I live in a provincial area. I have reached retirement age, and I’d still like to keep working, but the reality is that very few job opportunities exist. The provincial economy is rather depressed, and furthermore, the bill to increase consumption tax rates has recently been passed. How can we revitalize the provincial economy?
There is No Other Nation With the Old Age Security of Japan
I suppose you must be rather anxious about your old age. However, every year, Japanese people receive about 80 trillion yen in retirement bonuses. The total debt of those people is approximately 20 trillion yen, however, the remaining 60 trillion yen is still available to them after they’ve retired.
This means that there is real security for elderly people compared with other developed countries. There is no other country like it. So, while many people are saying that ‘social welfare is important’, in actual fact, compared with other countries, Japan has a system in place already for people to live very comfortably in their twilight years.
Furthermore, looking at the total population, people’s assets add up to more than 1.5 quadrillion yen, and there is still money in the reserve. The Japanese government is issuing a great number of government bonds. Even though they are in debt, trust towards Japan does not seem to be affected. The reason that foreign countries trust Japan is probably because they think that if Japan were ever in a crisis, they would default on the money collected through government bonds from the Japanese people. Therefore, Japan will never go bust.
If There Are Ideas, Then Money Will Start To Move
What is important now is teaching people about ‘how money can be used’. There is certainly not a lack of money. However, even if the government or banks have a large amount of savings, they do not know what to do with that money.
People are currently inclined to think of money as being in a stationary state in the government as a whole, as well as in the Ministry of Finance and probably for the Prime Minister as well – so much so that they only examine the profits and losses of the money on hand (as of September 2012 – when Master Okawa answered this question).
Money gains power and life through movement, and lacks power when it’s put to sleep.
It’s an important economic concept to think about how money should ‘live’. This way of thinking is important – for example, ‘If you make something like this here, this kind of economy can emerge’.
Places like Eastern Japan fit this idea – recovery is important, but it’s not simply a matter of returning the economy to its former state. In the process of recovery, thought must surely be given to the future and how to create lifestyles and jobs for people.
As part of that process, you must think about what can be helpful. Japan has a lot of money. Deciding how to use it, however, is rather difficult. The public sector often cannot come up with the answer to such a question.
Therefore, ideas are important. If you have ideas, money will start to move. Next is the art of persuasion. The power of persuasion is important. If there are ideas, and the power of persuasion, money starts moving and flowing in. Money will start to be pulled in. Thus, it is a problem of ideas and the power of persuasion.
In some ways, it’s exactly similar to entrepreneurial ability – in other words, the possession of an entrepreneurial mind. In order to revive the provincial areas, it’s important to create people with entrepreneurial minds in those areas. It’s wrong to think that ‘ideas only come from central authorities’ or ‘ideas only come from those in the cities’. It’s really possible for the provincial areas to create leaders, too.
By making an effort to come up with ideas in the provincial areas, such as by gathering together youth volunteers or women living in the area, and by holding study meetings on ‘How to come up with ideas to create new jobs’, you’ll invariably arrive at ideas.
Technical Experts Should Raise the Funds, Do the Marketing, and Become Business Owners, Too.
Once you have an idea, next you need to persuade. It’s important to persuade everyone, whom it matters to, of the importance of the realization of your idea.
I recently recorded a spiritual message from the founder of Sony, Masaru Ibuka. His spirit made mention of the Happy Science University – he said things like – “You’re going to make Science and Engineering departments, right? Because it’s your organization, you’ll probably think of things like flying UFOs or launching rockets, but it’ll probably start immediately with ‘there’s no money,’ right? But it’s wrong to think that ‘you can do it if the budget appears out of nowhere’.”
I say ‘no, that’s not it – even science and engineering students shouldn’t be satisfied with being technical experts only – they should begin with the raising of funds’. In other words, where to get the money, whether to get the money from the government, or to talk to big corporations and get a budget from them – they should start with fundraising.
Next, once they have formed an idea, they should do the marketing to find a market for the product – what kind of place to market it to, and how the product will be used.
