Eight giant balloons from Japan floated in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower this weekend, a reminder of one of the worst natural disasters of recent times – and of the determination of survivors to rebuild their region.
Japan has increased its spending on overseas development assistance (ODA) and is showing more global leadership, but needs to pay more attention to where it is spending the money and increase its focus on results and transparency.
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is increasingly recognised worldwide as an efficient waste management policy to help improve recycling and reduce landfilling of products and materials. This Forum took place on 17-19 June 2014, in Tokyo, Japan, to identify key challenges and opportunities for further developing EPR policies.
Due to serious concerns about the extremely low level of enforcement of Japan’s offence of bribing foreign public officials – just three prosecutions since 1999 – the OECD Working Group on Bribery recommended in December 2013 that Japan establish an Action Plan to organise police and prosecution resources to be able to proactively detect, investigate and prosecute cases of foreign bribery by Japanese companies.
The OECD has now grown into an institution of truly global relevance. And Japan, which was the first Asian country to join the organisation, is now a world economic giant. It is a great honour to introduce the Chairman of the 2014 Ministerial Council Meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The average worker in Japan faced a tax burden on labour income (tax wedge) of 31.6% in 2013 compared with the OECD average of 35.9%. Japan was ranked 23 of the 34 OECD member countries in this respect.
Mr. Angel Gurría was in Japan from 6 to 10 April 2014 to commemorate the country’s 50th anniversary of membership of the Organisation. The OECD Secretary-General was received in Audience by Crown Prince Naruhito, and held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe, to whom he presented the report “OECD Better Policies Japan - Advancing the Third Arrow for a Resilient Economy and Inclusive Growth”.
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After two decades of low growth and persistent deflation, Japan is showing signs of renewed economic dynamism. But to regain its primacy as a leading economic powerhouse and raise the well-being of its citizens, Japan needs a structural reform package to narrow the productivity gap with leading OECD countries, notably by increasing the labour participation of women and older citizens.
This learning experience is an important model for other countries recovering from natural disasters as well. It demonstrates how they can best invest in their most precious resource – their young people!
Japan joined the OECD in 1964, the same year it hosted the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. OECD membership signalled Japan’s successful transition into a fully industrialised economy, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida writes on the 50th anniversary of his country’s accession.