During an official visit to Japan, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría presented key policy recommendations critical for future Japanese growth: from fiscal consolidation, tax reform and the opening of the economy, to education and skills, innovation, agricultural reform and green growth.
Policies for a revitalisation of Japan (PDF, 2 mb)
The world has not yet fully overcome the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The global recovery remains fragile, public finances in many countries are in a dire state, inequality has risen. Restoring stability and confidence while strengthening growth and making it inclusive and sustainable over time remains a challenge for most OECD countries. Japan shares many of these challenges in the short run, because of the need for reconstruction and repair after the devastation from the Great East Japan Earthquake; in the longer run, because rapid population ageing will weigh on already strained public finances and further weaken potential growth.
Successfully addressing those challenges is essential not only for Japan but for the world at large. The Japanese authorities are fully aware of the extent of the task, as highlighted by Prime Minister Noda's recently released "Strategies to Revitalise Japan".
Promoting Social Cohesion in Japan (speech by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría)
Japan faces a difficult challenge of achieving socially sustainable growth while addressing the public debt problem. Higher tax revenue is needed to stabilise and eventually reduce the public debt ratio and cover the impact of population ageing on social spending. But given the high debt level, large-scale increases in social spending are not affordable. Instead, Japan needs to focus on addressing the underlying cause of rising equality and poverty through structural reforms that can provide a double dividend by boosting economic growth as well as fostering social cohesion.
Revitalising the Japanese Economy: The Way Forward (speech by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría)
The Great East Japan Earthquake took a heavy toll of human lives and inflicted massive economic damage, estimated at 3½ per cent of GDP. This event requires considerable time and a nation-wide effort of reconstruction. This is the first component of Prime Minister Noda’s “Strategies to Revitalise Japan”, which we very much welcome and support. A second pillar is to achieve both economic growth and fiscal health. Japan’s fiscal problem has currently reached a critical point, with public debt at around 200% of GDP – the highest in the OECD area -- and rising.
The OECD skills strategy and its relevance for Japan
A generation ago, Japanese teachers could be sure that what they taught their students would remain relevant throughout their lifetime. Today, education and training need to prepare people for more rapid change than ever before, for jobs that have not yet been created, using technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that we don’t yet know will arise. Education today needs to be much more about ways of thinking, involving creativity, problem-solving and decision-making. In short, skills have become the global currency of 21st century economies.
Programme of the official visit of the Secretary-General to Japan (Tokyo, 23rd - 25th April 2012)
On the occasion of his visit, Angel Gurría presented the OECD brochure "Policies for a revitalisation of Japan" and met with key government and business representatives.