September 20, 2017 / 1:41 PM / a month ago

Japan's Abe promises 'daring policies' to boost economy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged on Wednesday to implement “daring policies” targeting taxes, the budget and regulations to promote domestic investment as well as promising to push for further corporate governance reforms.

Abe, in a speech to investors at the New York Stock Exchange offered no firm details of the promised reforms, but said he was “absolutely” confident his government could deliver changes that would offset a dwindling population and other challenges facing the world’s third-largest economy.

“I intend to put forward daring policies unlike any that have come before,” said Abe, who was scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly later on Wednesday.

Abe made a plea to investors in the audience to put money into Japan’s equity markets. “I will invest the entirety of my political resources to open up the future of Japan,” he said.

While the Nikkei share average .N225 scaled a more than two-year high this week and Japan's economy has expanded for six straight quarters, Japan under Abe has not achieved price inflation targets and critics say his economic reforms have not gone far enough.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech on Japan's economy and investment-friendly reforms at New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

Abe has faced investor skepticism that “Abenomics” - a mixture of fiscal stimulus, monetary easing and reforms he announced almost five years ago - can alter the outlook for Japan’s economy and new business ventures.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a speech on Japan's economy and investment-friendly reforms at New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

Abe also said he wanted to create a “regulatory sandbox system” in Japan, allowing entrepreneurs to start new businesses without conforming to existing regulations for a period of time, without offering details.

Abe made no comment on an expected snap election in Japan - a decision he had said he would make after returning home from the United States on Friday.

Sources have told Reuters that Abe will call for a general election on Oct. 22 to capitalize on a rebound in his approval ratings and disarray in the political opposition.

A solid victory would boost Abe’s chances of a third term as ruling Liberal Democratic Party leader in a party election next September, putting him on track to become Japan’s longest-serving premier.

Reporting by Nathan Layne and Kevin Krolicki in New York; editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Grant McCool and G Crosse

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