A key problem with regulations is that those which no longer suit the needs of the present or those which have already accomplished their original objectives still continue to exist, thus shielding vested interests from scrutiny. It is crucial to eliminate those regulations which are no longer necessary and, at the same time, to develop new regulations which will promote the development of our economy in the 21st century. In the past Keidanren has used the term "deregulation," but we think it is more appropriate to employ the term "regulatory reform."
The major goal of current regulatory reform efforts is to adjust the economic structure - one with significant dislocations - which postwar Japan has relied on for over 50 years. Such restructuring efforts are intended to create an economic environment that will foster the rapid creation of new businesses and industry. Without these reforms, efforts to revitalize the Japanese economy will be increasingly difficult faced with the ever-accelerating "borderless" competition.
Our proposal emphasizes the necessity for the Japanese government to promote regulatory reform that is closely aligned with the concept of national development. The proposal outlines approximately 450 specific regulatory reforms.
In addition, in the approaching environment of regulatory reform, companies will need to have both the determination to develop new markets and the philosophical understanding that they are contributing to the creation of a new Japan through participation in the reform of our economic structures.
From the standpoint of regulatory reform, does this mean that you will be proposing new regulations hereafter?
At present, local governments and ministries at the national level individually draw up regulations within their own jurisdictions. This has resulted in some regulations that are patently nonsensical. We feel that it is essential to first remove these senseless regulations.
Restructuring the national governmental ministries will result in smaller number of ministries, and therefore their individual jurisdictions will expand. This process should be closely monitored to ensure that overlapping regulations by different ministries are eliminated.
How do you rate Prime Minister Obuchi's views and determination regarding regulatory reform?
Prime Minister Obuchi listens carefully to what is being said about regulatory reform. I would say that he is very attentive to this issue. When compared with previous prime ministers, I feel that Prime Minister Obuchi is particularly effective in pushing through reforms. The Prime Minister listens to the opinions of the various government ministries and agencies, but always takes a leadership role in deciding which reform to implement.