Japan’s Growth Strategy

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the Council of Industrial Competitiveness


Tokyo, 24th April 2013

(As prepared for delivery)
 

We welcome Prime Minister Abe’s strong initiative on economic revitalization: bold monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy and a new growth strategy. We already see a new spirit of optimism along with early indications of economic recovery. It is a “gutsy bet” which we are watching closely and supporting to ensure its success.

 

Let me focus on the growth strategy: the key priority is to increase productivity. Japan is today well below the levels of the upper half of OECD countries, while it should aim to be at or very near the top.

 

To achieve this, there are four key priorities.

 

First, increasing Japan's openness to promote its integration in the world economy. Your future success in selling to the world depends in large part on your readiness to buy from the world. Access to world class inputs is essential to improve firm productivity and competitiveness. The decision to join the TPP negotiations, as well as your plans to expand your network of regional trade agreements, are key steps in this direction. Opening services markets will be particularly important, both for services trade itself, but also because services are deeply imbedded in manufactured products.

 

Second, adopting a new approach to food and agriculture policy, which will also facilitate Japan's integration in the world economy and improve productivity of the Japanese economy. Income growth across Asia provides new export opportunities for Japanese food and culinary know-how. Exploiting these opportunities requires shifting farm policy away from efforts that isolate producers from markets and constrain their production decisions, towards measures that increase investment in innovation, productivity growth, and more sustainable resource use.

 

Third, making the best use of your human resources, given rapid population ageing. It is crucial to increase labour market participation, particularly of women, but also of older persons and youth; as well as eliminating labour market dualism.
Fourth, improving the innovation framework. Japan is the fifth largest investor in R&D in the OECD area, but with relatively low returns on investment. It is crucial to open up to international collaboration and partnerships in science and technology. This will enable Japan to benefit more broadly from highly advanced broadband and mobile communication networks.

 


Fourth, improving the innovation framework. Japan is the fifth largest investor in R&D in the OECD area, but with relatively low returns on investment. It is crucial to open up to international collaboration and partnerships in science and technology. This will enable Japan to benefit more broadly from highly advanced broadband and mobile communication networks.

 

We welcome the opportunity to address this group, and wish you well in the very important tasks that you are called to deliver. Count on the OECD to support you with the wealth of knowledge we have accumulated over the years, and with our mission which is to advise on better policies for better lives.


 

 

 

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