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

November 8, 2021

Keidanren Carbon Neutrality Action Plan

We recently compiled the Keidanren Carbon Neutrality Action Plan (hereinafter, "CN Action Plan") aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan is the first of its kind and has three key points. The first is developing visions for carbon neutrality by 2050. All industries responded to our inquiries by confirming that such visions have already been developed, or are under consideration or planning. The CO2 emissions of the 23 industries that have already developed their visions account for 90% of total CO2 emissions for all participating industries. The second point is revision of reduction targets. When we asked participating industries to confirm the status of their revisions to emission reduction targets for fiscal 2030, it was clear that efforts are accelerating. For example, the CN Action Plan has prompted 21 industries to either revise their targets or declare their intention to do so. The third point is achievement of reductions. Between fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2020, CO2 emissions were reduced by 22.3%.

By setting out industry visions, the CN Action Plan declares our commitment to carbon neutrality and cultivates opportunities to bring about green transformation.

With the CN Action Plan at the core of our efforts, Keidanren will continue to take the initiative in addressing climate change issues and support the government in contributing to green transformation in Japan as a step towards global carbon neutrality.

At the same time, we will urge the government to set out a specific path to achieving greenhouse gas reductions of 46% by fiscal 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050 and spur national action to achieve these goals. For example, there are questions around how the government will consider the energy mix, introduction of renewable energy, and utilization of nuclear energy. Some areas are difficult for industry to address alone, and government support is required for new technology development, social implementation, and infrastructure development. Amid changes in industry structures, it will be crucial to reinforce re-skilling so that people can continue to actively participate in the workforce in appropriate ways. Challenges also exist in transformation of behavior through carbon pricing that contributes to growth, promotion of sustainable finance, and overseas expansion and deployment of Japan's outstanding technologies and products. We will continue to make firm proposals on such points and urge the government to take the necessary steps.

Proposal: Towards Continuity of Social and Economic Activity
Balanced with COVID-19 Countermeasures

Since I was appointed as Chairman in June this year, Keidanren has made a series of proposals regarding COVID-19, and this is the fourth. Following on from the previous proposal in September, as the new Kishida administration swings into action, this proposal urges further progress on policies aimed at revitalizing social and economic activity in ways that maintain a balance with COVID-19 countermeasures. The first key point is establishment of healthcare systems enabling prompt treatment and prevention of severe illness. The second is development of policies aimed at revitalizing social and economic activity, including streamlining immigration controls. At the end of last week, the government announced that it would shorten the home isolation period for business travelers entering Japan to three days. I welcome this as a major step towards streamlining of immigration controls. The business community will cooperate in appropriate control of those entering the country and steadily accumulate experience with the requirements, and this will lead to further revitalization of international movement. Based on the situation moving forward, I expect further phased easing of regulations, including expansion of acceptable vaccine types.

Promoting Inbound Tourism

Japan needs to adopt a staged approach to promoting inbound tourism, since it brings major economic effects and serves to foster understanding of our country.

Re-start of the "Go To Travel" Campaign

Appetite for travel and other experiences is growing, and some are of the view that if travel restrictions are eased, consumption will be revitalized even without support from the "Go To Travel" campaign. However, the pandemic has had a severe impact on the travel industry and eating and drinking establishments. While remaining mindful of the need to prevent excessive concentrations of tourists and ensure that the effects extend to small and medium-sized businesses, initiatives like the "Go To Travel" campaign should proceed in appropriate combination with vaccine passports and proof of testing.

Revision of 70% Target for Reduction in Commuting

Telework should continue as part of work style reforms. However, a uniform 70% reduction in commuter numbers impedes economic activity. Vaccination is having an effect, and the target should be revised based on data indicating that increased flows of people no longer correlate to the effective reproduction number for COVID-19 infections.

Women's Active Participation in the Workforce and Men's Share of Housework

According to statistics from the 2020 Labour Force Survey conducted by the Statistics Bureau of Japan, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, there are more than twice as many households where both spouses work (about 12.4 million) as households with full-time homemakers (around 5.71 million), and thus it is natural to encourage men to take a share of housework. Japanese men spare between one and two hours per day for childcare, less than the two to three hours typical in Europe and the US. There is a positive correlation between the length of time husbands spend on housework and the proportion of wives who continue in employment. Keidanren will continue to proactively promote women's active participation in the workforce.

Executives' Comments