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Gist of interpellations at Upper House Budget Committee, March 25

The following is the gist of the interpellations at the House of Councillors Budget Committee meeting on March 25:

 

[Futenma base relocation]

 

Yoshifu Arita (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan): You told a press conference on Feb. 26 that Okinawa has its democracy, but the nation has its democracy as well. It was a stunning remark. Okinawa and Japan’s mainland share the same democracy, a democracy that values the sentiment of the people.

 

Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya: A prefectural referendum is a form of regional democracy, and the nation has a cabinet composed of democratically elected Diet members. The government has to fulfill its primary responsibility of protecting national security. What I meant was that regional democracy should be respected and the nation’s democracy is also very important.

 

Arita: Have you ever visited the construction site?

 

Iwaya: No, but I’d like to visit the site at an appropriate time.

 

Foreign Minister Taro Kono: I haven’t visited the site since the (relocation) construction started. But I’ve been there before.

 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: I’ve been briefed on the status of the construction, but I’ve never visited the site.

 

[China-led Silk Road economic bloc initiative (Belt and Road)]

 

Mitsuo Gima (Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party]): How will the government respond if China asks Japan to join the initiative?

 

Abe: We’ll cooperate [with China] if the initiative meets four conditions: infrastructure [projects] are open, transparent, economically viable, and fiscally sound for (debtor) countries. We don’t fully support the initiative, but we want to make the region better for all of us by pursuing (the four conditions and others).

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