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Japanese PM Shinzo Abe says "There Is No Alternative" to Abenomics


08:36, June 20, 2013

LONDON, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe picked up on one of the key economic philosophies of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at a speech in the heart of London's financial district Wednesday night when he said "there was no alternative" to his Abenomics approach to rebuilding Japan's economy.

Abe was in London as the final part of his visit to Britain for the G8 Summit, which was held on Monday and Tuesday in Northern Ireland.

Abe said at a speech to hundreds of financiers and academics in the Guildhall in central London, "In order to shift people's expectations upwards, I have considered it necessary to hammer out a full range of policies all at one stretch."

He added, "For Japan at this juncture, to echo the approach of the late Baroness Margaret Thatcher, this is a case of 'TINA' -- 'There Is No Alternative.'"

Abe, who took office for the second time as prime minister in December of last year, has launched a wide-ranging change in economic policy, or "three arrows", which include monetary and fiscal stimulus policies, as well as economic structure reform, in a bid to stimulate the world's third largest economy into growth.

Japan faced structural issues -- first to extricate itself from deflation, second to improve labor productivity, and third to maintain fiscal discipline, said Abe.

Abe said that a lack of political will had been to blame for Japan's failure to end deflation. He continued, "What I would like you to take home from my address today boils down to this single thought: that my economic policies are backed in all respects by my political will."

Abe said the Japanese economy was "now on track for recovery" having expanded in the first quarter of 2013 at an annualized rate of 4.1 percent, in contrast to an annualized rate of -3.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012.

Abe said the most important part of his economic policies was the third of his three economic arrows, his strategy for growth.

He said, "This growth strategy is... actively taking on challenges, openness, and innovation."

To achieve growth, Abe said he would open up Japan's markets, and cited the electricity industry as a notable area for opening up where he had already decided to liberalize the electricity market and move forward with splitting off the generation and transmission of electricity.

Abe said he aimed to attract more foreign investment, doubling the amount by 2020 to 370 billion U.S. dollars worth.

He also vowed to lower taxes on investments, incentivize companies to take risks, and invest in facilities and equipment, with the aim over three years of returning investment its pre-Lehman Shock level of 700 billion U.S. dollars.

Abe said that he thought the potential of women in the economy had not been fully exploited and said he aimed to help them "break through the glass ceiling." He said that this could lead to a possible boost of one percent to GDP.

In a question and answer session after his speech, Abe touched on Sino-Japanese relations.

He said, "China is a very important country for Japan. China and Japan see each other as a very valuable trading partner. What is important is to continue the dialogue with China even if there are events once in a while."

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