TOKYO: A Japanese government panel is considering large-scale grants to realize Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s initiative to build a “digital garden city state” for regional economic revitalization, it was learned Friday.
Aiming to rebuild the middle class through income redistribution, the panel will also say in its upcoming emergency proposals that fiscal funds will be earmarked to raise salaries of nurses and elderly care workers from fiscal 2022, which starts in April next year.
The government plans to present a draft of the proposals at a meeting Monday of the panel on a new form of capitalism, which is chaired by Kishida, aiming to reflect them in its economic stimulus package to be released in mid-November.
The panel will highlight the government’s readiness to take all possible policy measures to ensure broad-based income increases among the people and realize the next stage of growth, according to the draft.
The draft says that the digital garden city state initiative, aimed at boosting the use of digital technologies in rural areas to narrow the gap between city and nonurban areas, will be implemented as part of the country’s growth strategy in order to generate wealth for distribution.
The envisioned grants will be provided to “support voluntary regional efforts that utilize digital technologies,” the draft also says.
As part of the growth strategy, the government will establish a framework to support research needed for digitalization, decarbonization and the development of artificial intelligence technology for more than one year.
The proposals will also call for launching by the end of next March a 10-trillion-yen fund to support young researchers, such as doctoral students.
Other planned measures include an early submission of legislation for enhancing the country’s economic security to the Diet, Japan’s parliament, and aid to facilitate the establishment of semiconductor plants.
On the distribution policy front, the panel will propose setting up a committee to drastically review the wages of nurses, elderly care workers and nursery teachers.
The draft says that the government will consider expanding tax credits for companies that raise wages of all employees, including nonregular workers, planning to reach a conclusion on the matter when deciding its fiscal 2022 tax system reform measures.