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

February 26, 2018

Bill on Working Style Reform

Errors have been discovered in Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare survey data relating to discretionary working hours systems, and such intolerable mistakes are regrettable. However, this is a separate issue from the tenor of legislative revisions. The aims of the bill on working style reform include improving work environments to make them compatible with diverse styles of work, rectifying long working hours, and enabling workers to exercise their abilities to the full, which are timely revisions. I hope that the bill will be thoroughly debated and enacted during the current Diet session. The business community and society as a whole are calling for working style reform. I urge the government to debate the matter fully to enhance understanding of the purpose of the bill on working style reform. The survey data errors need to be clarified and corrected, but single-minded discussion of this issue must not be allowed to delay actual debate on the bill.

Spring Labor-Management Wage Dialogues

Every company and industry engaged in spring labor-management wage dialogues has its own particular operational circumstances. However, the Japanese economy as a whole is showing strength, and sales and operating income are on the rise, with many companies posting record earnings. As indicated in the 2018 report of the Keidanren Special Committee on Management and Labor Policy, we hope to see wage increases exceeding those agreed in the past few years.

Recently there have been reports of megabank labor unions dropping demands for pay scale increases, but I view these decisions as stemming from the current and unique business environment in the banking sector. Keidanren respects decisions made by individual companies and industries. Even if megabank labor unions drop their pay scale increase demands, I do not believe this will dampen the mood for wage rises.

Quality Control Problems

On December 4, 2017, Keidanren wrote to all our member companies and organizations asking them to comprehensively examine incidents of inappropriate quality control, fully comply with legal and contractual requirements, and take effective steps to prevent recurrence of such problems. We also asked them to report any inappropriate responses.

On February 22 this year, Ube Industries, Ltd. reported improprieties in quality checks to Keidanren, and I am aware that the company held a press conference the following day. I understand that each company faces different circumstances when responding to such incidents. In this case, two months elapsed between Ube Industries identifying the impropriety and publicly announcing it. I understand that this was a business decision made after considering various circumstances, including the need to explain the matter to customers and contractual obligations relating to confidentiality and secrecy. Each company needs to make its own business decisions, and Keidanren will respect such decisions.

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

I applaud and take pride in the strenuous efforts and outstanding performances of the Japanese Winter Olympics team. Congratulations to the entire team.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics took on a political tinge on the North Korean issue. As the Japanese government has emphasized, greater international pressure is required to achieve denuclearization in North Korea. I hope that all parties involved and affected, including the United Nations, will enhance cooperation with a view to denuclearization, and that progress in this direction will resolve the issue.

Executives' Comments