The following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Jan. 26:
Relations with the U.S.
Itsunori Onodera (Liberal Democratic Party): Will Japan be able to protect the five sensitive agricultural sectors if the U.S. demands bilateral economic negotiations?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Concluding a free trade agreement (FTA) or an economic partnership agreement (EPA) is not completely out of the question. We would like to engage in discussions based on our conception of the ideal form of economic cooperation between the two countries. We must protect what needs to be protected.
Onodera: What do you think of Japan’s security?
Abe: Japan does not have weapon systems to attack enemy bases and we have no plans to possess such capabilities. We need to study this issue, including the question of what options are available to maintain Japan’s deterrence.
Response to the Islamic State
Yuichi Goto (Democratic Party [DP]): How will Japan deal with the extremist Islamic State (IS)?
Abe: Japan will not provide logistic support for military operations against the IS.
Onodera: Tax revenues in FY16 went below the initial estimates.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso: The yen appreciated in the foreign exchange markets. However, the economic fundamentals remain sound.
Shiori Yamao (DP): Will Japan be able to sign the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crimes if it enacts the law on preparations for terrorist attacks? You used to say it was necessary to pass a conspiracy law.
Abe: The Foreign Ministry’s International Legal Affairs Bureau led the discussions on this and it was determined that the proposed legislation will allow Japan to sign the UN Convention. Terrorist groups may target the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in their attempt to propagate their beliefs in the world. (Abridged)