Policy Speech by Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio to the 210th Session of the Diet

October 3, 2022
[Provisional translation]


As we open the 210th session of the Diet, I renew my determination to defend Japan and carve out its future.

I will do my utmost to respond to the rise in prices we currently face and revitalize the Japanese economy without fail. I will resolutely and fully defend the peace and stability of Asia and the world by implementing multi-faceted diplomacy and conducting a fundamental reinforcement of our defense capabilities.

Rising prices the world over. A security environment rapidly becoming more severe.

An infectious disease crisis that has troubled the world for two and a half years, an energy and food crisis, and also a climate crisis caused by global warming.

Russian aggression against Ukraine in which a tense situation has continued for more than half a year.

Geopolitical challenges that undermine the entire international order. A nuclear non-proliferation regime that is approaching a major turning point.

Japan now faces circumstances that can truly be called a national crisis.

In order to overcome historic difficult situations being faced by both the world overall and Japan and carve out Japan's future, we will decisively and conscientiously implement our policies, one by one.

We are certain to be able to overcome any difficulty, no matter what it is, through all people pooling their strength and moving forward step by step.

My feelings on that intensified further while I was visiting Fukushima the other day.

The return of residents to zones that have been difficult to return to for a long time.

The removal of import restrictions in 43 countries and regions among the 55 that had imposed them.
The establishment of the Fukushima International Research and Education Organization, which will serve as a base for the creation of industry.

A public servant at the town office who told me of his strong feelings towards reconstruction.

Young people who had moved to Fukushima for the first time, who told me they want to make Fukushima an exciting and thriving place.

Through the hard work of many such people, Fukushima is moving forward steadily towards reconstruction.

Japan even rose back to its feet following the unprecedented national hardship of the Great East Japan Earthquake. If that is true, then I am confident we will also certainly overcome the hardships we now face.

Together, let us move forward, our sights set on the future of this nation.

(Political stance)

The state funeral for former Prime Minister Abe held last week became one that was both solemn and heartfelt. I believe I was able to respond with grace and courtesy to the condolences that we received from the many participants who arrived from overseas. I take the various views that were expressed by members of the public on that occasion very seriously and I will be appropriately mindful of them in the future.

I am also listening steadfastly to the voices of the public regarding relationships with the former Unification Church while working to realize accountability, and I am pressing forward with various measures in order to restore trust.

The Government will, in response to points that have arisen during the consultations undertaken to date, set up comprehensive consultation services and do everything possible to provide relief to victims of malevolent business practices or malevolent donations, including by enhancing and strengthening the support system provided by legal experts. We will also consider conducting a review of the laws, ordinances, and other elements of the legal structure related to consumer contracts.

I pledge to address the hard-hitting comments voiced by the public in a sincere, humble, and conscientious manner. I will do my utmost in order to discharge my duties as prime minister, once again engraving on my mind the spirit I embraced at the beginning, namely that the politician KISHIDA Fumio has his very starting point in the stance of listening to stern comments.

(Economic policies)

Among our utmost priorities is Japan's economic revival.

Japan is in the process of overcoming the crushing COVID-19 situation and moving forward in normalizing its socioeconomic activities. However, at present, Russian aggression against Ukraine, sharp increases in the prices of energy and food because of a weaker yen, and fears of a global recission are major risk factors affecting the Japanese economy.

Under the banner of a New Form of Capitalism, we will pursue, as our three priority areas, responses to rising prices and the weaker yen, structural wage increases, and investment and reforms to spur growth.

(Responses to rising prices and the weaker yen)

First is our response to rising prices and the weakening yen.

We have been flexible in responding to a situation in which we have seen ongoing price increases for everyday items, centered around food and energy.

Last month, we compiled additional measures to keep price rises in food and gasoline in check. In particular we took emergency assistance measures to support low-income households, whose budgets have been significantly impacted by higher prices.

Following up on this immediately, this month, we will formulate comprehensive economic measures to fully defend people's daily lives and business activities from these price increases, no matter what it takes.

Regarding food, we have already put measures in place to freeze beyond October the price of imported wheat and the burden borne when purchasing mixed feed.

