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

September 21, 2021

Election of LDP President

I hope that topics for debate among the candidates will include not only individual policies, but also robust discussion of each candidate's view of the state, vision for the nation, and fundamental strategy for Japan.

The concept of a new model for Japanese capitalism espoused by Fumio Kishida aligns with the sustainable capitalism that Keidanren aims to establish. Through his many achievements as the current Minister of State for Regulatory Reform, Taro Kono has proven his ability to act. Sanae Takaichi gives the impression of providing unambiguous explanations, especially regarding a national vision and energy policies. Seiko Noda prioritizes diversity, based on her own experiences.

I hope that the person appointed as the next LDP president will have a firm vision for Japan and display leadership in realizing that vision. I understand that the late Yotaro Kobayashi, former Chairman of Fuji Xerox, said that one cannot become a leader alone. A leader is someone who has outstanding communication skills and is understood, empathized with, and supported by those around them.

[In response to a question about the candidates' energy policies] All the candidates agree on fundamental policy ideas such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below fiscal 2013 levels by fiscal 2030 and, by extension, achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 (hereinafter, "CN 2050") as part of growth strategy. Realistically, continuing use of nuclear power will be essential when considering energy policies to fulfill the "S+3E" requirements of safety, energy security, economic efficiency, and environmental conservation. Looking ahead to long-term stable supply of energy from 2050 onward, nuclear fusion will also be a key energy source, and initiatives aimed at its commercialization need to be promoted.

Keidanren Summer Forum 2021

Keidanren aims to establish sustainable capitalism. This will require digital transformation and green transformation, working style reform, and measures to address population decline, which is a structural issue for Japan. I would like to intensively discuss these matters with Keidanren Vice Chairs, and the Chairman and Vice Chairs of the Board of Councillors. I also intend to engage in deeper discussion of international issues including global warming and reestablishment of a free and open international economic order. We will prepare a document summarizing the outcomes of our discussions, and I would like to submit these business leaders' views to the new LDP president and other relevant government offices.

Stock Price Weakness

As countries ease monetary conditions, and excess liquidity rises worldwide, concerns about management of China Evergrande Group appear to be having a temporary impact on stock prices. The situation needs to be closely monitored.

Lifting of State of Emergency Declaration and Resumption of Social and Economic Activity

Based on a nationwide reduction in new infections and easing of the pressure on healthcare systems, I expect the state of emergency declaration to be lifted at the end of this month.

Now that we are equipped with two new scientific tools in the form of vaccines and therapeutic drugs, after lifting the declaration and once the number of seriously ill patients is fully under control and concerns of medical system breakdown are erased, the government should encourage gradual resumption of social and economic activity, for example by easing immigration restrictions.

Mandatory Proof of Vaccination When Entering the US

I welcome the move by the US as the first step towards using vaccine passports to reopen international travel. However, details such as the vaccines and forms of proof that will be valid when entering the US are still unclear, and a careful eye needs to be kept on the situation. Once infection risk is firmly under control, I urge the Japanese government to exempt those who have been fully vaccinated, including non-Japanese, from post-entry quarantine. As a minimum initial step, I would like the period of post-entry quarantine to be shortened to 10 days at most.

China's Application to Join CPTPP

The CPTPP is the highest-standard 21st-century-style agreement in terms of both rules and liberalization of trade and investment. I will pay close attention to whether or not China can meet these standards. Meanwhile, I would like the US to return to the agreement as quickly as possible, and Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea are also showing interest in joining. I would be delighted if, rather than fruitlessly boosting the percentage of world population and GDP covered by the agreement, countries and regions participating in the CPTPP could be increased by welcoming members who have fulfilled its high-level conditions.

Greater Labor Market Fluidity

Although there are merits to Japanese-style employment systems typified by simultaneous hiring of new graduates and seniority-based lifetime employment, some of their features no longer suit our times, because the business and labor environments have changed from the days when the homogeneity of Japanese society was a strength. Creating optimal recruitment and employment systems for each industry and enterprise through a process of trial and error can promote labor market fluidity and help build a diverse society. I welcome such moves. The shift to an industrial structure aimed at achieving CN 2050 will entail redeployment of personnel. Bearing in mind labor market fluidity, I would like to examine what forms of support are required and ways of proceeding in the most positive direction possible.

Executives' Comments