Home >  News >  Speech and Statements by the Prime Minister >  February 2013 >  Policy Speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the 183rd Session of the Diet

Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Policy Speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the 183rd Session of the Diet

Thursday, February 28, 2013

[Provisional Translation]

1. Introduction

"A strong Japan." The people who create it are not some other people. They are none other than we ourselves.

"National independence through personal independence"

We will be unable to open up our future unless we ourselves cast away the mindset of leaning on someone else and have the will to carve out our own destinies within our own respective areas.

Japan now faces a number of challenges. However, we must not lose heart. We must not give up.

Each of us should arise by ourselves, look forward, and move ahead in the belief that the future will be bright. That is the one and only path forward for bequeathing a magnificent and strong country not only to the next generation following us but also to the future generations of Japan.

"The best way is sharing joys and sorrows"

Yukichi Fukuzawa, who urged personal independence, stated that citizens and the state should share both good times and bad times, grounded in the independence of individuals.

The spirit of "mutual support" and "public assistance" is not simply about rescuing the unfortunate.

People who share the quality of making all-out efforts as they live their lives are fellow companions who share joys and sorrows with each other. For this reason, when people need help, they help each other. I consider mutual support and public assistance to have that kind of spirit.

2. The strong sense of independence of the people affected by the disaster and the acceleration of reconstruction

"We all check on each other and encourage one another."

Each month since assuming the office of Prime Minister, I have visited the disaster-stricken areas and listened directly to the voices of the people who are forced to live as evacuees.

I found people there to have a thoughtful outlook despite the harsh living conditions in temporary housing. I felt the mettle of people trying to be self-reliant while also supporting each other mutually.

At the same time, people are now confronted by challenges which are insurmountable by applying only the will or the efforts of individuals.

While the transfer of housing to areas of high elevation has finally gotten started, the acquisition of land and various procedures have resulted in prominent and considerable delays.

There exists an anxiety of uncertainty towards the future from extending the stay in temporary housing. Elderly people also told me heartbreaking stories that they are "running out of time."

"I want to live in my own house, however small it may be."

We must support the people making all-out efforts in the present by accelerating reconstruction. While the issues needing to be worked out vary with each local area, the Reconstruction Agency will thoroughly implement a hands-on approach and conduct tangible coordination on the issues, resolving each of them one by one.

Fukushima continues to suffer even now from the damages caused by the nuclear accident. Children are not even able to play outdoors sufficiently. It is only natural for us to abolish the government's vertically-segmented administrative structure and spare no efforts in decontamination, preventing reputational damages from radiation-related rumors, and enabling the early return of residents to their homes. However, we must also foster "hope," which lies beyond those efforts.

We will build a Tohoku region in which young people are able to have hearts full of hope. That is reconstruction in the truest sense.

Already, renewable energy industries, medical-related industries, and other future growth industries are beginning to sprout up in Tohoku. In order to move forward with reconstruction even more dynamically, we have decided to conduct a review of the 19 trillion yen reconstruction budget [for fiscal year 2011 through fiscal year 2015] and secure the necessary fiscal resources.

March 11 will soon be upon us once more this year. And spring will soon arrive in Tohoku, which has come through a harsh and long winter. Let us work together to build a Tohoku that will be a "region of new creativity and potential," just like the blossoms that proudly bloom in the spring after enduring a cold winter.

3. The will and the courage to achieve economic growth

Now, are young people today able to have hope in the future of the Japanese economy?

It is the responsibility of our generation to rebuild a robust Japanese economy in which young people are able to believe that the future will be bright.

We will vigorously launch the "three prongs" of economic revival, namely bold monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy, and a growth strategy that encourages private sector investment.

We will be unable to deal with the dramatically changing global economy if we employ the same methods we have used until now.

Japan's economic growth depends on our will and our courage to set out to sea and sail without hesitation through the rough waves of the megacompetition encompassing the globe.

(Spreading our wings towards the global frontier)

People who were demonstrating just that kind of courage working far away in the Algerian desert became casualties.

Our nation will never forgive the despicable nature and inhumanity of the terrorists who caused them to die a violent death. We will verify what we must do in order to ensure that no others fall victim to terrorism and move forward with concrete measures towards this end.

What I fear is that this incident will cause Japanese to lose the will and the courage to spread their wings in the world.

The growth center of the world is expanding from Asia to Latin America and Africa. We must incorporate overseas growth into Japan and dauntlessly take a leap into the frontier wherever it may be around the globe, so that the ambitions of the victims in this incident do not come to naught.

Japan abounds in appealing products that should be packed into that "bag" of the new frontier.

