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Gist of Prime Minister Suga’s responses during Lower and Upper House plenary sessions, Oct. 29, 2020

The following is the gist of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s Diet replies during interpellation at the plenary sessions of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors on Oct. 29, 2020.

 

Third supplementary budget

 

We will continue to steadily implement the first and second supplementary budgets in an economic climate that is still severe. We will make a subsidy of up to two million yen for sustaining businesses and interest-free and uncollateralized loans of up to 40 million yen widely available to protect employment and ensure the continuation of business.

 

We will decisively take the necessary budgetary and other measures by closely monitoring the impact of the new coronavirus on the economy and other economic trends both at home and abroad.

 

Anti-coronavirus measures

 

We will swiftly take measures to prevent the spread of infection in the future with the strong determination to avert an explosive increase in cases at all costs and protect the lives and health of the public. The government will also take the initiative and make full preparations and take thorough measures with municipalities to develop a system for offering tests and medical services. We will make all-out efforts to protect employment and revive the economy by taking anti-infection measures.

 

Tourism support measures

 

We will consider extending the Go To Travel campaign by taking into consideration the infection situation, the recovery of travel demand, and budget execution. We will draw up plans for anti-infection measures and support for renovating inns’ and hotels’ facilities by year-end.

 

Consumption tax

 

We are giving special treatment to business owners whose income has been reduced by implementing a grace period for consumption tax payment. But the consumption tax is a necessary source of revenue for the social security system.

 

Dissolution of the Lower House, general election

 

Taking anti-coronavirus measures and reviving the economy is the top priority. We will first deal with these issues to the best of our ability.

 

No matter what, we will need to hold a Lower House election within a year. We would like give careful consideration to this matter while taking the time constraints into account.

 

Science Council of Japan

 

I made the decision as the person responsible for appointing members, taking into consideration that few members have been selected from the private sector or from among younger candidates and that diversity is crucial to the council. The Science Council law calls for the prime minister to appoint new members. The government adheres to the view that after gaining approval from the Cabinet Legislation Bureau, [the prime minister] is not obliged to appoint new members as recommended by the academic body. This legal interpretation has not changed.

 

I don’t think (the rejection of appointments) will infringe on the academic freedom of any individual SCJ members or the independence of the council’s operation.

 

Greenhouse gas emissions

 

The government will promote discussions on efforts toward the new goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and aim to report [the reduction target] to the UN by the time the COP (UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) 26 is held in November next year.

 

The government will pursue all options, including not only renewable energy sources but also nuclear and coal power sources. There is no change in the government policy of reducing the reliance on nuclear power as much as possible.

 

Digital policy

 

We will establish the digital agency next year to oversee digitalization in the public and private sectors. We will consolidate the necessary authorities within the agency and secure funding for it. We aim to realize a society in which people can perform various procedures without visiting government offices and live and work in rural areas in the same way as they do in cities.

 

Post-3/11 reconstruction

 

Reconstruction is steadily moving forward. But there are still challenges in supporting disaster victims mentally and fully reconstructing and reviving Fukushima. There will be no revitalization of Japan without the reconstruction of Tohoku. We will further promote our reconstruction efforts with this policy in mind.

 

Economic security

 

The emergence of innovative technologies has exposed various problems in domains across the security and economic sectors. We need to establish safe and trusted networks for key 5G infrastructure. 

 

Japan-China relations

 

The first thing we should do is to focus on bringing the new coronavirus under control. We are not at the stage of arranging a detailed schedule for leader Xi Jinping’s state visit to Japan.

 

It is extremely regrettable that Chinese government vessels are still invading waters near the Senkaku Islands. We will respond calmly and firmly with the resolve to steadfastly defend Japan’s territorial land, waters, and airspace.

 

Japan-South Korea relations

 

South Korea is an extremely important neighbor. Based on our country’s consistent stance, we will strongly call on South Korea to take appropriate actions to restore healthy Japan-South Korea relations. (Abridged)

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