In NHK’s “Nichiyo Toron” Sunday debate show, Economic Revitalization Minister Motegi talked about the Abe administration’s new 2-trillion-yen economic package focusing on boosting productivity and promoting the development of human resources in view of Japan’s rapidly aging population. The administration approved the package at a cabinet meeting on Dec. 8. The cornerstone of the package is support for early childhood education that will make schooling completely free for all children aged 3 to 5 and provide support for families with children up to age 2. The cost will be paid for using part of the revenue from an October 2019 consumption tax hike that was originally earmarked for debt reduction. Tuition for higher education will also be covered for low-income households. The package will also provide support for investment by enterprises that improve their productivity.
Motegi stated that the aging population is one of the most pressing issues for Japan and that the Abe administration has expressed its resolve to address the issue by providing additional support for the young generation. In response to concern expressed by one of the three economists who participated in the discussion that the package will make it difficult for the GOJ to achieve its goal of restoring fiscal soundness, Motegi said that although it might be difficult for the GOJ to achieve the goal by fiscal 2020 as planned, the Abe administration will maintain its goal of turning the primary balance deficit into a surplus in the near future.