Chairman, Nippon Keidanren
Allow me to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a Happy New Year and to share Nippon Keidanren's vision for 2010.
In 2009, instability in financial markets resulted in an economic crisis that swept the world, and national governments responded in a coordinated fashion by implementing economic measures. These measures are successfully promoting a return to calmer conditions, on the whole. Even so, the situation remains unpredictable both in Japan and other countries, especially with regard to worsening employment, and it is essential that our economy is placed rapidly on the road to self-sustaining recovery. The swelling buds of a plant will bloom into big flowers only if the plant has spread its roots over a wide area and absorbed enough nutrients. Let us help ensure that, in a similar way, the economy blossoms this year. To achieve this goal, focused policies must be implemented, and even greater international collaboration will be required to develop an environment in which sustainable economic growth is possible.
The general election in Japan last summer resulted in a change in government. The people of Japan wanted change because of job insecurity and because of concerns over weakening regional economies, problems in the nation's social security system, and, at a time of intensifying globalization, the serious decline in Japan's birth rate and growing percentage of elderly in the population. I am sure we all agree that the new government should, in response to the expectations of the Japanese people, work hard to raise the potential for economic growth, restore fiscal health, implement fundamental tax reforms, build a sustainable social security system, help reduce global environmental degradation, and stimulate regional economies.
The challenges I have mentioned cannot be resolved unless the Japanese people tackle them as one, with all their energies. Japan's business community, too, needs to join in these efforts to the utmost of its ability. We have a responsibility to pursue business activities that maintain employment, develop human resources, promote innovation, and strengthen international competitiveness, while channeling the vitality of the private sector in ways that help achieve stable economic growth. The mission of Nippon Keidanren is to accelerate growth of Japan's and world economy and to strengthen the corporations to create additional value to transform Japanese economy into one that is sustainable and driven by the private sector, by encouraging the idea of individuals and local communities. Now that a new year has begun I would like, on behalf of all members, to affirm once more our unwavering commitment to achieving these aims, whatever the circumstances.