- Carbon Neutrality
- Carbon Pricing
- Draft Budget for Fiscal 2021
- Fiscal Reconstruction
- Spring Labor-Management Negotiations
- Kanji for the Year
Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 (hereinafter, "CN 2050") will be a significant challenge. The reality is that even the EU, despite the individual nations' differing circumstances, is addressing this challenge with a sense of crisis that, unless something is done, the Earth will not survive. Japan's situation is that it is highly dependent on thermal power generation. As an entire nation, we must consider how we will achieve CN 2050 from both macro and micro perspectives, including energy policy, and work to create innovation. There are many issues to be addressed. Because an immediate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to zero is impossible, assistance for transition measures is also needed. The government and the private sector must join forces and use their collective wisdom to solve these issues by creating an environment that will enable dynamic investment, such as the ¥2 trillion fund proposed in the supplementary budget. In that respect, CN 2050 represents a growth strategy.
Until now, due to concerns that it would not function effectively, the business community has taken a cautious stance toward carbon pricing. As we move toward CN 2050, all-encompassing approaches will be needed, and, instead of refusing even to discuss carbon pricing from the outset, we need to give comprehensive consideration to the question of whether or not it could work. Under these circumstances, Prime Minister Suga's instructions to Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshi Kajiyama, and Minister of the Environment, Shinjiro Koizumi, to consider this issue are a natural progression. Unless they sort out how it relates to Japan's energy portfolio and existing policies and come up with a significantly solid design, carbon pricing might not work.
Draft Budget for Fiscal 2021
The draft budget for fiscal 2021 demonstrates the government's resolve to maintain income levels and achieve further growth while protecting employment through business continuity. We strongly support this.
With the baby-boom generation about to enter the latter stages of old age, there is a need to recognize, at a citizen level, that Japan's public finances are being operated on extremely slim margins. Unless the budget for next fiscal year provides the sustenance for our economic growth, a variety of problems could emerge.
Spring Labor-Management Negotiations
With corporations fighting hard to hold onto jobs and continue their businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis, it will likely be difficult for them to respond in any uniform way on the topic of wage rise momentum in the spring labor-management negotiations.
On the other hand, we should also note well that Japan's income levels have seen low growth for the past twenty to thirty years, making them quite low among the OECD nations. There are, however, several different factors behind this, including issues involving industrial structure, and it is not an issue that can be addressed solely by the spring labor-management negotiations.
The first step is to be conscious of wage rise momentum in deliberations. Labor and management will need to deepen their debate about how to contribute to raising income levels and productivity in Japan as a whole, including work styles that are diverse and inclusive.
Kanji for the Year
The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to make major transitions in the way we work and live, so I want to make the kanji, 換, meaning "change" or "transition," my kanji for 2020.