Executives' Comments Press Conferences
Chairman Tokura's Statements and Comments
at His Press Conference
- Japan-US Leaders' Summit
- Japan's Defense Capabilities
- Green Transformation Bonds (tentative name)
- Revision of Ministerial Ordinance for Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace (Mandatory Disclosure of Gender Wage Gaps)
- Reopening to Foreign Tourists
- Thoughts on China
- Merger of Keidanren and Nikkeiren: 20th Anniversary
Japan-US Leaders' Summit
Amid growing tensions in the international situation, President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida discussed a range of key policy issues, and the summit provided a highly significant opportunity for the leaders to share their thoughts. Notable outcomes included: (1) declaration of Japan's participation in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), (2) President Biden's support for Japan becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council, (3) President Biden's endorsement of Japan's plan to strengthen its defense capabilities, and (4) the decision that Hiroshima will host the next G7 summit.
I welcome the IPEF, which demonstrates the US commitment to creating a free and open economic zone in the Indo-Pacific region. The framework encompasses a wide range of fields, including not only trade, but also vital matters relating to economic security, such as advanced technologies, the digital economy, and more resilient supply chains, as well as climate change countermeasures. Japan's prompt participation in the framework is likely to encourage other Asian nations to join.
[In response to a question on the US re-joining the TPP] I hope that the US will come back to the TPP. Initially, moving ahead with the IPEF is a realistic goal. We should ensure that this is a positive first step.
[In response to a question on whether the US is returning to multilateral frameworks] When President Biden took office, he stated that "America is back." The IPEF is one manifestation of this stance. International cooperation is essential to dealing with the pandemic and climate change. Firstly, countries with shared values should cooperate while competing. Countries have diverse values, but it is not desirable to permanently exclude countries because of differences. We cannot resolve crucial global issues without cooperation.
Japan's Defense Capabilities
I understand the government's resolve to increase the effectiveness of Japan-US security arrangements and increase defense spending to ensure national defense. It is unlikely to increase the defense budget to 2% of GDP in a single step.
[In response to a question on the relationship between higher defense spending and an exclusively defensive security policy] Thinking realistically and effectively, Japan needs to strengthen its deterrents. Discussion surrounding an exclusively defensive security policy began in a time when no one could have foreseen the current situation, where cyber-attacks and hypersonic missiles have become realities. I believe the decision to host the G7 Summit in Hiroshima embraces the intent of aiming for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Green Transformation Bonds (tentative name)
I welcome the Prime Minister's bold decision to secure government funds needed for green transformation by issuing dedicated bonds and to swiftly use this finance to support investment. The private sector will actively invest in green transformation, but government funds amounting to approximately two trillion yen a year on average are required to establish a sound investment environment through bond issuance and other pump-priming measures.
Revision of Ministerial Ordinance for Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace
(Mandatory Disclosure of Gender Wage Gaps)
Publication of gender wage gaps will provide an indicator for women who aim to continuously work and fulfill active roles in companies to find optimal workplaces. At the same time, it will encourage companies that are making proactive efforts to back women. It is positive for both sides, and I support it.
[In response to a question on the relationship between gender wage gaps and economic growth] As the population declines, promoting women's active workplace participation is essential to energizing the Japanese economy. At present, women overwhelmingly spend more time on childcare than their husbands. Japan should advance further in creating a work-friendly environment for women and realizing a society where men and women are truly equal partners.
Reopening to Foreign Tourists
The Kishida administration is steadily moving towards a post-pandemic exit strategy, and I applaud its efforts so far. The prime minister has announced that Japan will align itself with other G7 nations by enabling smooth entry from June, and as part of this move, has raised the daily cap on visitor entries to around 20,000. I have high hopes that the public will be convinced by the new arrangements, and that entry restrictions will be eased further. I anticipate that the 20,000-visitor cap will establish a process and subsequently be raised to 50,000 and 100,000, enabling free and open management of entry procedures that compare favorably with other G7 countries.
Thoughts on China
The world cannot thrive without China, and China cannot decouple itself from the world. Being interdependent, they must not abandon dialogue and exchange even if values differ. Japan should take this approach in engaging with China, especially in this milestone year, which marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between our two countries.
Merger of Keidanren and Nikkeiren: 20th Anniversary
The merger resulted from determined and far-sighted decision-making. Perceiving that labor issues were inseparable from economic issues, then-Chairman of Keidanren Takashi Imai asserted the need for a comprehensive business organization capable of responding to a new era. This was a clear-sighted view that accurately anticipated current circumstances. The term "investing in people" is now used in various contexts including growth strategy, wage gaps, social security, and labor turnover. This proves that labor matters and economic matters are inseparably intertwined. Now is the time for our comprehensive business organization to demonstrate its true potential.