Japan’s Vote for Bold Reform

TOKYO – With the powerful mandate of the Japanese people, demonstrated by their overwhelming vote of support in our country’s December 14 election, my government’s ability to act decisively has been strengthened immeasurably. Indeed, we now not only have the authority to act, but a clear and definitive message from the electorate that we must do so.

In particular, we now have a mandate to launch what has become known around the world as the “third arrow” of so-called Abenomics: structural reform. And it is structural reform that will unleash the competitiveness, and long-pent-up dynamism, of Japan’s firms and people.

By calling in November for a snap general election, my aim was to consolidate the government’s political capital – not in order to hoard it, but to spend it on the reforms that were first promised two years ago. Now, with our renewed mandate, that is what we will do.

First, we intend to subject Japan’s tax regime to a fundamental review. This entails not only an increase in the consumption-tax rate, the second round of which we have postponed, but also making the necessary adjustments so that our tax system no longer impairs investment incentives. Some of the agro-business organizations – the epitome of vested interests – must change, and we will push them to do so.