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

June 20, 2022

House of Councillors Election

At this historical turning point, we hope that all political parties will explain to the people in plain language the direction our country is taking. We hope that they will hold debates on ways to build a sustainable dynamic economic society.

For sure, they will have to talk about dealing with immediate issues, such as the rapid increase in food and energy prices. However, we hope that they will also discuss the mid- and long-term issue of establishing a free and open international order.

Furthermore, in light of the upheaval in the international situation, we hope that the issue of how to maintain security, including energy and food security, will be thoroughly discussed.

Reiwa Rincho (Provisional Commission for Administrative Reform)

Keidanren has been making policy proposals and expressing its opinions toward overcoming the numerous domestic and international issues facing Japan. We welcome a broad range of efforts being undertaken simultaneously. We look forward to in-depth discussions by experts in various fields on "reform of the governance structure," "government finances and social security," and "vision for the national territory in the Reiwa Era."

Supreme Court Ruling on Class Action Over Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant Accident

We respect the judiciary's decision. I will refrain from commenting on specific verdicts. We understand that this latest ruling will not affect the direction of the government's nuclear power policy, which is to move forward with resuming the operation of nuclear plants, giving top priority to safety and the understanding of local communities. Nuclear power is a zero-emission source of power which is essential for realizing carbon neutrality. Use of this energy should continue while all possible steps are taken to ensure safety. The bottom line for resumption of operation is that safety, which is the premise of people's peace of mind, should be ensured to win the local residents' understanding.

Bank of Japan Monetary Policy

The focus of monetary policy should be on stable commodity prices. The BOJ is persisting in monetary policies necessary for achieving the "price stability target" (2% increase from previous year). While Japan's monetary policy is often compared with other countries, the fact that the economic situation of each country is different must be taken into serious consideration.

[In response to a question on how the exchange rate will affect companies' overseas business] The foreign exchange market affects business operations in different ways, depending on the sector and line of business. Each company also view exchange rate fluctuations differently, either from the short-term or mid- and long-term perspective.

[In response to a question about the impact of rise in overseas labor cost on business operations] Companies make their decision to do business overseas based on various factors. There are certainly companies which consider the difference in labor cost between Japan and other countries as one factor. On the other hand, in light of rapid changes in workstyle using IT during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not surprising that some companies have decided to shift from overseas assignments to working in Japan. In any event, generally speaking, labor cost of posting personnel overseas is unlikely to have a major impact on business.

Measures to Control Commodity Prices

Attempting to control the current increase in commodity prices, which was brought about by the spiraling of prices of resources and energy, by interest rate policy is mistaking the means for the end.

[In response to a question on the idea of lowering the consumption tax rate to control commodity prices] A discussion on social security reform for all generations is currently taking place. I believe taxes will also be taken up in this context.

The government is using fiscal spending to remedy the increase in energy and food prices triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, in the mid- and long-term, it must consider policies to raise Japan's self-sufficiency rate.

It is important to firmly establish a healthy cycle of economic growth and distribution in order to build a sustainable dynamic economic society while dealing steadily with immediate issues. Companies play a major role in this process. Keidanren will continue to call for maintaining the momentum of wage increases.

Organization under Prime Minister's Direct Jurisdiction

[In response to a question about the significance of the planned creation of organizations transcending ministerial boundaries under the direct jurisdiction of the Prime Minister] It has long been pointed out that one reason reforms are not making much progress in Japan is compartmentalized administration. For matters that can be more efficiently and effectively handled across ministries, such as Covid-19 countermeasures or digitization, it will probably require new mechanisms transcending existing systems.

World Refugee Day (June 20)

Japan has long been known for the small number of foreigners it recognizes as refugees. In light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, there has been increased interest both in Japan and overseas in refugees as a major global issue. We hope for more in-depth discussion of the question of accepting refugees.

Utilizing Foreign Human Resources

Japan's declining birth rate, which has been dubbed a "silent emergency," is advancing surreptitiously. The low labor participation rate is one factor pushing down Japan's potential growth rate. The question of accepting foreign workers should not be discussed only from the viewpoint of business resources; the perspective of taking various steps to create the environment for introducing these workers must also be included.

Telework, Workstyle Reform

[In response to a question about workstyle reforms, such as telework] When the Covid-19 pandemic was raging, it was meaningful to introduce telework across the board. Workstyle after Covid-19 becomes endemic and socio-economic activities return to normal will vary for each sector and line of business.

Executives' Comments