Kishida bats for stronger ties with US, investment push in first speech as PM

Tokyo, Oct 8 (EFE).- Japan’s newly elected prime minister, Fumio Kishida, on Friday stressed on stronger ties with the United States and other allies and pledged to carry out major investments to boost the economy in his first policy speech to the parliament after assuming office.

The conservative leader called for a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” a term coined jointly by Tokyo and Washington to push against China’s military push in the region, with the efforts backed by allies Australia and India that complete the Quad alliance. 

However, Kishida also highlighted the importance of maintaining “stable” ties and holding dialog with China in the interests of the “two countries, the region and the international community.”

He said North Korea’s development of missiles was “unacceptable,” despite backing normalization of ties and offering “unconditional” dialog with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Speaking on his government’s economic plans, Kishida said he wanted to pursue a “new model of capitalism” focused at raising incomes and major investments.

He promised to invest 10 trillion yen ($77.4 billion) in areas such as development of advanced sciences, health, the aerospace sector, and the digitalization of governance.

The prime minister said he sought to establish a “positive cycle of growth and wealth distribution,” so that the average citizen could enjoy the results of growth.

The new government is seeking to end decades of deflation and the economic disparity caused by “Abenomics,” the economic model adopted by former prime minister Shinzo Abe since 2013. 

Kishida outlined a fiscal reform that would include tax rebates for companies that raise salaries, having earlier suggested a hike in corporate gains tax, a move which was not received well by investors and has resulted in Japanese stocks tanking since he assumed office.

He said that Japan would play a key role in defending free trade amid increasing protectionism in the world.

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