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Yoshihide SugaJapanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed in a speech to parliament to overcome the latest wave of coronavirus infections and reiterated that the government was preparing to start vaccinations by late February.

Suga, who has seen his popularity slide over his handling of the pandemic as case numbers rise, said his government would pass a law adding penalties and incentives to a law on virus management.

The premier, who took office in September, said his plans for green and digital transformations would be new sources of growth and that the government would support companies that develop cutting edge technologies such as next-generation solar cells, storage batteries and carbon recycling.

Japan Outbreaks Make Suga Look More Like Short-Term Premier (1)

Japan will expand the use of hydrogen and offshore wind energy and introduce carbon pricing and proceed with planting forests in order to meet the target of carbon neutrality by 2050, Suga said. The green growth strategy is expected to bring an annual economic boost of 190 trillion yen by 2050, he added.

Other policies laid out in Suga’s speech included:

  • Pressing ahead with corporate governance reforms and will require at least a third of directors at major companies to be from outside the firm
  • Seeking to create a global financial center, Japan will change laws so that overseas assets of non-Japanese are not subject to inheritance tax and apply a flat tax rate of 20% to income tied to investment performance
  • Japan wants to take a lead in building post-Covid-19 world order. Suga will meet Joe Biden at an early stage and further strengthen bonds with U.S.; plan to work together on common issues including coronavirus and climate change
  • Will create a new law to prevent inappropriate ownership or use of land including important defense facilities and remote islands
  • Ties with South Korea are in severe state; strongly urge Seoul to deal with this appropriately
  • Want to make summer Tokyo Olympics a chance to show the world has defeated the coronavirus
  • Will work with Bank of Japan to support regional financial institutions

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