Courtesy Call from the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations
Cabinet Secretariat, Thursday, January 17, 2019
On January 17, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call at the Prime Minister's Office from Admiral John M. Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations of the United States of America.
Courtesy Call from Soccer Player Mr. Iniesta
Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, January 18, 2019
On January 18, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received a courtesy call from Mr. Andrés Iniesta, a soccer player, and others at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy
Cabinet Secretariat, Friday, January 18, 2019
On January 18, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the first meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy in 2019, at the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the meeting, a discussion was held on the achievements in six years of the Abe Cabinet and the future agenda for the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.
Based on the discussion, the Prime Minister said,
“Today, on the occasion of this year’s first meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, we welcome Prof. Takemori and Prof. Yanagawa as new expert members of the Council. I would also like to ask Mr. Nakanishi and Mr. Niinami to continue to serve as expert members. Together with the ministers, I would like to vigorously advance various policies with this Council of qualified members as the control tower of economic and fiscal policies of my Cabinet.
Today, we reviewed the achievements of the economic and fiscal policies over the last six years—the so-called Abenomics, and then discussed the Council’s agenda for the first half of this year.
From the perspective of further strengthening Abenomics, the expert members laid out three challenges, namely, expanding the virtuous economic cycle, dealing with internal and external risks and fluctuations, and creating institutions suitable for Society 5.0. Going forward, I would like to have focused discussions at the Council regarding what measures should be taken to resolve these challenges, how, and in which order of priority.
I hope to make this year one that will carve out Japan’s future as we head towards the era that follows the Heisei period. This year, the Abe Cabinet will continue to manage policies, giving economic issues the highest priority, and I would like to ask for your continued cooperation.”
Liaison Meeting of the Government and Ruling Parties
Cabinet Secretariat, Tuesday, January 15, 2019
On January 15, 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Liaison Meeting of the Government and Ruling Parties at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Prime Minister said in his opening address,
“This year will be the final year of the Heisei era. At the same time, it will be the year of the dawn of a new era. With the cooperation of the ruling parties, I am determined to make a strong start as we head into the era beyond the Heisei era. I would like to ask for your support to this end.
Based on that point, we will do all we can to manage the economy in such a way as to ensure that the economic recovery trend continues even after the increase in the consumption tax rate planned for October. Furthermore, we will reform our social security system to become one in which all generations, from the working generation to the elderly, can enjoy peace of mind. I want to make this the first year of a social security system oriented to all generations.
With respect to diplomacy, we will advance negotiations on a peace treaty between Japan and Russia, elevate relations between Japan and China to a new stage, and take every opportunity towards the resolution of the abductions issue. I want this year to be one in which we advance a total reassessment of Japan’s postwar diplomacy.
In the forthcoming ordinary session of the Diet, we will aim for the swift passage of the second supplementary budget and the budget for the following fiscal year in order to ensure that the economic recovery remains firmly on track. At the same time, we will also work to ensure the passage of a series of important bills, including those for making early childhood education free from this coming October and for making higher education free for children for whom such assistance is truly necessary from April 2020.
I intend to engage in solid policy debate and make this Diet one that will open up a new tomorrow for Japan. I ask for the cooperation of the ruling parties in this endeavor.
This year, His Majesty the Emperor will abdicate on April 30 and His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince will accede to the Imperial Throne on May 1. There will be a change of the era name. Up until now, the name of the new era has been decided and announced following the change of the era. This time, an announcement will be made on April 1 ahead of the change, with a view to minimizing the impact on the citizens’ lives.
The Government will make all-out efforts to prepare for the historic succession to the Imperial Throne so that all people can celebrate this occasion. I would like to ask for your cooperation in these efforts.
From January 21 to 24, I will visit Russia and Davos, Switzerland. With President Putin, we were in complete agreement at our summit meeting in Singapore last November to bring to an end issues that have remained unresolved for more than 70 years since the war ended, and not leave them to the next generation. I will engage in frank discussions with President Putin with a view to making as much progress as possible in the negotiations.
At Davos, I will communicate with the world Japan’s views on the sustainable growth of the global economy, the promotion of free trade, and global issues such as climate change, as the Chair of the G20 (the G20 Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy).
It is truly regrettable that the Monthly Labour Survey has been conducted in an appropriate manner for many years and resulted in the loss of public trust in government statistics. I take this issue very seriously. We will implement all the necessary measures to prevent this case from inflicting losses to the people, including impacts to the provision of unemployment benefits.
At this turning point in our history, the Government and ruling parties are working in unity to face various challenges at home and overseas squarely and pave the way to a new era. I would like to make this such a year and ask for your continued cooperation.”
Opening Remarks by Finance Minister Taro Aso at the G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting
Ministry of Finance, Thursday, January 17, 2019
Distinguished G20 members,
Invited Guests and Representatives from international organizations, Ladies and gentlemen,
A very good afternoon.
It is a great honor and a pleasure to welcome you all to the G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting here in Tokyo. Tokyo is a city where innovation and tradition co-exist.
It is not a coincidence that we hosted two pre-meeting events on innovation and aging in this city. Both the seminar on innovation yesterday and the symposium on demographic change today present essential questions for our shared future.
