Council for the Realization of Work Style Reform
Cabinet Secretariat, Thursday, March 30, 2017
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the 10th meeting of the Council for the Realization of Work Style Reform, at the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the meeting, the Action Plan for the Realization of Work Style Reform was approved.
Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,
“The approval of the Action Plan for the Realization of Work Style Reform is a historical step for reform to change the work style in Japan. Some have even touted it as a major reform in the history of postwar Japan’s labor laws and regulations. In the past, it was thought that the divide between labor and management could not be bridged, particularly in regard to overtime work, and I would like to again express my sincere respect for both sides for reaching an agreement.
There may be some people who have doubts as to whether labor customs that have become embedded in Japanese culture and lifestyle for many years can truly be reformed. None of you here may hold such views, but I gather there are many others who do hold these opinions. Be that as it may, I am convinced that when future generations look back, they will surely remember 2017 as the starting point for the changes in the work style in Japan.
However, at the same time, this action plan is no more than the first step. Whether it is equal pay for equal work or maximum hours of overtime work, the action plan will simply be pieces of paper and end up being an unrealizable dream, unless we develop bills, submit them to the Diet, and moreover have them passed.
In that sense, the role of the Government is extremely significant. I would like the relevant ministers to closely adhere to the contents of this action plan that are carefully laid out, and complete deliberations in relevant council meetings and submit bills to the Diet at an early date. The Abe administration will devote its full efforts to ensuring that the bills are passed.
Today marks the final meeting of the Council for the Realization of Work Style Reform. I would like to once again express my thanks to you for taking part in the comprehensive deliberations extending to nine fields and compiling a set of proposals, in the short period of six months.
Going forward it is essential to conduct thorough follow-ups and implement the PDCA cycle. I am afraid that your work is not yet done, as we will establish the Work Style Reform Follow-Up Meeting. I would like to ask all members of this Council for their continued cooperation in carrying out the work with us. I would like to conclude my remarks by once again expressing my heartfelt gratitude to you all. Thank you very much.”
Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Formulated
METI, Monday, March 13, 2017
On March 13, 2017, Prime Minister Abe held a summit meeting with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At the meeting, both sides decided “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030,”which is a compilation of the basic directions for bilateral cooperation and the specific projects therein. It was the outcome of discussion under the framework of the intergovernmental dialogue called “Joint Group for Saudi-Japan Vision 2030,” the formulation of which was decided on by H.R.H. Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Prime Minister Abe in September 2016.
Following the summit meeting, under the presence of both heads of state, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and H.E. Eng. Adel M. Fakeih, Minister of Economy and Planning, Saudi Arabia, including other officials, singed the Memorandum of Cooperation on the Implementation of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030. Moreover, prior to the summit meeting, Minister Seko held a meeting with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman in the morning on the same date.
1.1 In September 2016, H.R.H Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during his visit to Japan, and Prime Minister Abe decided the formulation of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, containing the basic directions for bilateral cooperation and a list of the specific projects therein, and the establishment of the Joint Group for Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 as a new framework for formulating Vision 2030.
1.2 In October 2016, the first meeting of the Joint Group for Saudi- Japan Vision 2030 was held. The meeting brought together 33 ministries, agencies and organizations in total from Japan and Saudi Arabia and established a system to comprehensively advance future cooperation between the countries. In addition, recognizing the importance of intensive discussion for concrete actions, they decided to establish subgroups by major subject Trade and Investment Opportunities, Investment and Finance, Energy and Industry, SMEs and Capacity Building, and Culture and Sports and to hold the second ministerial-level meeting in Tokyo at the appropriate timing in 2017.
1.3 Since the first meetings, both sides held extensive and detailed subgroup-level discussions. Taking the opportunity presented by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s visit to Japan, METI Minister Seko, Mr. Kentaro Sonoura, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister Fakeih, and other officials signed the Memorandum of Cooperation on the Implementation of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, based on the results of those discussions.
2. Outline of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030
2.1 As a new compass for Japan-Saudi cooperation, Japan and Saudi Arabia will aim to leverage synergies of the Saudi Vision 2030, an economic and social blueprint of the government seeking to reduce its dependency on oil and create employment, and Japan’s Growth Strategy seeking to achieve an annual GDP of JPY 600 trillion per year.
To maximize these synergies, both sides will develop comprehensive cooperation composed of three pillars: diversity, innovation, and soft values, which is unique to Japan.
2.2 Both sides will set broad cooperation areas across nine themes as prioritized areas in the concrete partnership with participation of 41 Japanese and Saudi Arabian ministries, agencies and organizations.
