Executives' Comments Press Conferences
Chairman Tokura's Statements and Comments
at His Press Conference
- Response to Rapid Spread of COVID-19 Infections
- Impact of COVID-19 Infection Spread on the Global Economy
- Examining Business Continuity Plans
Response to Rapid Spread of COVID-19 Infections
Although infections are spreading rapidly, the situation is different from a year ago. We now have mRNA vaccines and oral treatments. Following on from the oral treatment manufactured by Merck, another made by Pfizer is anticipated to be available in February, and they are expected to have significant effects. Now that we have such an array of scientific weapons and have accumulated various data, I believe the COVID-19 pandemic is shifting toward the endemic phase. I hope that the government will take science-based measures based on such changes in the situation.
Quasi-emergency measures to prevent infections have been applied in Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima prefectures, and steps have been taken to stop serving alcohol past 8 p.m., but such precautions are unavoidable considering the speed of infection.
Assuming a scenario where Omicron has replaced other variants in most cases of infection, I hope that the government will consider border measures (based on its track record of easing border restrictions) when it has confirmed that such a shift has taken place.
Impact of COVID-19 Infection Spread on the Global Economy
The greatest concern at present is the possibility of paralysis in essential work. As previous bottlenecks such as distribution delays are being resolved, new challenges are emerging. Such issues will temporarily slow the pace of global economic recovery, but we do not yet know if the effects will be serious or slight. At this stage, I believe there is no need to be especially pessimistic.
Examining Business Continuity Plans
Reports from Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere indicate that the Omicron variant is highly infectious but less virulent. If this is true, many essential workers will be infected, or be close contacts of infected persons, and will inevitably have to isolate and stay home for a certain period, and this is very likely to severely impede business.
Prime Minister Kishida would like to maintain as much economic activity as possible based on a scientific standpoint, and Keidanren will cooperate in such efforts from a business continuity planning perspective, including effective use of remote work. Today, I have called upon our member companies to examine their business continuity plans. I would like them to ensure complete readiness to enable continuity of social and economic activities even in the event of paralysis of their own business sites and supply chains.