Rakuten Inc’s Chief Executive Officer Hiroshi Mikitani has quit a government panel that gives key advice to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, saying their “Abenomics” is actually stifling the economic reforms it was promising in the first place. He says he is also preparing for a legal fight over the government’s policies regarding online drug sales, which his company will be going into.
“Abe’s growth strategy was about bringing down regulatory barriers and cultivating new businesses and services. It’s disheartening to see that now going in the opposite direction,” he said during a press conference on Wednesday. Mikitani‘s earlier decision to join the Industrial Competitiveness Council was seen as a “vote of confidence” from the influential businessman for Abe’s economic reforms. But now that he says he is quitting because he is not just disappointed but “fed up,” it can also be seen as an indictment of the Abe’s failure to sustain the radical policies they were trying to enforce in order to bring Japan out of decades of deflation. There has been some question as well as to whether the “third arrow” of Abenomics, which will see the deregulation of the economy, will actually be implemented in order to make the reforms sustainable.
The government is allowing the sale of over-the-counter drugs online, but with restrictions over some health and safety concerns according to health minister Yoko Komiyama. Mikitani is pushing for full deregulation and if the ministry’s plan becomes law, he will be supporting a lawsuit against the government that will be filed by one of his affiliates, Kenko.com. Even though the medication that will not be allowed for sale online is just 1% of the OTC drugs (23 medications to be exact), he said he is fighting on principle since one of the key economic drivers of Abe’s deregulation drive is supposedly removing barriers for Internet sales.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]
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