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Gist of interpellations at Upper House Budget Committee, March 18, 2019

The following is the gist of interpellations at the House of Councillors Budget Committee on Mar 18:

 

Imperial Family and SDF

 

Shingo Miyake (Liberal Democratic Party): What will become of the relationship between the Imperial Family and the Self-Defense Forces under a new era name?

 

Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya: We’ve been flying government airplanes and helicopters when the Imperial Family officially travels in and outside the country. We’ll continue to support the Imperial Family’s activities.

 

Northern Territories

 

Motohiro Ono (Democratic Party for the People): Russian forces are conducting military drills on the islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri in the Northern Territories.

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Russia’s military buildup on the Northern Territories conflicts with our country’s stance. So the Japanese government has consistently protested against such actions. We’re ready to protest in the future if necessary.

 

Okinawa

 

Taro Yamamoto (Democratic Party for the People): You stated before the Diet that you would “sympathize with the feelings of the people of Okinawa.” Do you really feel that way?

 

Abe: A number of U.S. military bases are currently concentrated in Okinawa. We cannot leave this situation as is. We’ve made utmost efforts to reduce bases over the past six years. We remain committed to doing so.

 

Mageshima Island

 

Sohei Nihi (Japanese Communist Party): The government plans to transfer U.S. carrier-based aircraft’s field carrier landing practice (FCLP) to Mageshima Island in Nishinoomote, Kagoshima Prefecture. However, the government negotiated and agreed with the landowner to buy the island without consulting with the local government.

 

Abe: Securing training facilities is critically important for Japan’s national security. We’ll go ahead [with the transfer] while carefully explaining this matter to the local government to seek their understanding and support. (Abridged)

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