Roundtable meetings between Prime Minister Abe and American CEOs in New York

September 2017

On September 19, JETRO jointly held breakfast meetings with the Japanese Government for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and world-renowned investors and business leaders in New York. The Prime Minister, who was in the US to attend the United Nations General Assembly, made a direct appeal for further investment in Japan to the CEOs representing leading North American companies with great influence on investment trends, such as investment funds, asset management companies, major manufacturers and consulting and agri-business firms. The Prime Minister elucidated Japan’s improving investment environment and led an active discussion within the small groups, which consisted of 15 executives and Japanese Government officials, on how Japan should implement policies to increase investment into the country.

Prime Minister strongly supports foreign investment into Japan

PM Abe highlighted the remarkable changes that had happen through Abenomics, such as the increase in nominal GDP, employment and corporate ordinary profit. He emphasized that the Japanese Government is committed to promote free trade and to pursue changes even further to ensure growth by implementing regulatory reforms and creating more opportunities for women in the labor market.

The participants provided honest feedback on Japan's investment environment. PM Abe received many positive comments on the Government’s economic policies and efforts at deregulation:
"We completely concur with your efforts to promote free trade and your pursuit of the TPP."
"There is more a feeling today of positive change in Japan."
"Investors have been increasingly placing trust in Japan after the reforms. We are now looking at opportunities, especially around infrastructure, but also in a variety of different companies in Japan, so it’s back on the radar screen."
"I feel more confident now about being able to invest in Japan."

There were some suggestions for the Government as well, such as to accelerate efforts toward improvement in disclosing rules and strengthening corporate governance in order to make Japan a more attractive investment destination, and to continue to reform the labor market.

The Prime Minister responded to each business leader in kind:
"We will continue to strengthen corporate governance including by formulating guidelines for investors and companies to engage in dialogue, clarifying the role of external board members and enhancing the transparency of companies."

"Japan intends to increase participation of women and the elderly in the work force while improving individual productivity by taking advantage of robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). To attain this goal, we will pass legislation to embrace a variety of different work styles."

In summary, he committed to further reforms and strongly encouraged the participant executives to invest in Japan, saying, "Japan will pursue possible changes for growth. We will create a more business-friendly environment for companies and make the country more open to accepting investment and talent from overseas. There are still many attractive venture companies and SMEs with untapped potential in local areas in Japan. Please do take a look at such startups and local companies."

Outline of roundtables

Date and time Tuesday, September 19, from 8:00 to 10:10
Venue New York Hilton Midtown
Organizers The Government of Japan, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Reference Past events in the US where Prime Minister Abe took the podium