The following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Nov. 29:
Moritomo Gakuen, Kake Gakuen issues
Kohei Otsuka (Democratic Party [DP]): How do you intend to fulfill your responsibility to offer an explanation in light of the Board of Audit’s report?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Government-owned land is the people’s common property. There must be no cause for the people to have suspicions about its sale. We will make a thorough examination of what was the problem.
Takanori Kawai (DP): There is a need to look into the amount of waste buried underground (that was the basis of the price estimate).
Director General Mitsuru Ota of Finance Ministry’s Financial Bureau: A thorough examination will require digging up (the land), which will be impossible to do.
Abe: This would be difficult, as the director general has explained. That is the government’s position.
Kawai: An exception was made in the procedures for the sale of government-owned land.
Ota: An unprecedented waiver of the government’s liability for defects was added, which was actually to the government’s advantage.
Otsuka: Was the approval of Kake Gakuen’s application to open a veterinary school appropriate?
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Yoshimasa Hayashi: This was examined by the Council for University Chartering and School Juridical Person from the points of view of specialists and academics and a report was issued on its approval, so a decision was made to allow the school to open.
Abe: I will continue to give thorough explanations based on facts if necessary.
Otsuka: Joint exercises by a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier dispatched to the Sea of Japan and the Maritime Self-Defense Force were held.
Abe: This was meant to demonstrate to North Korea that if it inflicts harm on Japan, Japan and the U.S. will respond together.
Otsuka: How much will the Aegis Ashore systems Japan is planning to introduce cost?
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera: Roughly 80 billion yen per system.
Keizon Takemi (Liberal Democratic Party [LDP]): North Korea has no intention to stop its development of nuclear arms and missiles.
Abe: North Korea has made the outrageous statement that it will “sink the Japanese archipelago.” It must be made to abandon [its nuclear arms and missiles] in a verifiable manner. Japan’s unwavering position is that this is unacceptable, and we are in complete agreement with the U.S. on this.
Ichita Yamamoto (LDP): China’s proposal to simultaneously freeze North Korea’s nuclear and missile development and the U.S.-ROK joint exercises is a bad idea.
Abe: The development of nuclear arms and missiles violates UN resolutions, while the joint exercises are totally legitimate under international law. It is wrong to negotiate a barter on this.