Japan's Agenda for the Future:
Resolutions of Keidanren's General Assembly
Building a Dynamic and Creative Society
May 26, 1995
The Japan Federation of Economic Organizations
Japan, at this historic 50th anniversary of WW II, is once again at a critical turning point. In recent years, we have found that our socioeconomic system lacks the flexibility to deal effectively with the fast changing global economy. The Japanese people are feeling insecure about their future and are experiencing a sense of being "under siege", due to the rapid appreciation of the yen; the hollowing out of industries and financial markets and the resulting unemployment; the effects of the Great Hanshin/Awaji Earthquake; and the social and political turmoil Japan is currently experiencing.
We in the private sector are convinced that the Japanese people, using their collective wisdom and experience in overcoming adversity, will undoubtedly overcome the current crisis -- as well as the very serious employment problems we are now facing for the first time. We will work to rekindle Japan's strong entrepreneurial spirit and promote "creative" economic development efforts in all areas of the business community. We believe firmly that the Government must implement economic policies that move beyond the limitations of its conventional approach to economic and social problems.
To promote this proactive agenda for change, Keidanren will draft its own master plan, encompassing its "vision" for Japan's socioeconomic future, as we approach the 21st century. This plan will set a goal of 3% economic growth and depend on private sector leadership to establish a society based on individual responsibility and Kyosei, or the spirit of global economic harmony and symbiosis, so that we can all share in the common goal of true prosperity.
The following issues constitute our immediate platform and goals for FY1995:
- Keidanren fully supports the Government's Administrative Reform Committee and urges immediate implementation of its Five (now Three) Year Deregulation Action Plan to stimulate economic recovery. We urge the Government to place a high priority on reforms which will benefit the Japanese consumer -- including correcting the price differential that exists between Japan and other nations and reforming its agricultural price-support system. The private sector will support these initiatives by returning the benefits of the strong yen to the nation's consumers.
- We urge the Government to do everything possible to hasten the reconstruction from the devastation of the Great Hanshin Earthquake, to immediately implement measures to counteract asset depreciation and emergency measures to address the appreciation of the yen and its negative effect on the economy. These initiatives would have the effect of immediately increasing domestic demand and paving the way for full economic recovery. The Government must undertake sweeping tax reform including the reduction of corporate taxes (which are the highest among the industrialized nations), abolition of the land value tax (which is not in accord with international standards), as well as removal of the securities transaction tax and the tax on deemed dividends.
- We will advocate the selective expansion of public works projects that will address the needs of the 21st century. Those critical to the nation's infrastructure are the construction of large-scale airports as international hubs, and the expansion of both the telecommunications infrastructure and the country's scientific and technological research base. We will also advocate speedy implementation of the Government's plan to relocate the nation's Capital outside of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, in accordance with legislation already adopted by the Diet.
- We propose that initiative be undertaken to increase domestic demand and that the government adopt a national voluntary program to reduce the current account surplus and restore a balance of trade between Japan and its global trading partners. We will advocate measures to stabilize foreign exchange rates while internationalizing the use of the yen as an international currency by promoting yen-denominated trade and the reorganization of the short-term credit markets.
- We will promote the development of new technologies, the creation of new industries, service businesses and high-tech ventures. We believe that greater efforts must be made to expand education and training programs that will support Japan's next-generation industries. To develop a dynamic and creative human resources , Keidanren will propose that alternative approaches be taken in the area of hiring and personnel systems. An essential component of it will be educational reform. Furthermore, we will involve ourselves in creation of new society based on self-responsibility through promoting philanthropic activities and volunteer civic activities.
- We support the World Trade Organization and strengthen international public relations efforts and dialogue. We will make every effort to ensure that the opinions of Japan's private sector are reflected in the agenda to be adopted at the upcoming APEC conference to be held in Osaka this November. We will furthermore adopt concrete strategies to address issues of international concern, specifically the global environment, refugee relief, foreign direct investment and human resource development.
- Finally, Keidanren will strongly advocate the healthy reform and development of political parties and the establishment of a political system that will lead to a decisive and effective Government.
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