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Gist of representative interpellations at Upper House plenary session, Jan. 28

  • 2016-01-29 15:00:00
  • , Tokyo Shimbun
  • Translation

(Tokyo Shimbun: January 29, 2016 – p. 9)


 Following is the gist of representative interpellations at the House of Councillors plenary session on Jan. 28:


 Natsuo Yamaguchi (Komeito)


 Taking advantage of the TPP agreement will open up opportunities for small and mid-size enterprises. The government should promote overseas ventures and exports by providing business consulting and marketing services.


 The outflow of refugees from Syria and elsewhere has become an international issue. From the humanitarian standpoint, how about accepting the children of refugees for study in Japan?


 Yoshiki Yamashita (Japanese Communist Party)


 With regard to the relocation of the Futenma Air Station to Henoko, Nago City, the government’s obsession with moving around U.S. bases within Okinawa is the root cause of the problem that will result in the Futenma base remaining where it is. You should ask for the unconditional return of this base.


 What do you think of the unabated opposition to the “war laws”? Will you be able to refuse if asked by the U.S. to provide logistical support for the air raids on the extremist group Islamic State (IS)?


 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should take responsibility for the investigation into Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari’s alleged bribery scandal.


 Katsuya Ogawa (Democratic Party of Japan [DPJ])


 Minister Amari’s bribery scandal seriously undermines trust in politics. He should make a prompt decision on whether or not he will resign.


 Kumiko Hayashi (DPJ)


 Minister Amari said his memory is vague with regard to his alleged bribery scandal. His sense of money seems very different from ordinary folks’. He should give a clear explanation.


 Takeyuki Watanabe (Liberal Democratic Party)


 As a crude oil importer, Japan welcomes cheaper oil prices, but stability in the Middle East is essential for Japan’s economy, considering the Middle East’s impact on the world economy as a whole and risks for the future. How will you work for Middle East stability?


 The government’s responses


 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe


 Amari scandal


 I would like Minister Amari to investigate the facts thoroughly and fulfill his responsibility to explain to the people without fail. (In response to Yamashita’s interpellation)




 We will combine various types of support, including development of products for export and marketing, and mobilize all policy resources to help small and mid-size companies grab new opportunities to make a great leap forward. (In response to Yamaguchi’s interpellation)


 Security laws


 We will make efforts to promote deeper understanding among the people. I am confident that there will be broader understanding as time goes by. (In response to Yamashita’s interpellation)


 Futenma relocation


 Twenty years have passed since the Japan-U.S. agreement. It is no longer possible to delay. Relocation to Henoko, Nago City, is the only solution that will remove the danger posed by the Futenma base while also maintaining deterrence. (In response to Yamashita’s interpellation)


 Middle East situation


 With regard to the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Japan will use its good relations with the Middle East countries to ease tension through dialogue and work for a peaceful settlement.


 In the fight against the extremist group IS, Japan will provide as much nonmilitary support as possible to the relatively moderate Islamic countries in the frontline of the fight against extremism. Humanitarian aid for the refugees will also be increased further. (In response to Watanabe’s interpellation)


 In dealing with the IS, Japan will fulfill its responsibility by expanding humanitarian aid. We have absolutely no plans to participate in military operations or provide logistical support. (In response to Yamashita’s interpellation)


 Education is important for dealing with the refugee issue. I would like to consider accepting the refugees’ children, who will bear the destiny of their country and community in the future, to study in Japan. (In response to Yamaguchi’s interpellation)


 Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari


 Bribery scandal


 I will conduct the necessary investigations and give an explanation personally. After this is done, I will make utmost efforts to perform the duties entrusted to me. (In response to Ogawa’s interpellation)


 I will conduct the necessary investigations objectively and fulfill my responsibility to offer an explanation, in order to dispel suspicions among the people. (In response to Hayashi’s interpellation) (Abridged)

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