Last year we began work on structural reforms to translate into action the Keidanren Vision, which we prepared in 1996. This year, we must speed up the pace of reform and solidify and ensure as strong recovery of the of domestic economic.
We regard deregulation as fundamental to structural economic reform. Keidanren, with the Administrative Reform committee, has started working in earnest to persuade the government to take real action on reform. That deregulation will be tremendously beneficial to the Japanese economy, as reflected in projections by Japan's Economic Planning Agency.
Corporations' main objective should be to provide useful products and services to people through fair and open competition. To do that, they must abide by the rules of law and fair play and earn the trust of consumers and people from all walks of life. As deregulation gives companies more leeway to shape their own futures, they must accept greater responsibility to fulfill higher standards of ethical conduct. Likewise, as our operations become more globally oriented, we must follow more closely practices that apply throughout the rest of the world.
I therefore am all the more disappointed that last year was plagued with corporate scandals at a time when we needed to be demonstrating integrity. We need to start out this year by taking a good look at our responsibilities and standards of ethical conductthe foundation of all corporate activities. Only by following those guidelines day in and day out will we regain peoples trust in corporate Japan. Establishing trust is the first step in Japan's corporate reform, which will help bring about an appealing economic society for the 21st century.