Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Puts Productivity in the Spotlight
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.