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

November 5, 2018

1. Current Condition and Outlook of the Japanese Economy

The economic climate is recovering gradually. Looking ahead, a similar recovery trend is expected to continue against the backdrop of a modest revival 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 and the effects on exports caused by trade friction between the United States and China, and to the volatility in stock markets worldwide.

2. Realization of "Society 5.0"

We will announce to the world our policy proposal for "Society 5.0," a society where digital transformation combines with the imagination and creativity of diverse people to solve social problems and create new value. The Society 5.0 concept—which originated in Japan—can also contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations. At the same time, we will work to realize Society 5.0 by pursuing digital transformation and diversifying in every aspect of our economy and society, and collaborating with a diverse range of entities in Japan and overseas. To this end, Keidanren will join forces to deliberate on a roadmap for realizing Society 5.0 in a variety of industrial fields.

3. Reforming Working Styles and Promoting Diversity

We will help companies to implement measures addressing working style reform legislation by lobbying the government in various ways. We will also call for resubmission of the bill on expanding eligibility for discretionary working hours systems. Meanwhile, we will address the government's revision of the Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace, its deliberations regarding measures to prevent harassment, and its moves toward instituting a new system for accepting human resources from overseas. In another initiative, we will set out our thinking on university education reform as it relates to future recruitment practices. 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 to build closer communication with that country. As we do so, we will keep a close watch on progress in discussions between Japan and the US, including negotiation of agreements relating to the trading of goods. We will also move forward with drawing up rules 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 an increase in the number of participating nations. Meanwhile, we will push for the already-signed Japan-EU EPA to be ratified and put into effect soon. In terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, we believe that the impact of a disorderly Brexit would be huge, and we will therefore ask both sides to take a flexible approach. In so doing we hope to ensure that, no matter what it takes, a transitional period is provided to maintain the current situation following the UK's withdrawal, after which a framework will be put into effect for maintaining a close relationship with the EU 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