- FY2021 Supplementary Budget
- Special Benefit for Supporting Families with Children
- FY2022 Tax Reforms
- Declaration of Partnership Building
- Response to the Omicron Variant of COVID-19
- Corporate Efforts on Human Rights
- Enactment of U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
- Diplomatic Boycott of the Beijing Olympics
- Japan-China CEO Summit
- South Korea's Application to Join the CPTPP
- This Year's Kanji
FY2021 Supplementary Budget
The supplementary budget passed recently contains both emergency policies to deal with COVID-19, as well as policies to promote economic growth. I compliment the speed at which this was compiled. We hope that together with the FY2022 budget, this will contribute to Japan's future.
Special Benefit for Supporting Families with Children
The Kishida administration is responding well in a flexible manner. Giving out this benefit in both cash and vouchers had initially been considered based on the desire to urge recipients to spend this money rather than saving it. However, even if vouchers are handed out, if people still save the money originally meant for consumption, the effect will be the same. The real way to stimulate consumption is to remove concerns about the future through such measures as social security system reforms.
FY2022 Tax Reforms
(Asked for his views on the ruling parties forgoing stiffer financial income taxation and the carbon tax in their outline of tax reforms) The review of the financial income tax has been in the limelight since it is regarded as a symbolic element of the Kishida administration's policies to realize a virtuous cycle of growth and wealth distribution. I think this must have been shelved this time due to the need to examine closely its impact on the real economy and the financial capital market. I understand that this is simply a matter of order of discussions and does not mean these policies have been dropped. As to the carbon tax, this is premised on contribution to economic growth. It is necessary to discuss this issue in the overall context of carbon pricing, including other possible methods, to find an appropriate strategy for Japan.
Declaration of Partnership Building
More and more Keidanren member companies are participating in this initiative. Improving the productivity and enhancing value added of the entire supply chain, including the small and medium-sized enterprises, is essential for increasing wages and income in Japan as a whole. We will continue to take every opportunity to call on companies to join this initiative.
Response to the Omicron Variant of COVID-19
Basically, the response must be based on scientific, logical, and objective discussions. While effective containment measures are indeed being taken at the country's entry points at Prime Minister Kishida's initiative, all possible measures must also be taken promptly. Advancing the schedule of booster shots is one of them. Prime Minister Kishida has taken the lead in announcing that the interval for the third vaccine will be shortened to six months after the second shot for medical workers and nursing home residents at high risk of falling seriously ill and shortened to seven months for the general elderly population. Booster shots and COVID-19 medication must be used to prevent any slackening in the momentum of the ongoing recovery of socioeconomic activities. In this regard, the smartphone app for vaccination certificates released by the government on Dec. 20 should be put to good use.
Corporate Efforts on Human Rights
It is the basic understanding of the business community that human rights is a universal value that must be respected. Since human rights is a very broad concept and there is a great variety of business sectors, company sizes, and sites of operation, flexible and voluntary efforts are most effective. Based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Keidanren recently revised its Implementation Guidance on Charter of Corporate Behavior and compiled a handbook for working-level officials.
However, there are many human rights issues that are difficult to resolve through corporate initiatives alone. The government also plays an important role in such areas as creating an environment conducive for such corporate efforts, negotiations among nations, and support for collaboration with international organizations.
Enactment of U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
According to news reports, this law contains very strict provisions. We are paying close attention since this is expected to affect business activities of companies considerably. Human rights is a major global issue. There is even an opinion that human rights is part of economic security. All companies must work on this issue with such consciousness.
Diplomatic Boycott of the Beijing Olympics
(Asked for his views on the Japanese government's responses to the diplomatic boycott) We are not in a position to comment on the decisions and responses of governments. I think it is important to think about Japan's national interest and find a middle ground.
Japan-China CEO Summit
Some 40 entrepreneurs and former senior government officials from Japan and China, including former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and former Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan, will engage in an online policy dialogue at the Japan-China CEO Summit (Dec. 21). Both countries have the same goals with regard to the pandemic, climate change, declining birth rate and aging population, and other issues that need to be overcome through the cooperation of the international community. We hope for substantial and positive discussions.
South Korea's Application to Join the CPTPP
The CPTPP requires a high level of liberalization, and in a sense, it is the most advanced trade agreement in the world. We welcome an increase in the number of members meeting such standards. The UK, China, and Taiwan have also expressed their intention to join. We will continue to watch the situation. We also hope that the U.S. will return to the CPTPP's fold at an early date.
This Year's Kanji
Domestic solidarity [rentai] and international cooperation and collaboration [renkei] are necessary for tackling climate change, the pandemic, and other global issues that are difficult to resolve by one single country, so we go for "ren" [連, linkage].