The major issue from now through the spring of next year will be electricity prices, which are at risk of abrupt price increases. We will take unprecedented and daring measures to provide relief directly from increases in the electricity price burden borne by households and companies.

We will, moreover, work to transition to an economic structure resilient against crises in terms of energy and food. This will entail, for example, ensuring a stable supply of energy, promoting renewable energy and energy conservation, and ensuring food security through the domestic production of agricultural products.

As for the weaker yen, alongside the response measures I just mentioned, we will push forward vigorously with policy responses that extract the greatest possible benefits from the weaker yen and return those to the public.

From October 11, we will revive inbound tourism by, among other initiatives, resuming visa-free travel and independent tourism, with the aim of achieving over five trillion yen annually in the amount of consumption resulting from travel to our country by non-Japanese. We will also launch financial support for travel nationwide and for events, restoring demand after the extremely trying COVID-19 situation and revitalizing local communities.

We will also make our economic structure more resilient, utilizing the advantages derived from the weaker yen. We will strive to have factories for semiconductors and storage batteries located in Japan, to have companies reshore their operations, and to expand exports of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries products.

(Structural wage increases)

Next is structural wage increases.

Why is it that in Japan significant wage hikes do not materialize even over many years?

There is a structural problem, namely that the virtuous cycle in which wage increases attract highly-skilled human resources, thereby improving corporate productivity, thereby giving rise to further wage hikes, fails to function.

When this cycle gets in motion once, investments in people proceed further and this virtuous cycle accelerates.

For that reason, we will undertake integrated reforms covering the three issues of wage hikes, facilitating labor mobility, and investments in people.

Now, with ongoing price increases and wage increases becoming a pressing issue, we will resolutely tackle this longstanding major problem head on and aim to bring about structural wage increases.

First, with the public and private sectors acting in cooperation, we will strive to realize wage increases that are proportionate to the current increases in prices.

Within public pricing as well, we will, depending on the system, undertake reforms and other initiatives based on increases in private-sector salaries, and move forward with improving the treatment, enhancing work efficiency, and reducing the burden of those working at facilities providing medical nursing, elderly care, childcare services and the like, while making these improvements easily identifiable.

In addition, by next June we will compile guidelines for facilitating labor mobility between companies and between industries. These guidelines will cover, for example, reskilling, namely, improving measures to assist people in brushing up their skills in order to transfer into growth fields, and transitioning from ability-based pay within a seniority system to job-based pay that is appropriate for Japan.

In particular, with regard to our public assistance towards individuals engaged in reskilling, we will expand our measures for investment into people into a package at a scale of one trillion yen over five years.

Alongside this, we will be even more thoroughgoing in observing the principle of equal pay for equal work.

To respond to new work styles, we will prepare a legal structure under which individuals can create environments in which they can work in a stable manner as freelancers.

With a view to achieving wage increases at medium- and small-sized companies, we will pursue increases in productivity while vigorously advancing the passing of price increases through to clients by strengthening the system for enforcement under the Fair Trade Commission and so on.

(Investment and reforms to spur growth)

We will also pursue investment and reforms to spur growth.

We will transform social issues into engines for growth to bring about sustained growth.
Under this approach, we will accelerate investment by both the public and private sectors, placing emphasis on the four areas of science, technology, and innovation; startups; green transformation; and digital transformation.

In the first area of science, technology, and innovation, we will urgently put into concrete form our measures to advance both public and private investment more than ever before in the quantum, artificial intelligence, and bio fields, among others, where the setting of a national strategy and national targets has been underway.

We will, in a way that transcends the framework separating humanities and the sciences, work to promote the re-organization of undergraduate departments at universities towards growth fields, strengthen assistance to cultivate young researchers, and improve the quality of faculty and staff by conducting a review of their treatment in the workplace.

As for the second area, startups, I personally have held exchanges of views with a large number of entrepreneurs who founded startups in locations all across Japan.

Their startups targeted state-of-the-art bio manufacturing utilizing technologies unique to Japan, resolving issues in local communities using information technology, proactively developing businesses in Southeast Asia, and developing at sites in Fukushima remote control technology for robots.

Every one of these entrepreneurs is well-suited to carve out the future of this nation and is a person of great promise.

