The world again faces a time of new challenges. Two years have passed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the new normal of living with the virus becomes established in many countries, economic activities are regaining their vitality. Nevertheless, it is likely that the search for an ideal balance between controlling infections and maximizing economic and other activities will have to continue for some time. There are also increasing signs that the crisis in Ukraine will become prolonged. With considerable time required to rebuild supply chains, prices of resources and other commodities are rising around the world, having a profound impact on the economy.
Even amid these adversities, the larger movement that seeks to build better societies through economic activities continues. Both in Japan and in other countries, countless new efforts are being born that respond flexibly to the changing times. Using digital technology as a tool, many of these ambitious new undertakings have the potential to cross national borders and become widespread throughout the world. In the field of energy, even as we are reminded of the vital importance of a stable supply, there can be no loss of momentum in the move toward a carbon-free future, and all possibilities are being explored in this direction.
The Shosha sector has historically played a vital role in bringing these kinds of diverse possibilities together. The Japan Foreign Trade Council upholds the aim of “LEAPING AHEAD INTO A SUSTAINABLE WORLD,” and through sound corporate business activities seeks to create societies in which all members can experience prosperity, and to improve the sustainability of these societies. This goes beyond simply protecting the natural environment. It encompasses broader social issues such as human rights issues, corporate governance, and the shift to a digital society. Free trade and investment will be indispensable to efforts in this direction. In a world in which human, material, and monetary resources are unevenly distributed, no country can survive alone. We believe that an optimal and efficient allocation of these resources is what will enable us to achieve both economic development and sustainability at the same time. It is fair to say that this belief matches the objectives of the basic policy espoused by the Japanese government, which aims to promote the free trade and investment regime.
At the moment, factors obstructing free trade and investment, such as conflicts between states and nationalist protectionism, are becoming prominent. At the same time, as data has become an intangible asset with a value of its own, the shape of business is also being transformed in many ways, and such developments call for the establishment of new rules in some fields. At the Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc. (JFTC), we keep a close eye on the latest Japanese and international rules, and strict compliance with these will remain our top priority as we continue to make policy proposals and take actions to maintain and improve the business environment together with all our members.
I hope we can continue to count on your valuable support for all of JFTC's activities.