- Typhoon Hagibis of 2019
- Regional Revitalization
- Regulation in the Digital Domain
- Natural Disaster Preparedness
- University Education Reforms and Recruitment
- Japan-South Korea Relations
Typhoon Hagibis of 2019
Typhoon Hagibis caused enormous damage, and I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and all those affected. The entire country must learn lessons from the damage caused, and Keidanren will squarely face the issues and take part in discussions enabling greater disaster-readiness.
The supplementary budget being drafted in response to Typhoon Hagibis should prioritize providing for repair of flood damage directly impacting on people's lives and livelihoods. However, separately from the supplementary budget, there is a need for public-private collaboration to restore damaged infrastructure in sectors including electricity, water supply, sewerage, and railways.
Keidanren has long advocated utilization of data and IT to spark a regional renaissance. A race against time is now looming: can our proposals be brought to fruition before population decline further depletes the regions? While regional infrastructure development is also important, some are of the opinion that addressing population decline is a more serious issue. A range of measures for regional revitalization needs to be devised with an appropriate sense of urgency.
Regulation in the Digital Domain
Technology is now enabling vast volumes of big data to be speedily processed, and various forms of industry are developing that utilize such data. Society 5.0 will leverage the huge impact of these trends, and data usage has become a crucial issue. The gathering and use of consumers' personal data by digital platform operators such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA), and Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent (BAT) is gaining greater recognition not only in Japan, but also in other major countries, and this is prompting discussion. In Japan, it may be difficult to regulate solely from the perspective of "abuse of a superior bargaining position" under the Antimonopoly Act without discussion of data usage. There is a risk that if Japan jumps the gun and tightens regulations ahead of other countries, it could stifle innovation. Systems need to be designed that strike a balance between protection and effective use of personal data. For example, amassing and statistically processing patients' medical histories in ways that take heed of privacy protection could contribute to better management of patients' health care. The issue needs to be thoroughly discussed with consideration of such positive aspects.
Keidanren has consistently urged the UK to avoid crashing out of the EU with no deal, but the October 31 deadline for withdrawal is fast approaching without that possibility having been eliminated. Even at this late stage, it is difficult to forecast what will happen. As well as a renewed awareness of the tremendous internal turmoil in the UK over Brexit, I have concerns over the negative economic impact it could have.
Natural Disaster Preparedness
Based on the assumption that typhoons on the scale of the one recently experienced will occur frequently and may sometimes strike Tokyo directly, we need to re-think urban planning, infrastructure, and various kinds of facilities.
Japan has set a target of achieving an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but we must address climate change with a greater sense of urgency. It is not enough to discuss the matter solely from the perspective that Japan's CO2 emissions account for just a few percent of the global total.
University Education Reforms and Recruitment
In an era of 100-year lifespans, we need to think about designing systems catering to individual life stages. Within this broad trend, we need to discuss extending the retirement age and revising the practice of recruiting all new graduates at the same time. Universities need to examine ways of transforming themselves into educational institutions that play a useful role in life planning by enabling people to return to university and retrain at any stage of their lives.
It is not merely a question of combining year-round recruitment with the current practice of recruiting all new graduates at the same time. In the report of the Committee on Management and Labor Policy and proposals by the Industry-Academia Council on the Future of Recruitment and University Education, Keidanren hopes to present clear and substantive prospects for ways in which the Japanese system of recruitment will change in future and how it will enrich lives.
Japan-South Korea Relations
Business relations between Japan and South Korea are a separate matter from historical issues between our two countries. We have a close bilateral economic relationship, which Keidanren would like to further develop with an eye to the future. We will continue dialogue to this end.