Japan’s business community calls for progress on ‘new capitalism’ in wake of election

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A general view from Tokyo Tower is seen of the city of Tokyo, 2021.

Economic policy and coronavirus measures were focal points of the House of Representatives election. In response to the outcome, the business community wants the government to present details about the “new capitalism” economic policy emphasizing the distribution of wealth proposed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and take further measures against the coronavirus.

The results show voters’ “expectations that the government will forge a strong economic recovery with an eye on the post-coronavirus era,” Masakazu Tokura, chairperson of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren), said in a statement Monday.

Tokura listed mitigating infections, the rejuvenation of socioeconomic activities, decarbonization and digitization as important issues, and said he wants the Kishida Cabinet to “exercise strong leadership and work swiftly on these issues.”

Kengo Sakurada, chairperson of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), said, “We welcome the continued efforts to realize a ‘new capitalism.’” He called for thorough discussions on energy policy and fiscal, social and economic security, among other issues.

“The nation is facing the last chance to regain its footing after years of stagnation,” Sakurada said.

Regarding measures against the coronavirus, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Akio Mimura urged the government to strengthen support for small and midsize businesses that have been battered by the pandemic.

“We hope the government will swiftly and decisively move forward with the process of developing a comprehensive strategy that serves as a foothold to rejuvenate the economy, enabling both infection mitigation and increased socioeconomic activities,” Mimura said.

Hiroshi Mikitani pointed to the importance of “letting the private sector do what the private sector can do,” “solving social issues by making the most of the private sector” and “thorough reform.” Mikitani, the representative director of the Japan Association of New Economy, a group of tech companies and start-ups, called for regulatory and tax reforms that will lead to technological innovation.

The Japanese economy is facing various challenges. Many companies, especially those in the tourism industry and the food and beverage industry, are still being buffeted by headwinds caused by the pandemic. The future of the manufacturing industry is also cloudy as production cuts due to semiconductor shortages and the spread of the coronavirus in Southeast Asia have become problematic for automakers.