Focus: Hiranuma Plan

JETRO, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, NYC, NY 10020 May 25, 2001


METI Minister Announces Plan to
Create New Markets and New Jobs in Japan

This morning, at the first meeting of the newly established taskforce to implement structural reform and employment measures in Japan, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Takeo Hiranuma presented a "Hiranuma Plan" containing specific measures to encourage new market and job creation. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi himself has characterized his cabinet as a "Structural Reform Implementation Cabinet". This taskforce, led by the Prime Minister and joined by all his cabinet, will take a leading role in developing the roadmap that will guide Japanese efforts to revitalize and reform its economy.

Creating new markets and business opportunities is the primary challenge that Japan will face moving forward, linked with a need to resolve problems of the past, such as the writing off of non-performing loans. The development of jobs and new employment measures is also essential to provide the necessary "safety net" that will allow Japan to achieve this important transformation.

The following summary outlines the goals and objectives of the Hiranuma Plan. An English translation of the entire text will be made available shortly.

15 Policy Proposals to Create New Markets and New Jobs in Japan

Japan needs to resolutely and aggressively implement structural reform measures in order to prepare both for a“"liquidation of past debts" and for the economic "challenges of the future" .

It has just begun to move ahead with the final disposition of non-performing loans. To deal with concerns about employment and other issues that arise during this process, it will need to proceed in a comprehensive way with measures to enhance skill development, while rebuilding businesses and accelerating reforms aimed at the creation of new markets and new jobs.

One reason for the stagnation of the Japanese economy is the“"shrinkage of demand" that has resulted from anxiety about the future and the " lack of innovation " that prevents the development of potential demand. The essential challenge for a new growth track lies in presenting a clear vision of an economic society in which the Japanese people will be able to feel secure and hopeful. It will also require a dramatic shift of public and private sector resources to programs that will help to promote these developments, thereby starting a positive cycle in which innovation begets demand and demand begets innovation.

The Hiranuma plan establishes specific goals that are easy to understand. They provide clear direction toward“"investment in the future" and present a package of policy measures that will help to achieve these objectives. This will help the Japanese government to draw out the potential vitality of its economy. It will also encourage the creation of new markets and new jobs, and over time enhance the competitiveness of Japan's business environment.

These fifteen policy proposals include:

I. Building Innovation Systems and Fostering Venture Businesses to Create New Industries

1 Preparing the infrastructure for innovation

Encouraging university reform and the creation of“"1,000 Venture Firms Originating in Universities" through a strategy of transferring technology from academia to industry

2 Concentrating investment in strategic bases and cross-disciplinary fields

Realization of technological innovations in strategic areas such as the environment, biotechnology, IT/telecommunications, nano-technology and materials, by combining the forces of industry, government and academia

3 "Doubling New Business Opening" Program

Preparation of a multi-faceted venture support environment including the use of human resources, funds and management, creation of local industrial clusters and networks for human contact

4 Creation of health market

Establishment of competitive medical and nursing care systems by making maximum use of private sector vitality and the adoption of electronic systems

5 Establish a socioeconomic infrastructure that allows women to continue working

Expansion of ability of women to continue working after they have had children through improved access to, and availability of, private day care services and consideration of current pension and other systems

6 Promotion of employment and realization of fulfilling lifestyles for the elderly

Development of a nursing care services industry that responds to the diverse needs of elderly people, correction of age limits at time of soliciting and hiring, consideration of reverse mortgage systems

7 Switch to environment and energy as growth engines

Transformation of all industrial structures and economic systems to“"environmentally friendly models"

8 Rebuilding of distribution systems

Enhancement of competitiveness of distribution bases and development of a“"Comprehensive Distribution Policy Outline" aimed at a competitive distribution services market

9 Regeneration of urban living environment

Encourage maximum use of urban land and space

10 Creation of new lifestyles and social systems using information technology

Realization of socioeconomic systems that make use of a truly fair and competitive environment for IT/telecommunications and IT development such as Intelligent Transport Systems, smart appliances, and IC cards

11 Cultivation of Non-Profit Organizations

Support for Non-Profit Organizations and streamlining of public sector

II. Reform of Employment Systems and Maintenance of Safety Nets

12 Creation of a variety of employment styles

Review of systems based on the assumption of lifetime employment

13 New skill development system

Transition from“"corporate human resource development" to "social systemization of human resource development"

14 Facilitation of labor mobility

Resolution of imbalances in employment through private-sector activity, and development of measures to enhance pension portability

15 Maintenance of safety nets

Support for re-employment, review of current support for part-timers, etc., and facilitated access to financing for small and medium-sized businesses


For additional information, please contact Hidehiko Nishiyama, Executive Director of JETRO NY at Tel: 212-997-0416, Fax: 212-997-0464, E-mail:

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