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

January 23, 2023

2023 Spring Labor-Management Negotiations

Keidanren is calling upon its member companies to maintain and strengthen momentum for wage increases as part of their social responsibilities. High prices driven by current cost-push inflation have roused Japanese society, and I would like companies to seize this opportunity to generate demand-pull inflation and create a virtuous cycle of wages and prices. Wage rise momentum will spread to SMEs through appropriate price pass-through along Japan's entire supply chain. To ensure such trends take hold, the deflationary mindset that has pervaded Japan's economy and society for many years needs to be erased. This cannot be achieved by wage rises alone. To stimulate consumption through wage increases, the government must build a social security system oriented to all generations in the aim of reassuring the populace.

(In response to a question about agreement between labor and management [Rengo and Keidanren] on a fundamental stance) Japan's economy and society have long been enveloped by a sense of helplessness. To break free from this situation, it is essential to prioritize investment in people and use it as a launchpad to realize a virtuous cycle of wages and prices. This year, labor and management share a strong commitment to such ideas. Collaborative labor-management efforts based on this shared awareness are evidence of labor-management relations that fulfill Keidanren's aim of "co-creating the future."

(In response to a question about Rengo's demand for 5% wage increases) Last year, Rengo's policy was to demand 4% wage increases. Based on current price rises, I can fully understand why Rengo has raised the level of demand from last year, and this move does not surprise me.

211th Ordinary Diet Session

Prime Minister Kishida has declared his intention to address major themes related to Japan's very existence in this Diet session: (1) green transformation (GX), (2) security, and (3) the falling birthrate and aging society. This is a crucial year for deciding the course of the nation, and I expect lively debate.

Growth-oriented Carbon Pricing

Japan is an island nation not connected to grids in neighboring countries. Considering such geographical constraints, a Green Deal and innovative investment are essential to advancing GX in Japan. I welcome the government's plans to raise about 20 trillion yen through bond issuance over 10 years to support companies transitioning to a GX economy, since it will serve to stimulate private investment and improve predictability for companies. However, it is also essential to maintain fiscal discipline. I understand that the government has indicated that securing medium- to long-term redemption sources of revenue through carbon pricing is one way of doing this.

(In response to a question regarding thoughts on the carbon emissions trading scheme and carbon levy) The government will consider combining these two mechanisms and implementing growth-oriented carbon pricing while monitoring the state of technological innovation. Needless to say, it needs to ensure that such systems are fair, equitable, and transparent.