JapanGov Weekly

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Press Occasion on the Visit to India

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, September 13, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

On September 13, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a press occasion at Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport).

In regard to his visit to India, the Prime Minister said,

“I hope to have a frank exchange of views on the issue of North Korea with Prime Minister Modi. We will confirm the close collaboration between Japan and India. The two of us will advocate to the world that the international community as a whole must fully implement the latest Security Council resolution, and urge North Korea to change its policy.

Japan will cooperate with infrastructure development in India through efforts at both the public and private sector levels. By combining the technology of Japan with the human resources of India, we will advance win-win cooperation to contribute to India’s development.

While issues remain for the implementation of nuclear energy cooperation, in the area of high-speed railway a Shinkansen project will begin at last. The Shinkansen project signaled the start of the rapid economic growth in Japan. I hope we will achieve a major step forward to ensure that this project can act as a catalyst for realizing further growth in India.”


Comment by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the Adoption of a Resolution by the United Nations Security Council concerning North Korea’s nuclear test and other activities

Foreign Affairs, Tuesday, September 12, 2017

1. Japan highly appreciates the unanimous and prompt adoption of the robust United Nations Security Council Resolution 2375, which imposes drastically stricter sanctions measures against North Korea, in response to its sixth and largest-scale nuclear test on September 3 and other activities.

2. In disregard of strong protests and warnings from the international community, North Korea went ahead with the ballistic missile launch that flew over Japan and the nuclear test, which is suspected of being a hydrogen-bomb test and the scale of which is far larger than its previous tests. As the only country that suffered from atomic bombings during the war, it is totally unacceptable for Japan and regards this as an intolerable provocation. North Korea’s provocative actions, including its nuclear test and a series of ballistic missile launches, pose unprecedented, grave and imminent threat to the peace and security of the region including Japan, and greatly undermine the peace and security of the region as well as the international community. In this context, the Resolution 2375 clearly demonstrates the international community’s shared determination that the pressure against North Korea should be raised to an unprecedented, new level to urge North Korea to change its policy.

3. North Korea will not be able to depict a bright future and will increasingly isolate itself from the world, if it continues to take the present path. Japan strongly urges North Korea to comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions, including the newly adopted Resolution 2375, and to immediately demonstrate its serious will and concrete actions towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

4. Toward the common goal of the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Japan, as a member of the Security Council, will continue to work closely with the international community, including not only with the United States and the Republic of Korea, but also with China and Russia, to ensure the effective implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.

5. The Resolution 2375 reiterates its deep concern for the grave hardship that the people in North Korea are subjected to in an operative clause. This demonstrates the consistent and strong concern of the international community, including the Security Council, over North Korea’s human rights and humanitarian issues including the abductions issue.


Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the 3rd Eastern Economic Forum

Cabinet Secretariat, Thursday, September 7, 2017

[Provisional translation]

Mr. Ronnie Chan, thank you for your kind introduction.

President Putin, I have indeed returned to this Forum, just as I promised a year ago.

This Forum, held now for the third time, is becoming more and more substantive with each passing year. I congratulate you most sincerely for that.

And, President Moon Jae-in, President Khaltmaa Battulga, it is a great pleasure to see you here.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you are well aware, President Putin holds a black belt in judo.

As a matter of fact, President Battulga is also a judo black belt.

And, as far as I know, there is another judo black belt holder with us here at the Forum, Mr. Yasuhiro Yamashita, an Olympic gold medalist at the grade of 8th dan. Mr. Yamashita, are you here? I cannot help but make a proposal to you.

Mr. Yamashita, I wonder if we couldn’t bring these two black belt-holding presidents to Japan at the invitation of the All Japan Judo Federation. Then the three of you could show us your sparring.

Ladies and gentlemen, what do you think? Wouldn’t you like to watch these three sparring together?

As for me, I am not a black belt and I’m afraid of getting injured, so I think I’ll stick to watching you quietly from the gallery.

Now, this past December, President Putin came to my hometown of Nagato.