The second and third Toyota, Honda, and Sony will emerge from people like them taking on challenges. Because of that strong expectation, I have positioned 2022 as the first year for founding startups, and we are working to draw up a five-year plan, with a view to increasing the number of startups tenfold over five years.

We will also press forward with investments into human resources for startups. In addition to a major expansion of preferential treatment within public procurement, preferential tax treatment, and financial support, we will identify and cultivate young, extraordinary talent within the field of information technology and link startup ecosystems in Japan and overseas.

The third area is investment into green transformation, or "GX."

Aiming to finish by the end of the calendar year, we will accelerate our consideration of a roadmap for promoting green transformation, which will be an area of drastic reform for the economy, society, and industry.

We will bring concrete shape to policy initiatives I have spoken about thus far during my tenure, notably, growth-oriented carbon pricing, bold financial support having regulatory and institutional integration, transition finance, and the Asia Zero Emissions Community.

At the same time, to ensure a stable supply of energy, upon which green transformation is premised, we will squarely take on the issue of nuclear power, in light of the energy crisis that Russia's outrageous acts have caused.

Towards that end, I have given instructions to accelerate discussions by experts, aiming at the end of the calendar year, regarding restarting more than ten nuclear reactors, developing and constructing next-generation advanced reactors that incorporate new safety mechanisms, and related matters.

The fourth area is investment in digital transformation, or "DX."

We held the "Summer Digi-den Koshien" (Summer National Championship for Achieving a Digital Garden City Nation), in which efforts to realize a Vision for a Digital Garden City Nation competed against each other.

With a large number of participants, it was a competition in which we could feel the heightened expectations for regional vitalization through the use of digital technology.

To further promote digital transformation, we will press forward tremendously in improving the convenience of Social Security and Tax Number System (Individual Number) cards, commonly called “My Number” cards, such as by integrating the cards with health insurance cards, and accelerate efforts to popularize them among virtually all of the public. We will also provide support focusing on the social implementation of digital technologies within local communities.

We will also advance efforts towards the expanded use of Web 3.0 services that make use of the metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Semiconductors are said to be critically important to industry. Semiconductors are also a pivot for economic security, as the semiconductor field is expected to yield significant economic effects and create employment, and it is one we will emphasize in particular in the future.

It is estimated that the TSMC semiconductor plant invited to Kumamoto will have economic effects of over four trillion yen and give rise to employment for more than 7,000 people in the local area over ten years.

We will work to bring together investments from both the public and the private sectors into this field, which over the next decade is said to need 10 trillion yen in further investments in Japan alone.

Within the comprehensive economic measures we are introducing, we will reinforce our cutting-edge technological development, including the technological development and mass production of next-generation semiconductors, conducted jointly by Japan and the U.S. as the core of our efforts, and the research and development of Beyond 5G systems.

We will also undertake regulatory reforms. Over two years we will eradicate regulations based on the analog era and tie reforms in to the creation of new industries, the elimination of labor shortages, improvements in productivity, and increases in income.


Now I will address our responses to COVID-19.

Over the past year, while listening to the views of experts, we have invested all our energy in balancing the dual goals of protecting the lives and health of our citizens and not allowing our socioeconomic activities to come to a halt.

For the first time in three years, this year we successfully rode out the summer without issuing a declaration of a state of emergency or taking other measures restricting people's activities. This was thanks to each member of the public thoroughly implementing basic precautionary measures.

I also extend my deep respect and appreciation to those who have been supporting our medical care and welfare facilities despite the daily risk of infection.

As we progress further into the autumn it will be important for us to prepare for a simultaneous outbreak of influenza and COVID-19.

The most important thing of all is preventing infections through the use of vaccines.

From last month, we began administering a new type of vaccine that targets the Omicron strain. We expect that by the end of this month we will have imported a sufficient number of doses of this new vaccine for everyone expected to take them.

In preparation for the year-end and new year's holidays, beginning this month and continuing through November, the period that will be the turning point in our efforts, we will prepare the system to enable a pace of more than a million doses administered per day, including by distributing vouchers, securing vaccination venues, and so on, and then accelerate our administration of vaccines.

We will also work to ensure outpatient departments and other aspects of the health and medical system are fully in place, in expectation of a simultaneous outbreak alongside influenza.

