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Executives' Comments  Press Conferences Chairman Sakakibara's Statements and Comments
at His Press Conference

October 27, 2015

Recruitment and employment of new college graduates

From this year, the schedule of recruiting and employing new college graduates changed, and we hear there have been various issues and problems. Keidanren has conducted a survey among member companies, and we are in the process of aggregating data. The response rate was high, which shows that member companies have keen interest in this issue. We are currently discussing the matter at the Committee on Employment Policy with taking into consideration the survey results. We are working hard to compile Keidanren's view on the matter as soon as possible.

Keidanren also plans to take part in the working-level meeting concerning moving back the period of recruitment and employment, which Minister for Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens Katsunobu Kato is planning to hold on November 4. Related circles have pointed out several issues concerning the new employment schedule, and it is our understanding that the meeting is aimed at starting discussions to verify those issues. Based on the results of the survey to member companies and on discussions with related persons, Keidanren will compile its view and announce it.

As some keywords concerning the new schedule are "long" and "hot," we think they, above all, represent the heavy burden on students. Also from the standpoint of consideration to their studies, it has created a situation in which students must exert themselves in job-searching activities during the summer vacation period, when they are already busy working on their thesis. Moreover, companies also now need a much longer period from the time they start publicity activities until the time they conduct employment screening. There were many problems with the new schedule for students, universities and companies. However, the assessment is not all negative. By delaying the start of companies' recruitment recruitment publicity activities for third-year students from December to March, the students became able to concentrate on their studies until the end of their third year. We also hear that studying-abroad-students are saying it has become easier for them to do their job search.

We acknowledge that there is criticism over changing system that just started this year. But if we can confirm that there are real problems after verifying and discussing the matter carefully, then we feel there is no need to hesitate to make changes. However, for the next year, practical preparations are already under way, such as reserving briefing venues, so making major changes would cause problems. Even if we were to review the system, we have little choice but to keep the framework of the current system while trying to minimize the various problems surrounding it. We think that the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry's idea of moving up the start of employment screening from August to June is one option. If we were to change the system drastically from the year after next, we would need to conduct substantial discussions. We will take a little more time to discuss this matter.

Measure to decrease burden arising from rise in consumption tax

The business community, including Keidanren, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Keizai Doyukai has expressed opposition to introducing reduced tax rates and is requesting a uniform tax rate. A big reason for this is that it significantly increases the administrative workload on small and medium-sized companies, so we think it is desirable to introduce a simple benefit measure for low-income earners. Another big reason is that introducing reduced tax rates would lessen consumption tax revenue, prompting concern over the impact on social security funding. We have taken the position against introducing reduced tax rates from the standpoint of maintaining the revenue level as well.

There is no change in our position, but Prime Minister Abe has instructed reduced tax rates to be introduced and Chairman Miyazawa of the Liberal Democratic Party's Research Commission on the Tax System has clearly said that reduced tax rates will be introduced rather than being aimed at. The business community will not change its position on the matter, but if the government is to introduce reduced rates, then we hope it would do so in a way that relieves the administrative workload on small and medium-sized companies as much as possible. We also hope it would be introduced in a way that consumption tax revenue would not be significantly reduced.

Spring management-labor negotiations

Rengo (Japanese Trade Union Confederation) compiled its fundamental plan on October 22, and based on this it will assemble representatives of its regional groups as well as industrial unions to discuss the matter. We hear it is scheduled to decide on a final union policy toward the end of November. Keidanren will consider our views toward Rengo's opinions after the union policy has been formally decided and unveil our basic policy for tackling the spring management-labor negotiations in the 2016 Position Paper on Management and Labor Policy scheduled to be announced in January next year.

National council to promote dynamic engagement of all citizens

In conjunction with the launch of Prime Minister Abe's third Cabinet, a new set of three arrows was unveiled as the second stage of Abenomics. Among them, the business community places utmost importance on the first arrow of realizing a strong economy. We do not know yet what kind of discussions will take place concerning the new set of three arrows at the national council to promote the dynamic engagement of all citizens, but the various business community will cooperate proactively toward realizing a strong economy. Needless to say, the business community will also work on the second and third arrows from our standpoint.

Japan-China relations

This year, I will take part as top adviser again in the Japan-China Economic Association's delegation to visit China. This will be a large-scale mission of the Japan-China Economic Association, Keidanren and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, involving business circles with the participation of 65 companies and 220 representatives. We are scheduled to have meetings with Chinese leaders and senior officials of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Last year, we met with Vice Premier Wang Yang. At that time, we strongly requested improvement in relations as about 23,000 Japanese companies have expanded their business to China and the foundation of their economic activities is a stable political and diplomatic relations. At that point in time, the Japan-China summit had not yet taken place, but there have been two summit talks, shortly afterward in November last year and in February this year. On the first of next month, Japan's bilateral summits with China and the Republic of Korea are expected to take place along with the Japan-China-Korea summit. The political and diplomatic relations between Japan and China are thus moving toward improvement, and we feel the business community's longtime assertion is likely to be realized. In our upcoming visit to China, we will continue to seek stable advancement in our political and diplomatic relations.

Another important theme concerning our visit is the prospects for the Chinese economy. We want to elicit how Chinese leaders think about their future economy and what they expect of it. China is proceeding with various structural reforms as part of efforts to deepen its reform path. In the field of economy as well, it has come out with medium-speed growth as the "new normal" for the country. I hope to be able to hear the leaders' outlook for the future. Attention on the future of the Chinese economy is paid not only by the Japanese business community, but also by the entire world.

Executives' Comments