Nakaso, candidate to head BOJ, calls for faster green growth strategy

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Nakaso, candidate to head BOJ, calls for faster green growth strategy

Japan needs a faster "third arrow" growth strategy focussing on promoting a carbon-neutral society, including by creating a financial hub in Tokyo for Asian firms aiming to go green, said Hiroshi Nakaso, considered a front-runner to be the country's next central bank chief.

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Massive monetary and fiscal stimulus deployed in 2013 as the first two "arrows" of then-premier Shinzo Abe's "Abenomics" policies reflated the economy. But the third, structural reform, barely took flight, failing to boost a potential growth rate stuck below 1 per cent.

Steps to encourage capital spending on green projects would help lift Japan's potential growth rate and serve as an upgraded growth strategy, said Nakaso, a former deputy governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ).

"Abenomics was the right prescription to revitalise Japan's economy. But there was too much burden laid upon the first two arrows," particularly on monetary policy, he told Reuters on Friday.

As a result, he said in an interview, short-term interest rates remain negative and the BOJ's balance sheet ballooned to 4.5 times the level before the launch of its huge asset-buying programme.

"The third arrow needed to fly faster and higher," Nakaso said.

"Steps to achieve carbon neutrality would be a breakthrough for Japan, which had struggled to raise potential growth," he said, adding the country's huge savings can be tapped to boost investment in green innovation.