Last month, we also set out an overall image for transitioning to a new stage in which we live our normal lives with COVID-19 in the background. We will endeavor to clear the way for socioeconomic activities as close to normal times as possible, based in scientific knowledge.

Face masks continue to be unnecessary outdoors, as a rule. Unless you are conversing in close proximity to others, there is no need to wear a mask outside. I would like everyone to maintain a balance when taking the basic precautionary measures, wearing or removing masks appropriately, according to the situation.

In addition to these measures, in preparation for the next infectious disease crisis, we will submit bills to amend the Infectious Diseases Control Law and other laws to enable flexible and effective responses under the law in times of emergency. We will also strengthen the control tower function by working to establish a Japanese version of the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

(Disaster measures)

Again this year we suffered a series of natural disasters in locations all around the country, including heavy rains, typhoons, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. I express my sincere mourning for all those who lost their lives in these disasters and I extend my heartfelt sympathies to everyone affected by them.

Disasters including torrential rains triggered by linear rainbands are becoming more extreme and more frequent. Against this background, our mission is to protect the lives and property of our citizens and decrease to the greatest possible extent the number of people harmed by disasters.

We will work continuously over the mid- to long-term to prevent and reduce disasters and enhance national resilience by promoting our Five-year Accelerated Measures package and also by formulating a new Basic Plan to set further efforts into motion.

(Realizing an inclusive society)

What will form the foundation supporting a New Form of Capitalism is a diverse society in which all people, whether old or young, male or female, with or without a disability, are able to feel their purpose in life.

We will move forward in building a social security system oriented to all generations and enhance both our measures to address the declining birthrate and our support we provide for child-rearing and to the generation of children. We will also work to bring about an inclusive society that has active participation by women and measures to address loneliness and isolation.

A tragic accident occurred once again, in which a small child was left behind in a nursery school shuttle bus in Shizuoka and lost her precious life, following a similar incident in Fukuoka last year. We will undertake urgent responses, including requiring shuttle buses to be fitted with safety mechanisms and setting in place assistance measures, so that such a tragedy never happens again.

(Economic measures)

In order to respond to the multitude of issues we face that I have touched on thus far, including the revitalization of the Japanese economy and COVID-19, I gave instructions the other day to have new comprehensive economic measures formulated. These will be compiled within this month and we will submit a supplementary budget to the current Diet session in accordance with what the measures entail.

Let us exert our full efforts to defend the daily lives of the people and carve out the future of this nation.

(Diplomacy and security)

More than half a year has now passed since Russian aggression towards Ukraine began.

This has now become a situation in which so-called "incorporation" and the exercise of partial mobilization orders have led to concerns that this aggression is entering a new phase.

Russia's outrageous act undermines the very foundation of the international order. We will continue to push ahead vigorously with sanctions against Russia and assistance for Ukraine. And, as the only Asian member of the G7, Japan will repeatedly undertake efforts to share in common with India and the countries of Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean region, and elsewhere the maintaining and strengthening of the international order based on the rule of law.

From my strong sense of urgency that "Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow," I have repeatedly made the appeal that attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force are intolerable no matter the region of the world in which they take place.

The security environment is rapidly becoming increasingly severe even in the areas surrounding Japan, including the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and in order to resolutely and fully defend Japan's territory, territorial waters, and territorial airspace, reinforcing our deterrence and response capabilities is a mission of the highest priority.

Taking that perspective, we will vigorously and in an integrated manner press ahead in examining the contents of our defense capabilities necessary for the fundamental reinforcement of our defense capabilities within five years, assessing the budgetary scale needed to make that possible, and securing the necessary fiscal resources. We will release our conclusions within the budget formulation process.

We will formulate the new National Security Strategy, which has been under discussion for some time, by the end of the calendar year. We will accelerate our realistic consideration of all options, without excluding any possibilities, of what is necessary to protect the public, including so-called counterstrike capabilities. Alongside this we will work to reinforce the capabilities of the Japan Coast Guard.

Economic security is also an important issue.

We will strive to have the Economic Security Promotion Act enter into effect without issues and cultivate important technologies, including space, marine, and cyber technologies.

