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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 November 25 - December 1  > Keidanren seeks further deregulations while supposedly criticizing neoliberalism
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2020 November 25 - December 1 [ECONOMY]

Keidanren seeks further deregulations while supposedly criticizing neoliberalism

November 25, 2020
The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) has published its "new growth strategy" partially criticizing neoliberalism for "having caused negative affects such as the deterioration of environmental conditions and the emergence of a growing social inequality issue".

It sounds as if Keidanren took a hard look at itself, but its aspirations of "sustainable capitalism" remain unchanged. For Keidanren, making money is of prime importance.

Regarding social inequality, the Keidanren "new growth strategy" advocates growth rather than redistribution, saying, "The correction of disparities by simply redistributing the existing pie will not lead to sustainable growth." It demands that the government relax various restrictions such as labor legislation and investment-related laws, claiming that these are standing in the way of digitalization.

The real reason why Japan stopped growing is that wage cuts associated with corporate downsizing and the replacement of regular employees with non-regular workers made domestic demand fall. The reason why Japan is lagging behind in digitalization is that large corporations neglect making necessary investments in technology development and do not use the excess in cash and deposits for R&D. They are shifting their responsibility onto the government and seeking new openings for them to make money in the fields of, for example, education and healthcare.

Capitalists' historical role is "advancing civilization" by increasing productivity while shortening working hours. Meanwhile, the government's role is to pass the gains of the increase in productivity on to workers through reducing working hours, protecting the rights of workers, and boosting wages.

However, Keidanren's "new growth strategy" solely calls for Japan's digitalization and suggests almost no strategy over how to expand production capacity at production sites. According to the "new growth strategy", Keidanren does nothing but count on strong financial backing from the government with the use of taxpayer money for corporate subsidies.
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