Abe: Economy top priority for 2017

Abe: Economy top priority for 2017

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he's putting top priority on the economy this year, pledging unwavering effort to pull the country out of deflation.

Abe was speaking at his first news conference of 2017 in Ise, central Japan, on Wednesday.

He said he anticipates a year of change ahead, with leadership changes expected in many other countries.
He added that what counts in such an unforeseeable era is staying the course.

Abe pledged to continue shooting his 3 arrows of monetary policy, fiscal policy and growth strategy this year to push his economic policy known as Abenomics.

The prime minister said this year's regular Diet session to be called on January 20th will open up the future.

He said his Cabinet and the people are ready to start full-fledged efforts to build a new Japan.

Abe ruled out the possibility of Lower House dissolution for a snap election. He said the word "dissolution" has not occurred to him during the first 4 days of the year.

He said his government's mission is to push Abenomics and promote economic growth. He added that he will make all-out efforts toward that goal while focusing on early passage of the fiscal 2017 budget.

He said he's visited more than 100 countries while in office, and that he will continue to pursue his diplomacy with a panoramic perspective of the world.

On Emperor Akihito's apparent wish to abdicate, Abe indicated that he intends to seek an agreement between the governing and opposition parties.

He said the emperor system is the country's foundation and an extremely important issue concerning Japan's long history and future. He added that the abdication issue should never be made political.