Both sides will also collaborate in enhancing “enablers” to facilitate business, e.g., revision of regulations and provision of incentives.
Both sides will select and implement 31 Front Runner Projects.
2.3 Both sides will establish a new subgroup for addressing overarching opportunities and challenges and discuss setting up dedicated industrial zones that showcase models of Saudi Arabian economic reform, so called “Enabler Showcase Zone.” Moreover, they will establish “Saudi-Japan Vision Offices” in Tokyo and Riyadh as bases for continuously following implementation of Vision 2030.
3. Meeting between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Minister Seko
On the morning of March 13, Minister Seko held a meeting with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, taking opportunity of his visit to Japan. At the meeting, Minister Seko stated Japan’s policy that Japan will advance Japan-Saudi cooperation through joint efforts of the public and private sector under the framework of the All-Japan initiatives, and expressed Japan’s intention to steadily implement Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, a new compass for Japan-Saudi partnership to be decided at a later summit meeting. Furthermore, Minister Seko also expressed Japan’s strong will not only to expand the existing bilateral relationship centered on oil and petrochemical sector but also to develop the relationship toward the comprehensive and strategic relationship through implementation of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030.
Second Meeting of the Joint Group for Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 was Held
METI, March 15, 2017
On March 14, 2017, the second meeting of the Joint Group for Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 was held in Japan. The meeting brought together Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and other officials as representatives of Japan, and H.E. Eng. Adel M. Fakeih, Minister of Economy and Planning, and other officials as representatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. At the meeting, participants held discussions for implementation of Saudi-Japan Vision 2030, which was concluded by the leaders of Japan and Saudi Arabia on March 13, 2017. In addition, the exchange ceremony for the memorandums of intergovernmental cooperation was held.
“Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum” was held with the opportunity provided by the meeting. At for forum, Minister Seko delivered a speech for facilitation of bilateral cooperation in the presence of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the exchange ceremony for memorandums of cooperation between private companies and organizations was held.
Furthermore, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman had a meeting with CEOs of major Japanese companies.
1. Summary of the second meeting
1.1 At the meeting, the ministers of both countries welcomed “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030,” concluded by Prime Minister Abe and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on March 13, and shared the recognition of the importance of steadily implementation of Vision 2030 based on the memorandums of cooperation on the implementation signed by the ministers concerned in both countries.
1.2 In order to improve business environments, Minister Seko highlighted the importance of joint efforts to promptly address specific requests and challenges raised by private companies based on the facts of their businesses. As a part of the efforts, he also proposed to embody “The Enabler Showcase Zone (ESZ)” plan, which will be a showcase model for economic reform in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, as a new system to implement Vision 2030, he proposed to establish a new subgroup called the “Enabler Subgroup” which will discuss cross-sectorial challenges in addition to the five existing subgroups under the Joint Group for “Saudi-Japan” Vision 2030 ([i] Trade and Investment Opportunities, [ii] Investment and Finance, [iii] Energy and Industry, [iv] SMEs and Capacity Building, and [iv] Culture, Education and Sports), and also proposed newly and early establishment of “Saudi-Japan Vision Offices” in Tokyo and Riyadh.
1.3 In addition, the exchange ceremony of memorandums of cooperation between two countries was held in the meeting. The following memorandums were exchanged: cooperation on the trade and investment Field between METI and the Ministry of Commerce and Investment; cooperation in desalination and reclamation of water between METI and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture; and cooperation in the field social development between Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
2. “Vision 2030 Session” in Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum
2.1 Taking the opportunity provided by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman’s visit to Japan, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), and Japan Cooperation Center for the Middle East (JCCME) jointly held “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum.”
2.2 At the forum, the exchange ceremony for memorandums of cooperation was held, in which 20 memorandums were exchanged between Japanese companies and Saudi Arabian companies/organizations, witnessed by Minister Seko and the ministers concerned in Saudi Arabia.
2.3 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman joined at the end of the forum, and Minister Seko and Minister Fakeih delivered speeches. Minister Seko expressed Japan’s strong commitment to work together for transformation and economic growth through joint efforts by Japan and Saudi Arabia based on Saudi- Japan Vision 2030 as a compass for future bilateral cooperation, while expressing Japan’s continued support for the private companies in attendance.
3. Meeting between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and CEOs of major Japanese companies
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman had a meeting with CEOs of major Japanese companies, with Minister Seko also in attendance. CEOs who attended the meeting expressed their expectation to develop future business ties with Saudi Arabia.
