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

September 7, 2020

Chairman's State of Health

Medical staff have confirmed recurrence of my lymphoma, and I have been admitted to hospital for treatment involving a process of trial and error. I am in good physical condition and feel energetic, but in the midst of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic my meetings and outside visits have been sharply curtailed to prevent nosocomial infection.

Under these circumstances, it is difficult to predict my attendance at upcoming meetings and press conferences, but I will consult carefully with my doctor and make appropriate decisions. Japan is at a crucial phase in rebuilding its economy, and I will continue to fulfill my responsibilities.

Hopes for the New Cabinet

The issues for the new cabinet to address are clear: firstly, taking measures to deal with COVID-19, and secondly, revitalizing the economy and building new socioeconomic structures aimed at living with coronavirus and the post-COVID-19 era. I hope the cabinet will focus on these matters.

The government and the business community have long cooperated as the dual engines driving the Japanese economy forward. We share an awareness of the danger that the impacts of COVID-19 could develop into a financial crisis. I urge the new cabinet to continue its efforts to reinvigorate the Japanese economy.

Fiscal consolidation is another very important issue, and bearing this in mind the cabinet needs to thoroughly discuss what kinds of policies are required.

(In response to a question on Chairman Nakanishi's views regarding establishment of a digital ministry/agency): For some time now, I have pointed out the importance of digitalization of government. I do not know what kind of organization Mr. Suga intends to set up, but it will need to secure a unified budget spanning several ministries and agencies and develop integrated system specifications.

Evaluation of Abe Administration

In a long period of stable government extending over eight years, the Abe administration produced major results in both domestic and foreign affairs. In particular, it significantly enhanced Japan's international presence as a result of energetic diplomacy based on a broad global overview. Amid the worldwide spread of national self-interest, I have a very high regard for the new position that Prime Minister Abe created for Japan.

Meanwhile, Japan is still only partway through achieving sustainable economic growth, but this is a common global issue in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Abe administration has risen to various challenges and produced results. The business community is a key player in growth strategy, which is one of the three "arrows" of Abenomics, and corporate activity lies at the core of efforts to implement such strategy. Companies, which play a leading role in the economy, must extend their digital transformation and supply chain review initiatives and create new industries, but they have not yet done enough, partly due to the impacts of COVID-19. Abenomics can be regarded as not yet having reached this stage, but this is a topic for companies and business leaders rather than a cause for criticism of the Abe administration's policies. I recognize that the business community has weighty responsibilities to fulfill.

Snap Election

Dissolving the House of Representatives and calling a general election are sole prerogatives of the prime minister, and such political decisions should not be interfered with. A great many issues require swift solutions, including enhancement of medical systems and digitalization of government operations.

Newly-merged Opposition Party

I do not feel that the new Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan has specific and clear prospects for policies in areas such as the environment and energy. Close attention will be paid to how the party's ideas on economic growth and resolution of disparities will be expressed in achievable policies.

Spring Labor-Management Wage Negotiations

I am aware that wage levels were suppressed for many years to protect employment during a period when the Japanese economy was unable to achieve major structural reforms and link these to advancement of new industries. After reconsidering this situation, over the last few years management has adopted a basic stance of offering wage increases in negotiations with labor.

However, under current circumstances, the COVID-19 pandemic is ramping up pressure to maintain employment. This will make it difficult to discuss wage levels from a conventional market perspective in the 2021 spring labor-management wage negotiations.

Japan's Policy Toward China

Japan and China are neighbors separated by a narrow sea, with a long history of bilateral relations and cultural and economic exchange. It could be suicidal for Japan to regard recent trends in China as a bid for dominance and take economic actions that are either hostile to China or ignore it. It is vital for Japan to engage as positively as possible with its neighbor while overcoming serious problems.

Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

Frankly I hope that next year's Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will take place no matter what, but with no end in sight to COVID-19 infections around the world, hosting the games will require rigorous preparations and much hard thinking about how to make the event a reality.

Executives' Comments