Japanese govt. panel calls for industrial competitiveness

A Japanese government panel of experts says the economy needs to be more productive and competitive while lessening its dependence on fossil fuels. The recommendations are in a report that addresses Japan's past three years of trade deficits.

The Finance Ministry panel of economic experts points out that exports of electronic products used to be the economy's driving force. But their value has fallen short of imported electronics since fiscal 2022.

It says domestic industries should become more competitive by raising their productivity and promoting a more fluid labor market.

The report cites rising energy imports as a major cause of the trade deficit. It recommends promoting renewables to reduce that dependence.

The report also favors the resumption of operations of idled nuclear-power plants on condition their safety is assured.

The panel stresses the importance of deregulating domestic industries so that they invest more in the country.

Vice Minister of Finance for International Affairs Kanda Masato chaired the panel. He said bolstering Japan's balance of trade will help secure its wealth and economic power in the long term.