Business

Japanese business leaders count on reform progress after ruling coalition's victory

Kyodo

Business leaders welcomed the ruling coalition’s victory in Sunday’s Upper House election, voicing hope that the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will facilitate progress in improving social security programs and restoring fiscal health.

“In this fall’s extraordinary Diet session, to sweep away worries about the future, I hope there would be an in-depth debate on reforms to accompany the pain,” Kengo Sakurada, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said in a statement, stressing the planned consumption tax hike in October is a “must.”

After repeated postponements, the consumption tax is set to be raised from the current 8 percent to 10 percent in that month to boost revenue, at a time Japan’s fiscal health has remained the worst among advanced economies, while social security costs are ballooning due to the country’s rapidly graying population.

Akio Mimura, head of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, echoed the view, saying only a “long-term stable administration” like that of the Abe government, now in power for more than six years, can take on such reforms.

Hiroaki Nakanishi, chief of the Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren, also released a statement, saying it is important for Japan to “exert leadership in rule-making and in resolving global issues.”

“The business world will fully cooperate with the Abe government’s efforts to implement its policies,” said Nakanishi.

The ongoing trade dispute between China and the United States, and uncertainty over Britain’s exit from the European Union have stirred concern about global economic growth.

Akio Toyoda, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, called on the government to work on establishing a “free trade environment through diplomacy.”

“We have a strong sense of crisis that it would be even harder to protect jobs in the Japanese auto industry” if the domestic market shrinks further in the face of an uncertain economic outlook, said Toyoda, also president of Toyota Motor Corp.

The ruling bloc of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito retained its majority in Sunday’s House of Councilors election.

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