- Chairman's State of Health
- Keidanren's New Growth Strategy
- Expectations of the New US Administration
- Energy Policy
- Fields for Investment
- Third Supplementary Budget of Fiscal 2020
- Science Council of Japan
Chairman's State of Health
My treatment is progressing smoothly and is now in the final stage. I will continue to conduct press conferences online for the time being. Your understanding is appreciated.
Keidanren's New Growth Strategy
Keidanren's new growth strategy was discussed and approved at today's meeting of the chairman and vice chairs, and I would like to take this opportunity to formally announce it. What needs to be done to achieve growth remains unchanged, but the growth strategy we have developed differs greatly from previous versions in positioning the following two aims as fundamental points: (1) implementation with a sense of urgency and (2) global sustainability.
If corporate activities do not contribute to a sustainable society, they will not gain market support, and the very existence of the company may be jeopardized. Establishing sustainable capitalism is the fundamental concept of this growth strategy. To this end, Keidanren has set five action targets for 2030: (1) achievement of new growth through digital transformation (DX), a process that the Suga administration has given top priority and the private sector must also accelerate; (2) reforms aimed at new and fulfilling work styles not dependent on time-based management; (3) regional revitalization powered by personnel who are free from constraints of time and place; (4) rebuilding of the international economic order based on changes in the United States and other countries; and (5) achievement of green growth with a view to carbon neutrality in 2050, as clearly set out in Prime Minister Suga's recent policy speech.
Women's active participation in society is crucial from the perspectives of diversity and inclusion, but in reality it will be difficult to make progress in this direction under Japan's existing social structure unless explicit goals are set. Thus we have set a specific target of increasing the proportion of female directors to more than 30% by 2030 by aiming high and making concerted efforts.
Over the last ten years, while discussion of nuclear power has been off the table in Japan, the global situation has changed significantly. Since strict safety measures have raised the costs of large reactors, the trend has been toward development of small reactors. China and Russia now lead in global construction of large reactors, and concerns have been raised over security. Recognizing these circumstances, Japan needs to conduct fundamental discussion of topics including the role it should play in the world and achievement of green growth.
In any case, the business community will take the initiative in engaging with the issues set out in the growth strategy and strongly urging the government and the ruling coalition to address them.
Expectations of the New US Administration
Mr. Biden follows conventional US stances in fundamental areas such as emphasizing cooperation with allies. In terms of policy towards China, he is likely to take a different approach to President Trump. Japan's government and business leaders need to build fresh, multifaceted relationships with the new US administration.
In his recent general policy speech, Prime Minister Suga declared the target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and positioned this goal as a key pillar of the government's new growth strategy. The setting of a firm start-point and target is encouraging for progress on Japan's energy policy.
However, Japan faces a very difficult energy situation. Electricity companies face mounting costs for nuclear power station safety measures, and over the past decade have been able to make scarcely any other new investment in electric power. Mechanisms to encourage investment must be created in order to induce technology development and innovation and build new electricity and energy schemes.
Fields for Investment
There is a vital need for investment in DX that goes beyond basic management policies and leads to development of new products and services, in other words investment in utilization of digital solutions and data.
People are the most important element in promoting investment in such fields. Unlike the era when sales could be achieved simply by making good products, future business requires human resources capable of applying knowledge and ingenuity to contribute to society while raising profits through services that utilize data. Many companies have already embarked on investment in such personnel, but policies to accelerate this trend are also important.
Third Supplementary Budget of Fiscal 2020
Special measures for the employment adjustment subsidy and other fiscal spending on COVID-19 countermeasures cannot continue forever. Sooner or later frank discussion will be required with a view to fiscal consolidation for Japan.
Science Council of Japan
I would prefer to refrain from comment on the Science Council of Japan.