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Promote the chairman

Sept 12,2017
President Moon Jae-in’s top campaign promise was creating jobs. He vowed to add 810,000 jobs to the public sector and establish a presidential committee to promote the industries and jobs in connection with the fourth industrial revolution. The state agenda planning advisory committee defined the presidential committee’s role as leading the economy in sync with the industrial evolution.

But its actions have been different. Under the government’s act on the establishment and operation of the fourth industrial revolution, the chair would go to a ministerial level instead of the prime minister. The committee will comprise of four ministers in charge of science and ICT; employment; start-ups and small and mid enterprises; and industry, energy and trade — instead of 15 ministers including those responsible for finance and economy as well as education. The scale-down in the organization suggests it has lost policy priority in the government.

The ICT industry and academic circles issued a statement demanding the committee head be upgraded to the prime ministerial level and include a broad range of cabinet members so that policies can promote fundamental changes necessary to better orient the country towards the new age of digitalization and automation. The government explained that who heads the committee is not important since it would be primarily led by the civilian sector. It said it kept the cabinet members to a minimum so that it can be better run by civilians. However, who and which office in the government will be spearheading the policy and coordinating differences among government offices is not clear.

The government focuses on increasing jobs and income to promote growth and on making the economy fairer. It must add a new growth engine based on innovation. Jobs and income would only increase through innovations. The foreign media focused on Japan’s stem cell laws that could make Japan the most liberalized and advanced market for stem cell research through generous funding. We cannot afford to fall back in the industrial transition. The committee must be promoted to the prime ministerial level and its organization should be realigned to better act its role as the policy control tower in new innovations.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 11, Page 34