“I need to apologize to you. I’m very sorry that our generation will leave you a debt of nearly 1,000 trillion yen.” This is what Mr. Yoshihiko Miyauchi, senior chairman of Orix, said at a G1 Executive meeting. In this chapter, I will discuss five key issues in 100 Actions that need to be addressed in order to take action through prioritizing limited resources.
1. [Declining Birthrate/Declining Population Issue] Be Well Aware that This is a Critical Issue that Affects the Very Foundation of Japanese Society!
If we leave this situation unaddressed, the Japanese population will decrease to 95 million in 2050 and 47 million in 2100. Moreover, if the birthrate keeps declining, the number of producers and consumers will also decrease. As a result, the Japanese economy will shrink, tax revenues will decrease, social security will become unsustainable, the country’s influence will decline, and public finances will collapse. Japanese people need to be aware that their country is now in a critical state and need to take necessary actions in terms of the declining birthrate, an issue that will affect the very foundation of Japanese society.
2. [Fiscal Reconstruction/Social Security Reform] Do Whatever We Can before It’s Too Late!
Greece went bankrupt after failing to pay a debt of only 42 trillion yen. Japan’s debt, meanwhile, has exceeded 1,000 trillion yen. Following the end of World War II, Japan, at the expense of its people, underwent a fiscal reconstruction by means of the financial and monetary contraction policy of the Dodge Line, along with rampant 286.2-fold inflation. The public has no way to escape from the current national debt. Sooner or later, one way or another, we will have to pay for it. We must do whatever we can before it’s too late.
3. [Reconstruction of Security and Diplomacy] Face Reality and Protect Japan’s National Interests, and Lead the World!
In June 2015, China completed a series of large-scale land reclamation projects in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, over which China has been in a territorial dispute with the Philippines and other countries. This is a typical tactic employed by China to expand its interests using non-military means in order to establish its hegemony. Japan also has in its vicinity North Korea, which could explode at any moment. We need to be fully aware of this situation and face the issue of what actions to take to defend Japan.
4. [Creation of Strong Local Governments/the Dō System] Take Action Immediately to Avoid the Risk of Extinction!
“By 2040, 896 municipalities out of about 1,800 currently existing in Japan may disappear.” This is a prediction announced in 2014 by a think tank that counts Hiroya Masuda, former governor of Iwate Prefecture, among its members. It is a prediction that shocked Japan. To prevent such a situation, it is necessary to turn every regional city into an attractive place for young people to live. Through the “Abolition of Prefectures and Establishment of Dōs” project, efforts should be made to enlarge local governments and encourage them to help and learn from each other, to compete internally and externally, and to achieve economic growth and efficient administrative services. At the same time, it is necessary to promote local reforms, enhance the competitiveness of agriculture, restore the Tohoku region, and develop Okinawa in order to revive regional cities in Japan.
5. [Establish the Dignity and Identity of Japanese People] Let’s Take Action Now to Avoid Being Charged with Irresponsibility in the Future!
In the Country Ratings Poll conducted by the BBC World Service, Japan holds fourth place, indicating that the rest of the world views Japanese people in a very positive light. On the other hand, it is an accepted fact that Japanese people have much lower self-esteem than people in other countries. It is desirable that we become more confident in ourselves and contribute to the world in a more active manner. To do so, it is necessary to 1) establish the Japanese identity, 2) provide opportunities to learn about history, particularly modern history, and 3) take advantage of every opportunity to communicate externally.