Executives' Comments Press Conferences
Chairman Sakakibara's Statements and Comments
at His Press Conference
- Keidanren Vision
- Monetary Policy
- Corporate Advisers
- Hopes for the Japan-China-South Korea Summit
- Japan-China Relations
- Japan-South Korea Relations
- North Korean Issue
- Situation in the Diet
I have discussed progress in achieving Keidanren's Vision, "Toward the Creation of a More Affluent and Vibrant Japan," with Keidanren's Vice Chairs, and we have considered issues still to be addressed. Since this vision plays an important role in setting a clear direction for Keidanren activities, we concluded that it should continue to guide us. However, the environment has also changed over the last four years. For example, Keidanren has advocated the "Society 5.0" concept, which has become a key pillar of the government's growth strategy. Many Keidanren proposals have also been reflected in the "Public-Private Strategic Project 10." Nevertheless, Society 5.0 and other elements of growth strategy were devised after our vision was developed. Moreover, the international situation has altered considerably in the past four years. When we formulated the vision, we did not anticipate heightened geopolitical risk associated with countries including North Korea and Syria, nor the rise of anti-globalization and protectionism. In such a volatile international situation the role of the business community is also changing, and it is vital to devote even greater effort to economic diplomacy.
The Bank of Japan (BoJ) had previously set a timeframe of "around fiscal 2019" for achieving its 2% inflation target, but this date does not appear in the BoJ's latest "Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices." BoJ Governor Kuroda has explained that this is to prevent misconceptions in dialogue with the markets, which is understandable. He has also declared unswerving commitment to achieving the 2% inflation target as quickly as possible, and I understand that the BoJ's fundamental stance remains unchanged.
However, the BoJ outlook cites firms' cautious wage-setting stance as a factor behind weak rises in the consumer price index. According to a Keidanren survey, the average rate of increase in monthly wages resulting from this year's spring labor-management wage dialogue is relatively high, at 2.54%. Wage rises have been above 2% for five consecutive years, and I expect this to have a significant effect in boosting prices and stimulating consumption.
Review of corporate adviser systems is an international trend. Contrary to comments from some quarters that such systems are problematic in themselves, corporate advisers do play a role. For example, corporate advisers' external activities can form part of a company's CSR efforts. As noted in Japan's Corporate Governance Code, ensuring transparency and shareholder understanding are the most important factors.
Hopes for the Japan-China-South Korea Summit
I welcome the first Japan-China-South Korea summit to be held since November 2015. As major nations in Asia, a region achieving remarkable growth, Japan, China, and South Korea are expected to drive worldwide sustainable economic growth and contribute to resolving various global issues. It is vital to build stable, forward-looking political and diplomatic relations in order for our three countries to cooperate in playing such roles. Accomplishment of this goal is my greatest desire for the trilateral summit. At the same time, I hope that it will produce fruitful discussion and positive outcomes on shared issues including economic partnerships and the North Korean problem.
Keidanren, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry will jointly convene the Sixth Japan-China-Korea Business Summit in Tokyo in conjunction with the Japan-China-Republic of Korea Trilateral Summit. The business summit will discuss specific cooperative measures for achieving inclusive growth and generating innovation, and issue a joint statement. We plan to submit this joint statement to the leaders of our three countries, and I hope that it will further strengthen amicable and cooperative relations among Japan, China, and South Korea.
Previous business summits have discussed Japan-China and Japan-South Korea economic and industrial cooperation, but North Korea has never been a subject of deliberation. The policy of the Japanese government is to continue sanctions on North Korea until complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization is achieved, and in the current situation it would be premature to talk about economic cooperation with North Korea.
His Excellency Dr. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, will make his first visit to Japan as Premier. When I met Premier Li last year, I told him how much I looked forward to him coming to Japan for the trilateral summit. His visit is highly significant for political and diplomatic ties between Japan and China, and for stronger economic relations. Following on from the 45th anniversary of normalization of Japan-China diplomatic relations celebrated last year, this year marks 40 years since the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Japan and the People's Republic of China, and the entire business community welcomes Premier Li's visit to Japan.
Japan-South Korea Relations
Keidanren has engaged in various forms of exchange with the South Korean president's office. For example, we had three meetings with former President Park Geun-hye, in which we spoke about the importance of reinforcing economic ties between Japan and South Korea and building stable political and diplomatic relations. I hope that our two countries will forge a relationship firmly oriented toward the future.
North Korean Issue
The US-North Korea summit will be a crucial meeting. In the run-up to the summit, I welcome the forward-looking agreement reached at the recent talks between the leaders of North and South Korea aimed at stabilizing the region through advances such as North Korean denuclearization and a formal conclusion to the Korean War. Although a specific road map for North Korean denuclearization has not yet been drawn up, I believe the recent talks played a key role as a precursor to the US-North Korea summit. I hope that the forthcoming summit will be the first step towards complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization in North Korea, and I will pay close attention to the outcome.
Situation in the Diet
According to media reports, documents have emerged that contradict accounts given in the Diet by Tadao Yanase, a former executive secretary to Prime Minister Abe. It is vital for Mr. Yanase to state the facts in the Diet. However, delays in deliberating important bills before the Diet cannot be tolerated. Public opinion is highly critical of Diet deliberations being suspended. I hope that opposition parties will take part in Diet debates, and that discussion in the Diet will swiftly return to normal.