Business

Japan business leaders vow to focus on digital innovation to boost economy

Kyodo

Business leaders Wednesday underlined their determination to further boost digital innovation this year as part of efforts for the country to lead the global economy.

In a New Year message, Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, also known as Keidanren, said the country’s most influential business lobby hopes to further develop digital technologies to make people’s lives happier and solve social problems.

He said the business lobby will be committed to rule-making for digital transformation and economic structural reforms to address the graying and decreasing population in the country.

Nakanishi also said Keidanren welcomes the entry into force Wednesday of a Japan-U.S. trade deal, which lowers tariffs on farm and industrial goods, agreed on by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump in September.

“We will promote private-sector diplomacy to maintain and strengthen free and open international economic order in the hope of contributing to stability and growth of the global economy,” Nakanishi said.

Kengo Sakurada, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, called on Japan to take the initiative in rule-making on use of digital data and taxation of information technology giants.

“Japan needs to compile its own regulations and rules on digital data ahead of overseas countries,” Sakurada said. He especially sought deregulation in the fields of online medical services and autonomous driving.

Sakurada also urged Japan to express its determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with its cutting-edge technologies.

Akio Mimura, chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it is urgently needed to introduce digital technologies to small and mid-size firms across the country to increase their productivity.

To boost regional economies, Mimura said the chamber aims to make the most of indigenous resources and external demand including inbound travelers to promote local tourism and the tie-up among agricultural, commercial and manufacturing sectors.

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