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

April 10, 2017

1. Current Condition and Outlook of the Japanese Economy

The economy is currently improving: exports and the production activities of companies are rallying, while the employment situation is continuing to ameliorate. The economy is expected to continue to recover gradually in the future.

2. Spring Labor Negotiations

Company survey responses to date show that the momentum of wage increases is continuing steadily, with many companies implementing across-the-board hikes in monthly wages and paying bonuses in full or at higher rates than in the previous year. Moreover, it is hoped that working style reform and other moves toward overall improvement of employee treatment will continue, enabling Japan to escape from deflation soon.

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 resolving concern about the future, and also strive to boost consumer confidence. As part of such efforts, on February 24 we launched the "Premium Friday" campaign as a joint public-private sector initiative, making the last Friday of each month a day for people to finish work earlier than usual and enjoy spending money on products and activities that are a little special compared with their usual choices. We will continue to call on member companies for their cooperation, with the aim of ensuring that "Premium Friday" becomes an established national event.

4. Realization of "Society 5.0"

We will use innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and robots, and make use of a wide variety of big data, to drive digitization of the government, industry, and society as a whole. This will enable us to achieve a "super smart society," known as "Society 5.0," which combines economic growth with solutions to social issues. To that end, we will create an environment that encourages the development of systems for utilizing data, as well as capital investment in fields that show promise of growth in the future, expansion of investment in research and development, and open innovation with universities, venture companies, and other such organizations. In addition, we will pursue specific projects involving both the public and private sectors.

5. Recruitment and Selection Activities

In April 2017 we will announce the "Guidelines on Recruitment and Selection" of recruits to enter companies in fiscal 2019. In addition, we will continue to discuss appropriate ways to conduct recruitment and selection activities and internships.

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

In order to seek further active participation of 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 take action to revise the law regarding upper limits on overtime hours to reflect the practicalities of corporate business. With regard to equal pay for equal work, we will take steps to revise the law to reflect sufficient consideration of Japan's employment practices. Meanwhile, we will endeavor to improve the treatment of non-regular employees by ensuring that non-regular employees are given opportunities to switch to regular employment.

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

We will endeavor to build relations with the new US administration and Congress, and to make economic relations stronger. 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.

* * *