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Gist of interpellations at Upper House budget committee meeting, March 2, 2022

The following is the gist of interpellations at the Upper House budget committee meeting on March 2, 2022:

 

Ukraine

 

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio: Russia’s invasion [of Ukraine] is a unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force. It is a clear violation of international law and must not be tolerated. We strongly condemn it and will decisively take actions to demonstrate this stance.

 

Inoguchi Kuniko (Liberal Democratic Party): The economic sanctions [on Russia] may inconvenience the [Japanese] public.

 

Kishida: The sanctions will inevitably affect Japanese companies. We will do everything to curb the impact on people, and I hope the people understand this.

 

Inoguchi: The government should ask oil-producing countries to increase crude oil supply.

 

Kishida: I will.

 

Sato Kei (Liberal Democratic Party): The government should quickly reach a conclusion on sanctions against Belarus.

 

Kishida: Given [Belarus’] obvious involvement in [Russia’s] invasion of Ukraine, we will impose sanctions on President [Alexander] Lukashenko and other individuals as well as entities, and implement export control measures. We want to impose them as early as this week.

 

Kawai Takanori (Democratic Party for the People): I heard [the foreign minister] ignored the Ukrainian ambassador’s request for a meeting for one month. That is too slow a response.

 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa: I was not aware of the request. I’ll look into why it happened.

 

Kishida: It is important to communicate with the relevant countries amid a tense situation.

 

Taiwan Strait

 

Ishii Akira (Nippon Ishin [Japan Innovation Party]): How will the Russian invasion [of Ukraine] affect the situation in the Taiwan Strait?

 

Kishida: Invasion is an act of shaking the foundation of the international order. An attempt to change the status quo by force like the one we are seeing now must not be tolerated in the Asian-Pacific region, particularly in East Asia. The peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is important for Japan’s national security and the stability of the international community. I will closely monitor the situation [in the strait] with interest.

 

Ishii: Japan should support Taiwan’s bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

 

Kishida: We welcome [Taiwan’s] application to join the pact. We will respond in light of the strategic perspective and public understanding while identifying whether [Taiwan] is prepared to fully meet the high-level [rules].

 

NPT meeting

 

Inoguchi: I want [the prime minister] to positively consider attending the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference.

 

Kishida: I will do my utmost for the success of the conference, which will be held in light of the Ukrainian situation as well. I will endeavor to attend the meeting if conditions permit.

 

Nuclear sharing policy

 

Tanabu Masayo (Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan): Former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo called for discussions [on the nuclear sharing policy].

 

Kishida: Considering our country’s position to firmly adhere to the three non-nuclear principles and the legal system including the Atomic Energy Basic Law, which limits the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, it is difficult to accept [discussions on nuclear sharing]. The government is not considering discussing [nuclear sharing].

 

Revision of National Security Strategy

 

Sato: The protection and promotion of the defense industry should be defined.

 

Minister of Defense Kishi Nobuo: We will consider specific measures to revitalize the defense industry.

 

Kishida: We will draw up [the National Security Strategy] in light of the invasion of Ukraine.

 

Capability to attack enemy bases

 

Yamazoe Taku (Japanese Communist Party): It’s dangerous to consider acquiring the capability.

 

Kishida: We are considering the issue within the range of the Constitution and international law while maintaining role-sharing between Japan and the U.S. We are not considering obtaining sufficient military power to annihilate an enemy and conduct an all-out war. (Abridged)

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