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Gist of interpellations at Upper House Budget Committee, Oct. 13

Following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Oct. 13.

 

Northern Territories negotiations

 

Gaku Hasegawa (Liberal Democratic Party [LDP]): The eight-point proposal for economic cooperation is a centerpiece of the Abe administration’s policy.

 

Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko (minister in charge of economic cooperation with Russia): Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to hold a summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Peru in November. We would like to produce certain results by then. Before the Prime Minister goes to Peru, I will visit Moscow to coordinate closely with the relevant Russian ministers.

 

Hasegawa: Are you determined [to make progress in] the negotiations on the Northern Territories?

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: We will verify progress made in the eight-point economic cooperation proposal and other areas in Peru and prepare for Mr. Putin’s visit to Japan in December.

 

Hasegawa: It is necessary to promote revitalization in the nearby region that will serve as the hub for exchanges with the four Northern Islands.

 

Minister for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs Yosuke Tsuruho: A liaison meeting of the relevant ministries will be launched shortly to discuss ways to expand people-to-people exchanges, including such ideas as flights by low-cost carriers (LCC).

 

Dual citizenship

 

Junko Mihara (LDP): Democratic Party (DP) President Renho has not clarified whether or not she made a declaration on selection of citizenship under Article 14 of the Nationality Law.

 

Abe: LDP Upper House member Miki Onoda has made public a copy of her family register. Ms. Renho should do the same to fulfill her responsibility to the people.

 

Imported rice

 

Eri Tokunaga (DP): We are unconvinced by the results of the investigation conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries [MAFF].

 

MAFF Minister Yuji Yamamoto: The investigation has its limits, but we have obtained adequate results. We are confident that domestic rice prices have not been affected.

 

Constitutional revision

 

Masashi Nakano (Party for Japanese Kokoro): The DP is refusing to engage in discussions unless the LDP withdraws its draft proposals for constitutional amendment.

 

Abe: Such reasoning amounts to suppressing freedom of expression. If they object to the draft proposals, then they should simply engage in free and open-minded debate. (Abridged)

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