Use 2020 Olympics to lift economy, Suga urges execs

by Masaaki Kameda

Staff Writer

The central government should use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as an opportunity to boost economic growth nationwide, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday.

“I’d like to make the coming games the ‘Japan Olympics.’ The government has a big task to realize that. I think the event could help Japan grow again in the international community, including in the field of tourism,” Suga said, speaking at the G1 Executive Conference in Tokyo.

The Japan Times was one of the sponsors of the event.

Suga attributed Tokyo’s successful Olympics bid to “all-Japan” efforts, which saw the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Olympic Committee and the central government work together.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has put priority on revitalizing the economy and ending its chronic deflation, said Suga, who made a keynote speech at the symposium.

“A strong economy is the source of national strength,” he said.

“We cannot realize financial reconstruction and enhance social security without a strong economy. It’s impossible to pursue foreign and security policy based on our stance without a strong economy,” Suga said.

Abe has advocated radical monetary easing, public works spending and “growth strategies” to encourage private investment in a cocktail of economic measuers dubbed “Abenomics.”

At the same event, Yasuchika Hasegawa, CEO of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., pointed out that private-sector firms, not the government, are directly responsible for jobs and wages.

“It is the firms that have the responsibility for employment and employees’ wages in Japan. They can contribute to increased tax revenues (by boosting both),” Hasegawa said.

Hasegawa, who heads the Japan Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai), said companies that expand overseas should contribute to the growth of developing countries and help raise their quality of life.

“Firms can pay the tax from the profit they took in those regions. Then the government can utilize the tax money for streamlining and enhancing (Japanese) industry,” Hasegawa said.

The business conference was held at the Graduate School of Management, Globis University, in Chiyoda Ward and focused on discussions on what corporate managers should do to raise investment and employment, and on steps that can make firms more internationally competitive and boost Japan’s growth.

Spending up in big cities

Jiji

Growth in consumer spending, the economy’s main engine, has been more pronounced in the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya than elsewhere in the nation, a Cabinet Office report confirms.

The report on regional economies revealed that the effects of “Abenomics,” the reflationary policy plan of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, have not yet fully trickled down to provincial areas.

In its monthly economic reports, the Cabinet Office publishes a comprehensive consumption index intended to gauge consumer spending from both the supply and demand sides by using such data as household expenditures and retail and wholesale sales.

The government agency compared its index for April-June 2013 with October-December 2012 for each of the 47 prefectures.

The rise in the index was the sharpest, at 2.9 percent, in Aichi Prefecture, including Nagoya, compared with the national average of 1.7 percent. Aichi was followed by Tokyo with 2.8 percent and Kyoto and Saga with 2.7 percent.

The report said consumer spending showed the highest growth chiefly in prefectures with large cities.

Citing survey results showing that the value of stock and other securities holdings are larger in big cities than elsewhere, the report said residents in big cities are in a better position to reap benefits from stock market gains.

It also reckoned that many large firms with improved earnings records are in big cities.