Japanese Cabinet OKs string of labour, tax reforms aimed at spurring competitiveness

TOKYO – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has formally announced an outline of his long-awaited growth strategy, a slew of reforms meant to revitalize the economy and restore its waning competitiveness.

The Cabinet approved the plan earlier Tuesday.

The plan includes dozens of proposed changes to labour regulations, government pension fund investments, corporate governance and tax policies that Abe says are needed to spur corporate investment and innovation.

Economists have questioned whether the more than 200 measures proposed will actually take effect, or have the desired impact, given resistance to change in Japan’s business world and bureaucracy.

Among the most important measures are a cut to the corporate tax promised for next year and looser restrictions on white-collar overtime.