- Policy for Recruitment and Employment of New College Graduates
- Economic Situation
- Employment of People with Disabilities
- Summer Time
- Welcoming Foreign Workers
- Election of LDP President
- NAFTA Renegotiations
- US Trade Policy
- Japan-China Relations
Policy for Recruitment and Employment of New College Graduates
I have questions about Keidanren determining a policy and setting a timetable for recruitment and employment of new college graduates. I am also aware of problems relating to hiring all new graduates at the same time. With advances in digitization, a student can submit applications to dozens of companies online. Recruitment and human resource development are crucial matters for enterprises, but I feel that conventional Japanese methods such as lifetime employment and simultaneous hiring of new graduates are gradually ceasing to function effectively. Each company should have its own particular approach to recruitment, depending on its circumstances.
Keidanren will discuss policy for recruitment and employment of new college graduates based on the issues I have outlined above. Rather than simply talking about a timetable of job-hunting activities, I would like to fundamentally debate recruitment and employment policy as a whole. As part of this process, I would like to canvass students' views on job-hunting activities.
As labor shortages become more severe, it is only natural for corporate managers to invest in labor-saving initiatives. With rapid progress in digitization, it is also natural for investment in that area to increase as well. The media have been pointing that companies are amassing larger internal reserves, but enterprises are not merely holding these as cash. Such funds are already earmarked for some form of investment, and internal reserves are currently at a broadly appropriate level. It would be strange to link rising internal reserves directly to wage increases. Wages are increased for reasons such as improving employment conditions and boosting motivation, and in this respect companies should continue their efforts to increase wages.
Ten years have now passed since the global financial crisis. The problem of how to avoid economic bubbles persists, and this is a risk. However, lessons learned about post-bubble measures have been applied. Some commentators have suggested that with low interest rates and rising property prices the Japanese economy now resembles that of the US when Lehmann Brothers collapsed, but it is quite different from the US situation at that time, which exhibited clear symptoms of a bubble.
Employment of People with Disabilities
I was frankly astounded to hear that national and local government bodies have been padding their hiring rates for people with disabilities. Although achieving hiring rates determined by law places pressure on corporations, boosting the employment of people with disabilities is a social requirement. It is also something that should be done as a matter of course to promote diversity within organizations.
Keidanren once called for the introduction of summer time, but circumstances have changed since then. Our member companies have a variety of views on this matter. Rather than simply adhering to our former stance, we need to discuss this issue again internally. The success of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games must be ensured, but I believe that there are methods other than summer time for beating the heat.
Welcoming Foreign Workers
The homogeneity of Japanese society is becoming a weakness, and we need to promote greater social diversity. Organizations lacking in diversity do not generate the insights required to thrive in a globalized business environment. I believe that debate among Japanese people only might be barrier for global business competition. However, circumstances differ from one industry to the next. After thoroughly discussing with our members the kinds of systems and preparations needed to welcome foreign workers, Keidanren will present our views on accepting foreign workers.
Election of LDP President
For the past six years Prime Minister Abe has implemented policies aimed at revitalizing the Japanese economy, and I applaud the steady results he has achieved. Ongoing stable government is desirable from an economic perspective, and I endorse Prime Minister Abe's continuing leadership. Having said that, Japan faces numerous issues, and I hope that the LDP presidential election will provide an opportunity for robust policy debate.
NAFTA renegotiations are under way, and I hope that they will conclude in a form that preserves the current trilateral framework and maintains free trade as far as possible. It is not yet possible to predict the effects of revising rules of origin. We will continue to closely monitor the talks.
US Trade Policy
If additional tariffs were to be levied on vehicles imported from Japan, sales prices would rise. The greatest impact would be felt by US consumers and dealers. Such a move would also have major effects on supply chains. US state governors and businesspeople share our awareness of these points. However, we cannot foresee the extent to which their views will be reflected in the policies of the Trump administration.
In dealing with China, it is imperative to reiterate the need to ensure that companies can act in accordance with capitalist business practices. For example, antimonopoly law investigations relating to corporate mergers in China take longer for foreign companies than for Chinese enterprises, and more conditions are sometimes imposed. Fair conditions for competing and cooperating are a fundamental principle of business activity. During my visit to China beginning next week I would like to engage in policy dialogue with Chinese political leaders aimed at resolving such issues.