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

February 8, 2021


Extension of the State of Emergency Declaration

My view is that the government has taken into account the continued pressure on the healthcare system and other circumstances in making the grave decision to extend the state of emergency declaration.

Based on the current state of COVID-19 case numbers, responses will need to be made in considerable earnest. While the Japanese public's efforts to curb the spread of the virus by staying home are starting to show some effect, it is unclear how long that will last. Moreover, the rebuilding of the healthcare system, which is under such stress, is not a problem that can be solved immediately.

Keidanren will cooperate fully with the government's efforts to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and revive the economy with the utmost urgency. At the same time, we will strive to secure and maintain employment and work proactively to help compensate the livelihoods of the public.

Vaccination

A Minister has been appointed to be in charge of the vaccination program, and some local governments have started running vaccination simulations. These moves do give a sense that the national and local governments are moving swiftly. There has been some criticism of the delay in the roll out of the vaccine in Japan, but rushing it would also not be a good thing. Of course, vaccination needs to happen quickly, but ensuring that it is safe must be the priority. Once that safety has been assured, I hope the government will set up the systems needed to execute the vaccination schedule it has established with certainty.

The business community will cooperate proactively in those areas that the national and local governments are unable to cover completely by themselves, such as distribution of the vaccine and management of vaccinations.

Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics should definitely go ahead. This was the common recognition held at today's meeting of the chairman and vice chairs. We understand that conducting the event will not be easy, but the Games are a national and international event, and they will become a symbol of our victory over COVID-19. It will be a tremendous challenge, but the significance of holding the Games and the fruits they will bear are massive.

{Asked for his opinion of the recent comments by Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games} I would prefer not to comment. However, I do see that there is still a habit in Japan of thinking about women and men separately. There was an era when people were taught that "men should behave like men and women should behave like women," but in this day and age, we should not be talking and thinking in ways that are premised on gender. Consideration toward minorities and organizational management and human resources management that are firmly conscious of diversity are the foundations of management, and we should also be committed to that.

Share Prices

{Asked about the fact that the Nikkei Average exceeded ¥29,000 for the first time in 30 years} My understanding is that the money that flooded the market with monetary easing is flowing in. It is difficult to predict what will happen going forward, but I do not see a collapse in share prices happening in the immediate future.

Job-based Hiring

Current working hours legislation is premised on management of factory workers' hours. It is part of the whole set of the "traditional Japanese-style employment system," which includes life-time employment, seniority-based promotion, and cohort hiring of new graduates, practices that have been described as "membership-based." A major gap has opened up between these kinds of conventional work styles and the content of more modern work styles. With the way the labor environment is changing, such as the increase in white-collar jobs that are predominantly desk work, even in the manufacturing industry, thought needs to be given to how best to evaluate and remunerate workers. Also, the millennial generation is changing direction toward seeking to affirm their own raison d'être by contributing to society through their work.

Job-based hiring is a system in which individuals clarify the work they are responsible for and their own role while considering their own raison d'être and career path, and the company evaluates and remunerates them appropriately. It is extremely important that companies provide employees who are motivated and have clear intentions with opportunities and a place to flourish. On the other hand, this is not to completely reject everything about membership-based hiring, and there are surely cases in which it is functioning well with the consensus of labor and management. Each company needs to consider the hiring system that is best for it, and the time to do that is now.

It is expected that, at this year's spring labor-management negotiations, there will be firm debate on hiring systems and labor legislation. I want the negotiations to be an important opportunity and forum that will lead to the improvement of Japan's labor productivity and to the strengthening of its industrial competitiveness.

Remote Work

As remote work has become more common, we have started to realize that, conversely, there are some tasks that need face-to-face communication. The challenges faced by individual companies in promoting remote work are becoming clearer, and deliberations are underway on the practical aspects, such as the state of various employee allowances and methods of communication. Going forward, Keidanren will make some concrete proposals for greater promotion of remote work, based on the results of surveys and other information.

Situation in Myanmar

Myanmar has worked to build up its relations with other countries over many years, and this has brought progress in the inducement of investment from overseas. This progress in economic activity cannot be stopped. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully.

Carbon Pricing

In debating carbon pricing, we should not start from the position that it will lead to higher energy costs for Japan. As we move toward the achievement of carbon neutrality by 2050, the energy-related tax systems should be sorted out at this point, and, instead of penalties, we would like to discuss and propose effective systems that would provide incentives for companies.

Executives' Comments