JAPAN - Media OutReach - 11 June 2021 - The Tokyo-based
Asian Productivity Organization (APO) in partnership with the Japan
Productivity Center held the International Conference on the Centrality of Productivity
on 10 June 2021. The virtual conference celebrated the 60th anniversary of the
APO and examined the importance of productivity as a driver of growth for
nations, firms, and individuals amid new, demanding challenges including those
caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leading experts on productivity, human resources, and technology spoke
at the conference. Japan Productivity Center Chairman Yuzaburo Mogi, who is also
Chairman and Honorary CEO of Kikkoman, remarked that, despite the turbulent
situation, "Each one of us must develop our potential to the fullest to create
value added and improve productivity."
APO Secretary-General AKP Mochtan acknowledged that the challenges ahead
are demanding, complex, and urgent. He introduced the Tokyo Statement on the
Centrality of Productivity, a declaration encapsulating the resolve of APO member
countries to continue promoting productivity.
Nobel Prize Winner in Economics (2008) Paul Krugman, in a recorded keynote
address, expressed optimism for a brighter future despite the tragedies brought
by the pandemic. He believed that "productive globalism" and well-intended
public policies behind the development and distribution of vaccines indicated progress
toward a better world.
Two panels of experts
explored pressing issues affecting productivity. The first discussed
imperatives for building a quality workforce, highlighting the need to shift
toward performance-based, inclusive, diverse human capital. The second panel examined
smart transformation by leveraging new drivers of productivity including digital
technologies, AI, and big data. Digital Minister Audrey Tang shared experiences on how
people–public–private partnerships had helped to counter the pandemic in the
Republic of China. Japanese technopreneur Katsuya Uenoyama advocated an
improved ecosystem that promotes coexistence between people and AI.
The conference closed with a call for renewed actions and courage in
creating a more productive, sustainable, inclusive tomorrow.