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Japan's 100th prime minister must bring big ideas for nation's future

Communication and clarity are needed to inspire public participation in politics

Japan's next prime minister should focus on structural reforms. From left, Taro Kono, Fumio Kishida, Sanae Takaichi and Seiko Noda hope to win the job. (Photo by Uichiro Kasai)

TOKYO -- Shortly after Yoshihide Suga took office as prime minister one year ago, I wrote in this column that it was important for the new government to integrate its response to the coronavirus pandemic with the structural reforms that Japan needs.

Suga, whose predecessor Shinzo Abe stepped down because of a chronic illness, said he would carry on the policies of Abenomics. Of Abenomics' "three arrows" -- monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and structural reforms -- the third arrow of structural reforms that boost productivity was always a bit lacking. Reflecting on that, Suga launched a digital agency to break down the barriers among Japan's government ministries.

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