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

January 9, 2024

2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake

I would like to offer my deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on January 1, and my heartfelt sympathy to all those affected by the disaster. I would also like to convey my respect and gratitude to all those involved in strenuous rescue efforts under extremely challenging circumstances.

(In response to a question about Keidanren support) While collaborating with volunteer organizations engaged in support activities on the ground, Keidanren is urging member companies to offer donations, other financial support, and emergency supplies, through 1% Club newsletter. Many companies are already providing such assistance. Although damage to infrastructure is hampering transportation of relief supplies, we will continue to swiftly address this difficult situation through our various networks, starting by doing whatever we can.

(In reply to a question on the government's earthquake response) Earthquake responses can never be perfect, but speaking objectively, I commend the government's quick response in establishing its Emergency Headquarters for the earthquake and gathering information from the heads of affected municipalities. I hope the government will continue to do its utmost under the leadership of Prime Minister Kishida, and the business community will offer all possible support.

(In response to a question about restarting Shika Nuclear Power Station, located in Shika, Ishikawa Prefecture) I am reassured by the recognition that safety has been assured at all nuclear power plants on the Japan Sea side of the country within the earthquake zone, including Shika Nuclear Power Station. However, I urge plant operators to remain alert to assuring safety as aftershocks continue. Since some nearby residents and people nationwide will feel anxious, I would like the Nuclear Regulation Authority and plant operators to continue taking the lead in providing timely and appropriate information on the current situation and safety measures at nuclear power stations.

2024 Report of the Special Committee on Management and Labor Policy

The 2024 Report of the Special Committee on Management and Labor Policy was finalized at today's meeting of the Chairman and Vice Chairs. As I have said on several occasions, enthusiasm and determination to increase wages during this year's spring labor-management negotiations are even greater than last year. Guided by the goal of completely ending deflation through cooperation between the public and private sectors, this year presents an opportunity to achieve a virtuous cycle of wages and prices, and ultimately a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution.

Economic Trends in Japan

(In response to a question regarding trends in consumer prices, personal consumption, and companies' investment in plant and equipment) Trends in all these areas need to be considered and evaluated over a medium- to long-term range, rather than in the short term. On the price front, although cost-push inflation has not completely disappeared, it is weakening. Prices will also be affected by trends in government measures to reduce the burden of energy prices.

As for consumption, the trend is upward. The most important way to maintain this trend is to increase wages and, moreover, to increase disposable income. In the long term, by establishing a social security system oriented to all generations, the government needs to eliminate concerns about the future among young people, who have a strong tendency to save, which will lead to more consumption.

On the investment front, Japanese companies still have a healthy appetite for investment. Although the downtrend in the European and Chinese economies is likely to have an impact, I hope the trend towards increased investment will be maintained by encouraging domestic investment that helps to resolve social issues, such as green transformation through public-private partnerships.

Business Summit with FKI

(In response to a question about Keidanren's summit with the Federation of Korean Industries on January 11) Japan-Korea relations have improved rapidly since President Yoon Suk Yeol took office. When a business summit with FKI was held in Seoul in July 2022, I made a courtesy call on President Yoon and asked him about his determination to normalize Japan-Korea relations. Recalling his response, I am deeply moved. The business communities of our two countries will also keep moving forward in step with one another. One of their main initiatives is the Japan-Korea and Korea-Japan Future Partnership funds established by Keidanren and FKI, which are about to start concrete activities.

Both our nations are built on trade and on science and technology. Since we also confront similar geopolitical risks and face the common challenges of birthrate decline and aging populations as well as energy and food security, there is much significance in deepening cooperation. At the upcoming summit, I would like to promote further cooperation and collaboration between our two business communities in the aim of further developing Japan-Korea economic relations.

Political Fundraiser Scandal

(In response to a question regarding the response of the Prime Minister and the LDP to the arrest of a sitting member of the House of Representatives and expectations of the LDP "political reform headquarters" [provisional name] to be established by Prime Minister Kishida) It is highly regrettable that the scandal has led to the arrest of a sitting Diet member.

Prompt establishment of a political reform headquarters should be welcomed. I hope it will consider effective responses as part of political accountability. Politics is premised on compliance with rules set out in the Political Funds Control Act, which should be strictly observed. I hope that discussions will aim to ensure transparency, which is the basis of political funding.

Osaka-Kansai Expo

(In response to a question about future activities by Hitoshi Matsumoto, of the comedy duo Downtown, as an Expo ambassador) Mr. Matsumoto is suspending his entertainment activities for the time being. And the response is likely to be considered based on this move.

(In response to a suggestion that the Osaka-Kansai Expo could be postponed due to the impact of the Noto Peninsula Earthquake) All resources must be devoted to earthquake recovery and reconstruction as the top priority, and those affected must be helped to resume their day-to-day lives as quickly as possible. The business community will do all it can to provide support.

Earthquake recovery and reconstruction and Osaka-Kansai Expo preparations cannot be considered as being in opposition to one another. Both must be accomplished, and business will keep making every effort to this end.

Executives' Comments