Table Speech

Initiation Speech

May 9, 2012

Mr. David M. Atkinson
Mr. Yuji Tsushima

Initiation Speech by Mr. David M. Atkinson doesnot appear.

Initiation Speech

Mr. Yuji Tsushima
Tanabe & Partners, Attorney-At-Law, Tax Accountant

Three Changes and the 21st Century

1. Three changes that took place 40 years ago
  As we have entered the 21st century, I sense a new world trend which traces back to the three changes which took place in the early 1970s.

  Firstly, the visit to China by Kissinger in 1971 paved the way to the groundbreaking summit meeting between Nixon and Mao Zedong in 1972, which ended diplomatic hostility and led to the policy of dialogue between US and China. This marked a turning point in international relations from ideological confrontation, and the two countries pursued the course to peaceful coexistence.

 Secondly, the so-called Nixon Shock in August 1971 ended convertibility between US dollars and gold and consequently opened a new era for the international financial system. While US financial policies came to enjoy greater degree of freedom, its leadership started to wane among the international capital markets, which eventually led to the introduction of Euro, the common currency of the European Union.

 The third change was the 1973 Oil Crisis and several crude oil price hikes that followed. This change gave great impact on heavy chemical industry around the world and eventually raised issues of the environment and sustainability of modern civilization. It also stimulated technological advancements, including IT technologies, and the introduction of robots for machine production that facilitated low-priced manufacturing in emerging countries.

2. Paradigm shift and its impact
 It goes without saying that the aforementioned changes have given significant, and sometimes disturbing, impact to the world of the 21st century. The so-called BRICS countries are on a rise, while developed nations are losing their competitive edge. Domestic markets remain sluggish in many developed counties, including Japan, with declining birthrate and aging populations. Governments must shoulder heavy financial burden to maintain their level of welfare amidst low growth. In Japan, the Great East Japan Earthquake and the nuclear accidents have aggravated the situation.

 There is no quick solution to which we can refer. We must maintain a stance of so-called “creative realism” and explore ways towards a secure and sound future in a global context.

3. Doors to the future
 Producing human resources with world-class knowledge and expertise is the key to survive this difficult time. Japan will end up suffering from “Galapagos syndrome” and evolve in isolation from globalization, unless drastic measures are taken to reform the mechanism of education and employment.

 Secondly, combined efforts of the government and the private sector are urgently needed to deal with environmental and energy issues. We must develop environmental technology and disseminate our findings worldwide. More than anything we must secure the road to make environmental energy a practical reality.

 Thirdly, Japan must lead the world in formulating countermeasures to address the declining birthrate and the aging society. Further public support must be provided to facilitate women’s social advancement and expand child support.

 Fourthly, disseminate the Japanese food culture that promises longevity throughout the world and revitalize the agriculture and fisheries industries. We should also publicize our cultural assets to attract many more foreign tourists and activate our tourism industry.

 Dealing with such issues can open doors to a brighter future. We have no time to waste discussing over illusionary solutions on taxation and social security reforms.