- Stay Home
- State of Emergency Declaration
- Economic and Financial Measures
- Use of Internal Reserves
- International Collaboration
- After COVID-19
- "My Number" Personal ID System
Rigorous steps to reduce social interactions by 80% are required in order to swiftly control the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections. As we head into the Golden Week holiday period, I would like to reiterate my call for all our member companies to urge restraint in going out and reinforce the "stay home" message. There are various ways of doing this, including closing down over Golden Week and asking employees to work from home, but the methods chosen are not important; the crucial thing is to achieve an 80% reduction in social interactions. This issue affects lives, including those of our employees and business partners, and all we can do is devise ways of limiting contact and repeatedly urge people to adopt such practices. Each of us needs to act with a sharp sense of the crisis we face, and I encourage the media to emphasize the "stay home" message in its reporting.
State of Emergency Declaration
The immediate priority is to stop the spread of COVID-19 infections. The pros and cons of lifting or extending the state of emergency are a matter for careful government judgment informed by expert opinion, and resumption of business activity should not be taken lightly.
Economic and Financial Measures
Furlough allowances and other forms of support are essential to maintaining and securing employment. With no resolution to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, at this point it is difficult to determine whether the draft supplementary budget submitted to the Diet today will be adequate. Rather than regarding this measure as sufficient, we should quickly assist those in need. I would like the government and the business community to act in accord while closely monitoring the situation.
The additional stimulus measures decided today by the Bank of Japan were determined swiftly in view of economic circumstances. These fairly flexible measures, which include boosting purchases of commercial paper and corporate bonds and expanding the range of collateral for financial support, show a strong intent to spur a national effort to address economic stagnation caused by COVID-19.
Use of Internal Reserves
Internal reserves are retained earnings, in other words the accumulated past profits of a company, and are not all on hand in cash. Policies for using such reserves vary depending on the company. They are developed by executives themselves, and may include maintaining employee's livelihoods and supply chains. It is not the role of business organizations to indicate a uniform direction for such policies or evaluate them across the board.
Frameworks for international discussion are essential to stemming the global spread of COVID-19. Japan has built relationships enabling dialogue with the US, China, and other countries, and can play a major role in international collaboration efforts. For example, in the rush to develop vaccines, sharing of data on COVID-19 recoveries and clinical trials, etc. will be effective in eradicating the disease, and Japan should take the initiative.
As globalization and digitalization progress, Keidanren will accelerate its efforts to realize "Society 5.0 for SDGs." Some commentators have suggested that the COVID-19 crisis should be taken as an opportunity to bring production and supply bases back to Japan, but not all such activities can or should be brought home. Rather, decisions should be made after comprehensively considering products, services, and business environments.
"My Number" Personal ID System
There has been some discussion about people having to go to work in order to affix seals to documents, but dependence on personal seals for reliable ID does not align with the digital age. Digital signatures should suffice. Discussion of legislative amendments aimed at promoting utilization of the My Number system needs to be accelerated.