Following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Oct. 5:
Lower House dissolution
Renho (Democratic Party [DP]): There is speculation that you intend to dissolve the House of Representatives after progress in foreign affairs issues.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: At this point, I have no plans at all to dissolve the Lower House. I will make the appropriate decision at the appropriate time.
Renho: Will you not revise the Liberal Democratic Party’s draft proposals for constitutional amendment?
Abe: The LDP’s proposals are not the same as the proposals to be submitted to the people in a referendum. No progress can be made if we say we will not change a single word in the draft proposals. We need to approach this with a flexible mind.
Northern Territories negotiations
Renho: Will you sign a peace treaty with the return of two islands and a solution to the issue of sovereignty over the two other islands?
Abe: We will engage in negotiations under the basic stance of resolving the issue of sovereignty over the four islands in order to sign a peace treaty.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida: Our policy is to assert Japan’s sovereignty over the four islands.
Statement on possessing nuclear arms
Renho: Defense Minister Tomomi Inada once said that “Japan needs to consider possessing its own nuclear arms as a national strategy.”
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada: I am now committed to abiding by the three non-nuclear principles and will make all possible efforts to realize a world free of nuclear weapons.
Renho: Why have you changed your mind?
Inada: Since the start of the Abe administration, the Japan-U.S. alliance has never been stronger. The alliance was shaky at that time (during the Democratic Party of Japan administration) and it was necessary to discuss what is the minimum defense capability allowed under Article 9 of the Constitution.
Tetsuro Fukuyama (DP): A bill to ratify the Paris Agreement has not been submitted to the Diet.
Abe: Administrative procedures and coordination are underway to sign the agreement as soon as possible. Major negotiations on rule-making under the Paris Agreement are taking place with Japan’s participation.
South Sudan PKO
Fukuyama: Fighting is taking place in South Sudan.
Inada: We do not think that armed conflict as defined by the UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) cooperation law has occurred. The five principles of PKO participation are being adhered to as well. (Abridged)