G1 Summit, led by Globis Management School Dean Yoshito Hori, hosted the G1 Global Conference 2014, in which politicians, business executives and scholars held panel discussions in English, in Tokyo on Monday.
G1 Global Conferences have been held in Fukushima and other places in Japan annually since 2009, in which participants discuss a wide range of areas, including politics, economics, culture, technology and the environment.
In Monday’s plenary session, panelist Yoshimasa Hayashi, a member of the Upper House, said he believes the Abe administration will make a cautious assessment on the economy before deciding whether to go ahead with raising the consumption tax hike in October next year to 10 percent from the current 8 percent.
“I basically echo Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe) and am neutral” on whether to go ahead with the hike, Hayashi said in discussing the matter with Heizo Takenaka, director of the Global Security Research Institute, and moderator Nik Gowing, an international broadcaster and journalist.
After the consumption tax was raised to 8 percent from 5 percent in April, GDP in the April-June period fell 7.1 percent on an annualized basis, a bigger contraction than economists had expected.
In reflection of the worse than expected result, Abe said Sunday that the decision on whether to go through with the next increase will depend on economic indicators in the July-September quarter.
Takenaka said that “raising consumption tax was bad policy economically. But politically it was inevitable because it was decided in the previous administration” and Abe would have had to revise the law to change it.
Takenaka said the pace of Abe’s so-called “growth strategies” has been “slow,” but he is optimistic that the process will be accelerated.
The panelists also discussed increasing the role of women in the workforce, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In addition to the plenary session, the G1 Global Conference featured a number of discussion sessions involving business and political leaders from around the world.