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Gist of interpellations at Upper Hose plenary session, Jan. 29

The following is the gist of interpellations at the plenary session of the House of Councillors on Jan. 29:


Consumption tax hike


Shinji Morimoto (Democratic Party for the People): The consumption tax rate is scheduled to be raised from 8% to 10% in October this year. Will it be postponed again?


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Raising the consumption tax rate is necessary to secure a stable source of revenue for building a social security system for all generations. My policy remains unchanged. We need to keep an eye on risks associated with trade issues, but Japan’s economy has been recovering moderately centering on domestic demand.


Yoshiko Kira (Japanese Communist Party): With the misconduct on the Monthly Labor Survey, the government has nothing to go on for its explanation of wage increases. The government should not raise the consumption tax rate.


Abe: According to a survey by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, a wage increase continues for the fifth year in a row. All increases in revenue from the consumption tax hike will be allocated for social security.


Japan-Russia relations


Naoki Kazama (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan): If Russia returns the Northern Territories to Japan, is there a possibility of U.S. military bases being set up on the islands?


Abe: In accordance with the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, the U.S. military is allowed to use facilities and areas in Japan. However, the question of where to locate [U.S. bases] is something that must be based on the Japanese government’s consent. I will abstain from referring to my way of thinking about negotiations for a peace treaty with Russia because that will have a bad effect on the bilateral negotiations.


Nuclear disarmament


Morimoto: Japan should sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and play the lead in nuclear disarmament.


Abe: The treaty was created without taking into account the reality of security situations. As Japan remains exposed to the threat of nuclear weapons, we need to maintain deterrent and the government is responsible for firmly protecting the people’s lives and property. (Abridged)

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