ON THE DISMANTLING OF ‘BEDROCK’ REGULATIONS, Part 1

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched his third Cabinet in late December 2014.

Subsequently, it has spelled out a basic policy to revitalize Japan’s economy as formulated by the Headquarters for Japan’s Economic Revitalization (1). In it, the government pledged that Japan will create new markets and new business opportunities by reforming the so-called bedrock regulations in areas such as agriculture, employment, healthcare, and energy.”

Bedrock regulations refer to firmly entrenched regulations that parties with vested interests—typically government organs, administrative institutions, or industrial groups—oppose reform, which makes the loosening or dismantling of regulations far from easy. Since the 1980s, the government has pursued deregulation in many areas with an eye to facilitating economic growth. However, bedrock regulations are the areas that have faced strong resistance from parties with vested interests, and, consequently, they have been put off for years and years—that is until now.

There are several laws that are subject to this debate, laws such as the Road Transportation Act, the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, the Medical Practitioners Act, the Food Sanitation Act, the Agricultural Land Act, the Health Insurance Act, the Social Welfare Act, the Radio Act, and the Worker Dispatch Law. However, there exist other “bedrock barriers” to growth that are non-legal and unrelated to existing systems and arrangements.

This article uses the bedrock regulation removal debate to search for and expose potential innovation opportunities.

 

On Labor Market Reform
Efforts to remove so-called bedrock regulations in Japan continue.

Following the announcement of a plan to implement reform at the intersection of the fields of agriculture and finance via regulatory changes to affect the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, widely known as JA-Zenchu (which overseas a body of agricultural cooperative organizations nationwide known as JA) (2), the media reported that labor system reforms that will cut across all industries are also in the pipeline (3).

The global market has entered an era of hyper competition in productivity. In conjunction with this, companies will pursue the automation of business processes using digital technology as well as a shift to self-service. As such, existing labor regulations will no longer apply and will be rendered outdated. Consequently, the focus of labor regulations will be required to shift to work that requires human intelligence or that is otherwise not amenable to digitization.

Celent has long advocated deregulation and technological progress/innovation as an opportunity to innovate and driver of innovation. The proliferation of digital technologies boosts the possibilities of technological innovation and, at the same time, deregulation offers an opportunity for innovative technologies to be applied.

In addition, and on a different note, Celent hopes to see the creation of new employee incentive plans as a way to accelerate growth strategies. Western stock-based incentive systems epitomized by stock options have come with an array of obstacles . If a new, Japanese compensation sharing plan that links corporate results with individual compensation can be created, then it is likely that highly motivated entrepreneurs well versed in digital technology, coupled with the backing of a nationally driven initiative to back a growth strategy, will be able to accelerate innovation.

 

 

Digital technology is spurring straight through processing (STP) in Financial Services Industry

For the first English blog post of 2015, I would like to begin with a subtle but evident trend that could have major implications for the financial industry in the future.

The media has been abuzz with reports of Toppan Printing’s plan to introduce an electronic system to facilitate the sale of home loans. In light of this, in this edition we want to consider straight through processing and its possibilities and implications in the financial services industry.

The proliferation of bank ATMs has largely driven cash transactions from banks, bank branches, and cashier windows. Meanwhile, as banking services have migrated online, online banking and online trading have resulted in small-value, high-frequency financial transactions becoming increasingly self-service in nature.

Similarly, the Internet has and continues to transform the insurance industry. Online insurance premiums payment and online requests for insurance materials have already become the norm. However, documentation and message formats particular to an industry or specific to individual financial institutions are a challenge. Today the technology is still a far cry from being able to automate business processes for complex products. As such, this inability—in addition to administrative costs and financial transaction risk—has also become a major obstacle to sales channel diversification.

