(Yomiuri: February 6, 2016 – p. 13)
Following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Feb. 5:
Lower House election system reform
Masato Imai (Japan Innovation Party [JIP]): You stated at this committee on Feb. 4 that you will respect the recommendations (of the Lower House speaker’s advisory panel). The recommendations have two major aspects: reducing the disparity in the value of one vote and reducing 10 seats in the Lower House. Will you respect recommendations on both aspects?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: We will respect the recommendations as a whole. I have not said I will respect only a certain part.
Akihiro Hatsushika (JIP): The fruits of Abenomics have simply turned into higher income for the executives of big companies.
Abe: There can be no distribution if there are no fruits. We will need to create a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution in such a context.
Nuclear energy policy
Yasufumi Fujino (Japanese Communist Party): Japan should abandon its (nuclear fuel cycle) policy.
Abe: The nuclear fuel cycle contributes to reducing the volume of high-level radioactive waste. We will continue to implement this policy with the understanding of the local communities and the international community.
Fujino: The Japan-U.S. Nuclear Energy Agreement (expiring in 2018) should be terminated.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: Japan proceeds with the use of nuclear energy with full awareness of the importance of transparency on plutonium in the international community. Japan will continue with the necessary discussions and negotiations with the U.S. on this agreement.
Adachi: It is important to make constitutional revision a point of contention in the next national election.
Abe: We ask the Commissions on the Constitution to conduct a lively debate on where we should start.
Kazuhiko Shigetoku (Kaikaku Kesshu no Kai): Will you indicate (your thinking on constitutional revision) in the Upper House election?
Abe: We have already come up with draft proposals for constitutional amendment. The result will probably not be in line with the Liberal Democratic Party’s proposals. If we are able to narrow our gaps with Kaikaku Kesshu no Kai, we may possibly submit motions for constitutional amendment with you. (Abridged)