- Interim Summary of Discussion in the Industry-Academia Council
on the Future of Recruitment and University Education
- Results of House of Representatives By-Elections
- Automotive Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers
- The Future of Nuclear Power Generation
- HR Systems
- Corporate Governance
It is vital to raise cybersecurity awareness in the business community during the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics. Businesses around the world have been severely damaged by devious cyberattacks, but in Japan vigilance has waned in the absence of harm from large-scale attacks over the last 18 months. Hitachi, Ltd. was among the enterprises affected by the WannaCry ransomware worm, which highlighted the importance of cybersecurity measures. Since attacks are bound to impede business to some extent, the key lesson from that experience was the need to develop business continuity plans so that entire operations do not come to a halt. To date Keidanren has discussed cybersecurity in its Committee on Information and Telecommunication Policy, but we will establish a committee specializing in cybersecurity to address the issue in more depth.
Rather than leaving cybersecurity entirely up to specialists, companies should ensure that everyone—from top management to front-line staff—is capable of working together to deal swiftly with attacks. Countermeasures for cyberattacks targeting infrastructure, in particular, need to be reviewed.
The introduction of 5G will bring a dramatic expansion in problems we cannot yet foresee, such as identifying security vulnerabilities and predicting how we will have to respond. As we head into this new era, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of cybersecurity, and have already taken internal steps to prepare themselves, for example by appointing managers to take charge of cybersecurity. Paradoxically, however, I feel that many companies have now relaxed their guard, and awareness that this is an issue for top management is gradually dwindling. A complete stocktake of the current cybersecurity situation is required.
Interim Summary of Discussion in the Industry-Academia Council
on the Future of Recruitment and University Education
At today's meeting of the Industry-Academia Council on the Future of Recruitment and University Education, Keidanren and university representatives confirmed their shared awareness of problems presented by the lack of rules for corporate recruiting of students and inconsistency in rules that do exist.
We also agreed that the current practice of recruiting all new graduates at the same time and training large numbers of recruits together no longer matches the needs of our times. Contrary to some media reports, however, universities and Keidanren have not agreed to shift to year-round recruitment. We affirmed a shared recognition that we should make an orderly transition to diverse, multi-track forms of recruitment.
This transition will take some time, since it assumes changes in social systems and norms. In an era of 100-year lifespans, it will be difficult for people to continue working for the same company their whole lives. Recurrent education targets not only technology re-training but also the re-designing of lives in completely new ways. Society needs to be reshaped in more multi-faceted forms.
In the past, universities and businesses rarely engaged in frank, direct discussion. The education system is controlled exclusively by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which has jurisdiction over the Central Council for Education, but the system has become unsuited to the times, and there is a need for dialogue with a broad range of stakeholders. Over the past decade or two, universities have altered their educational programs and methods of guiding students, yet there have been few opportunities for them to communicate these changes directly to the business community. Meanwhile, an unfounded rumor circulated suggesting that business saw no need for the study of humanities, and some of those involved in university education believed it to be true. This had the undesired effect of creating a perception gap. I am delighted that the Industry-Academia Council has succeeded in confirming a shared awareness aimed at bridging this gap, and will continue its dialogue. This is just an interim summary of our initial discussion, and we will now proceed to the next step.
Results of House of Representatives By-Elections
The by-election results appear to reflect major disputes over local policy issues such as the relocation of a US military base to Henoko in Okinawa and the proposal of a new scheme of local government for Osaka. These are unlikely to have significant impact on the House of Councillors election later this year.
Automotive Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers
As we age, physical capabilities such as dynamic visual acuity and agility of reflexes deteriorate. Advances in technology can compensate for some of this decline. Developing technologies to enable safe driving is the best means of addressing this issue.
The Future of Nuclear Power Generation
Taking a long view of the future of humankind, nuclear power generation is not limited to existing light water reactor technologies. It is important to make good use of nuclear energy such as nuclear fusion and nuclear fission, and we must not abandon these promising sources.
In any company, it is commonplace for new recruits to find that work which attracted them as students loses its luster once they actually start the job. Conversely, sometimes such recruits find themselves assigned to departments where business is booming and employee motivation is high. In order to bring out the dynamism of a company and motivate its employees, it is crucial to develop working conditions and HR systems that can respond flexibly to workers' desires and aspirations.
I do not believe it is particularly meaningful to publish performance forecasts in quarterly disclosure, but this is no reason to be hesitant about publishing quarterly financial results. The practice of cross-holding shares has also come under fire, and since it is often difficult to refute criticism that capital is not being utilized effectively, cross-holding shares must be reduced. However, some executives claim that cross-holding shares enables stable management. Each company needs to make its own management decisions on this issue.