Healthful Japanese food has sparked a boom around the world. In addition, Japan offers agricultural products raised with meticulous care within the changing of Japan's four seasons. As the number of well-off people around the world rises, there is no doubt that the popularity of these products will increase. "Agricultural policies on the offensive" are necessary for that reason as well. Japan is "a land blessed with rice." We enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful scenery of terraced rice paddies, along with ancient culture. Young people will conserve these beautiful hometowns and thereby foster "robust agriculture" through which they can have hope for the future.

Good health is a common theme as something everyone in the world desires. We will aim to make active use of regenerative medicine and drug development that utilize induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), a technology originating in Japan, and other state-of-the-art medical technologies to bring about a society that leads the world in good health and longevity. We will further refine Japan's medical technologies and services that our world-class universal health insurance system has cultivated, and actively extend them around the globe, including through our international medical cooperation efforts.

Japan's strengths in content, fashion, and culture and tradition are also attracting attention from the world. As we work to ensure that the boom in anime and other content does not end as a temporary fad, besides promoting Japan as a tourism-oriented country that attracts people from around the world, let us also make "Cool Japan" into a world-class business.

Environmental technologies are another prominent field. In a world facing constraints on resources, Japan holds the solutions. Here, too, lie business opportunities. Japan continues to abide by its fundamental policy of using state-of-the-art technologies to contribute to global climate change countermeasures and create a low-carbon society.

In the current age when the items we place in our "bag" are increasingly diversified such as technologies, services, and intellectual property, we must harmonize trade and investment rules internationally in order to ensure vigorous and fair international competition.

Japan must not be passive. Whether at the global level, the regional level, or the bilateral level, I intend for Japan to be a country that creates the rules, rather than one that waits for the rules to be made.

We will strategically promote economic partnerships with the Asia-Pacific region, the East Asia region, Europe, and others. Making the most of our diplomatic capacity, we will protect those areas that should be protected and move forward with economic partnerships that serve our national interests.

Regarding the TPP, I myself met with President Obama and confirmed that a prior commitment to eliminate tariffs with no sanctuary is not a requirement for participation. Hereafter, the Government, on its responsibility, will make the decision on whether it will participate in the negotiations.

We will prepare an environment in which all Japanese with the motivation will be able to be dynamically engaged in the growth centers of the world.

(Japan will become the world's growth center)

At the same time, it is necessary for us to have the mettle not only for things to flow from Japan to the world, but also to assemble top caliber companies and people in Japan from the world, thereby making Japan a growth center once again.

Do people of excellence now think that they want to demonstrate their capabilities in Japan?

Researchers unable to be satisfied with the research environment in Japan are rapidly flowing out to overseas.

Let us build "the most innovation-friendly country in the world." The Council for Science and Technology Policy serves as the control tower for this. We will prepare an environment in which researchers from around the world will gather in Japan, including by undertaking bold regulatory reforms.

In Okinawa I encountered "hope" that might be called young spring buds.

"I came to Okinawa because I thought it would provide me with research opportunities of exceptional excellence."

This student from the United States had previously been engaged in research at Harvard and Yale Universities. After that, he had chosen the path of conducting research at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, which opened its doors last year.

In addition to its latest research facilities, the university's superb environment on the shoreline of Okinawa's beautiful sea is bringing together outstanding professors and students of excellence from around the world. We will make the world's foremost base for innovation in Okinawa.

Japan is driving global innovation in cutting-edge areas, including among others the world's first production test of marine methane hydrate, a globally unparalleled rocket launch success rate, and our attempts to develop the most advanced accelerator technology in the world.

We also excel in marine development, which will lead to Japan becoming a future world power in resources, the utilization of space, an area in which we can expect a wide range of uses including security and disaster prevention, and the use of information technology, which has the potential to bring about a revolution in society through areas such as teleworking and telemedicine.

By doing away with the vertical segmentation among ministries and agencies and strengthening the functions of the control tower, we will vigorously press forward with these innovations, which will bring new possibilities to Japan.

Do the world's top caliber companies view Japan as a place they wish to be situated?

If anything, Japan is facing the issue of a grave hollowing out of its industries.

In addition to breaking away from our prolonged deflation at an early time, we will formulate a responsible energy policy aimed at ensuring a stable supply of energy and lower energy costs.

Reflecting on the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, under the Nuclear Regulation Authority, we will foster a new culture of safety that will uncompromisingly enhance the degree of safety. After doing so we will restart nuclear power plants where safety has been confirmed.

