Looking at the latest GDP figures for each country, we see a substantial decline across the board. On an annualized basis, this was a reduction of more than 30% in the United States, nearly 60% in the United Kingdom, and 28.1% in Japan, the largest drop recorded since the end of WWII. The main factor is the cooling of consumer spending due to the spread of COVID-19 and the Japanese economy will not be able to escape from this critical situation unless we firmly establish a "new normal" that balances the prevention of the spread of infection with socio-economic activities. Furthermore, in the 2020 World Competitiveness Ranking published by a business school in Switzerland, IMD (International Institute for Management Development,) Japan has fallen to 34th place, further down the rankings from last year's lowest-ever 30th place. Japan used to boast the world's top spot in this ranking, however, it has been in the doldrums for nearly a quarter century since 1997 when its ranking dropped sharply.
Overcoming the economic stagnation caused by the spread of infection. And boosting competitiveness to be a global player. Now is the time to take action, or Japan will be left behind in the world, and the happiness of the people of Tokyo and the rest of Japan will not be realized. Japan has a high language barrier and is significantly lagging behind in digital transformation which creates new value through the power of digital technology. We need to urgently face up to this reality and take measures with a global perspective, and we cannot remain engaged in inward-looking discussions.
With this sense of urgency, we have launched the Grand Reform of Tokyo 2.0, under the slogan “Determine the future of Tokyo with the people of Tokyo,” as an initiative that Tokyo, the capital of Japan, should vigorously promote. To carve out a hopeful future together with the people of Tokyo in this uncertain era of living with the coronavirus, we must boldly roll out further reforms by going beyond convention. Protecting the invaluable lives of Tokyo citizens. Creating a Tokyo where everyone can shine vibrantly. And accelerating digital transformation immediately to become global destination. I am again very strongly determined to achieve these goals.