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

January 14, 2020

Digital Transformation

As digital transformation progresses, a key issue is how to create next-generation business models. Since it is difficult for individual companies to foresee the future on their own, Keidanren's Digital Transformation Meeting conducts discussions from the perspective of strengthening Japan's entire industrial structure, for example by re-thinking supply chains and promoting open innovation. It will compile policy proposals and make rules as required. In cooperation with the Small and Medium Enterprise Agency and chambers of commerce and industry, it supports medium-sized companies and SMEs in improving IT skills and reinforcing cybersecurity measures.

Restructuring Profitable Companies

As bankruptcies rose year-on-year for the first time in 11 years, restructuring companies while they are still producing a profit has become a hot topic. Corporate executives always consider the optimal composition of personnel for their businesses when making structural reforms such as altering their companies' business models. For workers, the immediate employment situation is favorable and it is easy to switch jobs, creating an environment conducive to seeking early retirement. Recognition of these trends may be a factor prompting management decisions about restructuring.

US-China Economic Relations

Although the US and China are expected to sign an agreement on Phase 1 of their trade deal on January 15, it is difficult to regard this as a thawing of US-China relations. The two nations' struggle for hegemony in fields such as advanced technologies is likely to continue for some time. Concerns have arisen that strengthening of US export control regulations and foreign investment rules through the enactment of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 (ECRA) and the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (FIRRMA) will impact on supply chain management.

Reinforcement of US Export Controls and Overseas Investment Rules

Since Japan steadfastly maintains free and multi-faceted trade and investment systems, Keidanren is urging the US government and other relevant parties to exclude it from the list of countries targeted by stricter regulations for export controls and overseas investment.

US-Iran Relations

Private-sector economic diplomacy is a key pillar of Keidanren activities, but the extreme severity of US sanctions on Iran impedes any immediate effective action to improve relations between the two countries. Until overall US policy towards the Middle East becomes clear, it is difficult to encourage any specific action by the Japanese government.

Spring Labor-Management Wage Negotiations

The 2020 Report of the Keidanren Committee on Management and Labor Policy recognizes the importance of not only pressing ahead with "Phase II" of our work-style reforms and increasing wages, but also creating fulfilling workplaces. It is not realistic for the business community to set out specific amounts for wage rises or discuss detailed pay schemes. Talks will proceed on the key assumption of maintaining momentum for wage increases.

Executives' Comments