It's time for Japan to become an engine of global economic recovery, said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he kicked off his highly anticipated speech addressing how the government plans to drive longer term growth in the world's third largest economy on Wednesday.
But plans outlined by Abe, ranging from setting up special economic zones to attract investment and raising incomes by 3 percent annually over the next 10 years, weren't enough to excite equity investors.
After briefly rising 1.25 percent minutes after the speech began, the Nikkei 225 promptly slipped into negative territory, closing down almost 4 percent on Wednesday.
Abe's economic strategy, dubbed "Abenomics" rests on "three arrows:" monetary and fiscal stimulus to get growth going and long-term structural change to ensure sustainable growth.
But investors were disappointed on Wednesday from the lack of announcements on reforms surrounding the labor market and corporate taxes and failure to urge public pension funds to increase their equity allocations, said market participants.
"There was nothing really game changing - we have heard pro-growth comments for some time," said Stan Shamu, market strategist at trading firm IG Markets.
"The market was looking for comments on public pension funds increasing equity investments," he added.
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In his speech on Wednesday, Abe was expected to press the country's giant public pensions funds to reallocate funds to more risk assets including equities - a move that would inject fresh momentum into the market that has undergone a sizable correction over the past two weeks.