The Future of Asia 2012

Govt Will Work To Expand Asian Middle Class: Gemba

Thursday, May 24, 2012

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said Thursday the government will draw up a strategy by autumn to help expand the size of the middle class in Asia.

Speaking at the 18th International Conference on the Future of Asia, Gemba said the Japanese government's plan will promote economic tie-ups in the Asia-Pacific, help build infrastructure, offer state-of-the-art environmental technology and strengthen dialogue between the public and private sectors.

"The economy in the Asia-Pacific region continues to grow vigorously and lead the global economy," Gemba said. But he also sounded a note of caution over regional politics and social safety nets, saying there is a risk that economic disparities will widen, and that social unrest could worsen despite economic growth.

Gemba said democracy and efforts to close economic gaps are essential to creating stable societies in Asia, and that a solid middle class is the foundation of such societies.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.