Nagato is a small city situated on the coast of the Sea of Japan. In the midst of frigid sleet, the people in my hometown nonetheless came out along the streets to welcome President Putin.

When dawn broke the following day, we found that the garden of the hotel was now nothing but white from one end to the other. In the middle of the night, the sleet had turned to snow.

“It’s stunning—a fairy tale world,” President Putin remarked.

A series of such scenes turned into unforgettable memories for the two of us.

Ladies and gentlemen, on that occasion President Putin and I spent five hours talking with each other and we resolved to fix our eyes not on the past, but solely on the future.

Japan-Russia relations are a fertile plain of possibility that emerges once we set that potential free. Aspiring to that, we made up our minds to decide what we should do here in the present.

On that occasion, the curtains opened on a new era in the history of Japan-Russia relations. That impetus provided momentum and is giving rise to new developments one after the other.

As I was preparing to give you an overview of these today, some very good news came my way.

I want you to share in my excitement as I tell you that Japan’s “Samurai Blue” has qualified for 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia!

A great many young people will be coming to Russia from Japan.

Young Russians and Japanese supporting each other and cheering each other on in the stadium—I can see that scene in my mind’s eye.

President Putin, our objective is certainly crystal clear.

We must continue our sincere efforts in the present for the sake of the young people alive today, precisely for the sake of their future.

Last year the Government of Japan made a proposal for it to select eight fields in which Japan’s private-sector entities can really shine and then bring about results in cooperation with the Russian side.

In order to foster mutual trust, the best way is to grind at the wheel together and then share in the success that follows. We chose fields and projects that would benefit both sides.

What we chose were fields directly connected with the daily lives of individual citizens living in Russia. We want to foster at the level of the average citizen the self-confidence that says we can achieve a vast many things if we work together.

That is what President Putin and I desired to do.

The first field we proposed was improvements to medical care, along with extending healthy life expectancies. I will refer to these slides.

There is a doctor at Japan’s Oita University who successfully conducted stomach cancer surgery using only endoscopy, the first surgeon anywhere in the world to do so.

Cooperation with Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University in Moscow, centered on that same Oita University, has borne fruit.

And then there is tuberculosis. I understand that more than 15 thousand Russians die of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis annually.

A new drug by a certain Japanese company is effective on tubercle bacilli that are resistant to existing drugs.

I would like to share with you the news that this past June, that drug company, named Otsuka Pharmaceutical, concluded a contract with the Russian company R-Pharm. In the fight against tuberculosis, Japan and Russia have joined hands.

Look at the Kulakov Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology in Moscow and the Russian Gerontology Clinical Research Center, affiliated with the federal government.

Look too at the Dmitry Rogachev National Research Center of Pediatrics, where my wife Akie visited this past April.

We will share our knowledge at hospitals serving as bases taking on medical care for infants and the elderly. Japan-Russia cooperation will gain ground, saving young lives and extending healthy life expectancies.

The second field we proposed was cooperation to develop cities that are easy to live in.

A year ago I made a request of President Putin here at this Forum.

It was about Vladivostok, a city brimming with unlimited development potential as a city for tourism and a center for transportation and commerce.

I asked President Putin for Japan to be added to the efforts to make the potential of this great city, a city both beautiful and nostalgia-inducing, blossom fully.

And then a year later, a blueprint has already been made.

Down by the waterfront, businesses and resorts will be integrated and spaces for recreation and relaxation will take shape.

We will polish up the beauty of its historic cityscape.

What you can see now on the screen is a plan to improve postal services through our bilateral cooperation. Packages will be delivered on time, on the day of your choosing. Through this service, sweet little girls like her will smile tremendous smiles on their birthdays.

This is also a vision to make Vladivostok a model city within the Far East for waste management.

Changing the scene now, let us look at Voronezh.

Needless to say, it is a place of great importance for transportation.

My Cabinet includes a minister advancing economic cooperation with Russia in particular, Minister Hiroshige Seko. The other day, he paid a visit to Voronezh.

Minister Seko says, “Voronezh will be a model for Japan-Russia cooperation.”

