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Gist of interpellations at Lower House Budget Committee, Sept. 30

Following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Representatives Budget Committee, Sept. 30:

 

Northern Territories issue

 

Toshimitsu Motegi (Liberal Democratic Party [LDP]): How will you conduct your negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and what do you want to achieve?

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: At the summit meeting in Vladivostok (on Sept. 2), I had a strong sense that it is now possible to set the course for making concrete progress in negotiations. We will persevere in negotiating for a solution to the issue of sovereignty over the four islands. It will not be easy because this is an issue that has been pending for 70 years after the war, but I intend to exert utmost efforts.

 

Labor reform

 

Motegi: Are you determined to produce concrete results?

 

Abe: I am determined to compile an action plan within the current fiscal year and submit the relevant legislation speedily.

 

Monju

 

Naomi Tokashiki (LDP): There are reports that the government has decided to decommission the reactor. What is the government’s decision?

 

Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Hirokazu Matsuno: We will take the local community’s views into account when considering this matter and will make a decision before the end of this year.

 

LDP draft proposals for constitutional revision

 

Goshi Hosono (Democratic Party [DP]): Why did you delete Article 97 of the constitution stipulating that fundamental human rights are inviolate at all times?

 

Abe: The basic principles of sovereignty of the people, respect for basic human rights, and pacifism remain unchanged. It was just a matter of consolidating the various provisions.

 

Kiyomi Tsujimoto (DP): The LDP draft proposals should be shelved.

 

Abe: We presented these proposals before the election, so your accusation that they disregard the people’s views is groundless. However, the proposals have not gained the people’s full understanding, so I absolutely do not think that they will be approved in their present form.

 

Rebates for imported rice

 

Nobuyuki Fukushima (DP): When did the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries become aware of rebates known as “adjustment fee” among dealers?

 

Yuji Yamamoto: The ministry learned about this in October 2014.

 

Rintaro Ogata (DP): Don’t you think such rebates are affecting prices in the rice market?

 

Yamamoto: We are conducting investigations at present in the belief that they should never affect rice prices in the market. At this point, I do not think they have affected market prices.

 

Ogata: Will this affect estimates relating to the TPP?

 

Yamamoto: Since the adjustment fee does not affect market prices, they are not included in the estimates on the impact of the TPP. (Slightly abridged)

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