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Gist of interpellations at Upper House and Lower House plenary sessions, Jan. 23, 2020

The following is the gist of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s responses to interpellations at the plenary sessions of the House of Councillors and the House of Representatives on Jan. 23: 

 

Corruption related to casinos

 

For the promotion of integrated resorts (IRs), it is crucial that we have the understanding of the people. As for the basic policy based on the IR Implementation Act, we are carefully promoting the planned work based on the debate at the independent Casino Management Committee and the Diet in addition to MLIT’s consultations with related ministries and agencies. We will consider incorporating the “rules for interaction” with casino operators in the basic policy.

 

Coronavirus

 

We are urging people to cancel unnecessary, non-urgent travel to Wuhan City, China, in light of information on the infectious disease threat there. We will endeavor to reinforce border measures and quarantine preparedness in Japan.

 

Dispatch of SDF assets to the Middle East

 

Safety of navigation is of vital importance for Japan’s energy security. We need to strengthen our framework for gathering intelligence to ensure the security of Japan-affiliated vessels. Both the United States and Iran have clearly expressed their desire to prevent further escalation. We do not believe there is a risk that the SDF will be dragged into any kind of armed conflict.

 

Constitutional amendment

 

It is the responsibility of Diet members to engage in debate at the Commissions on the Constitution and to enhance the understanding of the people. The schedule for constitutional amendment is not a foregone conclusion, but I would like very much for you to recognize the heightening awareness of the public regarding the issue and to engage in active debate that goes beyond the categories of ruling party and opposition party and examines the content of amendments.

 

Dissolution of the Lower House

 

At present, I am not thinking at all of dissolving the Lower House. However, I will not hesitate to dissolve the Lower House and call a general election if I feel the time has come to seek a new mandate from the people in order to move politics forward.

 

Northern Territories

There has been no change in Japan’s position that the issue of the reversion of the “Four [Northern] Islands” is a focus of the peace treaty negotiations. Russian President Vladimir Putin and I share a strong commitment not to pass the territorial issue onto the next generation but to bring resolution to the matter ourselves. The Russian president and I are resolved to achieve this together.  

 

Abductions

 

At present, no decision has been made regarding a summit meeting between Japan and North Korea, but I am committed to boldly moving forward to resolve the abductions issue as soon as possible by not missing any opportunity to resolve the matter and remaining in close contact with the United States, China, South Korea, and other nations involved.

 

Immigration

 

It is very regrettable that Carlos Ghosn illegally left the country. We will carefully figure out what happened, and the ministries and agencies will join hands to make departure procedures more stringent so that a similar incident does not occur in the future.

 

RCEP

 

With the increasing concern today about protectionism throughout the world, it is critical that we raise high the banner of free trade. We will continue to lead the negotiations for a RCEP that includes India.

 

Consumption tax

 

The recent increase in the consumption tax was unavoidable and necessary for Japan to squarely grapple with the national crisis of the aging of the population with the decrease in the birthrate and to transform its social security system into one where both the elderly and the young can live with peace of mind. (Abridged)

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