We will promote the introduction of energy conservation and renewable energies to the greatest possible extent to reduce our degree of dependency on nuclear power as much as possible. At the same time, we will begin a fundamental reform of the electric system.

We will aim to be the easiest country worldwide in which to do business.

We will introduce "international benchmark tests" as we move forward on regulatory reform leaving no sanctuary untouched. We will dissolve one by one the obstacles that hinder corporate activities. This is the mission of the new Regulatory Reform Council.

In addition to the results of reforms made to date, we will also reform the modalities of the administration and of the civil service system, taking into account the shift to an era of international megacompetition. I expect civil servants actively to advance the building of a nation that will emerge triumphant in global competition, with a sense of both pride and responsibility, each within his or her respective area of assignment.

We will create local regions brimming with appeal. The key to this will be decentralization reforms intended to utilize the ingenuity of each local area. We will press forward in reforming the system of large metropolitan areas and other aspects of transferring authority to, and relaxing regulations targeting, the local regions. Moreover, we will support the revitalization of local areas.

(The mettle to aim at being the No.1 in the world)

There are people from small-scale factories resolutely attempting to take on the Ferrari and BMW corporations.

But this is not in the area of automobiles. Mr. Hosogai, who operates a small business in Tokyo's Ota Ward, has launched a project together with his colleagues to produce sleds for bobsled competitions domestically.

"I hope to build the world's fastest machine," he says.

Over thirty small factories have put together the strengths in manufacturing that they have cultivated over the years to take on the world, aiming at next year's Sochi Olympics.

We will support the efforts being made by business operators of small- and medium-sized companies and micro enterprises that have a high level of technology and strong motivation. We will prepare a mechanism to support them in developing prototypes, opening up new markets, and other such new endeavors.

This is the mettle to aim single-mindedly at being the best in the world. I am fully confident that as long as such people are with us, Japan will still be able to grow.

I will say once again: my honorable colleagues, let us aim now more than ever at being the No.1 in the world.

(Economic growth to help with household budgets)

Why must we aim to be the No.1 in the world and bring economic growth?

It is specifically because we seek to create employment for people having a strong desire to work while increasing the after-tax income of people who work hard.

For this reason, I myself appealed directly to the business community, urging them to raise workers' remuneration to the greatest extent possible. The government for its part will utilize the tax system to support companies that return their profits to their employees.

Already we have seen companies stating that they will raise their employees' remuneration in agreement with this policy. This is a very welcome development.

It is a great challenge for households to make ends meet. We will restore a robust economy so as move forward for the improvement of people's daily lives.

4. Becoming the safest country with the greatest peace of mind in the world

But this is not simply a matter of economics. Another matter of urgency is making Japan a resilient nation that resolutely defends the lives and the assets of the Japanese people, which are exposed to various risks.

An accident occurred in a tunnel that people were using for trips and for work without a second thought. This was the Sasago Tunnel accident.

As I was growing up, the sight of expressways being laid one after another was symbolic of a growing Japan. However, the infrastructure that was laid in that era has been aging. We must confront the reality that this situation has even claimed human lives.

Making the nation's infrastructure more resilient in order to protect people's lives is a matter of the greatest urgency. We must also make haste to prepare for such large-scale natural disasters as an earthquake directly below the capital or an earthquake in the Nankai Trough. We will protect the safety of the people by pushing forward with thoroughly implemented measures for disaster prevention and mitigation and measures to address aging infrastructure.

It is also essential to have trust in public order. We will thoroughly reinforce our countermeasures and our enforcement targeting cybercrimes and cyberattacks, which are a menace to the Internet society, as well as crime syndicates and terrorists that threaten people's tranquil lives.

We must also protect consumers from troubles caused by fraudulent business practices. We will work to ensure the safety and the peace of mind of consumers by enhancing consultation services in local areas, reinforcing our supervision, and other such efforts.

Through these efforts we will create a Japan as "the nation that offers the greatest peace of mind in the world" while also being "the safest nation in the world."

5. Politics that addresses anxieties in people's daily lives one by one

Each of Japanese people listening to this speech now may harbor his or her own worries and anxieties.

These could be managing household expenses, education, child-rearing, or nursing care. Another mission of the government is focusing attention on such sources of anxiety and addressing them one by one.

We have launched a program of "hometown roundtable talks."  Cabinet ministers head out to local areas in order to hear the views of the public directly. We will connect the views of each individual directly with concrete policies.

(Rebuilding education with children taking the leading role)

Parents are continuously worried about their children's education.
Against a backdrop of bullying and corporal punishment, cases have arisen in which children lost their precious lives. It is imperative that we adults transition into action right away with a strong will and sense of responsibility that we will fully defend children's lives no matter what it takes.

