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The Prime Minister in Action

The Nihon Service Award Presentation Ceremony

June 28, 2018

Photograph of the Prime Minister presenting the Prize

Photograph of the Prime Minister presenting the Prize

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister presenting the Prize
  • 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]

On June 28, 2018, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Second Nihon Service Award Presentation Ceremony held in Tokyo.

In his address, the Prime Minister said,

“Today, I am deeply pleased to learn that the Second Nihon Service Award Presentation Ceremony is being held with such grandeur.

Over the past five years, the Abe Cabinet has been prioritizing the economy and strongly released three arrows. As a result, employment has increased by 2.5 million people, while regular employment has grown by 780,000 people. The employment rate of university graduates this spring is estimated to reach 98 percent.  This is the highest result on record.

Meanwhile, labor shortages have become a serious problem all across the country, including at micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Needless to say, the Government is committed to introducing various measures to address this situation. With every challenge, there comes opportunities. We will raise the productivity of the entire economy and now is the time to pursue productivity revolution.

For instance, there still remains a strong impression that the service industry is labor intensive, and in actuality, it has struggled to increase productivity for many years. Nowadays, however, great changes are taking place, which is worthy of being called the fourth industrial revolution. By adopting cutting-edge innovations, the productivity of the service industry should increase significantly.

Such efforts will not be limited to mere improvements in efficiency. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data hold great potential to create unprecedented and amazing services and new added value never seen before.

Mitsubishi Estate, the recipient of this year’s Prime Minister’s Award, has begun tackling new challenges in the Marunouchi district, the very center of Tokyo. Autonomous-driving buses would run in a vast area the equivalent size of 25 Tokyo domes. In the future, there would be no last bus for the day and we would never have difficulties in trying to find transportation late at night.

Drone technologies would support community infrastructure. They would make it possible to perform inspections daily in every nook and cranny, which will greatly increase the toughness and stability of infrastructure. Security robots with the latest AI would patrol the community round-the-clock. Guide robots utilizing facial authentication technology would welcome people from around the world visiting Tokyo for the Olympics and Paralympic Games in 2020 with the greatest hospitality.

The Marunouchi district of Tokyo already appears as one of the top business districts in world rankings, after London and New York. Marunouchi is now going to lead the world using the power of these services of a new era. I expect you all to make further progress.

Hospitality is one of Japan’s specialties. This involves more than just buying and selling goods. Japan’s hospitality grasps and is attentive to needs of customers. This describes exactly what Japan’s service industry is.

The Yakult Lady program that received an award today has already been deployed in 12 countries around the world. I firmly believe that Japan’s service industry also maintains high global competitiveness.

I wish to ask all of you to compete in the global arena. Someday I hope to make this Prime Minister’s Award an internationally recognized prize for service. I would also like to make these awards the World Cup of the global service industry. I would like all of you to constantly pursue the latest cutting-edge innovations, and strongly drive the productivity revolution in Japan’s service industry. I wish for further success in the efforts of everyone gathered here today.

 In closing, I would like to conclude my address with my resolve that the Government will mobilize a variety of policies to support your ambitious endeavors. I would like to once again congratulate all of today’s award winners. I have high expectations for your future success.”

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