[ Nippon Keidanren ] [ Policy ]

Tapping Human Potential: Creative Solutions for a New Era

FY 2006 General Assembly Resolutions

May 24, 2006

Nippon Keidanren
(Japan Business Federation)

Global competition is surging as people, goods, capital, and information cross borders with ever greater energy. Meanwhile, our country is now feeling the effects of its rapidly aging and declining population. Japan must push forward with more structural reform and new growth strategies to deal with these issues without delay.

It will not be easy for Japan to succeed against global competition. But if companies seize the energizing effect of innovation and use that innovation to drive global economic growth and improve their management strategies, the Japanese economy will assuredly enjoy further growth. As such, we must create industries that will support Japan's progress in the long run. At the same time, we must speed the pace at which we are adopting and implementing strategies to deal with challenges from outside Japan. Continual technological innovation and managerial reform are essential in the struggle to improve the quality of our service industries and to keep raising competitiveness in one of Japan's strongest areas, manufacturing.

The government of Prime Minister Koizumi is moving ahead with structural reforms. The government's efforts, combined with those of the private sector, are laying the foundation for sustainable, stable growth. But the journey to structural reform is far from over. Nippon Keidanren therefore calls on the Japanese government to continue moving forward with reforms aimed at reducing the size of government, while taking into account the competitive environment companies are facing and the changing the thinking and behavior of the Japanese people. It is said in some circles that structural reform is creating new disparities, but the government should realize that one value formerly held dear by the Japanese people, equality of result, has evolved into new ideals they now want honored: equal opportunity and the fair distribution of rewards.

Today, businesspeople must embrace a more entrepreneurial spirit -- continuously pursue a better future, take risks without fear of change, and create new value while taking advantage of the positive attributes and strengths that the Japanese society has long had. This means that Japan must provide its young people with the training necessary to bring about a better future. Socioeconomic growth is bound to occur when society and businesses train people effectively, believe in them, and let them develop their potential to the maximum.

It was with these thoughts in mind that Nippon Keidanren listed the following issues to be addressed this fiscal year, and pledged to commit all its energy for the successful resolution of these issues. We shall urge politicians even more energetically to tackle these issues. We shall promote the view that corporate political donations are to be used for the good of society, and we shall offer support for the adoption of a policy-oriented political agenda.

At the same time, we shall do everything in our power to ensure that Japanese corporations exercise greater self-discipline and compete fairly, so that they keep the trust of people in Japan and abroad.


1. Measures to bring out the potential of corporations at a time of global competition

  1. Changes in taxation, legislation, and accounting systems, and improvement and enhancement of capital markets, to raise the international competitiveness of Japanese industry
  2. Fundamental reform of Japan's administrative system, including reform of the civil servant system; promotion of regulatory reform and liberalization of the private sector to help it develop creative methods and meet new challenges; market testing and other measures to make public services more efficient
  3. Policies aimed at raising Japan to the level of a country built on science, technology, and creativity; greater international competitiveness, through the application of major technologies in such fields as bioscience, nanotechnology, nanomaterials, manufacturing, information and communications technology (ICT), and space and marine science
  4. Improved infrastructure to develop efficient distribution systems promoting international competitiveness
  5. International safeguards for intellectual property, including international harmonization of patent systems; improvements in the invention-related environment that fosters fundamental patents; promotion of strategic measures related to intellectual property, including content
  6. Measures to combat global warming, taking advantage of private-sector initiatives, and showing respect for volunteer programs; encouragement of recycling systems
  7. Enhancement of Japan's energy security, through strategic resource diplomacy and policies promoting technical innovation

2. Rapid responses to the decline in Japan's population

  1. Strong measures to counter Japan's declining birthrate, beginning with measures that involve the Japanese people and the government and that make work and childrearing compatible pursuits
  2. Development of a secure, agreeable living and housing environment conducive to childrearing
  3. Improvement in hiring and work conditions, making it easier for women, the elderly, and the young to work and to reconcile work and life goals; labor law reform
  4. Controlled admission of more highly qualified foreigners in greater numbers; development of new mechanisms to ensure this goal
  5. Application of ICT to increase the effectiveness of government administration and raise corporate productivity

3. Human resource training to help the young drive development

  1. Improvement in basic academic skills; school curricula that respect diversity and permit the blossoming of individual personalities and abilities
  2. Training of human resources to make them the key to greater competitiveness; better training programs and employment opportunities for people who will take Japan to the next level of technological development
  3. Support for on-the-job personal advancement and career building

4. A return to healthy government financing and confidence in the future

  1. Complete revision of annual government expenditure programs, especially for social security, tax revenue transfers to local governments, and public works
  2. Establishment of a tax system focused on economic revitalization
  3. Establishment of a sustainable social security system
  4. Introduction of a universal system under which social security and taxes are calculated

5. Promotion of regional autonomy and vitality

  1. Full-scale reform of local government administrative and financial systems; introduction of a new state system to replace the current prefectural system
  2. Regional and urban development that plays up local character and scenic beauty; improved access to smaller communities
  3. Stronger measures to promote international tourism in Japan
  4. Promotion of domestic investment for employment expansion; business-environment improvements to achieve this goal

6. Establishment and implementation of strategic multipolar foreign policies

  1. Promotion of a successful conclusion to the Doha Round of negotiations, to strengthen the WTO system
  2. Promotion of economic partnership agreements (EPA); stronger economic ties with other countries, especially East Asian countries that are important to Japan
  3. Agricultural policy reform to ensure Japan's agricultural sector can withstand international competition
  4. Promotion of private-sector diplomacy; promotion of foreign economic cooperation policies that indicate Japan's presence in the world
  5. Promotion of inward direct investment

7. Development of fair socioeconomic systems that are respected in Japan and abroad

  1. Establishment and maintenance of compliance systems under the firm direction of top management
  2. Corporate management systems that focus on social responsibility and are based on the principles of transparency and accountability
  3. Corporate management systems that are based on respect for human dignity and a long-term vision; amicable labor-management relations that are based on mutual trust

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