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The Prime Minister in Action

New Economy Summit 2015

April 7, 2015

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the New Economy Summit 2015 held in Tokyo.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“I am deeply pleased to see the New Economic Summit 2015 being held. This year marks the third New Economy Summit, and my Cabinet, which has pledged to “restore Japan,” is also approaching the third spring.

Since the change of Government, the continuing launching of the “three arrows of Abenomics” has dramatically changed the dark air which once shrouded Japan. The views of overseas investors have also changed. Last year, foreign direct investment into Japan increased approximately threefold. In a survey to gauge the degree of interest of foreign companies in various Asian countries as investment destinations, while previously China was top in all categories, last year Japan took over first place in the R&D base and sales base categories. Even when considering the entire world, in the competitiveness survey conducted by the World Economic Forum, Japan’s position has moved up from ninth to sixth place.

Of course, I am not content with this. I aim to achieve the top ranking. Reform and innovation are at the very core of my growth strategy. At this New Economy Summit, practitioners of innovation and those with a strong spirit of tackling challenges have gathered from all over the world. That is precisely why, as I did last year, I have taken time from between Diet sessions to participate.

Mr. Mikitani and Mr. Kanemaru are my very strong comrades in reform. They have been taking part in the Industrial Competitiveness Council, the IT Strategic Headquarters, and the Council for Regulatory Reform, and are powerful supporters of my reforms. However, the ideas for reform that everyone has put forward will be meaningless if they are not put into action. The difference between the Growth Strategy of the Abe administration and many of the previous growth strategies is the ability to put these ideas into practice. That is precisely why this ordinary session of the Diet has been positioned as a Diet that carries out reform.

We aim to pass legislation that powerfully advances reform of vested interests such as agriculture, employment, medical care, and energy. I would like to take this opportunity to promise all of you that we have no intention of going back on these reforms or allowing them to become watered-down. We are establishing business models based on unprecedented free concepts, and make market entry a reality, by means such as the reform of agricultural cooperatives, which was considered a taboo to even mention for 60 years; the full liberalization of the electricity retail market, which had been monopolized regionally for 60 years after the war; and the introduction of a new labor system based not on time worked, but on results achieved. We will also carry out growth-oriented corporate tax reform.

Under the guiding principle of IT utilization, we will also embark on reform toward establishing a network society. In addition, the TPP negotiations are approaching their final stage. The Government of Japan will change. However, no matter how much the Government of Japan advances reforms, unless all of you in the private sector with an abundant entrepreneurial spirit take action, Japan will not change. I would truly like to work with all of you to develop a country where innovation is always arising, and new, world-leading industries come into being in rapid succession.

Unfortunately, the reality is that Japan still has a long way to go in terms of its low consciousness regarding market entry. Unless we also reform this way of thinking, we cannot implement changes in the structures and business practices of Japanese companies. To that end, I have established the Japan Venture Grand Prize as a Prime Minister’s Award. I would like to express my gratitude for your having promptly included the recipients of this Venture Grand Prize among the attendees of the New Economy Summit, and providing an opportunity for the frank exchange of passionate viewpoints.

Yesterday, at the Prime Minister’s Office, I met some overseas entrepreneurs who are participating in the New Economy Summit 2015. Exciting, major activities are occurring in Silicon Valley. Listening to them speak, I myself became excited. The next time I visit the US, I would like to experience for myself the winds of change at Silicon Valley, and consider what can be done to bring such winds of change to Japan as well.

I would like to conclude my remarks with the hope that discussions at the New Economy Summit 2015 produce highly fruitful results, that Japan becomes more and more stimulating, and that many overseas investors decide to invest in Japan, leading to the further growth and greater prosperity of Japan. I have high hopes for all of your successes. Congratulations.”

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