The city boasts a number of grand churches and is dotted with parks. It is highly picturesque, to be sure.

But Voronezh, with its population of more than a million people, faces the headache of automobile traffic jams.

Let us introduce systems there in which traffic signals both upstream and downstream exchange information about traffic volume among themselves and alter the length of the green lights accordingly.

The system reduces traffic jams by keeping the traffic signal green until a cluster of cars can pass through comfortably. It can also curb the amount of exhaust gases released through stopping and starting.

Then there is the sewerage system, now in disrepair. These are difficult to put under construction in cities built long ago. With that in mind, let us instead use technologies that replace the old sewerage pipes with new ones without digging up the ground. The scenery will not suffer at all.

We also put together a plan to move forward with improving the railways and developing the area around the stations in a unified way. There is the train station and then a vibrant part of town. We will try new urban designs.

That’s right—this applies Russian knowledge to Japanese technologies. What both our countries’ governments are aiming at is to create a city about which Russian citizens can each be proud, both internationally and heading towards the future.

At the same time, a great number of people related to Japanese companies visited Ekaterinburg this past July.

At the industry trade fair INNOPROM, Japan became a partner country for the first time and President Putin also graciously visited. As many as 168 Japanese companies and organizations had exhibits, of which 108 were second-tier companies or small- or medium-sized enterprises. Wide-ranging interest is now surging up in Japan.

I am certain that a fund of roughly 1 billion U.S. dollars, created jointly by both our countries, will be helpful when Japanese and Russian businessmen want to launch something together.

President Putin and I are both working to advance the digitalization of the economy. Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you that our two governments have now signed a memorandum of understanding – an MOU – on cooperation to develop the digital economy.

A tremendous number of efforts are already in motion for each and every one of the eight points – so many that if I were to list up the examples, I could go on all day. I, along with President Putin, can hardly mask my surprise at just how many have come about in only this one year.

At this very moment when we are working in this way to build a foundation for prosperity looking earnestly towards the future, North Korea has been challenging the international community, as a grave and imminent threat that is unprecedented.

On August 29, North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile, sending it right over Japan.

On September 3, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test at a location a mere 300 km from here in Vladivostok. The scale of the detonation markedly surpasses those in the past.

North Korea is escalating an overt challenge to the peace, prosperity, law, and order of the region, and indeed the entire world.

We must make North Korea immediately and fully comply with all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and abandon all its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

Towards that end, the international community must unite in applying the greatest possible pressure on North Korea.

The peace and prosperity of Northeast Asia being threatened by North Korea cannot be tolerated.

Japan and Russia must deepen their trust even further and strengthen their relations in terms of both the economy and security, building a strong cornerstone of stability in Northeast Asia.

I also want to advance efforts to cultivate the rule of law in the maritime order through Japan-Russia cooperation. I intend to continue this tirelessly within our dialogues concerning security.

A number of things that we could not achieve between Japan and Russia over the past 70 years have come to be set in motion over this single year.

If we continue our steps forward for another year, and then another after that, what we will see before us will be a brilliant future in which Japan-Russia relations will have brought their latent potential fully into bloom.

That is precisely why we must put an end to the unnatural state of affairs of not having a peace treaty even now.

Vladimir, let the two of us fulfill that responsibility, shall we not?

Let us overcome all difficulties to leave to the young people of the next generation a world in which our two countries, Japan and Russia, bring that potential well into bloom.

I also appeal to all those in the audience here today. Why don’t we – Japanese and Russians – join hands and carve out a new era for Japan-Russia relations?

Thank you very much.


Eastern Economic Forum and Other Events: First Day

Cabinet Secretariat, Wednesday, September 6, 2017

[Provisional Translation]

On September 6 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Vladivostok in the Russian Federation to attend the third Eastern Economic Forum and other events.

The Prime Minister first visited a small memorial monument for Japanese nationals who died during their detainment in the Soviet Union. Later, he held a meeting with members of Japanese companies and others, and held talks with H.E. Mr. Khaltmaa Battulga, President of Mongolia. Afterwards, the Prime Minister received a courtesy call from students participating in the Japan-Russia Student Forum.