In essence, if scientists or technical experts are made to raise funds, and do the marketing, they’ll also develop as entrepreneurs and business managers. I was told by Mr Ibuka, “If you do that, they’ll be able to do really big jobs, so you shouldn’t just make technical experts who simply use up the budget. You should make business managers. First, you should think about those things.”
In the Debate over Regional Reform (the Do-shu system), ‘What to do With Tax Revenue Is Important.’
Whichever provincial area, I think it’s wrong to believe that you can do nothing, and just wait for ideas to fall out of the sky. In order to get ideas, appropriate study is really important. You can start with the written word such as found in newspapers and books, or start with watching TV.
Or, you can visit a place where people are already doing something you think you want to do and observe. Look at something in development or that’s going well, and then think about it. Then, you’ll gain the strength to proceed.
Today, even in Osaka the debate over regional reform is a popular topic. If local tax allocations are received from the central government, their use is bound by the central government, so people are trying to promote reforms. The regional reforms don’t really matter – it’s simply an issue of wanting to ‘inject consumption tax into the provincial areas’.
Once consumption tax is paid into the state coffers, the central government delivers local tax allocations. Then, the central government binds them. So, they want to be able to put that money directly into Osaka., That is frankly the point of regional reform. It’s just saying, ‘Hand over the taxes directly to us.’
That’s all fine, but as a result, there’s the big problem of what to do with that money. There could be things that are done better through the central government, or areas where regional authorities would be better at directly collecting the money. Experimentation is required to find out.
From Mayor Hashimoto’s perspective, if an ‘Osaka Metropolis’ were created, Osaka would have to demonstrate to everyone what kind of good things would could come of it. But it wouldn’t be anything like ‘building a whole new castle’ (audience laughs). Considering that Mr. Hashimoto has been Mayor for maybe about 9 months now, I feel that it might be a bit soon for him to become Prime Minister.
Don’t Think They’ll ‘Fall From the Sky, Instead You Should Commercialize Ideas by Yourself.
The main point is to create a good idea, and to build the resources. Do the marketing, and transform the idea into something that’s implementable. You should have the skills of persuasion when you try to market your idea. If you have mastered this process, it doesn’t matter which region you’re in, or what kind of company you have, the method will be the same. You can do the same thing in a new area.
The same principle can be applied to entrepreneurs within a company, and the same again if surplus employees are given the freedom to start up a new business. Entrepreneurs will be created within the company. The question is, what kind of idea, and what will the people do with it? How the will the funding be obtained? Where will the idea be marketed? Who will buy it, and how will it be used? If you want your business to flourish, then your thinking needs to be organized along these lines.
The central concept is really IDEAS. The source of these ideas depends upon your collection of information and the amount of research you do in your daily life.
It’d be better not to depend on the public sector. You can really negotiate with the central government only, and receive its tax money. I truly believe that your ability to launch an idea, and commercialize it, is most important.
The T.V. recently showed an example of this idea from Hakui City in Ishikawa Prefecture (where Happy Science’s Hokuriku Shoshinkan is). The local people named the rice of the area something like ‘Rice of the son of God’ in English. Since the name sounded like ‘the rice of Christ’, they presented it to the Pope to eat, and then sold it as ‘Rice by papal appointment’. It resulted in an amazing ten times the amount of demand as compared with before the name changed. So, I do think it’s very important to have the ability to put new ideas into reality.
In regards to the ‘Osaka Metropolis Concept’, it seems that ‘there is a record of drastic reform, but currently no record exists of constructiveness or creativity’. It’s probably important to point out, ‘If you had money, what would you do with it?’ I think that kind of project is important. Osaka is a city, so it’s probably not the same as a provincial area, but the more you go into the provincial areas, the more important it is.
In Happy Science’s next film, ‘The Mystical Laws’, there happens to be a scene in which a foreign country invades the Izumo Region in Shimane Prefecture. In places where ‘there could be an attack from foreign nations,’ it’s possible that this could be a chance to get funding from a range of different sources. If you say, ‘I need money for strengthening Japan’s defenses,’ then the money will come and industries might suddenly flourish.
I’d be happy if you used anything and everything as an opportunity.
Happy Science’s Osaka Shoshinkan, Master Ryuho Okawa’s Q & A Session, September 16th, 2012