The head of Japan’s largest business lobby has vowed to push members to improve their corporate governance following a recent string of scandals that have shaken international trust in made-in-Japan quality.
In a recent interview with media outlets including Kyodo News, Sadayuki Sakakibara, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, said he hopes to “win back the public’s trust” after a year in which Nissan Motor Co. and Subaru Corp. were discovered to have let uncertified staff carry out safety checks on cars, and a number of other companies revealed they had falsified data on product quality.
One of those companies, chemicals firm Toray Industries Inc., was where Sakakibara made his name as president and chairman.
The lobby, also known as Keidanren, has already called on its 1,350 member companies to look for malpractice within their own ranks. It plans to release their results in late January.
Sakakibara also showed willingness to answer Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s call for a 3 percent wage increase, a step his administration sees as crucial to sustained economic growth.
“We will give the issue serious consideration while keeping an eye on public expectations and also corporate profits,” Sakakibara said. In January, the lobby is expected to decide to urge members to raise wages for a fifth straight year in the 2018 “spring offensive” labor negotiations.
Abe has promised tax cuts to companies that raise wages in an attempt to boost household spending and lift inflation toward the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent target.
Regarding current business conditions, Sakakibara said the world’s third-largest economy is “beginning to recover more firmly” amid robust demand for exports.
“I hope 2018 will be the year that we beat deflation,” he said.