In his address at the meeting with members of Japanese companies and others, the Prime Minister said,

“I am pleased to be able to attend the forum with members of Japanese companies, local governments, and universities who are engaged in businesses and exchanges with Russia. We have indeed great weather. Today the weather is absolutely gorgeous, a big difference from last year.

Vladivostok is a hub in the Asia-Pacific region, a source of world economic growth for Russia, with the city hosting the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 2012. It is expected that your active participation here will lead to the further development of this forum. I too am looking forward to attending this forum following on from last year.

One year has passed since I proposed to President Putin that we review the progress of the eight-point cooperation plan every year in Vladivostok. The eight-point cooperation plan is an initiative to unleash the potential inherent in the Japan-Russia relationship. It can be said that the Japan-Russia relationship has the most potential of any bilateral relationship. Thanks to all of your proactive efforts and hard work, these possibilities are being materialized one step at a time, moving from memorandums to contracts and from ideas on paper to something tangible. The inherent possibilities of our relationship are being materialized.

Public-private initiatives will continue to be essential for the development of the Japan-Russia relationship. In particular, this year is ‘Russia Year in Japan’ and ‘Japan Year in Russia.’ I expect that this will serve as an opportunity to deepen the Japan-Russia relationship further. The Government intends to firmly support your business exchanges with Russia. I ask for your continued cooperation in this regard. I hope that we can meet again one year from now here in Vladivostok to confirm the progress that has been made in this endeavor.”

In addition, in his address at the courtesy call from students participating in the Japan-Russia Student Forum, the Prime Minister said,

“I will hold my 19th meeting with President Putin tomorrow. President Putin is responsible for the national interests of Russia, while I am responsible for the national interests of Japan. For that reason, sometimes our assertions conflict with each other, and sometimes our views are different. However, by continuing to hold a series of dialogues, I believe that we have deepened our mutual understanding and formed a relationship of trust.

We share the view that it is vital that the people of our two countries understand each other with their sights set on the future, also from the viewpoint of concluding a peace treaty. It is precisely students like you, young people, on which the future of our two countries rests. I am pleased to see that you are having these kinds of exchanges with each other and are making joint proposals. Last year, I proposed the cooperation plan with eight points to President Putin. That plan includes doubling exchanges among students. You have just held discussions on a variety of themes. Even if you have different opinions from each other, I believe that those discussions will lead to the goal of realizing diversity. I expect that your discussions in this student forum will give rise to new achievements and pave the way for a new future. Now that you have gotten to know each other at this forum, I hope that you will treasure your friendships into the future.”


Eastern Economic Forum and Other Events: Second Day

Cabinet Secretariat, Thursday, September 7, 2017

On September 7 (local time), Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is visiting Vladivostok in the Russian Federation to attend the third Eastern Economic Forum and other events, held a summit meeting with H.E. Mr. Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, following which he attended the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum.

Afterwards, Prime Minister Abe held a summit meeting and a joint press announcement with H.E. Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation. The Prime Minister then attended the groundbreaking ceremony for an international judo center and the International Vladivostok Jigoro Kano Junior Judo Tournament.


Courtesy Call from the Governors of Five Midwest U.S. States and Others

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, September 11, 2017

On September 11, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from the Hon. Eric Holcomb, Governor of Indiana; the Hon. Bruce Rauner, Governor of Illinois; the Hon. Pete Ricketts, Governor of Nebraska; the Hon. Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan; and the Hon. Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, of the United States, and others, at the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“I would like to welcome the Governors of Indiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Michigan, and Wisconsin to Japan.

Each of the Governors in attendance, as well as people involved with the activities of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association here today, are constantly working to strengthen relations between Japan and the United States. In particular, I wish to express my respect as the Prime Minister of Japan for your efforts to create conditions to encourage investment by Japanese companies. I hope that this visit will further deepen the economic ties between Japan and each of your states.