I hope these discussions have warmed you up for this important kick-off meeting for the G20 finance track in 2019.
Before letting you dive into discussions on a host of issues, I would like to share my thoughts on the challenges the world is facing and the mission the G20 should aim to achieve under the Japanese Presidency.
Today, the recovery of the last several years is losing steam, with clear downside risks and heightened financial vulnerabilities. At the same time, the world faces a host of critical, more deeply-rooted challenges, such as aging populations and climate change. For many countries, the glaring gap in basic infrastructure and social welfare services has been a longstanding issue. The long list of challenges does not stop here. Meanwhile, rapid technological innovation has brought both new opportunities and challenges.
And all this comes when support for the international order based on cooperation and openness is under strain. This order has brought peace and greater prosperity to the world. However, dissatisfaction with economic inequality is growing. There is a serious risk that we will revert to a closed and fragmented world. Protectionism and unfair trade practices lead to instability and perverse economic outcomes. We must renew our commitment to international cooperation and openness.
Looking back through our own history, Japan has greatly benefitted from the international order based on cooperation and openness after the Second World War. Having grown to be one of the most advanced economies, Japan has a responsibility, and a special mission to protect the international order.
In fact, this is rooted not only in Japan’s history but also in my own. In November 2008, I was in Washington, D.C. to take part in the very first G20 Leaders’ Summit as the Prime Minister of Japan. It was in response to the Global Financial Crisis. To prevent a repeat of the Great Depression, The G20 Leaders gathered with common purpose and joint resolve. Since then, we have agreed and implemented decisive policy actions, including financial regulation and expansionary fiscal policy.
Let me recall one major achievement of the first G20 Summit. Committing to an
Open Global Economy, Leaders rejected protectionism, competitive devaluation, and economic blockades. This has become the backbone of the G20, whose importance cannot be overstated.
Today, I remain fully committed to international cooperation and openness, which, I believe, should be upheld as the core values of the G20.
To realize our core values effectively, the G20 should reposition itself on issues of concern for us and help the international community as a whole. This is the only way to reinvigorate the G20.
Against this backdrop, Japan’s presidency will focus on the following three themes.
First, we need to act on the “risks and challenges to the global economy”, including long-term structural issues such as global imbalances and aging.
Second, we will discuss how the G20 could accelerate concrete actions to strengthen growth potential. Here, we cannot do without discussing:
(i) investment in high-quality infrastructure and human capital, as well as (ii) how to ensure debt sustainability in low-income countries.
And third, we will take up “economic and social structural changes stemming from technological innovation and globalization”. Specifically, we will discuss how to address issues regarding the tax challenges of digitalization, financial market fragmentation and financial innovation.
I look forward to active and constructive discussions at the G20 on these important issues. I genuinely believe that we can, like we did in 2008, work together to build a foundation towards sustainable and inclusive prosperity.
Each and every one of you has a critical part to play in achieving this goal, and I thank you in advance for your dedicated work to make this year’s G20 a great success.
Remarks by Governor Kuroda at the G20 Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting
Bank of Japan, Thursday, January 17, 2019
Good afternoon. It is a great honor for me to work with you and to serve as co-chair with Minister Aso at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meetings this year.
The G20 was established in 1999, twenty years ago. It was the year when the euro was introduced and two years after the Asian Financial Crisis. I attended the inaugural meeting in Berlin as Vice-Minister of Finance for International Affairs. The main objective of the G20 was to promote cooperation among systemically significant economies including emerging market economies, in order to achieve stable and sustainable global growth. Later, the leaders' summit was initiated in response to the global financial crisis in 2008, and the G20 played a significant role in coordinating policy responses to the crisis. Since then, as the world economy has recovered from the crisis, the G20 has discussed a wide range of issues to promote strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth.
While the role and agenda of the G20 have evolved over time, I would like to point out three important values that have been emphasized consistently, based on my long-time involvement in the G20 since its inauguration.
First, we recognize that the expansion of cross-border transactions of goods, services, and finance will benefit all countries. We need to conduct policies so that many people can enjoy the positive effects of international trade and capital flows on growth and productivity gains, while minimizing their potential negative impacts.
Second, we need to be forward-looking in preparing for policy responses to medium- to long-term challenges. For instance, under Japan's presidency this year, we will discuss policy responses to aging. Japan is currently the most aged society in the world. Sooner or later, however, other economies will face a similar situation. Many issues must be considered in our efforts to cope with an aging society, including fiscal, monetary, and structural policies. I believe the G20 provides a valuable forum for discussion and mutual understanding of these issues.
Third, we value the importance of inclusive growth, that is, the dividends of economic growth should be distributed fairly and equally across the whole society. The G20 has discussed policy agendas to enhance the overall living standards of low-income countries in a sustainable manner. In addition, we need to address the increasing inequality in advanced economies as well, taking account of the recent developments.
I hope you will have fruitful discussions at this two-day meeting and subsequent meetings of the G20, leading up to the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Fukuoka in June. I look forward to meeting you all again later this year.
Thank you for your attention.
