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

July 10, 2023

Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai

On June 30, government approval was gained for a formal decision on ticket prices for Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai. The ticket prices have been set to achieve three goals: (1) attract large visitor numbers, (2) smooth out the flow of visitors, and (3) achieve stable management of the event. Various types of ticket will be available. Those for children under 12 are around one quarter of the adult price, even more affordable than they were at Expo 2005 Aichi, where they were one third of the adult price. I hope that this will be a wonderful expo that contributes to realizing Society 5.0 for SDGs and achieving sustainable growth for Japan's economy and society, partly through utilization of revenue from ticket sales.

Advance tickets are expected to be available by the end of 2023. Keidanren will focus on fostering nationwide momentum for the event. We will also urge our member companies to purchase advance tickets.

(In response to a question about no participating country currently having applied to construct a Type A [self-built] pavilion) Pavilion construction takes time. The public and private sectors need to cooperate to enable construction to start this fall. Keidanren will also make a range of firm efforts, including approaches to the construction industry.

Wage Increases

A virtuous cycle of wages and prices is essential to achieving structural wage increases. On the price front, pass-through of added product and service value is gradually being accepted as a social norm. As early as this month, the Bank of Japan Monetary Policy Meeting may revise upward its forecast consumer price increase rate (1.8% for fiscal 2023). Keidanren will continue calling on companies to maintain wage increase momentum through proactive wage rises, including pay scale increases, and contribute to achieving structural wage increases.

(In response to a question on views of the current situation, where the downward trend in real wages is continuing) Initial results from the survey of 2023 spring labor-management wage negotiations at major companies by industry indicate a high level of 3.91% for this year's wage increase rate at large enterprises. Since the time between revision of wage rates and the date payments at the new rates actually begin varies among companies, a time lag will occur before the results of this year's large wage increases are reflected in actual wages. I expect that wage rise momentum will gradually start to appear in various statistics as we move forward.

(In response to a question on views of SME wage rises) Although many SMEs also agreed to high levels of wage increases in this year's spring labor-management wage negotiations, a Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry survey reveals that as many as 70% of such rises were defensive in nature, with the companies granting increases out of necessity, for example to secure human resources. Wage rise momentum crucially needs to be extended to SMEs and maintained. Keidanren will continue various efforts towards this end, including public-private cooperation on support for SME productivity improvements and promotion of price pass-through via thorough measures to achieve Declaration of Partnership Building goals.

China's Export Controls on Semiconductor Materials

(In response to a question regarding China's announcement of the addition of gallium and germanium products to its export controls list from August and the impact on Japan's economy and industry) I understand that rather than prohibiting the export of materials used to manufacture semiconductors, the controls announced by China bring them under the permit system. Individual companies are currently at the stage of carefully examining the impact on their procurement and other activities. Keidanren will monitor future export control trends in China.

IAEA Report

(In response to a question about the IAEA report on TEPCO's plan to discharge ALPS treated water from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station into the sea) The IAEA report is highly significant, since it shows that ALPS treated water fully meets safety standards based on scientific, logical, and objective indicators. The government of South Korea also respects this report. However, I am aware of concerns voiced by China, the main opposition party in South Korea, and those involved in fisheries in Japan. Patient and detailed explanation of the safety factors verified by the report is required both in Japan and abroad to reassure such concerned parties.

Japan-Korea and Korea-Japan Future Partnership Funds

(In response to a question on future fund activities following the inaugural steering committee meeting on July 6) We would like to launch youth exchanges as soon as possible, while contemplating cooperation with various existing initiatives. Japan and South Korea also face the pressing common challenges of birth rate decline, environmental and energy issues, and economic security. Based on these realities, we will advance efforts to forge partnerships in specific industrial fields and share best practices.

Executives' Comments