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

June 5, 2023

Extension of Cooperative Production Cuts by OPEC Plus

Affordable and stable supplies of energy are fundamental to people's lives and business activities in Japan. The decision to continue cooperative production cuts risks a tighter supply and demand situation and ongoing high prices for crude oil. I hope the government will respond flexibly and appropriately to energy supply and demand trends in the aim of stabilizing the global crude oil market.

Measures to Address Birth Rate Decline

(In response to a question about views on the draft Strategy for Children's Future released on June 1) Essentially, the government should take measures from a medium- to long-term standpoint at the same time, but I can understand the haste to offer immediate support for children and child-rearing, so I would like to see successful implementation of effective measures. However, from the perspective of tailoring measures appropriately when sources of revenue are very constrained, I am not convinced by the government's decision to eliminate the income cap and pay child allowances even to high income households.

Broadly speaking, three issues should be addressed to reverse birth rate decline. Firstly, wage rises that enable young people to marry and provide income levels sufficient for them to have children if they wish. Secondly, establishment of social security systems oriented to all generations to eliminate younger generations' vague unease about the future. And thirdly, work style reforms that enable parents, regardless of gender, to combine work with child-rearing are also crucial. In particular, discussion about the best mix of revenue sources, including taxes, cannot be avoided in devising social security systems oriented to all generations. The government has pledged to take "unprecedented" measures to address birth rate decline, and I urge it to continue examining these issues.

(In response to a question on corporate efforts to address birth rate decline) It is essential for companies to contribute to reversing birth rate decline through work style reforms. Encouraging men to take childcare leave is especially important. Keidanren will call upon our member companies to offer such encouragement in ways that emphasize not only the percentage of men taking childcare leave, but also the number of days taken. However, since companies' circumstances and individuals' wishes are varied, a cautious approach must be taken to mandatory publication of employee birth rates. I hope that work style reforms will spread throughout society by companies making voluntary efforts with reference to positive examples at other enterprises.

Nikkei Average

(In response to a question on views of the Nikkei stock average reaching a closing price of 32,000 yen for the first time in 33 years) The Japanese economy has been highly evaluated for several reasons, including vigorous pent-up demand and continuation of monetary easing by the Bank of Japan. However, this evaluation is ultimately relative to other markets, and we cannot delight in it forever. Stock prices should be viewed on a medium- to long-term horizon.

Gender Equality

(In response to a question about views of the priority policies announced by the government's Council for Gender Equality on June 5, which include a target of women filling at least 30% of executive positions at companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Prime Market by 2030) Japan is lagging behind Europe and the United States on the diversity front. It is essential to promote more active roles for women. However, efforts to achieve this target will come to nothing if imposition of excessively demanding numerical quotas causes companies to make formalistic responses without real change. Keidanren has long been working towards the aim of women filling 30% of executive positions by 2030. The government's policies adopt the same practical and realistic approach as Keidanren. Diversity in Japanese society should be enhanced by each company making efforts to devise a path to reaching the target according to its own circumstances, actively providing opportunities for employees to accumulate practical experience, and appointing them to positions of responsibility.

Foreign Workers

(In response to a question on the Liberal Democratic Party approving, on May 23, a government-proposed plan to expand the scope of sectors covered by Type 2 residence status) Alleviating the labor shortage is a pressing issue for Japan, which faces a decline in its working-age population. I welcome progress in discussion about expanding the scope of sectors covered by Type 2 residence status with no upper limit on the period of residence, to enable skilled foreign workers to play active roles. In expanding this scope, Japan needs to create an environment where foreign workers can work here for long periods and integrate into Japanese society together with their families.