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Policy Proposals  Comprehensive Strategy Approaches to Current Issues ( September 2018 )

September 3, 2018

1. Current Condition and Outlook of the Japanese Economy

The economic climate is recovering gradually. Looking ahead, a similar trend is expected to continue against the backdrop of modest recovery in corporate production activities, robust performance at companies and increased capital investment, and signs of an upturn in personal consumption accompanying improvement in the employment and income environment. However, attention should be paid to the uncertain outlook for overseas economies caused by trade issues, as well as developments in the international financial and capital markets, export trends, and the slight deterioration in current Japanese business sentiment.

2. 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 "Society 5.0," combining economic growth with solutions to social issues. Based on the outcomes of relevant proposals announced to date, we will again clearly define the future vision of society that Japan should be targeting. We can then further reinforce our initiatives to make the vision a reality, including ensuring cyber security, creating environments for utilizing data in Japan and overseas, and promoting open innovation. In conjunction with this, we will indicate a road map for implementing these initiatives throughout society in a variety of industries and fields. Meanwhile, we will publicize the Society 5.0 concept in Japan and abroad as a vision for a society in which the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals have been accomplished.

3. Reforming Working Styles and Promoting Diversity

Following enactment of the working style reform bills, we will help companies to implement measures addressing upper limits for overtime hours, equal pay for equal work, and the "highly-skilled professional" system. To that end, we will keep lobbying the government in various ways and endeavor to inform companies about the new systems. We will also call for resubmission of the bill on expanding eligibility for discretionary working hours systems. Meanwhile, we will expedite working style reform at companies and endeavor to improve the treatment of non-regular employees by ensuring that they are given opportunities to switch to regular employment. We will also seek to expand consumption and create new markets through women's involvement in the workforce ("womenomics"). At the same time, we will pursue diversity by respecting LGBT rights and making efforts to promote the active participation of diverse human resources, including younger and older people, non-Japanese people, and individuals with disabilities.

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

To make economic relations with the United States stronger, we will take action at various levels, seizing every available opportunity to build closer communication with that country. As we do so, we will keep a close watch on developments in the US trade policy and on the progress in Japan-US economic dialogue (including discussions to ensure free, fair, reciprocal trading). We will also pursue progress in drawing up comprehensive rules of a high standard for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region by seeking to have the 11-country TPP agreement put into effect soon, and calling for a future increase in the number of participating nations. Meanwhile, we will push for the Japan-EU EPA signed in July to be ratified and put into effect as soon as possible. In addition, we will seek measures to avoid disorder during the UK's impending withdrawal from the EU at the end of March 2019. To this end, we will ask both sides to take a flexible approach with the dual aims of ensuring provision of a transitional period to maintain the current situation following the UK's withdrawal, and ensuring that a framework for maintaining a close future relationship between the UK and the EU is put into effect immediately after the transitional period ends. 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.

5. Economic Relations with Countries in Asia

Asian countries such as China, South Korea, India, and the ASEAN nations are expected to be the driving force of the world economy. Further strengthening and developing close and mutually-beneficial relationships with these countries 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.

6. Hosting Successful National Events

We will work in unison with the government and relevant organizations to ensure that the success of upcoming events such as the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and the Osaka/Kansai region's bid to host the 2025 World Expo become catalysts for Japan's economic revitalization.

7. Formulating a Medium- to Long-term Energy Strategy

As the government formulates a long-term strategy based on the Paris Agreement, we will call on it to target a virtuous cycle of environmental preservation and economic growth by seeking innovation premised on multiple scenarios. Such innovation could then be used to reduce greenhouse gases globally. As another means to the same end, we will ask the government to devise an energy policy that establishes an investment environment conducive to a robust energy supply and creates a stable supply of energy at prices that compare favorably from an international perspective. The aim would be to ensure safety combined with energy security, economic efficiency, and environmental conservation ("S+3E") that takes into account Japan's own particular circumstances.

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Comprehensive Strategy