"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the 2016 Davos Meeting Side Event "Japan Night"

[Place]
[Date] January 21, 2016
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

Good evening to all. I am Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.

Three years ago, I sent a message to Japan Night, saying, "I will come back and speak to you again, next year and beyond."

It is with great regret that this year I am not able to join you for this "Sushi Night," but to fulfill that promise, I am handing this message over to Japan's business leaders and economists I trust.

Likewise, three years ago I made a pledge to you, saying, "I'm not easily fading away," and I have delivered on that promise. These three years, I have also invested my all-out efforts in 'Abenomics.'

Beyond the first reform of agricultural cooperatives in 60 years, reforms to the medical care system, and complete liberalization of the electricity market, we have also brought bold reforms to corporate governance. I myself have become the "drill bit" breaking through the solid rock of vested interests. I took the decision to decrease, in one stroke, the effective corporate tax rate into the twenties at the beginning of the new fiscal year starting from this April. I also firmly led the negotiations to agreement on the TPP, which will create a free, fair, highly transparent, and rules-based economic order in the Pacific region.

Through three years of Abenomics, Japanese corporate earnings reached their highest level in history while new jobs were created for more than 1 million people. Tax revenues have increased by more than 20 trillion yen, and as for our primary balance, the deficit ratio to GDP has decreased to less than half its previous level.

But that's not all. Japan also pulled off something virtually no one thought possible: a come-from-behind win over powerhouse South Africa in the Rugby World Cup.

So as you can imagine, the Japanese people, having taken these successes to heart, have now unmistakably found the light of hope at the end of the long, dark tunnel they have found themselves in for no less than two decades. They are poised to regain great confidence in themselves.

We need to seize this opportunity to press forward still further with Japan's structural reforms. The Abe Cabinet will begin tackling new challenges here in its fourth year.

For the first time in history, Japan's political administration has assigned itself the long-term task of maintaining the population above 100 million people fifty years from now. Having set a clear target of raising the current birthrate of roughly 1.42 children per woman to 1.8, we are determined to draw fully on all manner of policies to bring that about.

We will create more opportunities for women. Japan also has quite some scope for utilizing our elder workers, who are full of energy and abounding in enthusiasm.

For Japan, population must no longer be a constraining factor. I will continue to serve as a "drill bit" that breaks through the solid rock preventing our society from making that transition.

Therefore, what I must do is quite simple. I must take on challenges head-on, never avoiding the issues confronting us. I will fight, fight and keep on fighting.

This year I will chair the G7 Ise-Shima Summit.

With the world economy now increasingly unpredictable, we must make this a summit that charts out a path leading to sustained global growth. I am keenly aware of the responsibility on my shoulders. That is precisely why Abenomics must be something solid and unshakable.

The summit will take place at the scenic seaside. I look forward to this opportunity for people around the world to learn more about the natural beauty and the culture of Japan. Tonight is a good chance for you to sample a small part of that. Bon app├ętit!