I am very proud to say that the activities of Japanese companies do not just help to energize each of your local economies through investment and the jobs they create, but they also help to strengthen Japan-U.S. relations. I would like to thank Mr. Yuzaburo Mogi, Honorary CEO and Chairman of the Board of Kikkoman Corporation, who serves as the Japanese Chair of the Midwest U.S.-Japan Association and who has worked very hard in that capacity to facilitate active exchanges of views with the Japanese business community during the Governors’ visit to Japan.

I hope to hear your opinions today on how we can strengthen the Japan-U.S. relationship further. I will place great importance not only on the opinions of people in Washington DC, but also the opinions of people from regions throughout the United States. Thank you.”


Meeting with Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, September 11, 2017

On September 11, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a meeting with chairpersons of prefectural assemblies at the Prime Minister's Office.

The Prime Minister said in his opening address,

“I wish to first thank all of the Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies for gathering here today despite your very busy schedules.

You have shared with me many valuable opinions today.

As Assembly Chairperson Yanai (Chairperson of the Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly/Chairperson of National Association of Chairpersons of the Prefectural Assemblies) stated, the nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches by North Korea are indescribably outrageous. If North Korea continues along this path, it will not have a bright future. We will work in close collaboration with the international community to make North Korea understand this and change its policies. At the same time, under the robust Japan-U.S. Alliance we will continue to maintain elevated vigilance and do everything we can to protect the safety of the people.

Each region of Japan has experienced tremendous disasters, including the heavy rains in northern Kyushu. Both Assembly Chairperson Inoue from Oita Prefecture and Assembly Chairperson Fujishima from Ibaraki Prefecture spoke about this. The Government will continue to work as one to support recovery and reconstruction so that the people affected by these disasters can return to their normal lives and livelihoods as soon as possible. In addition, we will continue to advance efforts to implement further disaster prevention and mitigation measures and to build a country that is strong and resilient against disasters.

Last month, I reshuffled my Cabinet. The Abe Cabinet will continue to focus on the economy as our utmost priority.

We are now advancing efforts for enhancing child rearing supports and nursing care, promoting work style reform, and working for the realization of a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged. As Assembly Chairperson Uda of Hiroshima Prefecture mentioned, human resources development (“Hito-zukuri”) will be the driving force to pave the way to the next era of Japan. We will set our sights on an era in which people live to age 100, and decisively revolutionize human resources development. To that end, we will continue to offer our firm support for ambitious regional initiatives.

From now on, the regions will be the major players in Japan’s growth. Assembly Chairperson Yanai spoke about this. We will do everything we can and actively offer informational, personnel, and financial support for challenging efforts aimed at vitalizing local economies, so that the people of the regions are able to experience for themselves the positive cycle of growth and distribution.

As Deputy Chairperson Omori of Fukui Prefecture and Assembly Chairperson Tsuruta of Akita Prefecture touched upon, transportation networks contribute significantly to the vitalization of local economies, for example by stimulating exchanges among regions, encouraging companies to set up bases in the regions, and promoting tourism. We will systematically develop such networks.

Assembly Chairperson Ohashi of Osaka Prefecture spoke about tourism promotion. We will offer support for initiatives to enhance the appeals of each region and to use them as tourism resources, in order to draw tourists to each region from throughout Japan and around the world.

With regard to the hosting of the World Exposition, this would provide an excellent opportunity to communicate Japan’s appeal all over the world. We will do everything we can through all-Japan efforts to win this bid.

Assembly Chairperson Mori of Ehime Prefecture talked about reflecting the opinions of people from the regions in national politics. The basic stance of the Abe Cabinet is to carefully listen to the opinions of the regions. We will support the initiatives of each region based on the opinions that we have received from everyone here today.

I hope that all of you will continue to do all you can to propel your local governments forward. I once again ask for your understanding and cooperation for the policies being promoted by the national Government.

Thank you very much.”


Regulatory Reform Promotion Council

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, September 11, 2017

On September 11, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the 20th meeting of the Regulatory Reform Promotion Council at the Prime Minister’s Office.

