On the role The Genron NPO should play in resolving Japan's challenges / Toshiro Mutoh

January 01, 2014

Toshiro MutohToshiro Mutoh
Chairman of the Daiwa Research Institute &
Former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan

Role of The Genron NPO for democracy

The year 2014 will become a turning point for Japan. During the lost two decades when Japan was unable to solve many problems, many issues were left behind. They include economic structural reform, building of a socioeconomic system to fit the rapidly aging population, financial and tax reforms, adjustments to globalization, diplomatic policy and security issues in Asia. To tackle these issues, we need strong leadership supported by the people. Unless the people accept the pains and burdens that inevitably come with reforms, it will be hard to overcome these challenges.

Last year we saw a few new signs, however, in such decisions as the consumer tax rise, participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, drawing a road map for social security reform. People's positive commitment is more crucial now than ever before.

Although effective democracy is based on speech, or "genron," media reports are often very disappointing. The media is servile to public opinion, mixing objective facts with personal opinions and criticism with bashing. We need space for speech that is fair, neutral, unbiased and free from interest lobbies. The Genron NPO is expected to represent such a function and exercise a good influence on conventional media. In order to make their activities sustainable, it will need a solid financial basis and good human resources. It is necessary for the NPO to win the support of diverse sectors and strengthen its foundation this year.