Japan business leaders voice resolve to tackle key growth challenges

© Kyodo News

The leaders of Japan's major business organizations on Saturday expressed their resolve to address pressing challenges facing the country to support growth in 2022, ranging from digitalization and decarbonization to regional revitalization and deregulation.

"We will aim to establish a sustainable capitalism with determination that we, companies, need to take on the role of promoting growth and distribution," Masakazu Tokura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation also known as Keidanren, said in his New Year's address.

His remarks are in line with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's focus on a "new capitalism" that aims to create a virtuous cycle of growth and wealth redistribution.

Akio Mimura, who heads the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stressed the importance of reviving regional economies.

He noted that regional areas have supported the agriculture and fisheries industries and manufacturers, adding that they have achieved higher growth than in areas centering on Tokyo.

"It's essential to accelerate (such growth)," Mimura said.

Under Kishida, the government is pushing for digitalization in the agriculture sector, where acute labor shortages remain a challenge, as one of the potential growth areas. The country's agricultural exports topped 1 trillion yen ($8.7 billion) for the first time in 2021.

Kengo Sakurada, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, placed priority on further deregulation.

"As a group of corporate executives, we will seek ways to resolve structural and regulatory issues that would become bottlenecks to spurring innovation," Sakurada said.