Speech by Governor Kuroda at the G20 Symposium (Demographic Changes and Macroeconomic Challenges)
Bank of Japan, Thursday, January 17, 2019
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to G20 finance and central bank deputies and distinguished academics from around the world for attending this G20 Symposium organized by the Bank of Japan and the Ministry of Finance of Japan. This year, Japan assumes the G20 presidency for the first time. It is my great pleasure to co-host this symposium as one of the kick-off events of Japan's G20 presidency.
When considering the relationship between demographic changes and economic developments, the work of Malthus naturally comes to mind. In the late 18th century, Malthus argued that the means of substance, particularly agricultural production, would limit population growth. Later, for some time, the population issue remained a minor topic in economics. However, as economic growth theory regained its central role in economics, the relationship between population and economic developments attracted increased attention once again. Furthermore, policy makers and the business community have increasingly been interested in the impact of demographic changes on the economy, as advanced and some emerging economies have experienced, or are expected to experience, declining and aging populations.
In Japan, the working age population peaked in 1995 and the total population in 2008, and both have been declining since then. The share of the elderly population in the total population was 10 percent in 1985, but this increased to 28 percent in 2017. Among the G20 members, Japan is the most affected by the population issue. While some emerging economies in the G20 are now seeing an increase in their young-age labor force, these countries will also face the aging problem sooner or later. I believe it is important for G20 members to learn from each other's demographic conditions, institutional settings, and policy responses. Such mutual learning would be beneficial for the member countries when conducting policy management in the future. This is one of the reasons why we chose aging as one of the G20 agenda items this year.
As is obvious from the discussions this morning -- and this will no doubt be confirmed this afternoon -- there are a number of issues to be considered when tackling the demographic problem. I assume that staff members in charge of this symposium have had much difficulty in framing discussion with a focus on critical issues, since there are so many different angles from which they can even begin approaching this problem. As I cannot touch upon all the issues in a limited time, I would like to concentrate on three basic questions here.
Full speech is available in the source link.
Closing Remarks by Finance Minister Taro Aso at the G20 Symposium
Ministry of Finance, Thursday, January 17, 2019
Full remarks available in the source link.
Congratulatory Message from Prime Minister Abe to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia
Foreign Affairs, Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Mr. Nikol Pashinyan, the former and acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, was appointed to Prime Minister on January 14 2019. Following this, on January 15, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, sent a congratulatory message to Prime Minister Pashinyan.
Ministry of Finance, Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Ministry of Finance, Wednesday, January 16, 2019
1. On January 15 (Tue.) (January 16 (Wed.) in Japan), the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Ecuador signed the Convention between Japan and the Republic of Ecuador for the Elimination of Double Taxation with respect to Taxes on Income and the Prevention of Tax Evasion and Avoidance in Quito. This Convention is the first tax convention to be concluded between Japan and the Republic of Ecuador in light of an increasingly close economic relationship between the two countries.
2. For the purpose of eliminating double taxation arising between the two countries, this Convention clarifies the scope of taxable income in the two countries. In addition, this Convention will enable the tax authorities of the two countries to consult each other on taxation not in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, to exchange information concerning tax matters and to mutually lend assistance in the collection of tax claims. It is expected that, while eliminating double taxation and preventing international tax evasion and tax avoidance, this Convention promotes further mutual investments and economic exchanges between the two countries.
【Reference 1】 Next Steps
After the approval in accordance with the domestic procedures of the two countries (in the case of Japan, approval by the Diet is necessary), this Convention will enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of exchange of diplomatic notes indicating such approval and will have effect:
(a) in Japan:
(i) with respect to taxes levied on the basis of a taxable year, for taxes for any taxable years beginning on or after
1 January in the calendar year next following that in which this Convention enters into force; and
(ii) with respect to taxes levied not on the basis of a taxable year, for taxes levied on or after 1 January in the
calendar year next following that in which this Convention enters into force; and
(b) in the Republic of Ecuador:
with respect to taxes on income obtained and amounts to be paid, credited to account, made available or
recorded as an expense, on or after 1 January of the calendar year next following that in which this Convention
enters into force.
(c) The provisions concerning the exchange of information and the assistance in the collection of taxes will have
effect from the following dates without regard to the date on which the taxes are levied or the taxable year to
which the taxes relate:
(i) with respect to the provisions of the exchange of information, the date of entry into force of this Convention;
(ii) with respect to the provisions of the assistance in the collection of taxes, the date to be agreed between the
Governments of the two countries through an exchange of diplomatic notes.
【Reference 2】 Texts and Key Points of the Convention
・“Convention between Japan and the Republic of Ecuador for the Elimination of Double Taxation with respect to Taxes on Income and the Prevention of Tax Evasion and Avoidance”
・Key Points of Tax Convention with Ecuador
Update of the Policy Approaches to Strengthen Cyber Security in the Financial Sector
Financial Services Agency, Tuesday, January 15, 2019
The FSA issued the updated Policy Approaches to Strengthen Cyber Security in the Financial Sector to address new challenges, in particular:
Responses to accelerating digitalization
Contribution and responses to international discussion
Responses to Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.