Bank home loans could be called the poster child for products that have fallen behind the digitization and STP curve. However, if digital technology could be used to handle financial products—in this case home loans—that need to be processed manually, then it would be possible to recommend and compare products so that consumers can obtain the optimal loan product at the right time and place. Banks are the companies that create financial products—home loans; homebuilders and house manufacturers are the companies that market or sell these products. Digital technology is driving the decoupling of product creation from product sale, and profoundly transforming this business model.

A glimmer of this and things to come appeared on in the December 22 edition of Nikkei (1). This glimmer was an article reporting on a new initiative by Toppan Printing, in conjunction with realtor Tokyu Livable and four banks—the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Sony Bank, and Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation.

Today the proliferation of digital technology is spurring the automation of business processes. Digitization is a key technological development that promises to bring improvements and advancements in many areas. Indeed, processes that cannot be digitized are likely either extremely high value-added or, perhaps, should be eliminated.

 

(1) The Toppan-developed system will be set up at Tokyu Livable’s network of real estate offices. It is designed to streamline the home loan application process by allowing customers to use a tablet computer to apply for a mortgage from any of the four banks, and to as many as three at once.

December 22 edition of Nikkei

TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD.

Tokyu Livable

「岩盤」規制解除に想うこと(その1)

2014年12月に発足した第3次安倍政府は、「日本経済再生本部」において日本経済の再生に向けた基本方針を発表 した(1)。 そこでは、「農業、雇用、医療、エネルギー等のいわゆる岩盤規制(bedrock regulations)に対して、一歩たりとも後退することなく改革を進め、新たな市場とビジネスチャンスを生み出していく。」と明言している。

岩盤規制は、省庁、行政機関や業界団体などが改革に反対し、緩和や撤廃が容易にできない規制をさす。1980年代以降、経済成長の観点から多様な分野で規制緩和が行われてきた中で、この「岩盤」規制だけは既得権益を持つ関係者の強い反対にあって、問題解決が長年後回しにされてきたといわれる。

「道路運送法」「薬事法」「医師法」「食品衛生法」「農地法」「健康保険法」「社会福祉法」「電波法」「労働者派遣法」などがその議論の対象とされるが、法律や制度以外にも、成長戦略の妨げとなる「岩盤」が存在する。

本稿では、この「岩盤」規制解除を巡る様々な議論を通じて、イノベーション機会を探る。

 

雇用市場の制度改革案

日本市場の、「岩盤」規制解除が続く。

先の農業分野、系統金融分野における、全国農業協同組合中央会(JA全中)の改革(2) に続き、全産業に関わる、雇用市場の制度改革案(3) が報道された。

グローバル市場は新たな生産性の大競争時代に突入している。そこでは、デジタル技術活用による業務プロセスの自動化、セルフサービス化が推進され、デジタル化が困難な、知的で自律的な活動のみが徹底的に追求されるようになり、従来の雇用規制の枠組みはもはや通用しない。

セレントは、かねてより規制緩和と技術革新は、イノベーションの機会でありドライバーであると提唱してきた。デジタル技術の普及は、技術革新面での可能性を高め、一方で、規制緩和は、革新的な技術の適用機会を提供する。

そして、成長戦略の加速要素として、新たなインセンティブプランの誕生に期待したい。ストックオプションに象徴される欧米型の株式報酬制度は、様々な弊害も持っていた。ここで日本型の新たなシェアプラン(組織業績と個人報酬の連動)を創造することができれば、デジタル技術を熟知し事業意欲の旺盛な企業家と、成長戦略をサポートする国家のイニシアチブとが両輪となり、イノベーションが加速するだろう。

 

(1) アベノミクス成長戦略の実行・実現について (日本経済再生本部)
http://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/singi/keizaisaisei/dai15/siryou3.pdf

(2) JA全中を「解体」 政府、改革期間3年に短縮 (日経)
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXLZO81656900X00C15A1EE8000/

(3) 年収1075万円以上の専門職対象 労働時間規制外す (日経)
http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXLASFS07H4P_X00C15A1MM8000