The following is the gist of Prime Minister’s responses to interpellations at the plenary session of the House of Representatives on Jan. 22:
Corruption related to casinos and resignation of ministers
It is truly regrettable that an incumbent Diet member who used to serve as state minister has been arrested and indicted. Integrated resorts (IR) will support Japan’s becoming an advanced nation in the area of tourism. We will move forward prudently with the initiative, fully based on the debate at the casino management committee and the Diet. I keenly feel responsibility for the fact that two ministers I appointed have resigned.
Economy and tax system
For the past six consecutive years, we have achieved wage increases that are among the highest this century. Prudent consideration is needed regarding the proposal to reduce or exempt young people from paying income tax.
In light of the climate change countermeasures and Japan’s dependence on overseas energy sources, eliminating nuclear power cannot be regarded as a responsible energy policy. We will take the necessary measures by engaging in ongoing study of climate change adaptation strategies.
The government will work together as one to expand the export of Japan’s agricultural, forestry, and fisheries products and food products. We will place priority on promoting land improvement works.
Dispatch of SDF
We will dispatch an escort vessel and have dispatched patrol planes to ensure the security of Japan-affiliated vessels in the Middle East region, and they are collecting information that directly impacts the safety of navigation in the waters of the area. The activities will be conducted in accordance with domestic laws and regulations. There is no risk that the SDF’s use of arms will fall under the category of use of force, which is prohibited by Article 9 of the Constitution.
Japan’s position has consistently been that the issue of the reversion of the four (Northern) Islands is a focus of peace treaty negotiations. There has been no change to our policy to conclude a peace treaty after resolving the territorial issue by accelerating negotiations.
Japan and China together bear a major responsibility for the peace and prosperity of the region and the world. I aim to make Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s visit to Japan as a state guest an opportunity to clearly show both people in Japan and overseas our intent to fully fulfill that responsibility.
Relocation of Futenma Air Station
Steadily promoting construction will lead to the complete reversion of the Futenma Air Station at an early date and the elimination of the danger posed by the facility.
The schedule for constitutional amendment is not a foregone conclusion. I hope that the two Commissions on the Constitution will see active debate that goes beyond the categories of ruling party and opposition party. It is a matter of course that no particular party’s proposal will be passed through as stands in the process of building consensus on constitutional amendment. (Abridged)