiently defined. If the government and the LDP hope to generate the momentum for economic revitalization, they must chart a clearer course of change, thus providing the nation with a more convincing vision of the future.
    They need to do this, for instance, with regard to the structural reform strategy for economic revitalization, income tax reform, corporate tax reform ( realization of an effective 40 percent rate), pension reform and so on.

  9. Correction of high-cost economy
  10. Production costs remain structurally high in this country, hurting industrial competitiveness and making it difficult for the economy to turn upward with full vigor. The high-cost structure needs correction if only to ensure consistency between steady economic recovery and the structural reform. In this connection, the planned reduction of electricity rates is considered a step in the right direction. The energy sector, however, remains in need of continued cost reduction as are such areas as transportation, information/communications, and wages and salaries.

  11. Efficient and prioritized public works investment
  12. Given the still fragile status of the economy, keeping up public works investment in a steady manner is considered necessary to help sustain national economy. Such expenditures should be early loaded in the first half of fiscal 1998 as far as possible, while attention is given to their efficient implementation and distribution to prioritized projects.

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