- Postponement of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics
- COVID-19: Impact and Response
- Gift Scandal at Kansai Electric
Postponement of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics
The decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games could not be made by Japan alone. Postponement became inevitable, given the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in many of the countries that will take part. Prime Minister Abe has expressed his wish to hold the Tokyo Games in their entirety, and I am fully in agreement.
The economic impact of postponement cannot yet be predicted. The rebate program for cashless payments introduced in the wake of the consumption tax increase will come to an end in June. The government may have anticipated that the Tokyo Games would stimulate consumption from July onward, before the launch of a rewards program using the national My Number ID cards in September, but that scenario no longer applies.
Postponement of the Tokyo Games presents countless challenges, but this event is a national effort, and we must do all we can to ensure its success.
COVID-19: Impact and Response
The spread of COVID-19 is dampening economic activity worldwide. It is restricting the global movement of people and inhibiting events both large and small. Since the impact on various sectors is severe—not least due to the effects of postponing the Tokyo Games—governments need to make concerted efforts and take decisive measures. The Japanese government is currently finalizing the details of an economic package, and Keidanren is summarizing the views of our member companies. In considering economic measures, a distinction needs to be made between matters requiring urgent action and those to be addressed over the medium to long term. Keidanren will cooperate with the government to achieve a soft landing for the economy.
COVID-19 infections are also on the rise in Tokyo, but are not yet high as a percentage of the population. The Japanese government's policy of preventing the spread of infection as much as possible until vaccines and therapeutic drugs are developed and deployed has been reasonably effective. A lockdown is not presently required in Tokyo. We must consider how to maintain medical services while carefully monitoring the situation in locked-down cities in the US.
The number of patients for whom transmission routes cannot be traced is increasing, but Japan has a sound public health system and the competent authority is clear in any region where infections occur. Compared to some other countries, this makes it easy to trace transmission routes, and will break the chain of transmission and prevent a sudden rise in infections.
Rather than tilting product procurement towards specific regions or nations, corporate supply chains should ensure that a network can be maintained as much as possible. Companies have reorganized their supply chains in the wake of disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic will prompt further efforts in this regard.
Gift Scandal at Kansai Electric
Although I hesitate to comment on individual companies, I acknowledge that there are governance issues at Kansai Electric, as noted in the report of the independent investigative committee released on March 14.