During the meeting, there was discussion regarding the regulatory reform hotline and urgent issues of importance.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“For the first time in 11 years, the Japanese economy has grown for six consecutive fiscal quarters. In order to cement this growth path for the future, Abenomics will continue to seek out challenges.

We will face the rigid regulations and systems that stand in our path head on as we seek out new challenges, and continue to advance reforms with a sense of urgency. The Abe Cabinet’s resolve is unwavering.

This time, Council members raised a number of issues of importance that we should focus on over the short term and urgently produce results for.

We will quickly bring an end to childcare waiting lists. The revision of the childcare system is indispensable for steadily implementing the Plan for Raising Children with Peace of Mind.

The next greatest challenge in the Growth Strategy is the realization of “Society 5.0.” Frequency bands are truly important infrastructure in this endeavor, and, of course, have always been the property of the public. I believe that even when some frequency bands were to be assigned to the private sector, we would of course have to make full use of them. For that reason, we must urgently reform the allocation system so as to make the dynamic use of frequency bands possible. There are very rigid obstacles set before us, but I hope to tackle this issue together with you all.

Structural reforms are the lifeblood of Abenomics. I would like the Council members to advance reforms at full speed and develop a solid draft proposal for reforms policies.”


Council on the Vision for an Era of 100-Year Lifespans

Cabinet Secretariat, Monday, September 11, 2017

On September 11, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the first meeting of the Council on the Vision for an Era of 100-Year Lifespans at the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the meeting, debate took place on the way forward for the Council.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“Today we begin the Council on the Vision for an Era of 100-Year Lifespans.

The revolution in human resources development (“Hito-zukuri”), which comes as we are facing an era in which people live to age 100, is the focus of the Abe Cabinet’s efforts to create a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged. Together with the productivity revolution, this is one of the major themes for my administration.

Today we are joined by Ms. Lynda Gratton. She has come to Japan all the way from London just to attend this meeting and I would like to express my gratitude for that. In addition, I think that there was a substantial discussion from the experts here, even though this was your first meeting. I think that we have had an extremely meaningful exchange of opinions.

Like Deputy Prime Minister Aso, my remarks will differ significantly from the speech outline that had been prepared, but in any case, the Japanese population will continue to decline. On the other hand, the baby boomer generation will steadily grow older. This paints a somewhat gloomy picture, but if we thoroughly address this situation, we can change the future.

I believe a variety of opinions were offered. There was discussion about improving each individual’s abilities and responding to people’s desire to learn and work. Other comments noted that the elderly have much experience, and that it may be possible to create new initiatives that utilize those experiences. Others stated that people would be able to contribute to society and live their 100-year lives more fully by continuing their education and embarking on new lifestyles.

Being 70 years old today is like reaching one’s 60s or 50s in the past. I myself will turn 63 this year, but I still feel like I am 52 or 53. As Ms. Gratton pointed out earlier, the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who put Germany on the path to recovery after it lost World War II, became Chancellor when he was 74, continued in the job until 88, and then passed away one year later. To avoid any misunderstanding, I have absolutely no intention of continuing on in this job for that long, but what I am trying to say is that if everyone around the world is able to make full use of their abilities then the world will become a more fulfilling place and everyone will be able to lead more fulfilling lives.

For the sake of future discussion, I would like to summarize the key points.

The first point is about securing the opportunity for everyone to receive a university education. We heard opinions stating that we need to create an environment in which young people with ambition can focus on their studies even if they are not blessed financially, and also that we should consider enhancing and strengthening measures such as fund-type scholarships or tuition exemptions in order to reduce the financial burden of an education. I would like to move the discussion in that direction.

Second, there were comments from many Council members on the importance of university reform. In order to create an environment in which people can continue their education no matter their age, we need to find a way to cater to the various needs of working professionals, and we must accelerate the fostering of IT professionals. While taking care to balance the pursuit of scholarship with a practical education, we must work to enhance practical vocational education. At the same time, I would like you to discuss the diversification of personnel hiring practices by the business community in order to open up career paths for those receiving recurrent education.

