Policy Proposals  Comprehensive Strategy   Approaches to Current Issues ( June 2019 )

June 10, 2019

1. Current Condition and Outlook of the Japanese Economy

The economic climate is showing signs of weakness in exports and production and of declining business confidence in certain quarters, reflecting such factors as the slowdown in China and other overseas economies and the trade friction between the United States and China. On the other hand, the fundamentals that support domestic demand remain solid and the gradual recovery has sustained. Looking ahead, we expect this gradual recovery trend to continue against a backdrop that includes signs of an upturn in personal consumption accompanying improvement in the employment and income environments, as well as robust capital investment. However, attention should be paid to the outlook for overseas economies in light of the trade friction between the United States and China, and to export and production trends. Other issues requiring attention include movements in the financial and capital markets in Japan and overseas, the political situation in Europe and its impact, and geopolitical risks.

2. Realizing Society 5.0

We will publicize our policy proposal for "Society 5.0" in Japan and overseas, seeking to spread awareness of this proposal for 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 expedite the practical implementation of 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 and enact measures 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 revised Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace and the revised Act on Overall Promotion of Labor Policy, etc. (the government's measures to prevent harassment). We will also address the revised Act on Employment Promotion etc. of Persons with Disabilities and the government's moves toward implementing the new system for accepting human resources from overseas. In another initiative, we will pursue dialogue with universities about such issues as the attributes required of human resources from now on, medium- and long-term employment, and potential reforms for university education. 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 as part of 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 while monitoring policy trends relating to sensitive technologies. As we do so, we will keep a close watch on progress in bilateral trade negotiations. We will also move forward with drawing up rules for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region by calling for an increase in the number of nations participating in the 11-country TPP agreement that went into effect at the end of last year. Meanwhile, we will extend and deepen our cooperative relationship with Europe through the Japan-EU EPA that went into effect in February. In terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, we will ask the UK and the EU to ensure that top priority is given to avoiding a disorderly Brexit, the impact of which would be huge, and to maintaining the current situation. We will also ask them to ensure that, following the UK's withdrawal, a framework will be put into effect for building a close relationship between the two parties 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, 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 events such as the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics becomes a catalyst for Japan's economic revitalization.

7. Environmental and Energy-Related Issues

We will call for Japan's long-term growth strategy based on the Paris Agreement to employ innovation as the means to target a virtuous cycle of environmental preservation and economic growth. With regard to the issue of marine plastics, we will make use of events such as the G20 summit to publicize the voluntary action taken by Japanese industry to others inside and outside Japan. Meanwhile, we will address energy policy by calling on the government to follow our proposal entitled "Rebuilding an Electrical Power System to Support Japan" in establishing an investment environment conducive to a robust energy supply and creating 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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