Business lobbies urge deregulation, quick budget work, TPP, self-help

by Hiroko Nakata

Staff Writer

The nation’s business leaders Monday urged the new government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to pull the country out of its economic doldrums and deregulate more to boost foreign investment in Japan.

They also called for an early declaration of Japan’s intent to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade talks.

“I hope the government will carry out policies that can steadily lead to economic growth,” Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), said at a news conference attended by representatives of two other business lobbies.

The government needs to draw up a supplementary budget and the fiscal 2013 budget as soon as possible, Hasegawa said. He pushed for expedited deregulation and other reforms to make Japan attractive enough to induce foreign direct investment, which has been lagging behind emerging nations in Asia.

Keidanren Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura meanwhile said it is also important for the private sector not to rely too much on the government and instead take the initiative to boost competitiveness.

“I want each company to take risks (in order) to bear fruit amid continuing globalization and diversification,” Hasegawa said.

Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Tadashi Okamura told the gathering that the government should accelerate recovery measures in the disaster-hit Tohoku region.

At a New Year’s reception for business leaders held before the news conference, Lawson Inc. President Takeshi Niinami said it is important to raise the incomes of the young generations to increase consumption.

“Because of the yen’s recent fall, I expect export-oriented companies to raise salaries,” Niinami said, adding he also plans to raise his company’s bonuses.

“It is important for companies, not just the government, to help pull the country out of deflation,” he said.