Japanese PM aims at new targets, rise in GDP

Tokyo, Sep 25 (IANS) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he has set out three new goals for “Abenomics” and will target a 20 percent increase in gross domestic product, the media reported.

The three new economic policy goals are: promotion of economic growth, child-rearing assistance to push up the low birth rate, and social security measures to increase nursing facilities for the elderly, the Japan Times reported.

“For the next three years, I’d like to promote measures with an eye on the future. Today Abenomics is entering its second phase,” Abe said on Thursday.

Abe also said his government will aim to increase Japan’s nominal GDP by about 20 percent and keep the population at around 100 million.

Abe vowed to increase the number of intensive care nursing home facilities to tackle waiting lists as a result of a rapidly aging population. The government plans to include expenses for increasing the number of nursing homes in the budget for fiscal 2016.

It will aim to bring some 150,000 people currently on the waiting lists, who are certified as being in need of Level 3 care or above on a scale of 5, to zero by early next decade. Level 3 under Japan’s public nursing system is applied to elderly people who are deemed to be unable to care for themselves but can be treated at home.

With this fresh mandate, Abe is expected to reshuffle his Cabinet and the LDP executive team next month, aiming to ameliorate declining public support following the passage of contentious national security bills last week.

By re-emphasizing his economic agenda, Abe is apparently trying to recover his popularity among voters and market players.

Polls have suggested more than half of voters are opposed to Abe’s security reform drive, and opposition parties are ready to attack the LDP over the issue leading up to the Upper House election next summer.

Asked if the LDP will advocate any revision of the post-war constitution during the election campaign, Abe said at Thursday’s news conference that he and the Liberal Democratic Party will first try to promote “understanding of the nation.”

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