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).
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.
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.
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)