Executives' Comments Press Conferences
Chairman Tokura's Statements and Comments
at His Press Conference
Wage increases are something for each company to determine according to fundamental principles on deciding wages, through serious discussion with labor unions on internal and external circumstances and the company's ability to pay. Distribution to workers, who are key stakeholders, is a natural stance for companies to take. The report of the Keidanren Special Committee on Management and Labor Policy for 2022, due to be issued next month, will urge companies with good business results and those whose performance has recovered to proactively examine wage increases. Keidanren welcomes the government's tax incentives for companies that raise wages and hopes that the system will be uncomplicated and user-friendly, but wage increases will not be decided due to incentives. Keidanren will fulfill its own responsibilities on the question of wage increases. The key is to use such increases to trigger a virtuous cycle leading to expansion of personal consumption, and this requires elimination of future uncertainties.
[In response to a question on the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (JTUC-RENGO)'s 2022 Spring Offensive for a Better Life] Keidanren, the government, and JTUC-RENGO are all in agreement on the importance of investing in people. However, amid large disparities in corporate results, RENGO is setting a target, and even demanding an across-the-board increase of 4%. Rather than a uniform increase, Keidanren will urge companies to respond appropriately according to their own results.
The Japanese Economy
Favorable business performance, especially in the manufacturing industry, stood out in interim results and other recent announcements, but face-to-face service industries such as eating and drinking establishments and tourism struggled. In the short term, the government's COVID-19 countermeasures are succeeding, and results in such industries are trending upward. Although we can be hopeful for next year, there are concerns about inflation and supply shortages. The vaccine rollout has gained momentum, with vaccination rates reaching nearly 80% for the public in general and almost 90% for those aged 12 and over. By rolling out booster shots and border measures based on scientific knowledge, I hope that Japan will be able to avoid a further wave of infections like the fifth wave and get society and the economy running smoothly again.
Tax and Fiscal Reform
The decision on international taxation rules to set a minimum corporate tax rate of 15% and eliminate excessive competition is ground-breaking. Although Japan's corporate tax rate has been reduced, it is still high in global terms.
Japan is also currently injecting fiscal stimulus through COVID-19 countermeasures and promotion of digital transformation (DX) and green transformation (GX). DX and GX are capital investment in the domestic economy, and connecting this investment to a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution is the essence of "new capitalism." In the COVID-19 pandemic, wise spending to firm up fiscal measures is essential. Of course, fiscal reconstruction should proceed in the medium to long term, and this is not contradictory to the notion of growth and distribution.
Human Rights Issues
[In response to a question on the move by several countries to implement a diplomatic boycott on the Beijing Winter Olympics] Keidanren commits to respect for human rights in its Charter of Corporate Behavior. This month, we are revising the section on "Article 4: Respect for human rights" in our Implementation Guidance on Charter of Corporate Behavior and preparing and issuing a Handbook for Management that Respects Human Rights for practitioners. Keidanren will call upon member companies to further promote respect for human rights.