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Gist of interpellations at Lower House Budget Committee, Oct. 3

Following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Oct. 3:


Northern Territories negotiations


Seiji Maehara (Democratic Party [DP]): Is it an option to first return two of the four Northern Islands, Habomai and Shikotan?


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Our position that we will resolve the issue of sovereignty over the four islands in the negotiations remains unchanged.


Maehara: Is it advisable to move things forward when the U.S. is transitioning to a new administration?


Abe: International politics goes on regardless of the political situation in any single country. It is the right decision for the future of Japan and Russia to resolve this issue. The U.S. fundamentally understands my thinking on President Putin’s visit to Japan and on promoting talks on the peace treaty.


Maehara: Do we understand that the four islands belong to Japan, or is Russian sovereignty also conceivable?


Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: We will make clear Japan’s sovereignty over the four islands and conclude a peace treaty based on this.


Maehara: Will you link the territorial talks to the annexation by force of the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine?


Kishida: We will not take up the Crimean issue in the territorial talks. Changing the status quo by force is absolutely unacceptable.


Mikio Shimoji (Nippon Ishin no Kai): The return of Habomai and Shikotan would create a big problem with regard to the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).


Abe: You are correct in saying that the issue is not just the four islands but also sea areas. They should also be taken into account in the Northern Territories issue.


Shimoji: What do you think is the correct position in the negotiations on the Northern Territories?


Abe: We will persevere in negotiations to resolve the issue of sovereignty over the four islands in order to conclude a peace treaty.


Constitutional revision


Akira Nagatsuma (DP): Why don’t you withdraw the Liberal Democratic Party’s draft proposals?


Abe: It is absurd that you refuse to deliberate in the Commissions on the Constitution just because for one reason or another you dislike the LDP’s ideas. We must listen to each other humbly and engage in thorough discussions.


Futenma Air Station


Shimoji: Do you intend to forcibly push through the relocation of the Futenma Air Station in Okinawa?


Abe: Henoko relocation is the only option for removing the danger posed by the Futenma base as soon as possible. (Abridged)

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