- January 5, 2018
Like each year, I attended earlier today the New Year Party of Japan`s three big business federations. And like every year, the attendants were treated to a new year greeting by Prime Minister Abe.
In short, the honeymoon between Abe and the Japan`s business leaders continues or – if anything – is further intensifying. Keidanren Chairman Sasakibara praised the achievements of the Abe government in a way as if he was reading an election speech by Abe himself. He even kind of promised Keidanren support for Abe`s wish for a wage rise by three percent in spring this year.
Abe returned the favor by offering a funny speech with words of praise for his Jan. 1 golf buddy Sasakibara as well as Japanese companies overall. He even joked that he had forgotten his manuscript but that it doesn`t matter as everything is going fine stressing his government`s achievements from the Japan-EU EPA to the lowering of corporate taxes.
The mood on the floor was certainly very upbeat. I estimate the crowd to have been close to 2,000 participants, probably a record showing for this annual party and another proof that Japan Inc. is looking with lots of optimism into this year. The Nikkei index is up by more than 900 points compared to close of last year. In short, my optimistic predictions for the Japanese economy in 2018 seem to be on target.