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The Prime Minister in Action

National Convention of Town and Village Mayors

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

  • Photograph of the Prime Minister delivering an address

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the National Convention of Town and Village Mayors held in Tokyo.
The Prime Minister said in his address,
“I would like to say a few words upon the opening of the National Convention of Town and Village Mayors.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and respect to all of the town and village mayors for your continued hard work day and night, leading the way from the front lines of local governments to further develop regional societies and improve the welfare of local residents.
Prosperous and vital local communities are a top priority of the Abe Cabinet. We are compiling a long-term vision and comprehensive strategy. As such, quite simply, we have a genuine sense that “The best lessons are learned from the front lines.” We are actively visiting local governments that are achieving results by exercising ingenuity and creativity, and the front lines where efforts are being made to try and overcome difficult circumstances, and listening fully to the opinions of the regions.
Our initiatives should not be led by the national government. Rather, the national government should thoroughly support unique and attractive initiatives that utilize the ideas and original ingenuity of the regions. We will eliminate vertically-segmented administrative systems at each ministry. We will also create a framework that is truly convenient for regions to use, and which provides one-stop support.
We are also forcefully and steadily advancing decentralization reform, including the promotion of the transition of authority and finances from the national government to local governments.
Thanks to our method for soliciting proposals, this fiscal year we received a wide variety of proposals from regional communities. We are moving forward on initiatives even on issues which we have thought were difficult up until now.
The preliminary results for GDP during July, August, and September announced two days ago were hard to take. We have not returned to a growth path. Based on comprehensive consideration, including that I have just decided that we will not raise consumption tax in October of next year, as is established by law, but will put that off for 18 months – for one and a half years. We are truly approaching a critical period for the exit from deflation. If we do not exit deflation, we will not be able to further grow the economy. This also means, at the same time, that we will not be able to increase tax revenue. If we do not increase tax revenue, it is doubtful that we will revitalize the regions. The ‘Abenomics’ economic policies that we are now promoting are producing steady results. In the two years since we rose to power, the number of employed people has increased by over 1 million, and the ratio of job offers to job seekers is at the highest level it has been at in 22 years. Regarding wages as well, according to a survey conducted by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO) in April, wages have grown by 2.5% or more on average. That is the highest figure in the past 15 years. The priority economic indices for every country are employment and wages. The percent of new university and high school graduates that were offered jobs in April of this year has increased, and for high school students, that increase was more than 10%. In this manner, the policies we are promoting are without a doubt achieving results.
However, the 3% increase in consumption tax in April caused consumption to fall 2%. That was the burden it caused, and we will not be able to raise consumption next year while this burden remains upon us. That is the judgment I have made. There is no question that in April 2017 we will raise consumption tax. We will also create an environment in which it can be raised.
I am confident that if wages definitely rise next year, the year after that, and the year after that, we will be able to create that kind of environment. And in this way, for the tax system – our tax system has been developed alongside our parliamentary democracy. In making a large decision about that tax system, I must ask the public for their confidence. That is what I have resolved to do.
In any case, it is the creation of local communities that we will thoroughly advance. We will absolutely create the kind of regions that can be entrusted with the dreams and future of the people and children living there. I would like to close my remarks by pledging to exert every effort for this alongside all of you.”

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