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Policy Proposals  Comprehensive Strategy Approaches to Current Issues ( February 2017 )

February 6, 2017

1. Current Condition and Outlook of the Japanese Economy

The economy is currently improving. With signs that personal consumption will shake off its persistent sluggishness, and a trend of improvement in exports and the production activities of companies, the economy is expected to continue to recover gradually in the future.
In light of the need to seamlessly pursue policy measures that contribute to underpinning the economy and enhancing the potential for growth, it is important that the government budget proposal for the next fiscal year and bills related to the budget be promptly approved during the current session of the Diet.

2. Spring Labor Negotiations

As part of efforts to escape deflation and achieve continuous economic growth, the momentum of wage increases needs to be kept up this year as well, in order to further develop the initiatives that the business community have maintained over the last three years. The forthcoming labor negotiations will again address the subject of wage increases on an annual income basis at companies whose profits have expanded and companies whose profit structure has improved, while at the same time taking into consideration demands from society to ensure the strong circulation of a virtuous economic cycle.

3. Stimulation of Consumption

Based on the understanding that achieving a 600 trillion yen GDP requires the expansion of personal consumption, which accounts for 60% of the GDP, we will continue to earnestly address fundamental tasks such as expanding disposable income and resolving concern about the future with regard to matters such as the sustainability of social security, and also strive to boost consumer confidence. As part of such efforts, we will launch the "Premium Friday" campaign as a joint public-private sector initiative on February 24, enabling consumers to enjoy spending money on products and activities that are a little special compared with their usual choices on the last Friday of each month. We will also link this with reforms to working styles and ways of taking time off, calling on member companies to cooperate to ensure that employees are able to finish their work by no later than 3 p.m. on "Premium Fridays."

4. Realization of "Society 5.0"

We will use the Internet of Things, robots, artificial intelligence, and big data to drive digitization of the government, industry, and society as a whole by developing innovative technologies and making use of a wide variety of data. This will enable us to achieve a "super smart society," known as "Society 5.0," which seeks to bring about a revolution in productivity and solve social issues. In order to achieve such a society, we will encourage capital investment in fields that show promise of growth in the future, the expansion of investment in research and development, and open innovation with universities, venture companies, and other such organizations. In addition, we will implement specific projects involving both the public and private sectors.

5. Recruitment and Selection Activities

With regard to the "Guidelines on Recruitment and Selection" of recruits to enter companies from 2019 onward, we will make necessary revisions to the guidelines and announce the measures to be taken, targeting the spring of 2017 for the announcement. As we make the revisions, we will take into account factors such as impact on academic studies and the actual conditions of company activities.

6. Promoting Opportunity for Diverse Human Resources and Reforming Working Styles

In order to seek to utilize diverse human resources, we will continue to further the "Action Plan on Women's Active Participation in the Workforce," as well as making efforts to promote the active participation of older people. At the same time as enhancing initiatives such as those aimed at rectifying long working hours, we will consider what are appropriate regulations for upper limits on working hours, both from the perspective of protecting workers and from that of maintaining the continuity of work. With regard to equal pay for equal work, we will make revisions to the law that incorporate content reflecting sufficient consideration of Japan's employment practices, as well as investing efforts toward improving the treatment of non-regular employees, such as efforts to ensure that non-regular employees are given opportunities to switch to regular employment.

7. Economic Relations with the United States, Europe, and Russia

We will build relations with the new US administration and Congress, thereby enhancing cooperative economic relations. In the process of doing so, we will advocate the economic and strategic significance of the TPP Agreement. In addition to calling for general agreement on the Japan-EU EPA as soon as possible, we will seek understanding from the UK and the EU regarding the concerns of Japanese companies related to the UK's withdrawal from the EU. We will actively participate in materializing an eight-point plan for cooperation with Russia, as well as continuing to appeal for improvement of the business environment in Russia.

8. Economic Relations with Countries in Asia

Further strengthening and developing close and mutually-beneficial relationships with Asian countries, which are expected to be the driving force of the world economy, is another extremely important element of Japan's growth strategy. Keidanren will also engage in facilitating cooperative relations through policy dialogues with the public and private sector leaders in countries of the region, addressing fields such as the furthering of regional economic integration and the facilitation of infrastructure development.

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Comprehensive Strategy