(Tokyo Shimbun: March 1, 2016 – p. 6)
Following is a gist of interpellations at the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Feb. 29:
Lower House election system reform
Katsuya Okada (Democratic Party of Japan [DPJ]): Do you plan to introduce the “Adams method” to allocate Diet seats [to each prefecture based on population]?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: We will hold discussions on the matter, including whether to actually write the Adams method into law. The panel of experts has recommended the introduction of the Adams method in the (large-scale) national census conducted every ten years. We should respect their recommendations. In a revision of the election system to be carried out in the 2020 nationwide census, I am sure that the Liberal Democratic Party will hold discussions, centering on the Adams method.
Okada: The allocation of seats should be based on the census in 2010.
Abe: We already have the results of the 2015 (simplified) census. If the Adams method is applied to the results of the censuses in 2010 and 2015, prefectures subject to (increase and decrease in the number of seats) will change.
Okada: Do you plan to stipulate the Adams method in the law that regulates the council that determines how Lower House electoral districts are apportioned?
Abe: I have not yet heard how the LDP will write the law. I want you to give the LDP more time for discussion.
Kenji Eda (Japan Innovation Party [JIP]): I request the introduction of the Adams method based on the 2010 census.
Abe: We will be thrown into turmoil if a census is undertaken every five years. Since the recommendation says the election system be reviewed based on the (large-scale nationwide census) every ten years, we will follow the recommendation. I expect that the LDP will reach a conclusion bearing in mind what I believe important.
Cut in Lower House seats
Tetsuya Shiokawa (Japanese Communist Party (DPJ): I think a reduction in number of Lower House seats will weaken the public’s right to know.
Abe: Because we will raise the consumption tax rate, we should cut the number of seats by ten, as per the recommendation.
Takeshi Shina (DPJ): Do you plan to amend Article 9 of the Constitution (which bans Japan from maintaining war potential).
Abe: The LDP’s draft plan includes Article 9, but I don’t think we will be able to realize the entire plan. In view of the reality of politics, I want to realize things after we gain the understanding of the public.
Lower House dissolution
Eda (JIP): Do you plan to dissolve the Lower House after postponing the consumption tax in April 2017?
Abe: Unless there are such occurrences as the Lehman crisis and the Great East Japan Earthquake, we will raise the consumption tax as planned. At present, I have no intention to suspend or put off the planned tax hike. I have absolutely no plan to (dissolve the Lower House).
Suspension of transmission of radio waves
Soichiro Okuno (DPJ): Is it possible to suspend an individual program?
Abe: Of course. Without watching individual programs, how can you judge all the content>
Shiori Yamao (DPJ): Former Economic Revitalization Minister Akira Amari should fulfill his accountability.
Abe: He has said that as soon as he finds new facts, he will give an explanation. I expect him to provide an explanation. I believe he will do so.
G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting
Ayuko Kato (Liberal Democratic Party [LDP]): Did the meeting produce results?
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso: We agreed on the statement stipulating that all policy measures will be utilized in a comprehensive manner. The statement will reassure the market. (Slightly abridged)