Executives' Comments Press Conferences Chairman Yonekura's Comments at His Press Conference
Broad Accord on Japan-Australia EPA
It is a great pleasure that the economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations between Japan and Australia that began in 2007 have recently come to a broad agreement. The negotiations began under the first Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and an agreement was reached under the second Abe Cabinet. I would like to express my heartfelt respect for the efforts of the top leaders and officials of the Japanese and Australian governments.
Needless to say, Australia has a complementary economic relationship with Japan. Through the Japan-Australia EPA, I believe trade and investment between the two countries will expand and bilateral cooperation will further advance in the fields of natural resources and energy as well as environmental technology.
The basic agreement on the Japan-Australia EPA shows to countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks that Japan has the political will to promote economic partnerships. I believe it will also generate momentum for the TPP negotiations and for the promotion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Many business executives envision that the expected sales slump in reaction to the last-minute rise in demand until the end of March before the consumption tax rate was raised will be less than 5%. The last time the consumption tax was raised, sales decreased about 8%. Compared with that, the outlook appears brighter this time around. I expect the effects of the 5.5 trillion yen economic stimulus package, 1 trillion yen in tax cuts for investment and the front-loading of public works will prop up the economy. Implementation of a new growth strategy to be decided in June can also be expected to put the economy on a growth track. The economy is likely to show positive growth in the July-September quarter.