1. Top
  2. Executives' Comments
  3. Press Conferences
  4. Chairman Tokura's Statements and Comments at His Press Conference

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

September 19, 2023

Cabinet Reshuffle

Ever since its inauguration in October 2021, the Kishida administration has continued to boldly tackle key issues, achieving numerous accomplishments and gaining a favorable reputation.

The Japanese economy is now at a critical juncture in its efforts to overcome the long period of deflation and achieve strong economic growth. I hope that the new administration, which features a diverse lineup while retaining the same basic framework, will maintain a sense of urgency as it tackles the mountain of key issues both in Japan and abroad.

Keidanren will remain committed to overcoming deflation and achieving a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution through sustained wage increases and other measures in coordination with both the public and private sectors.

(In response to a question on views of the fact that no women have been appointed as senior vice ministers or parliamentary secretaries) The number of female cabinet ministers has increased from two, prior to the cabinet reshuffle, to five. I understand that the government as a whole has been appointing the right personnel to the right positions, while also making considerations for diversity, and I would like to give the government some credit for this.

(In response to a question about the appointment of Ms. Wakako Yata, a former member of the Japanese House of Councillors from the Democratic Party for the People [DDP] and who has an industrial labor union background, to the position of advisor to the prime minister in charge of wages and employment) Managers and laborers are not struggling against each other as in the past. They are instead cooperating with one another to achieve a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution, as evidenced by the recent spring labor-management negotiations. The Kishida administration has made investing in personnel one of its top priorities, so there is nothing strange about the appointment of Ms. Yata, in anticipation that she will be able to leverage her experiences in the labor union.

Economic Measures

(In response to a question about the economic measures that the Kishida administration intends to finalize in October) Japan is now on the brink of overcoming deflation and achieving strong economic growth. As the government and the Bank of Japan continue to keep pace with each other in enacting prudent fiscal and monetary policies, it is understandable that they would take temporary measures to deal with the sharp rise in energy prices.

Tax Reform Proposal

(In response to a question about Keidanren's proposal for FY2024 tax reform released on September 12, in which raising the consumption tax to finance social security is presented as one of the most promising options in the mid-to-long term) As I mentioned at the recent Children's Future Strategy Council, one mid-to-long-term issue that needs to be addressed to counter the declining birthrate is to dispel the vague sense of anxiety about the future that pervades the younger generation by establishing a social security system for all generations. As the birthrate declines and society continues to age at an ever-increasing rate, it is clear that the current social security system will eventually no longer function. Since, due to the nature of social insurance premiums, the burden is disproportionately placed on the working-age population, the effects of wage increases will be diminished if social insurance premiums alone are expected to finance the social security system. Ensuring the sustainability of the social security system will require integrated reforms of the tax and social security systems, including the three core taxes (consumption tax, corporation tax, and income tax), in accordance with the economic situation.

Keidanren plans to continue communicating these ideas to the public in an easy-to-understand and persistent manner.

(In response to a comment pointing out that a consumption tax hike could exacerbate anxiety about the future among those with a weak economic base) To be sure, consumption tax has the drawback of being regressive. However, it also has the benefit of the burden being spread out thinly across society as a whole. In light of the future demographic composition of Japan, Keidanren recommends holding discussions on various tax items, and proposes to be determined in accordance with one's ability to pay.

Sexual Assault Cases Against Johnny & Associates

(In response to a question about the many years of sexual assault, the results of the investigation and remedial measures announced by Johnny & Associates, and the measures that the company should take) I would like to refrain from commenting on individual cases. In no uncertain terms, human rights violations, child abuse, and other such crimes are absolutely unforgivable. In its Charter of Corporate Behavior, Keidanren clearly states that we shall "conduct business that respects the human rights of all persons," and that top management shall "build effective governance systems (…), and strive to raise awareness (…) within the corporation and the entire corporate group," encourages putting these into practice. We will continue to adhere to and staunchly promote this basic stance. (It is, therefore, only natural to work for victim relief and the prevention of recurrence.) It is extremely important for companies to demonstrate, both internally and externally, the basic stance that they will absolutely not tolerate human rights violations or crimes. (Generally speaking,) entertainers are not "merchandise." It is somewhat different from boycotting the products or commodities of a company that has violated compliance. I believe that we all need to think carefully about the fact that we are depriving entertainers, who have been studying, practicing, and training each and every day, of opportunities over the long term. We should think a little more about how to maximize efforts to provide relief to the victims and prevent recurrence in a manner that takes this into consideration as well. Sexual victimization was recognized by the Supreme Court of Japan in a 2004 ruling. However, it seems that Japanese society as a whole had been ignoring the issue somewhat. We should consider this a little more deeply as well.

(In response to a request to evaluate the damage compensation and measures to prevent recurrence enacted by Johnny & Associates, which were announced on September 13) I don't think that sufficient consideration has been given in regard to victim relief and prevention of recurrence, or in regard to the future activities of the entertainers.

Fraudulent Insurance Claims by Bigmotor

(In response to a question about responsibility in reference to governance by SOMPO Holdings [the parent company of Sompo Japan Insurance Inc.], which is being discussed in connection with Bigmotor's fraudulent insurance claims) I understand that the Financial Services Agency is currently conducting on-site inspections to determine the state of Sompo Holdings' governance. I would like to refrain from commenting until I see their report on the results of the investigation.

Executives' Comments