Money Printing Plus: Japan's Other Growth Strategies

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 6/04/2013 04:08:00 PM
Everyone knows of Japanese PM Shinzo Abe's money-printing strategies for combating Japan's seemingly unconquerable deflation. However, it is but one tactic in a multi-pronged strategy to get the world's third largest economy growing again in a noticeable fashion. Tomorrow Abe unveils a raft of other initiatives for doing so. Reuters has a list of expected steps in the so-called "Third Arrow of Abenomics" compiled from various news sources (don't ask me why it's called that).

Of particular interest to me are those concerning free trade agreements and migration. First, let's begin with FTAs. Belatedly keen on not losing its competitive advantage alongside those FTA-crazy South Koreans, it too is supposedly going to embark on an FTA frenzy:
Hit a target of 70 percent of exports covered by free trade deals by 2018, compared with around 19 percent, by pushing the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership (TPP) and other trade deals with the European Union, China and South Korea, and aim to create an Asia-Pacific free trade area. 
Insofar as Japan has virtually zero multilateral FTAs at present (only partially implemented Japan-ASEAN FTA aside) but a whole host of bilatereal FTAs, let's say it has a lot of work to do if it truly intends to compete with Korea in this respect. With Japan's strong agricultural lobby complicating matters, expect tense negotiations when these products are discussed. That said, it's interesting how Japan is not playing geopolitics if this were truly the case in being willing to join any sort of FTA negotiation whether it be led by the US (TPP), China or whomever.

Another point of interest is opening up Japan to migration. Its population is shrinking, yet it remains easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than to be an economic migrant to Japan. Or is that assertion about to be shattered?
Shorten the duration of stay in Japan required for approval of permanent residency to three years from five years to encourage high-skilled foreigners to keep working in the country.
Let's just say that Japan's come up with all sorts of plans to generate growth since 1990 that have since been shelved or have borne little fruit.