Japan's economy has come out of protracted stagnation and is getting back onto a self-sustaining recovery track driven by private-sector demand. With demographic changes toward lower birthrates and aging of the population, we must enhance the competitiveness of our industries in order to dispel the Japanese people's anxiety about the future and reinvigorate the economy for the 21st century. Japanese business must promote management reforms and meet the people's expectations, based on principles of independence and self-help.
Business must display entrepreneurial spirit fully and create new business and employment opportunities. Furthermore, we must rebuild our national economy filled with creativity and work to make our country trustworthy. In addition, we need to enhance our accountability through active information disclosure and strive to win society's trust by practicing high standards of business ethics in all our actions.
In the face of ongoing globalization, IT revolution as well as global environmental issues, increased expectations of Japan are shown by other countries and regions in the rest of Asia and the world. Now is the time for Japanese business to rise to these challenges resolutely.
In order to ensure the self-sustaining recovery of the economy, business should promptly reorganize and rationalize operations while making efficient use of managerial resources and striving to strengthen competitiveness.
Business should also take full advantage of opportunities presented by deregulation, Millennium Projects for the promotion of IT revolutions and etc., and work to open up new areas of business and expand employment. In doing so, we should promote employment of women and elderly people who have a strong desire to work.
The government is called on to prepare the infrastructure conducive to corporate management reforms, through such measures as stabilizing and strengthening the financial system, revising the commercial code, adopting consolidated taxation and implementing further regulatory reforms.
The government and ruling parties must accelerate the process of considering a grand design for fiscal reform that encompasses taxation systems, social security systems, and local governments' finances.
First of all, in conjunction with the administrative reform of central government scheduled for January 2001, the government should immediately get to work on the reforms covering special-purpose corporations, local governments and their finances including the merger of municipalities and public works.
In order to dispel people's anxiety about the future, the government should conduct a sweeping review of the balance of benefits and payments concerning public pension scheme, health care, nursing care and welfare. The government should establish financially sustainable social security systems that spread the burden fairly between and within generations.
Business on their part should review their retirement payment policies and corporate pension schemes to help establish sustainable social security systems.
Formulation of strategies for science and technology by the Comprehensive Science and Technology Council is highly desirable for the purpose of increasing technological strength of industries and further development of the Japanese economy.
Furthermore, in formulating the next 5-year Basic Plan for Science and Technology, close liaison among business, academia and government should be established to drive technological development led by the private sector.
In line with this, the government should give priority to improving social infrastructure related to information and telecommunications, distribution, social welfare and the environment. The government should rectify the "high-cost structure" of Japanese economy and should review legal systems and update organizational setups in light of IT revolutions.
In order to tap the potential of each citizen to the fullest extent and to nurture creative and internationally functional human resources, the government should listen to the views of general public at large in such fora as the National Educational Reform Conference and thereby promote educational reform.
Industry should review its hiring, promotion and other personnel practices, actively support schools, families and communities and should cooperate with educational reform efforts.
Business should work with national and local governments and consumers to form a recycling-oriented society, and should promote measures to prevent global warming to preserve the earth environment. Business should pursue their activities with least burden on the environment and should actively engage in environmental conservation.
Industry and business should support an early start of the new round of comprehensive WTO negotiations, and as a part of its support should intensify private level dialogs with other countries and regions. Industry should actively cooperate with government plans to forge bilateral free trade agreements.
In order to contribute to the further development of countries and regions in Asia, we will strengthen ties among business and extend cooperation in developing human resources and the fostering supporting industries. As part of this process, we will intensify cooperation between public and private sectors to step up human exchange programs including greater acceptance and dispatch of exchange students, and will start addressing issues related to the hiring of workers from abroad.