Executives' Comments Press Conferences
Chairman Tokura's Statements and Comments
at His Press Conference
- Appointment of Keidanren Vice Chairs
- Wage Increases
- Government-Labor-Management Talks
- Appointment of BoJ Governor
Appointment of Keidanren Vice Chairs
An unofficial decision was made at today's Meeting of the Chairman and Vice Chairs on the candidates for vice chairs of Keidanren to be newly appointed at the General Assembly on May 31.
Vice Chairs Kuniharu Nakamura, Nobuyuki Hirano, Koichiro Watanabe, Hiromichi Shinohara, and Tetsuji Ohashi are due to step down with effect from the date of the General Assembly. An unofficial decision was made to replace them with Yoshinobu Tsutsui, Chairman, Nippon Life Insurance Company; Jun Sawada, Chairman of the Board, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation; Takehiko Kakiuchi, Chairman of the Board, Mitsubishi Corporation; Seiji Izumisawa, President & CEO, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.; Yumiko Noda, Chairman and Representative Director, Veolia Japan K.K.; and Hironori Kamezawa, President & Group CEO, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. As a result of this unofficial decision, there will be 20 vice chairs.
All candidates were selected based on an overall assessment of their personal character, knowledge, management skills, and achievements in their respective industries, as well as maintenance of a balance among a wide range of industries.
(In response to a question about aims and expectations in appointing Ms. Noda of Veolia Japan as a vice chair) Outstanding personal character, knowledge, and management skills are prerequisites for vice chairs, and all appointees are leaders and achievers. We are always acutely conscious of diversity in making vice chair appointments. Keidanren places importance on diversity we think that Japan should be a flexible society that accepts diversity. As chair of Keidanren's Committee on Environment, Ms. Noda has energetically engaged in efforts to realize a circular economy. As a vice chair of Keidanren, she will apply all of the knowledge and experience she has accumulated in responsible positions as head of a foreign-owned enterprise and deputy mayor of Yokohama to add impetus to Keidanren's environmental initiatives, especially green transformation.
The 2023 Report of the Special Committee on Management and Labor Policy does not set explicit numerical targets for wage rises, however, it positions wage increases as part of corporate social responsibility, and strongly urges member companies to implement them. I can understand that Rengo has set a goal of 5% wage increases for this year's spring labor-management wage negotiations. However, considering that SMEs account for most companies and employees in Japan, and business performance varies greatly among industries, sectors, and individual companies, it is not appropriate for Keidanren to set a uniform numerical target.
Since 2014, some companies have responded to Keidanren's calls by implementing several pay scale increases. Such proactive efforts have steadily maintained wage rise momentum. This year, there has been a stream of pleasing news, including companies that had not increased pay scales in recent years announcing that they will now increase them, and others declaring large wage rises. I feel that such moves have boosted wage rise momentum to new levels. Even small actions can accumulate into a big surge that transforms behavior in a "butterfly effect." I hope that this kind of chain reaction will occur, and would like this to be the year that triggers major change.
(In response to a question about views on government-labor-management talks proposed to Prime Minister Kishida by Rengo president Tomoko Yoshino, and willingness to participate in such talks) If such a forum is established, I would be delighted to attend. As well as reporting Keidanren's efforts to achieve wage increases, I would like to use it as an opportunity to propose policies to the government for work style reforms and social security reforms oriented to all generations. These would increase demand by ensuring that wage increases carry through to consumption and create a virtuous cycle leading to economic growth. Economic growth will enable sustainable and structural wage increases. The 2023 Report of the Special Committee on Management and Labor Policy advocates such policies, and Keidanren is currently sharing the report with its member companies throughout Japan and calling for wage increases.
Appointment of BoJ Governor
I hope that the person selected as the next governor of the Bank of Japan will carefully examine the current state of the Japanese economy and its outlook, and steer an appropriate monetary policy course.
(In response to a question on remarks about sexual minorities made by Masayoshi Arai, former executive secretary to the Prime Minister) The remarks were inexcusable and utterly intolerable.