Third, there is the matter of reforms toward the creation of social security for people across all generations. We heard the opinion that we should enhance social support for younger generations. I think that we need to make thorough progress on eliminating childcare waiting lists, the acceleration of efforts to make early childhood education at kindergartens and daycares free, and measures to secure the necessary caregiving personnel for reducing the number of people who leave employment to provide nursing care to zero.

Fourth, some pointed out the fiscal issues that will accompany the execution of such measures in the future. We cannot realize policies without fiscal resources. I would like this Council to thoroughly discuss the issue of fiscal resources as well and come up with a conclusion.

We also received many other important opinions. I would like Minister Motegi and all other relevant ministers to advance discussion on these issues, with a sense of urgency and while drawing on the wisdom of the expert members of this Council, toward the creation of an interim report this year and a basic concept document during the first half of next year, so that we can respond to all of the opinions received today.”


Inauguration Ceremony and Address at the Office for the Promotion of the Vision for an Era of 100-Year Lifespans

Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, September 8, 2017

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised a signboard for the Office of the Promoting the Vision for an Era of 100-Year Lifespans, and also delivered an address to the staff.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“The revolution in human resources development (“Hito-zukuri”) can truly be called the focus of our efforts to create a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged. Without a revolution in human resources development, we will not be able to create a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged. We have gathered you all here today to at long last begin work toward the revolution in human resources development. I want all of you, under the leadership of Minister Motegi, to stand at the front lines of this issue and pave the way for a new future for Japan. For that reason, we have gathered here elite personnel, primarily young people, while senior members standing out in front.

We are approaching an era in which people live to the age of 100. In this era of 100-year lifespans, people will truly be at the heart of our society and the economy of Japan. Without active people, society will not make progress, the economy will not grow, and Japan can no longer be a proud country. That is exactly why we must create a society in which everyone can work toward their dreams without being affected by their family’s financial circumstances, no matter how underprivileged the household they were brought up in. I want ambitious people with the desire to take on new challenges to be able to continue their education and start new lives during the course of their 100-year lifespans. The creation of such a society will make it possible for us to maintain and further develop this country’s vibrancy. Japan’s future rests on whether or not we can create such a society.

This is a matter of the utmost importance for the Abe administration. I hope that all of you will come together as one to work on this issue, led by Minister Motegi, and that you will produce tremendous results. Let’s do our very best together.”


Council on Investments for the Future

Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, September 8, 2017

On September 8, 2017, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the eleventh meeting of the Council on Investments for the Future at the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the meeting, debate took place on issues related to the Growth Strategy and the way forward.

Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,

“As a result of Abenomics, for the first time in 11 years, the Japanese economy has grown for six consecutive fiscal quarters. In addition, thanks to the increases in wages we have seen for the past four years in a row, we are realizing strong economic growth led by domestic demand. In order to cement this growth path for the future, Abenomics must continue to seek out challenges, more challenges, and still more challenges.

Among these, with Japan facing the rapid progression of declining birthrates and the aging of society, the next major challenge for our Growth Strategy will be the realization of Society 5.0, which will resolve various social issues. Japan will firmly lead innovation for the fourth industrial revolution, including in the fields of robotics, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence, which are all gaining prominence throughout the world. Japan will lead the world in taking on the challenge of revolutionizing productivity. By dramatically improving productivity, we will be able to sustain and reinforce the wage increases that have taken place for the past four years. I am confident that it is the productivity revolution that will put us on a firm path toward overcoming deflation. Groundbreaking policies will of course be needed in order to realize that revolution. We will create bold policies unlike any we have had before. We will utilize every possible policy, including policies on tax systems, budgets, and regulatory reform, to encourage bold investments in facilities and human resources for increasing productivity.

A topic that we once again discussed today was the question of what sort of conditions the Government should create in order to connect historically high current profits and high levels of corporate reserves to investments and wages. What can the business community do on this issue? There needs to be a sincere discussion of this matter.

With the assistance of this Council on Investments for the Future and in close collaboration with the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, I would like Minister Motegi and all other relevant ministers to align themselves with this and specify the measures needed to bring about a productivity revolution.”