Memorandum of Understanding for IoT Cooperation between Japan and the EU Concluded
METI, Tuesday, March 21, 2017
On March 20, 2017, the IoT Acceleration Consortium (ITAC) and the Alliance for IoT Innovation (AIOTI) of the EU concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for IoT Cooperation. Japan will accelerate activities toward the realization of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through advancing these efforts in the field of IoT.
ITAC, a collaborative framework for the government, industry and academia sectors in Japan, was inaugurated in October 2015. Concerning international collaboration in the field of IoT, ITAC concluded one MOU for IoT cooperation with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and one with the OpenFog Consortium, both US entities, in October 2016, and one with National Association of Software Services Companies (NASSCOM) of India in February 2017.
On March 20, 2017, ITAC and AIOTI concluded a Memorandum of Understanding for IoT Cooperation, and they conducted a signing ceremony with the opportunity provided by CeBIT 2017, which was an information and communication trade fair held in Germany.
2. Key points of the MOU
Both sides will conduct a variety of efforts, including information exchanges involving good practices, policy recommendations, etc. and cooperation in standardization activities related to IoT and addressing societal challenges associated with IoT solutions. (For details, see the Appendix)
(Signing ceremony of a MOU between ITAC and AIOTI)
IoT Acceleration Consortium (ITAC)
ITAC was inaugurated in October 2015 in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), as a framework for handling products and services in the realm of the fourth industrial revolution brought about with the implementation of IoT, big data and artificial intelligence, and for facilitating the utilization of such achievements within the government, industry and academic sectors beyond the borders between companies and industries. There are approximately 2,800 ITAC member companies as of March 2017. Specifically, the consortium has been promoting efforts with the goal of developing and demonstrating IoT-related technologies and creating new business models through the operation of multiple working groups.
Alliance for IoT Innovation (AIOTI)
AIOTI was inaugurated in March 2015 by the European Commission as an association of industrial players in the EU focused on promoting IoT. There are about 160 AIOTI member companies as of March 2017, including information carriers, chip vendors and members participating in Germany’s Industrie 4.0 project. The Steering Group consists of European Commission staff (Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology), and other members. Specifically, AIOTI conducts efforts through the operation of 13 working groups, focusing on IoT, the business ecosystem, standardization, policy challenges and other issues.
Japan-U.K. Summit Telephone Talk
Foreign Affairs, Friday, March 24, 2017
On March 24, commencing at 7:00pm for approximately 10 minutes, Mr Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, spoke on the phone with the Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The outline of the talk is as follows.
1. Prime Minister Abe conveyed to Prime Minister May his heartfelt condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack in London and expressed his sympathy to those who were wounded. He mentioned that Japan stood with the people of the UK during this difficult time and expressed strong solidarity.
2. The two leaders strongly condemned this abhorrent act of terrorism and agreed to further deepen international cooperation including through G7 toward the eradication of terrorism, without yielding to it.
Adoption of the Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council (Statement by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida)
Foreign Affairs, Friday, March 24, 2017
1. Japan highly appreciates the fact that on March 24 (March 24 local time), at the 34th Human Rights Council held in Geneva, Switzerland, the Resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in the DPRK, co-tabled by Japan and the European Union (EU), was adopted without a vote.
2. Based on last year’s Human Rights Council resolution reflecting the final report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the DPRK presented in February 2014, this year’s resolution condemns in the strongest terms North Korea’s ongoing systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations, and urges North Korea to take immediate steps to end all human rights violations, including the abductions issue. In addition, the resolution acknowledges last year’s United Nations General Assembly resolution that expresses grave concern about the impact of North Korea’s diverting resources to advance nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programs on the humanitarian and human rights situation in North Korea. Furthermore, the resolution welcomes last year’s United Nations General Assembly resolution, which encourages the United Nations Security Council to take appropriate action to ensure accountability, including through consideration of referral of the situation in North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and consideration of the further development of sanctions in order to target effectively those who appear to be most responsible for human rights violations.
3. Furthermore, the resolution decides to strengthen the capacity of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, including its field-based office in Seoul, to implement the relevant recommendations in the report of the Group of Independent Experts on Accountability for human rights violations in the DPRK.
4. The adoption of the resolution without a vote demonstrates the international community’s grave concerns about human rights violations in North Korea including the abductions issue. Japan continues to strongly urge North Korea to sincerely accept the views of the international community expressed in this resolution and take concrete action towards the early resolution of the abductions issue and cooperation with the international community.