Japan's PM unveils economic liberalization plan

Tokyo, June 6 (IANS/EFE) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a plan to deregulate and boost investment in certain key sectors of the world's third-largest economy.

But investors disappointed at the lack of specifics in his growth strategy sent the Tokyo Stock Exchange plunging by 4 percent at the conclusion of his speech.

Abe Wednesday pledged during his address to deregulate the nation's energy, pharmaceutical and infrastructure sectors.

He spoke of boosting investment in the domestic electricity industry to 30 trillion yen ($300.9 billion) through 2013, and breaking up 10 regional power companies that have a stranglehold on electricity generation, transmission and distribution.

Abe also called for tripling public and private investment in roads, airports and waterworks to 12 trillion yen ($119 billion) over the next decade.

In addition, the prime minister pledged measures aimed at doubling foreign investment in Japan to 35 trillion yen ($340.1 billion) by 2020.

One strategy for attracting foreign capital will be to create special economic zones with lower corporate tax rates, although Abe's plan made no mention of generalized tax exemptions - a demand of many large companies.

The measures announced Wednesday are meant to complement big new public works spending by Abe's administration and aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan aimed at vanquishing the deflation that has plagued the Asian nation for the better part of two decades.

--IANS/EFE

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