[ Nippon Keidanren ] [ Journal ]
Messages from "Economic Trend", April 2004

Show Leadership to Create New Business

Keiichiro Takahara
Vice Chairmen of the Board of Councillors, Nippon Keidanren
Chairman & C.E.O., Founder, Unicharm Corporation

After protracted economic stagnation caused by sluggish demand, the Japanese economy sees some sign of recovery led by export growth supported by firm Asian and U.S. economy as well as increased consumer spending especially in so-called "three sacred durables" and growing corporate investment. For the Japanese economy to seize the chance for further vitalization and sustained growth / development to the new era, it is necessary to further promote increased consumption with innovations which will boost potential demand.

In recent years, growing number of novel and new businesses is being created in the U.S. and Europe as a result of cooperation between major, existing companies and venture businesses. Original technologies and sensitivities of universities and venture businesses also need to be combined in Japan with the management resources of existing companies so that they will be the propulsion to create new markets.

With a view to providing contact points for Keidanren member companies and motivated venture businesses, the Committee on New Businesses has organized seven meetings of New Business Forum since July 2002 to present, where the Committee introduces efforts of member companies in creating new businesses and activities of thirty-eight venture businesses. As a result, various forms of corporate alliance are under way with ten companies consider business alliances, eleven new transactions and seven financial investment. We hope that they will be the new propulsion as their counterpart in the U.S. and Europe. According to IMD's World Competitiveness Yearbook, Japan is ranked No.1 in "patents granted to residence" and "total expenditure on R&D per capita". We should make the best of our advantage -- as many as one-hundred twenty thousand patents.

Meanwhile, the top management must be actively involved in the process of creating new business to obtain the propulsion by displaying the leadership in organizing system for supporting work front, showing expectation on the business and planting the seed of entrepreneurship in each one on the work front.

It is the social responsibility of the top management to explore and create new business, promote economic growth, generate employment and realize affluence. Commitment of each company to the creation of new business will be the source of innovation which will change the industrial structure. Based on that concept, we intend to tackle with the continued promotion of creation of new industry and new business.

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