APEC Foresees Japan's Economic Growth to be Accelerated by IT

Information technology (IT) has a potential to accelerate the long-term economic growth of Japan by improving productivity, according to a report released by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

In its report, The New Economy and APEC, the APEC Economic Committee noted that the long-term impact of the latest IT industry has yet to be known, but "we see the growing possibility of the IT as great technological innovations such as the steams engine, electricity and the automobile."

"The impact not only benefits IT-related manufacturers and telecommunications business but also transforms business styles in a wide range of industrial sectors by dramatically cutting costs of communications and information search," the report said.

By the year of 2004, IT industries and the spread of e- commerce will have a direct effect of 2.1 percent of Japan's GDP or about 11 trillion yen, and the effect as whole including ripple effect will be 4.2 percent, according to the report.

From the second quarter of 1999 to the third quarter of 2000, IT-related demand and production contributed to economic recovery of Japan, which is still suffering from a growth slowdown.

The IT, affecting Japan's economy in many aspects, accounted for roughly 30 percent of the country's exports, 50 percent of its production and 80 percent of its business investment, the report added.

The IT investment in Japan accounted for 15.2 percent of overall business investment over the past three years and was expected to account for 18.3 percent of the same over the next three years.

The new technologies also greatly affect the employment in Japan. The APEC Economic Committee noted that jobs that can be undertaken by temporary workers rather than regular workers is increasing.

Meanwhile, IT has also influenced labor supply by allowing tele- work for child-raising housewives who cannot commute. In 2000, the number of tele-workers in Japan reaches 2.5 million and is expected to increase to 4.5 million in 2005.

(People's Daily 10/19/2001)

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