Following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Oct. 11:
South Sudan PKO
Motohiro Ono (Democratic Party): Will you assign the new rush-to-the-rescue duty to the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) troops to be sent to South Sudan for UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) shortly?
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada: I visited the South Sudan capital Juba and my perception is that the situation is stable, although there were conflicts in July. The issue (of assigning the new duty) will be given serious consideration by the government as a whole. Rushing to the rescue will only be undertaken when it is absolutely necessary, in response to a request, and within the GSDF’s capabilities. There will be no increased risk.
Mizuho Fukushima (Social Democratic Party): A civil war is raging in South Sudan. The GSDF troops should withdraw.
Inada: The government as a whole will consider whether the GSDF members’ safety can be ensured as they engage in meaningful activities.
Tomoko Kami (Japanese Communist Party): The existence of “adjustment money” (rebates between traders) has been uncovered. The basis for estimating that imported rice will have no effect [on rice prices] after the TPP agreement takes effect is no longer tenable. You should redo the calculation.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Since the results of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries’ investigation show that there has been no impact on domestic rice prices, this will have no effect on the TPP. (Abridged)