In order to ensure Japan's security and prosperity, it is becoming increasingly important to reinforce the Japan-U.S. Alliance. We will further reinforce our deterrence and response capabilities, thereby contributing to the peace and stability of the region and the prosperity of the international community.

At the same time, we will continue to make efforts to alleviate the impact of U.S. military bases. With the aim of realizing the total return of Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma at the earliest possible time, we will press ahead with the construction work for the relocation to Henoko. Alongside this, we will advance our efforts to build a robust Okinawan economy.

In order to promote a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, we will further advance substantive cooperation while also utilizing the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) partnership, among others, and strengthen our cooperation with ASEAN, Europe, Oceania, and other partners. We will formulate a new plan towards that end. On the economic front as well, we will aim for concrete results from the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and other endeavors.

Last month we marked the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-China relations. Although there are various outstanding concerns even now between our two nations, while I say to China what needs to be said and call strongly for responsible behavior, we will form constructive and stable relations through the efforts of both Japan and China, in which we reliably build up dialogues with China, including about our issues of outstanding concern, and cooperate on issues we share in common.

The situation in Ukraine has resulted in a severe state of affairs in Japan-Russia relations, but Japan will adhere to its policy of resolving the territorial issue and concluding a peace treaty.

The Republic of Korea (ROK) is an important neighbor with whom we should cooperate in responding to various issues facing the international community. Based on the foundation of friendly and cooperative relations built up since the normalization of our diplomatic relations, it is necessary to restore and further develop healthy Japan-ROK relations, and we will engage in close communication with the ROK government.

Regarding the abductions issue, one of my highest priority issues, I will make every possible effort to bring about the return of all the abductees to Japan at the earliest possible date, seizing every possible opportunity. I am determined to meet with Chairman Kim Jong-un myself face to face, without any conditions. In accordance with the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration, Japan seeks to normalize relations with North Korea, through the settling of the "unfortunate past" and the comprehensive resolution of the outstanding issues of concern with North Korea, such as the abductions, nuclear, and missile issues.

It was extremely regrettable that at the recent Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the outcome document was not adopted because of opposition from Russia. By also making use of the meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons scheduled to convene in Hiroshima before the end of the year, we will advance our efforts in accordance with the Hiroshima Action Plan and take realistic steps towards realizing a world without nuclear weapons by maintaining and strengthening the NPT regime.

In addition, in line with Japan's determination to bring about the vision of the United Nations that I expressed recently, we will endeavor to strengthen the functions of the United Nations, including Security Council reform.

Next year, Japan will become a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and in May, we will hold a summit in Hiroshima as the presidency of the G7.

I myself will stand at the fore and continue to steadily promote maintaining and strengthening international standards and principles rooted in universal values, making efforts to resolve global-level issues, and pursuing realism diplomacy for a new era that resolutely and fully defends the lives and livelihoods of the Japanese people.

(The electoral system and the Constitution)

And finally, I will address the electoral system and the Constitution as critically important topics associated with the very basis of this nation.

Regarding electoral districts for House of Representatives members, we will be swift in submitting to this Diet an amendment to the Public Offices Election Law in order to revise it based on the recommendations compiled by the Council on the House of Representatives Electoral Districts this past June.

During the recent 208th session of the Diet, the Deliberative Councils on the Constitution convened more than 20 times in combined total for the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors and held discussions more actively than we have ever seen in recent years. I welcome this development. Constitutional reform ultimately requires a decision taken by the citizens. I look forward to holding discussions more actively than ever before in the Diet, working towards proposals to make that a reality.


Over this past year, I have visited many places and spoken directly to many people.

It is true that Japan is now facing a multitude of challenges. But that said, I feel a great many new shoots of change and hope for the future are also now beginning to spring forth.

This is true for the reconstruction of Fukushima as well, as I touched on at the beginning of this address.

It is also true for the vibrant activities of entrepreneurs in startups around the country.

It is true yet again for regional revitalization that uses the power of digital transformation.
I wish to bring together the power of many people, whether young or old, male or female, and channel this new movement, which has just started to show life, into a great stream, and carve out the future of this nation accordingly.

Attaching importance to my stance of "trust and sympathy," I will walk down the path of righteousness, moving forward one step at a time.

I will continue to dedicate myself completely to the future of this nation.

Thank you very much for listening.

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