Japan Has Changed, More Changes to Come

PM Abe and Top Executives Meet in New York City

 Prime Minister Abe invited 15 world-renowned business leaders to breakfast during his visit to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City (Sept. 19, 2017). Abe and his guests—CEOs from leading manufacturers, asset management companies, institutional investors, and consulting and agri-business firms who were interested in and optimistic about the Japanese economy—had an active dialogue about investing in Japan.

Achivements of Abenomics

 The breakfast started off with a few words from Abe. He elucidated the remarkable changes that have happened through Abenomics such as increases in nominal GDP, employment, and corporate ordinary profit. At the same time, he pointed out that Japan also recognizes its need to pursue changes even further— increase productivity, better utilize retained earnings and fulfill the great potential of Japan’s SMEs and startups. Abe also stressed the importance of free trade and declared his unwavering commitment to making the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement happen.


 Abe received much positive feedback from the top executives, such as for his diligent efforts in creating a business-friendly environment to attract foreign investment, and his leadership in free trade. The participants also provided suggestions regarding future focuses ranging from boosting financial activities to transforming the corporate culture in Japan. While praising Japan’s great strength in R&D, many participants expressed that they expect more innovations in areas such as technology and healthcare. The importance of actively accepting more PE funds into Japan was also pointed out.
 Abe respectively addressed each executive’s comments. When a participant lamented by saying, “I want to come for the 2020 Olympics but Japanese hotels are always booked,” Abe joked, “Well, in that case, how about starting your own hotel business in Japan?” In his responses, Abe elaborated on Japan’s ongoing efforts and made further commitments: for instance, strengthening corporate governance. Japan plans to further refine its corporate governance code to increase transparency through increasing the number of outside directors in listed companies, and revise its stewardship code to improve dialogue between investors and corporates. Abe reiterated, “Changes have happened but these are just the beginning of the reformation—more changes are to come.”
 In summary, Abe emphasized his expectations for more investment in Japan. Areas such as infrastructure and agriculture as well as hidden talent and untapped resources in Japan’s various local regions are a just a few of the many promising opportunities in Japan. Foreign investment is the real engine of the Japanese economy and Abe strongly expects to achieve sustainable growth through cooperation with companies around the world.