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

December 7, 2020

Keidanren's Policy Proposal on Carbon Neutrality

I would like to take this opportunity to announce Keidanren's policy proposal on carbon neutrality, titled "Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050 (Carbon Neutral Society 5.0)," which was discussed and approved at today's meeting of the chairman and vice chairs.

Just as Keidanren was considering the need to present its stance on carbon neutrality by 2050 (hereinafter, "CN 2050"), Prime Minister Suga declared the goal of CN 2050 in his recent general policy speech. Keidanren has compiled this policy proposal based on the understanding that the business community will work to create a virtuous economic and environmental cycle in the aim of achieving CN 2050. To this end, there are many issues for business to tackle in a range of fields, including establishing hydrogen as a basic fuel and reforming electricity generation systems. As a first step in forging a path to the ultimate goal of carbon neutrality, industries need to develop shared values that position the environment as fundamental to social and economic activity and combine their strengths to move in a single direction. The proposal sets out four specific actions required: (1) innovation, (2) creation of an investment environment to facilitate the building of next-generation electricity generation systems, (3) promotion of sustainable finance, and (4) international deployment of innovative solutions.

CN 2050 is a challenge for the entire nation, and as well as accelerating initiatives such as "Challenge Zero," the business community will cooperate across industries and play a proactive role in aspects including technology development and investment that will contribute to decarbonization.

Sustainable Finance

Keidanren has been discussing a unified classification system ("taxonomy") for sustainable finance for more than a year. It will be vital to devise taxonomy concepts that encourage transition without hindering innovation, based on the energy situation in Japan and Asia as a whole. We have been actively communicating with the EU.

(In response to a question on expectations for the \2 trillion fund to support decarbonization R&D): Since innovation is not achieved within a single fiscal year, I welcome the government's stance of offering support for ten consecutive years. Keidanren will work with the government to examine ways of linking this funding to specific innovation outcomes.

Energy Mix

I recognize that decisions on the energy mix, including the handling of nuclear power, are ultimately the responsibility of government. In the course of goal-setting discussions, Keidanren will offer opinions on behalf of the business sector.

Spring Labor-Management Wage Negotiations

I would like to refrain from commenting on management's basic stance for spring labor-management wage negotiations, since this will be made clear in the 2021 Report of the Keidanren Committee on Management and Labor Policy to be announced in January.

However, in light of current economic circumstances, this is not the time to focus discussion solely on wage increases, and certainly not to constrain options to questions such as the extent of pay scale increases. Labor and management need to work together to maintain employment, and decisions on the wage front are likely to be made according to comprehensive judgments after exhaustive discussion taking into account the economic situation and other factors.

COVID-19 Countermeasures

Amid a resurgence in novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, the most important challenge of all is to maintain medical care systems. Pressure on these systems continues in some regions, and support for medical care facilities must be unstinting.

At the same time, there is an ongoing need for deeper measures to both prevent the spread of infection and revitalize the economy. In this sense, as individual citizens we must take our own measures to prevent infection, for example by avoiding the "three Cs" of closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.

Co-payments for the Latter-stage Elderly

Whether or not efforts to examine a social security system oriented to all generations bear fruit depends on whether a step is taken to redirect current expenditure on social security benefits, which tends to be biased towards the elderly, more towards young people. If a climate conducive to such a step is not fostered, policies will continue to favor the elderly. I am aware that various arguments exist, but a political decision on reforms that go a step further should be made in the aim of creating a system that will enable young people to have hope for the future.

Employment through Reassignment/Work-sharing

(In response to a question about airline companies and other employers that are continuing employment amid the COVID-19 pandemic through measures such as assignment of employees to other companies): These efforts are also positive from the perspective of enhancing labor market fluidity. The government should examine measures to boost labor market fluidity.

Additional Cost Burden of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

I understand that additional costs associated with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games have been presented. Discussion of how the burden of these costs will be allocated has yet to take place, but I recognize that this is an issue requiring thorough discussion among all those involved.

Chairman's State of Health

My treatment has not proceeded entirely smoothly. Since my health is still good, I will keep working, but restoration to full health will take a little more time and effort.

Executives' Comments