[ Keidanren ] [ Policy ]
Policy Recommendations and Priority Requests to the Japanese Government on the Promotion of Regulatory Reform
February 8, 2000
(Japan Federation of Economic Organizations)
- Policy Recommendation,
Requests for the further revision of the three-year Deregulation Action Program
- Regulatory reform will realize sustainable economic growth
The Japanese economy, having been through a prolonged slump, is at last moving toward recovery thanks to the results of regulatory reform and other structural reforms and demand-expansion measures by the government. In order to lead the economy to full-scale recovery and further development, it is essential to steadily promote the structural reforms that have just been started.
Incidentally, on December 6, 1999, Keidanren (Japan Federation of Economic Organizations) held an international symposium on regulatory reform with the participation of government, business, and academic representatives from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. As a consensus, the participants affirmed that regulatory reform would benefit both industry and consumers and was essential for the realization of long-term and sustainable economic growth.
If we give way to the forces that want to protect vested interests and postpone reform, it is as clear as daylight that our efforts so far will go up in smoke, and we will return to the starting line. Moreover, we firmly believe that giving way now would invite an even more difficult situation in the future.
- Request for re-demanded items to be included in the further revision
Toward the further revision of the three-year Deregulation Action Program scheduled for March of this year, the government has solicited opinions and requests from both Japan and abroad. Keidanren submitted a 451-item deregulation request to the government on October 19, 1999. In response, related ministries and agencies issued an interim report on the state of considerations relating to requests from Japan and abroad in January of this year.
After carefully studying the replies of ministries and agencies concerning the requests submitted by Keidanren, Keidanren has decided to submit another request for 39 especially urgent and important items, among the items for which we consider the response to have been inadequate, to be included without fail in the further revision at the end of March.
We hope that the government, in its program revision at the end of March, will fully incorporate the re-demanded items cited by Keidanren.
- Taxation and subsidies should be considered, in line with government policy
Regarding the interim report by ministries and agencies, we would like especially to make the following two points.
First, regarding demands relating to taxation and subsidies, there are items for which replies have not been given by the related ministries and agencies. We believe that this violates the government's policy, stated when the name was changed from Deregulation Committee to Regulatory Reform Committee, that taxation and subsidies should be studied "when those items are considered as closely related to the promotion of regulatory reform." The Regulatory Reform Committee should instruct the related ministries and agencies to study and issue replies on these matters and should positively consider them itself, too.
Second, cases have been seen in which, despite the fact that the Regulatory Reform Committee has taken up and is considering the matter, the ministry or agency is trying to reach a compromise through direct negotiations with the party that submitted the request. We hope for conscientious efforts by those ministries or agencies.
- Hope for the prime minister's leadership toward the strengthening of arrangements for the promotion of regulatory reform
Finally, the current three-year program enters its final year in fiscal 2000. In order to demonstrate both domestically and internationally that there has not been the slightest change in its approach to regulatory reform, the government should further strengthen its arrangements for tackling regulatory reform and clearly state as early as possible that it will be formulating a new program.
We strongly hope for the prime minister's leadership in this respect.
- Important Items by Sector
- Permission for the return of the agency business for the employees' welfare pension fund and the option of transfer from the employees' welfare pension fund to a tax-qualified pension plan.
- Introduction of a hybrid plan into the defined benefit plan (employees' welfare pension fund and tax-qualified pension plans).
- Flexible application of the method of refunding past pension liabilities arising from the defined benefit plan (employees' welfare pension fund and tax-qualified pension plan).
- Medical care and welfare
- Digitalization of receipts forwarded by the Social Insurance Medical Expense Reimbursement Fund to insurers.
- Authorization of autonomous management of the first-round of checking receipts.
- Running of nursing homes by a profit-making corporation (special nursing homes and health-care facilities for the aged).
- Relaxation of regulations relating to facility and equipment extensions in private universities and graduate schools.
- Judicial affairs
- Revision of the system of general meetings of shareholders.
- Improvement of the stock option system.
- Revision of the system of class action of shareholders.
- Proper and fair administration of the Large-Scale Retail Store Siting Law (elimination of local provisions restricting the construction of additional stories or additional floor space, simplification of registration and notification formalities, and simultaneous processing of various applications).
- An early abolition of the regulations restricting the number and locations of wholesalers of alcoholic beverages for licensing purposes.
- Relaxation of the regulations relating to the sale of pharmaceuticals.
- Relaxation of the regulations restricting the siting of movie complex in such a way as to permit their siting on a case-by-case basis.
- Land, housing, and public works
- Application of the procedures prescribed in the Urban Renewal Law to rebuilding multifamily housing units.
- Deferment of the capital gains tax at the time of property transfer to special purpose companies.
- Environmental protection (especially waste)
- Revision of the scope and division of waste from the standpoint of encouraging the recycling of household and industrial waste.
- Standardization of waste disposal guidelines of local public bodies from the standpoint of encouraging wide-area waste disposal.
- Approval of dissolving work in moving styrol foam dissolving vehicles.
- Revision of qualification requirements for permitting the collection and transport of waste from the standpoint of encouraging wide-area waste disposal.
- Dangerous items, fire prevention, public security
- Revision of the four public safety laws in a way to make them consistent with those of other industrial nations, and their unification into a single law.
- Repeal of regulations on entry by private testing organizations.
- (High Pressure Gas Security Law)
- (Fire Prevention Law)
- (Industrial Safety and Health Law)
- Information and communications
- Issuance or delivery of contracts and clauses relating to travel arrangements by electronic means.
- Revision of commission fees for certifying conformity to technical standards for compound terminal equipment.
- Abolition of permission for agreements relating to connections besides designated telecommunications equipment.
- Revision of business classification under the Telecommunications Business Law and improvement of competitive rules.
- Finance, securities, insurance
- Abolition of government-mandated reinsurance of automobile liability insurance.
- Abolition of the corporate bond registration law.
- Availability of bank deposit withdrawals from cash withdrawal machines (CDs, ATMs) of other businesses, such as nonbanks.
- Simplification and computerization of export, import, and port procedures.
- Early end to provisional measures for the coastal shipping industry.
- Relaxation of the requirements for permitting the passage of special vehicles.
- Revision of tariff on high-sulfur C heavy oil.
- Trade and investment
- Relaxation of the regulations relating to the method of testing electrical goods to check their conformance with technical standards and those relating to the preservation of records.
- Revision of the method of labeling electrical goods.
- Relaxation of the regulations restricting the export of cryptographic products.
- Improvement of the price support policy for sugar and duties on raw sugar.
- Integration of GLP (good laboratory practice) standards and establishment of new GLP standards conforming to the new OECD-GLP standards.
- Entry of private concerns into the postal service.
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