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

November 11, 2019

Request from Kansai Electric Power

Keidanren today approved a request from The Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. to be excused from the Keidanren Executive Policy Board. The company will also abstain from Keidanren policy activities for the time being.

Economic Situation

The Japanese economy remains robust despite turbulence in the global economy and the consumption tax hike on the domestic front. However, an uncertain outlook is cause for concern, and looking ahead to the next fiscal year the government needs to implement various policies to encourage investment that will lead to economic growth.

Minutes of the Planning Meeting on a Social Security System Oriented to All Generations (September 20)

The minutes of this meeting record my assertion that the social security system "should be examined cautiously, since revenue sources are a problem," and I do not regard my words as having been altered. The background to Keidanren's opinion on reviewing reduced-rate old-age pensions paid to active employees is that the system is relatively generous to pensioners and diluted for those currently of working age, and disparities in the existing social security system must be rectified. If reduction of pension rates for older persons still in employment were to be abolished, the system would become even more generous to working pensioners who have income above a certain level, and thus it needs to be examined with caution. This was the intent of my statement at the September 20 Planning Meeting on a Social Security System Oriented to All Generations.

Evaluation of the Abe Administration

Abenomics has made Japan more competitive. Prime Minister Abe's stable leadership has also enhanced Japan's global presence in an uncertain international situation. Keidanren rates the administration highly on these two points. Apart from high energy costs, the administration has addressed the "sextuple whammy" of factors impeding growth that had long plagued the Japanese economy and shown a path to resolving these issues. In a world where populism is spreading, I hope that rather than seeking short-term economic effects the Abe administration will devise and implement policies that lead to economic growth, based on substantive changes to Japan's economic foundations and social structures.

Climate Change Measures

Japan has set targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 26% below fiscal 2013 levels by fiscal 2030 and 80% below 2013 levels by 2050. But in the face of extraordinary climate change on a global scale in recent years, the international community is now setting the bar even higher and focusing on achieving zero emissions by 2050. Keidanren is steadily implementing its Commitment to a Low Carbon Society and achieving results, but we need to reinforce our efforts with a considerable degree of determination.

Encouraging Older People to Work

If a job-based work style becomes more popular and people are capable of doing the job required, age becomes irrelevant. The concept of retiring at a certain age may disappear in such job-based workplaces. It is crucial for the private sector to develop ways of providing older people, who have vastly differing individual circumstances and capabilities, with places where they can do a job according to their desire to work and fulfill active roles in society rather than imposing uniform systems of employment.

Japan-South Korea Relations

Keidanren has consistently emphasized the need to encourage private-sector exchange and build deeper mutual trust and understanding regardless of political and diplomatic circumstances affecting Japan-South Korea relations, and we have always put this approach into practice. Businesses in both countries are linked by supply chains, and we must avoid breaking such ties. Keidanren will continue to engage in private-sector dialogue.

There have been reports that the speaker of South Korea's National Assembly has proposed a fund to address the issue of wartime forced labor. This is a matter for discussion between governments, and raising funds from the private sector does not seem like an appropriate response.

Healthcare Reforms

Existing systems for medical treatment are barely sustainable, and failure to reform them could cause the collapse of the universal national health insurance system. There is broad consensus on this point throughout Japanese society. Keidanren has proposed the introduction of part-charges payable at time of examination and extension of the 20% part-charge payable up to age 74 so that it also applies to those aged 75 and above. However, the medical industry appears to take the stance that the entire medical treatment system needs to be discussed before taking such measures. Both parties are heading in the same direction, but have not yet reached agreement on such specific ideas. This is an issue of institutional design, and may require political decisions.

Investment in New Technology

I regard investment in new technology not from the perspective of how much is invested, but rather how to foster Japanese industries and businesses capable of surviving global competition amid rapidly spreading digitalization. In this context, many businesspeople have an acute sense of crisis when they consider the pace of change and the rise of unconventional competitors. For example, services account for a rising proportion of business even in manufacturing, and this has triggered diverse changes in the nature and direction of investment, which is extending beyond conventional investment in facilities to encompass human resource development, R&D, new technology investment, and partnerships with start-ups. Keidanren will lead the design of institutional arrangements to encourage such responses by Japanese companies.

Executives' Comments