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Executives' Comments  Press Conferences Chairman Nakanishi's Statements and Comments
at His Press Conference

September 25, 2018

Recruitment and Employment of New College Graduates

After I expressed my doubts about Keidanren setting a timetable for the recruitment and employment of new college gradates, I received a variety of responses from various quarters, including students, government and universities. I do not have a problem with the existence of rules themselves. On the other hand, there are many different ways of recruiting, such as year-round recruitment, and it is not a matter of banning one or the other.

In terms of university education, there needs to be serious reflection on the fact that, traditionally, companies have not placed much emphasis on applicants' academic results in their recruitment processes. It is important for students to study hard and for companies to recognize and recruit those students who do study hard. I want universities to provide an education that will be meaningful for both students and the business community. Companies also need to indicate what kind of skills they want students to acquire and what kind of study they want students to do in order to acquire those skills. It is not a matter of the timetable for job-hunting activities causing studies to be neglected.

We must not allow job-hunting activities in 2020 to be thrown into turmoil. I am well aware of this fact and will act accordingly. We will discuss this issue thoroughly in Keidanren and come up with a response.

University Reforms

Discussions about university reforms to date have been about the state of universities as research institutions, but we need to focus more on universities as educational institutions. The amount of study that students do at the top universities in the United States, Europe, and Asia is incomparable with that of Japan's university students. In Japan, compared to getting into university, it is not that difficult to graduate, and companies have accepted this situation without question. It is this situation that lies at the heart of my concerns. I would like to see universities provide a meaningful education so that students will study properly.

US-China Trade

Trade based on free and fair rules is of immense importance to the economy. I regard the current situation, which could almost be described as a trade war, as quite serious. Having said that, I do not believe that it will lead to the kind of situation that occurred after the global financial crisis, in which not only money but even demand disappeared from the market. During the global financial crisis, we did not even know where the risks were and the economy contracted due to a loss of confidence. The current trade friction, on the other hand, is the result of a correction of the trade imbalance between the United States and China. This was also one of the election promises made by President Trump during his campaign. At the very least, it is clear where the risks lie. The Japanese business community will work together with its counterparts in other countries through forums such as B20, while emphasizing the importance of free trade, and take actions to avoid tariff measures having a negative impact on the economy.

Japan-US Economic Relations

The Japanese government and business community have consistently emphasized the maintenance of free trade based on rules. I hope that the Japanese government will negotiate in these terms at the 2nd round of FFR talks as well. I have an aversion to diplomacy being treated as a "deal" and I hope that the government will negotiate in a way that will do away with such a notion. Nevertheless, diplomacy is only possible with a counterpart and demands are being placed on diplomacy today that differ from conventional diplomatic protocols. While coordinating closely with the government, Keidanren will continue to pursue its own private-sector diplomacy.

Automobiles are the single largest trade category in Japan-US economic relations and the impact of raising automotive tariffs will be significant. There is certainly an element of the US using automotive tariffs as ammunition in their negotiations precisely due to the automotive industry's great importance to the Japanese economy. The United States has refused to entertain anything other than bilateral negotiations and is unlikely to agree to any Japanese proposal for a CPTPP. The intentions behind the recent spate of tariff measures taken by the United States are quite unfathomable. The fact that we do not know what President Trump's aims are is Japan's biggest problem.

Election of LDP President

The continuation of the Abe government is a positive for the economy, and the business community welcomes Prime Minister Abe's election to his third term as President of the LDP. I hope he will continue to run his government from an economy-first perspective. In particular, I would call on him to respond appropriately to the uncertain international situation that currently represents a threat to the Japanese economy. I hope Prime Minister Abe will continue to display leadership and conduct diplomacy that is in Japan's national interest and that will also lead to global prosperity.

It is extremely important that the political and business arenas coordinate closely with each other. This has become even more imperative today, when diplomatic policies are being pursued according to hitherto unseen protocols. I want to see the political and business arenas work closely together to bring momentum back to the Japanese economy.


If the UK withdraws from the EU without any agreement, it will have a grave impact on economic activity, so I hope that this will be avoided. On the other hand, the question of what to do about investment in the UK is up to the individual Japanese companies to decide. Similarly, any decisions regarding business facilities located in the UK will depend on the industry and business involved. For example, in the financial industry, such a decision will depend on how far the City will be able to maintain its functions as an international financial center. I doubt that we will see a situation in which Japanese companies start fleeing the UK one after the other. There are also many different options, depending on the business, for alternative locations to the UK.

Welcoming Foreign Workers

I do not have a clear answer to the question of whether adopting an immigration policy is the right thing to do. Nevertheless, the homogeneous nature of Japan's social structure has the potential to become a handicap to globalization. Globalization and diversity are prerequisites to the pursuit of innovation. Japanese people traveling overseas for tourism and other purposes and encountering other cultures and, similarly, Japan welcoming people from other countries are extremely important from this perspective. However, globalization and diversity cannot be discussed in parallel with immigration policy. Accepting foreign workers involves a complex interaction of issues such as social security and the development of housing environments.

Executives' Comments