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

October 10, 2023

Evaluation of Major Political Parties' Policies

We have compiled and released this year's version of Views on Promoting Partnership between Business and Politics. Politics and the economy need to join forces in revitalizing domestic investments, strengthening industrial competitiveness, achieving fiscal soundness, enacting integrated reforms of the tax and social security systems, and rebuilding a free and open international economic order. As aspect of corporate contributions to society, it is also important to expand clean and highly transparent private contributions, and this year, we once again call on all members to exercise independent judgment in making political contributions to political parties.

Ruling parties, led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), have been working vigorously to overcome deflation, reinvigorate the economy, promote green transformation (GX) and digital transformation (DX), and bolster policies related to children and child-rearing. Proactive foreign and security policies are also producing results, including the success of the G7 Hiroshima Summit, better relations between Japan and South Korea, and drastic reinforcement of Japan's defense capabilities. For these reasons, we have given these policies and initiatives high marks.

I hope that the administration continues to engage in active dialogue with the public, and implements and promotes policies with a sense of speed. Keidanren will continue to promote partnership between business and politics.

(In response to a question about which policy issues he would like to see addressed more intensively and with a sense of speed) I would like to see the structural problems that Japan faces, such as measures addressing the declining birthrate and reforms to establish a social security system for all generations, addressed as speedily as they have always been.

Economic Measures

Looking at the macro-economic environment in Japan, we see that the supply-demand gap has been nearly eliminated, and going forward, it will be necessary to realize a "virtuous cycle of growth and distribution" in which economic growth and wage increases are sustained by bolstering the supply side. The five pillars of the government's economic measures are in alignment with this way of thinking, and include medium- to long-term measures that will contribute to the development of social infrastructure and enhance supply capabilities, such as promoting domestic investment and measures to support boosting the productivity of small- and medium-sized enterprises. The key word is "sustainability," and current measures, such as those addressing high commodity prices as well as income or other tax breaks, should be narrowed to focus only on those who truly need them (comprehensively taking into account the economic situation and other factors).

The State of Affairs in the Middle East

(In response to a question about the intensifying state of affairs in the Middle East) It saddens me to see. I am deeply concerned about the situation, as both sides have suffered tremendous damage, including civilian casualties. There are also concerns that, if tensions in the Middle East persist, it could destabilize the supply of crude oil and negatively affect Japanese companies operating in Israel. I sincerely hope that they swiftly call a ceasefire and resolve the situation.

Osaka-Kansai Expo

(In response to a question about media reports that construction costs for the Osaka-Kansai Expo venue will be increased for the second time) I recognize the need to increase construction costs to considerably more than 185 billion yen due to the recent labor shortage and rising prices. The specific amount is still being calculated, but I hope that every effort is employed to keep the increase to a minimum. This will be the last increase. Any further increases would be very difficult both politically and in terms of policies. In addition, the principle that the government, the prefecture and city of Osaka, and the business community should each bear one-third of the venue construction costs should be maintained.

(In response to a suggestion that the increase in venue construction costs should be covered by raising admission fees as well as by scaling down and simplifying the pavilions) The Osaka-Kansai Expo will boost Japan's presence in the world, and an international event with the theme of "life" will be of great significance in our increasingly divided world. The Expo is a national event, and in addition to visitors to the venue, the entire rest of the nation should also be exposed to such a significant event and hear its message. Efforts are already underway to scale-down and simplify the pavilions, while ensuring that the quality of the Expo is not compromised.

Sapporo Winter Olympics and Paralympics

(In response to a question on his views on some media outlets reporting that Sapporo City has decided to abandon its bid to host the 2030 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games and shift its bid to 2034 or later) The Olympic and Paralympic Games are deeply meaningful events that inspire excitement, friendship, and a sense of unity among people around the world. (If the media reports are true) It is unfortunate that they decided to abandon their bid for 2030. However, the Olympic and Paralympic Games should not be held without the understanding and consent of the local residents. If the city wants to spend a little more time carefully promoting local understanding, I would like to respect that decision.

Proposed Amendment to Saitama Prefecture's Ordinance
on Child Abuse Prevention

(In response to a question on his views on the withdrawal [on October 10] of the proposed amendment to Saitama Prefecture's Ordinance on Child Abuse Prevention, which would prohibit children from staying at home or going to or from school alone) I am not aware of anything other than what was reported on the news, so I would like to refrain from commenting.

In general, leaving children unattended in obviously dangerous conditions would be atrocious and unforgivable. However, the degree to which leaving children unattended is to be prohibited should be carefully discussed and examined, with sufficient consideration given to social circumstances, such as the fact that babysitters are (relatively) uncommon (compared to other countries), as well as to the working and living conditions of child-rearing households.

In Relation to Johnny & Associates

(In response to a question on his views on the contents of the press conference held by Johnny & Associates [October 2]) Human rights violations and child sexual abuse are absolutely unforgivable, and it is vital that measures be taken to ensure that it never happens again. At the same time, it is also problematic to deprive entertainers, who have been studying, practicing, and training each and every day, of opportunities to engage in activities over the long term. They seem to have begun taking steps toward resolving these issues by changing the name of the company and splitting into one company to exist for the purpose of compensating abuse victims and another company to manage entertainers. In order to ensure victim relief and prevent recurrence, it will be essential to establish a transparent governance system. The contents of the announcement alone are not sufficient grounds for making any judgments, and I intend to keep a close eye on their future efforts.

A judicial ruling on this matter was handed down in 2004, and it is necessary to reflect on the fact that Japanese society as a whole, including the mass media and businesses, did not directly address the issue (for many years thereafter).

Executives' Comments