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The Prime Minister in Action

Party to Commemorate the Establishment of Monozukuri Nadeshiko

May 17, 2016

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (1)

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (1)

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (1)
  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (2)

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address (2)

[Provisional Translation]

Prime Minister Shino Abe attended a party held in Tokyo to commemorate the establishment of Monozukuri Nadeshiko, an organization aimed at promoting monozukuri (manufacturing) by leveraging the roles of women in the monozukuri industry.

The Prime Minister said in his address,

“Good evening. My name is Shinzo Abe. I wish to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all of you on today’s successful party to celebrate the establishment of Monozukuri Nadeshiko.

Today the Government spent all day deliberating this year’s supplementary budget at the House of Councillors. This is the budget for measures in response to the Kumamoto Earthquake, and I am pleased to say that the budget was amicably passed, with all the parties in agreement. Moreover, although under the Abe administration, there are many instances of heated discussions, this was proof that there are also occasions when things can be resolved amicably under our administration.   

Since we were able to achieve the budget with unanimous approval at an amazing speed, we will first exert all our efforts using this budget to enable those affected by the disaster to move into housing where they will be able to live with peace of mind. We will also exert unstinting efforts for the rebuilding of their lives, and the restoration and recovery of the livelihoods of people who work in a wide range of fields, including in SMEs and in agriculture. We have renewed our resolve to extend every effort for reconstruction, until we see the smiles of the people of Kumamoto return once again. The Kumamoto area is also a treasure-trove of SMEs that support monozukuri. I am sure that some of you here today have business dealings with people with ties to monozukuri in Kumamoto. The Government will work as one to support a recovery as quickly as possible.

I met the members of Monozukuri Nadeshiko about a year and a half ago. After that, I held a luncheon with you at the Prime Minister's Office, as members of the NC Network. Two years ago, Ms. Hiroko Watanabe, your Chairperson, accompanied me to Germany, and she took part in the SME exchange project that Chancellor Merkel and I had agreed on. Ms. Watanabe serves as President of Fuji Electronics Industry, which she runs hand-in-hand with her husband, who serves as Sales Director. Meanwhile at ClimbWorks, which is run by Mr. Seiji Yamaguchi, Mr. Yamaguchi’s wife is the head of the operating committee of the intra-company sports day, and presented her husband with an award for running his hardest in one of the events. I think these are good examples of how couples can work well together.

In the Abe Cabinet, there are cases similar to that of the Watanabes, with couples representing the LDP as members of the Diet. For example, the husband of Ms. Tamayo Marukawa is Diet member Mr. Taku Otsuka; that is, the husband is an ordinary Diet member while the wife is a Minister. Ms. Sanae Takaichi is also a Minister, while her husband is a Diet member. In other words, there are a number of successful examples of Ministers being supported by their husbands in the Diet. Sometimes, when I have pointed this out in the past, the male member of such a couple looked a little concerned, but I nevertheless believe that this phenomenon reflects the current times.

Alpha electron, run by Mr. Hisao Tarukawa, was damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake, but has achieved recovery through teamwork. This company has more female executives than male, while the president’s wife is an auditor and thoroughly audits her husband. I am sure she closely audits all of his activities.

All of you who have gathered here today are representatives of what can be called model companies, where women are active along with men, and which support monozukuri.

Furthermore, I have learned a lot from members of the NC Network, such as stories related to their problems on site, monozukuri skills, their staff and families, and their dreams for the future. For me, this was a learning experience and also very stimulating. In particular, after resigning as Prime Minister in my first administration, through the introduction of Special Advisor Mr. Eiichi Hasegawa, who is here today, I have frequently had opportunities to meet the members of the NC Network, including travelling with them to Vietnam and Thailand for training, and since then have enjoyed a very close relationship with them.

This has helped me see firsthand the kinds of people whose energy and hard work support monozukuri, and I realized that this is precisely one of Japan’s strengths. I am convinced that the source of strength behind “made in Japan” is the very skills related to parts and assembly that monozukuri SMEs possess. I am now focusing on creating a Japan where such people can make full use of their strengths and prosper. 

Under Abenomics, I would like to realize a society where the fruits of growth circulate and the results of such growth fairly reach all those who have worked hard.

The year before last, a government-labor-management agreement was reached on bringing prices for purchases from subcontractor companies to an appropriate level. We are now checking this and compiling measures nationwide. If any of you experience anything that does not seem right, I encourage you to express your views without hesitation. In addition, there are growing expectations for the role of innovation, for example in relation to environmental measures, saving resources, and the Internet of Things (IoT). You are the ones who can realize these ideas, while we will also support your product development and strategy cultivation efforts, through monozukuri subsidies. 

Monozukuri SMEs are truly Japan’s pride and strength, and I believe that they are the foundation of our aim to achieve the largest GDP in postwar history of 600 trillion yen. If you all continue to strive to refine new technologies and cultivate sales routes, I am sure that this will result in the greater prosperity and strength of Japan. Through this, we can further the growth of Japan’s economy, and use the resulting benefits to ensure the peace of mind of the people, support for child-rearing, and peace of mind in old age. By thus further strengthening the foundation of society, everyone will be able to both have greater peace of mind and make even greater efforts.

We will also make investments so that everyone can experience further growth, and will spread the fruits of this growth. This is the positive cycle of growth and distribution that we are aiming for, and we will work with you to take on the challenge of creating it.

Let us all work hard together. Once again, I would like to offer my sincere congratulations on today’s party commemorating the establishment of Monozukuri Nadeshiko. Thank you.”

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