2024 New Year Message from the Representative Director
On behalf of the Japan Association of New Economy, please allow me to extend to you our best wishes for the New Year.
Last year was a year of normalization of various social activities after the status of COVID-19 was downgraded to category 5 under the Act on the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases in May. After going through a long and dark tunnel for three and a half years, the whole country returned to normal, with events being held in various parts of the country for the first time in a long time.
JANE also held the “JX Live!” event in July, which was attended by about 500 guests from member companies, government agencies, and other organizations. In addition, “Evening Meetup,” which is an in-person social gathering among member companies, has been held every other month since January, with a cumulative total of more than 300 participants. This event has been very well received and has led to business development such as collaboration among member companies, co-sponsorship of events, and investment.
We are pleased to report that not only have horizontal relationships among member companies been strengthened, but also the number of JANE members who have joined JANE through member company referrals has also increased. I would like to thank all of our member companies for their support of JANE over the past year, as well as individuals in various fields who have provided us with tremendous assistance.
In the area of policy advocacy, there were also some happy moments last year. In June 2023, the Act Partially Amending the Basic Act on the Formation of a Digital Society and Related Acts in Order to Advance Regulatory Reforms That Are Meant to Help Form a Digital Society (the Act to Advance Reforms of Digital Regulations) was enacted. This law establishes digital regulatory reform as a fundamental national policy based on the “Digital Principles,” which abolishes the rule of written documents, face-to-face meetings, and seals, something that JANE has consistently advocated since it began its activities in June 2012.
We are proud to be ahead of the curve, as JANE’s recommendations, even if they seem somewhat outlandish at first, are often recognized as necessary after several years.
The Japanese government should not relax its reforms at this time. By 2025, we will be facing a super-aged society in which one in five people will be elderly, as the baby boomers (born between 1947 and 1949), who number about 8 million, will all be elderly (75 years or older).
It is obvious that if this trend continues, the aging society with a declining birthrate will become even more serious in the future and the number of workers will continue to decline. Japan must maintain growth with a new definition of who will work and how they will support society in order for its citizens to maintain their current level of living.
To address this situation, we believe it is necessary to fundamentally change the structure of the economy from one that relies on the government to one that is driven by the private sector. We call this transformation of Japan’s economic and social structure “JX” (Japan Transformation). The title of the event mentioned above, “JX live!” incorporates these thoughts.
Specifically, Japan needs to lower taxes, remove barriers to startup growth to foster the next “unicorn” company, and proactively accept immigrants. The diversity that foreigners bring to Japan is essential to creating innovations that radically increase productivity, but if the high taxes and strict regulations on startups are left unchecked, highly talented foreigners will not come to Japan. The same goes for Japanese nationals. If this situation continues, promising startups that would solve social problems may leave Japan for other countries. Now is the time for “innovation,” “entrepreneurship,” and “globalization,” which are the banners of JANE, and there is not much time left to implement reforms.
As a “start-up business association,” JANE is committed to speaking out to the government more forcefully than before, so that Japan’s economy can keep pace with the rest of the world.
We will do our best to make it easier for Japanese companies, including start-ups, to do business, and we very much look forward to your continued support and cooperation in the year ahead.
January 1, 2024
Japan Association of New Economy (JANE)
Mickey Mikitani, Representative Director