- Nuclear Power Policy
- Exchange Rate
- Internal Reserves
- Easing of Border Measures
- 50th Anniversary of Normalization of Diplomatic Relations with China
- State Funeral for Former Prime Minister Abe
- Keidanren's Committee on Mobility
- Other Matters
Nuclear Power Policy
(In response to a question regarding Prime Minister Kishida's indication that the government will consider building new nuclear power plants, replacing such plants, and extending their operation) I highly welcome this consideration. To advance utilization of nuclear power generation, it will be especially important to gain public understanding regarding safety and radioactive waste. The government needs to take the lead in promoting development and construction of innovative next-generation reactors while clearly explaining the safety of nuclear generation to local residents and the general public. As for radioactive waste, it will be essential to establish a nuclear fuel cycle and methods for final disposal.
Much of the rapid depreciation of the yen stems from speculative trends. After Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell mentioned the need to further tighten US monetary policy at the recent Jackson Hole Economic Symposium (August 26), awareness of the growing interest rate gap between Japan and the US has continued to fuel moves to sell yen and buy dollars. Under these circumstances, we should not expect central bank policies in relation to exchange rates.
At the same time, recent yen depreciation has made the Japanese public acutely aware of how much Japan depends on imported energy and food. Over the medium to long term, we need to build a resilient Japanese economy through measures such as green transformation (GX) and enhancement of agricultural competitiveness.
(In response to a question about corporate internal reserves surpassing 500 trillion yen for the first time in fiscal 2021) For individual companies, internal reserves have a positive side, and it is not a matter of simply saying that such reserves are good or bad. However, there is no denying that companies are holding sizable amounts of cash and cash equivalents. It will be essential to invigorate domestic investment by Japanese companies through trends such as GX and achieve a flow whereby the fruits of economic growth are returned via wage earnings, in other words to create a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution.
Easing of Border Measures
(In response to a question on easing of entry restrictions for foreigners visiting Japan for the purpose of tourism) I welcome the easing of restrictions, however, I do not think the steps taken are enough. Before the pandemic, around 90,000 foreign visitors a day entered Japan in 2019. Nearly 90% of those visitors were tourists, about 80% of whom were individual travelers. Considering these facts, the effects of the recent measures will be limited. New COVID-19 infections have fallen to 70% of the previous week's level. I urge the government to swiftly take measures aimed at the next stage of easing.
50th Anniversary of Normalization of Diplomatic Relations with China
In the economic sphere, China is integral to global supply chains. The world cannot thrive without China, and China cannot decouple itself from the world. Amicable Japan-China relations are important for stability in East Asia, especially economic prosperity.
Although we face a range of bilateral issues including economic security, it is precisely at times like these that we need to speak clearly with one another and cooperate where we can. Prime Minister Kishida is engaging with China from the stance of prioritizing dialogue aimed at constructive and stable bilateral relations. I hope that the 50th anniversary of normalization of diplomatic relations between our two countries will generate momentum for deeper cooperation and broader exchange.
State Funeral for Former Prime Minister Abe
Heads of nations have conveyed their respect and condolences for former Prime Minister Abe, who was a leader in the international community, and I regard Prime Minister Kishida's decision to hold a state funeral as appropriate. The state funeral has been announced to the world, and it should be held with solemnity. If invited, I would like to attend to pay my respects.
Keidanren's Committee on Mobility
Freedom of movement is essential to creating a society of well-being. The Committee on Mobility will focus on a wide range of mobility options, including automobiles, and discuss ways of contributing to economic and social development. More than 200 companies from an array of industries have already expressed their interest in participating, and the committee is off to a solid start.
Generally speaking, the constitution stipulates freedom of religion and separation of religion and politics, and guarantees the right of religious groups to conduct political activities. The matter currently sparking much public debate relates to political involvement by a group that is suspected of being socially problematic. The relationship of such a group with politics should be closely investigated and examined.