Taro Aso vows to revive virus-hit economy and promote structural reforms
Japan Times -- Jan 18
Finance Minister Taro Aso pledged Monday to rejuvenate the economy, which has been badly hit by the spread of the coronavirus, and advance structural reforms for the future after the pandemic.

In his speech on the first day of this year’s ordinary Diet session, Aso said the government will prevent the number of coronavirus infections from rising further “while supporting employment and business.”

Aso went on to say Japan will try to realize “a transformation of the economic structure and a virtuous cycle of the economy toward a post-coronavirus period.”

At the same time, he warned of downside risks, saying the economy is still in a “severe condition.” The nation has been hit by a third wave of coronavirus infections, which led the government earlier this month to declare its second state of emergency in Tokyo and some other areas.

Reiterating the government’s target of bringing its primary balance — tax revenue minus expenses other than debt-servicing costs — into the black by fiscal 2025, Aso gave assurances that efforts to cut expenditures will continue.

He also asked his fellow lawmakers to cooperate on the swift passage of the ¥106.61 trillion draft budget — the country’s largest-ever — for the next fiscal year.

Along with the third extra budget for fiscal 2020 through March, with actual fiscal spending of ¥15.43 trillion, the government needs to secure the passage of the annual budget in the Diet session.

- Japan Times


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