Japan panel urges wise spending

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    TOKYO- Japan must pursue “wise spending” to back digital transformation and better productivity rather than simply boosting the size of stimulus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, an advisory panel to Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Wednesday.

    The fiscal system council urged the government to step up efforts to achieve a primary budget surplus by the fiscal year ending in March 2026 to restore tattered public finances.

    The panel’s semi-annual recommendation provides the basis for discussion on an annual budget for the coming fiscal year that begins next April – the first spending plan under Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga who took office in September.

    Next month, the government will compile the draft annual budget for fiscal 2021 and an extra budget for this fiscal year.

    Suga has set digitalization and environmental policy as core pillars of his growth strategy, with the aim of accelerating innovation and investment in the two areas. He has set an ambitious aim of cutting greenhouse gases to zero by 2050.