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

May 9, 2022

Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Reducing dependence on Russia for energy is now the common understanding of the G7. Japan's recent decision to ban oil imports is a step being taken in compliance as a G7 member. With regard to LNG (liquefied natural gas), G7 nations differ in their response since it is difficult to find alternative suppliers. From the standpoint of energy self-sufficiency and energy security, maintaining the interests in the Sakhalin projects is very important, and this matter must not be treated lightly. Even if Japan gives up its interests, if another country comes to take over them, this will not constitute sanction on Russia. However, both sanctions and dialogue are necessary. Ruling out dialogue as an option may not help solve the problem in the long run.

[Asked about the impact of the oil import ban on Japan's economy] In light of the present situation where OPEC Plus refuses to increase production significantly, there will probably be an impact in the short-term. Together with the depreciation of the yen, they constitute a double punch on the Japanese economy. Since the timeline for the oil import ban will also be determined depending on the actual situation, the impact may not be as serious as an immediate ban on LNG imports.

After Russia's recent invasion of Ukraine, the Japanese people have come to have a strong awareness of the importance of national security, energy security, and food security. Deliberations on how to raise self-sufficiency rate in energy and food should be accelerated.

Continuing Yen Depreciation

The depreciation of the yen is continuing due to the interest rate gap between Japan and the U.S. However, Japan is not facing inflation at a level on par with the Western countries. In the first place, monetary policy should not be used to deal with the exchange rate. It should be leveraged to realize the inflation target set by the Bank of Japan.

On the other hand, since the exchange rate reflects economic fundamentals, it is necessary to think seriously of how to rehabilitate the Japanese economy. We must not be unsettled by short-term exchange rate fluctuations. It is rather necessary to build a strong Japanese economy by implementing a growth strategy centered on green transformation in order to achieve mid- to long-term foreign exchange stability.

Easing of Covid-19 Border Measures

[Asked about the government's deliberation to allow the entry of foreign tourists from June] If the reports are true, we welcome this and hope that restrictions will be relaxed as soon as possible. Many Japanese travelled abroad for sightseeing and leisure during the Golden Week holidays. On the other hand, Japan is still not allowing foreigners to enter Japan for tourism. Reciprocity is the common practice in the world, so we hope that realistic discussions will take place. A weak yen is also a great opportunity for tourists visiting Japan. With the Osaka Kansai World Expo coming up, we hope that Japan will open up quickly, if only to attract more foreigners to become Japan's fans.

Quality Fraud in the Manufacturing Industry

Quality assurance, quality control, and inspection are the very basics of manufacturing. Deception with regard to quality will result in the loss of consumers' and society's trust and faith and compromise the advantage of the Japanese manufacturing industry. Whistle-blowing systems have become quite common these days. It is hoped that they will lead to the uncovering of malpractice and the fostering of sound corporate culture, systems, and procedures in each company.

Companies must adhere to lofty moral values and fulfill their social responsibilities. Managers should take this to heart and work diligently on establishing internal governance. Through its "Charter of Corporate Behavior," Keidanren urges member companies to take effective measures to prevent malpractice. It goes without saying that we will persist in such efforts.

Corporate Recruitment Policy and Human Rights, Diversity

[Asked to comment on Yoshinoya Holdings' rejection of university students applying for jobs judged by the company to be foreign nationals without even verifying with the applicants] Generally speaking, human rights and diversity is the norm in the world, as indicated in Keidanren's "Charter of Corporate Behavior." If what you have mentioned actually transpired, this is regrettable. While it is not possible to hire an applicant if he/she cannot obtain a working visa, this should be explained clearly at the job interview. Companies need to be fully aware that social responsibility and moral values are expected of them.