Japan adopts deregulation steps for urban renewal toward Olympics
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government adopted Friday deregulation measures for proposed "strategic special zones" that include relaxing regulations to promote urban redevelopment in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The government's industrial competitiveness council decided to ease regulations for building high-rise apartments mainly in the central parts of big cities while allowing rented accommodations to be used as hotels for tourists.
Special zones aimed at spurring corporate investment through deregulation and tax incentives are to be created in Tokyo as well as Osaka and central Japan's Aichi Prefecture.
Other deregulation steps to be implemented in such zones are allowing private-sector firms to operate public schools, allowing experts without a teacher's license to give classes, expanding the scope of treatment by non-Japanese doctors and nurses and facilitating the use of foreign drugs and increasing hospital beds.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting of the council that the government "managed to sort out reforms necessary to create international cities that can compete with other cities in the world."
The government will submit to the Diet a set of bills to launch the zones in early November and decide on their exact locations by early next year.
The government panel, however, did not approve a plan to relax rules to dismiss workers, sought by business communities, and decided to extend nationwide the length of contracts for part-time and contract workers so as to boost their job security.
To help clarify employment rules for companies doing business in the special zones, the government will establish guidelines and consulting centers on labor issues.
The council also held off on easing conditions for private companies to enter into the farming sector.
In the zones, restaurants can be set up on agricultural land and historical buildings, such as old samurai residences, and can be transformed into accommodation facilities.
October 18, 2013(Mainichi Japan)