[ ここから本文です ]

New Year Message 2018

I send my best wishes for the happiness and prosperity in the coming year.

Thanks to the steady progress of growth strategies by the government and the continued QE policies which resulted in a gradual upswing and improvement in employment and income environment, last year witnessed a firm step forward to a sustainable economic development and the exit from deflation. 2017 has also been the year of economic stability even amid internationally growing geo-political risks, supported by strong business performances with domestic stock market recording its highest in 26 years.

Today, as our society heads into a super aged society, we recognize that the role of Life Insurance business as a provider of private security to facilitate self-help efforts is becoming ever more important in building a sustainable social security system.

The life insurance system was introduced to Japan for the first time in “a Guidebook to Western countries” by Yukichi Fukuzawa, in 1867. The Meiji era, which started the following year, was the era of establishment in which numerous life insurance companies came to life. Since then, with the mission of contributing to the promotion of social welfare, life insurance business in Japan has advanced hand in hand with the society on the long path of modernization of 150 years and has supported the improvement of living standard in Japan.

In the coming year, we will continue to play our role with an even stronger zeal in contributing to a society that can provide a peaceful and healthy life for everyone, with the three pillars outlined below.

The 1st pillar is “establishing a Society Where Everyone Can Live without Worries ?Better fulfilling the roles of Life Insurance Business-.”

In order to fulfill the role of a provider of private social security in various areas such as medical cares and private pensions, it is even more important that each company show its ingenuity to provide appropriate insurance covers and services that fit customers’ need best. LIAJ will continue to provide support to our member companies striving to enhance their customer-oriented business management by providing feedback of summary and analysis of opinions received from key stakeholders, particularly consumers.

In addition, while promoting insurance education projects, we will carry on our commitment to promote the understanding, especially among the younger generation, of the importance of having private security means in complementing the public ones as well as the functions which life insurance can play as one form of private security means.

The 2nd pillar is “establishing a Society Where People Enjoy Health with Longer Life Expectancy- Contributing to a society where people live in health and with rich spirits-.”

With the advent of a super-aged society, the government places “extension of healthy life expectation” in a part of its growth strategies, as can be seen in various policy measures.Based on these trends, LIAJ launched last September “Health Promotion Support Project,”in the context of which we identified model cases that provide good demonstrations of how sports can serve health promotion purposes in collaboration with the Japan Sports Agency. Some outstanding initiatives by companies and local groups across the country will be awarded (Sporty life Award) to be acknowledged by the broader community. We aim to encourage people to take in the joy of exercising to their lives and also help further raising awareness in health promotion.

We are working on the report to be published around June, which reflects on the Health Promotion Support Project showcasing LIAJ’s past initiatives on health promotion and the health support activities in our member companies targeted to their employees and community members, as well as the Award.

The 3rd pillar is “Activities to Enhance the Basis of the Life Insurance Business - Contributing to vitalizing of the capital market -.”

Last May’s Stewardship Cord revision requests institutional investors for more support for a sustainable growth of invested companies. In this context, since last July, LIAJ has been engaged in research projects on Stewardship activities that would promote corporate values of invested companies, through sharing model cases collected from our member companies’ past activities and exchanging information with other institutional investors. The publication of results of the research is scheduled for around April with proposals to promote the stock-values.

At the same time, we will work further on tax treatment which will facilitate private security arrangements, as well as on global financial supervision/regulations and international financial reporting standards, and will actively express our opinions.

According to the Oriental Zodiac, 2018 is the year of the Inu or dog. The kanji character for a dog(“inu”) signifies “the flourishing plants in the warm sunlight,” considered to mean “raising.” Also, of all animal symbols, “inu” is the closest partner to human beings. As such the year of the dog is said to be the fittest time to proceed taking a good communication with others.

I sincerely hope the year 2018 will be the year of a great achievement for you and the Japanese economy in an interconnected world.

Masahiro Hashimoto
Chairman
The Life Insurance Association of Japan