Webinar with Yoshimasa Hayashi, Chair of the Liberal Democratic Party Headquarters for Economic Growth Strategies
GR Japan was honoured to host a webinar with Yoshimasa Hayashi, Chair of the LDP Headquarters for Economic Growth Strategies, the body setting Japan’s economic policy responses to the coronavirus crisis. Mr. Hayashi shared invaluable insights into Japan’s economic response and its impact on businesses and individuals. The webinar was hosted by GR Japan’s CEO, Jakob Edberg.
The government compiled a first economic package (¥15.3 billion) in February, to strengthen border controls, fund the development of vaccines and virus test kits, support returnees from Wuhan, and provide low-interest loans for SMEs. A second package (¥1.6 trillion), in March, provided additional help for working parents and the self-employed, emergency loans for individuals, interest-free loans for SMEs and cash flow support for the tourism sector.
The upcoming, third economic package will be far larger (perhaps ¥60 trillion). It is due to be approved on 7 April. It could include targeted cash handouts, further financial support for SMEs, and extensions to deferral periods for tax payments. The government is also looking at coupons to reinvigorate consumption and to support the hospitality and tourism sectors once the number of COVID-19 cases declines. Support for telework, telemedicine and remote education are also being considered, as are improvements to the My Number point scheme to boost spending.
The economic impact of the crisis will pose many political challenges, but so far, support for Prime Minister Abe has risen, consolidating his position. Although he has not yet declared a national state of emergency, pressure to do so is intensifying and a declaration could be imminent.
The unprecedented scale of the planned stimulus package means many new initiatives will have to be decided and implemented in a short period of time. It is thus advisable for businesses and other stakeholders in related sectors to engage government decision-makers at this time.
This was the first in a series of webinars to be hosted by GR Japan and the International Policy Forum. Mr. Edberg’s presentation can be found in the attached this below. The IPF brings together government stakeholders, business leaders, diplomats, and academia to discuss topical public policy issues.