We will advance tangible reforms in schools in keeping with the Fundamental Law of Education that was revised six years ago. First of all, we will implement enhanced moral education and the other recommendations to counter bullying recently compiled by the Education Rebuilding Implementation Council.

We will prepare a structure that will enable appropriate and swift responses to problems occurring in educational settings. We will move forward on considering fundamental reforms concerning the current board of education system, including clarifying where responsibility lies.

The improvement of academic ability is also an important role required of public education. In order to foster world-leading academic ability, we will cultivate capable teachers and enhance curricula and other elements of education that address globalization. The strength of our universities is the strength of our nation. Japan will not advance unless we enhance the strength of our universities. We will review the modalities of our universities to enable our universities to be among the best in the world.

When I was a child, I too had various dreams of becoming a professional baseball player or a policeman. Rebuilding education is nothing less than helping children have the will to realize their dreams and enabling them to walk down the paths they have chosen.

It is the children who will take the lead role.

From now, we will move forward on considering concrete issues toward rebuilding education, including a major reform of the educational system to be undertaken here in the Heisei era that would result from a review of the current system of six years of elementary school, three years each of junior and senior high school, and four years of undergraduate study.

(A society that provides support for child-rearing and nursing care)

It is a fact that mothers and fathers working hard to raise their children are pressed to choose between either raising their children or having a job.

We will expand the number of children able to be enrolled in childcare facilities with a view to eliminating childcare waiting lists. We must also expand childcare services on holidays and at night in order to respond to a variety of childcare needs. We will expand the number of clubs providing afterschool activities for children and also place emphasis on child-rearing assistance provided by local areas.

In addition to assistance to make child-rearing compatible with employment, we will provide support for returning to the workforce. We will provide support for businesses that assist with reconciling work with child-rearing and we will expand the Mothers' Hello Work employment service.

An increasing number of people are also confronted with the difficult task of balancing employment with nursing care for their elderly parents.

We must create companies in which it is easy to reconcile the responsibilities of both nursing care and work. As an initial step, first we will spread the knowledge and know-how necessary to balance these two aspects widely among both working people and places of employment, enabling people to receive various kinds of assistance. We will also create a system under which high quality necessary nursing care is provided to elderly people living in local areas.

Society will help support child-rearing and nursing care together with families, rather than leave everything in the families' hands.

(A Japan in which women shine)

At the same time, there are also people who raise children or render nursing care while dedicating themselves exclusively to the household. Their hard efforts are invaluable and unable to be measured by economic indicators alone.

I believe that the activities of these people in society will give rise to a new vitality in Japan. We will implement assistance for returning to the workplace, such as making use of trial employment systems, in order to enable these people to return to the workforce at any time.

We will advance our efforts to create a country in which both women playing active roles in the workforce and women dedicating themselves exclusively to household affairs, and indeed all women, can shine, with confidence and pride in the lives they are leading. My fellow honorable members of the Diet, let us together create a Japan in which women shine.

(A society in which everyone receives another chance to succeed)

We will foster opportunities in which anyone with motivation, whether old or young or with a disability or sickness, can be dynamically engaged in helping the society and helping others. Beyond that, a Japan overflowing with vitality awaits.

We will painstakingly implement support for job seekers that is tailored to people's individual circumstances. We will make use of the Forum for Promoting Active Participation by Young People and Women to extract further issues to be addressed and consider specific measures.

A society in which a single failure brands a person and keeps him or her locked into a category of "those who have failed" cannot be said to be a "society that rewards those who work hard." We will create a society in which people are able to try any number of times to succeed.

(Building a sustainable social security system)

However, there are also people who because of illness, advanced age, or other factors are unable to attain favorable results, no matter how much motivation they have.

We must build a sustainable social security system to ensure that such people are also able to enjoy peace of mind. As our society continues to age and our birthrate continues to fall, we will secure stable financial resources and create a system that maintains a good balance between its benefits and its burdens.

We will extend a firm hand of assistance to those in vulnerable positions, emphasizing self-help efforts and independence first while combining these with mutual support and public assistance. Based on the progress of the consultations among the three parties of the Liberal Democratic Party, New Komeito, and the Democratic Party of Japan, the National Council on Social Security System Reform will hold discussions, after which we will lay out reforms in concrete terms.

As for the primary balances of the central and local governments, we will aim to achieve our targets for putting finances on a sound footing, namely, reducing the deficit to GDP ratio by half by fiscal year 2015 compared to the ratio in fiscal year 2010 and by achieving a budget surplus by fiscal year 2020.

6. Diplomacy and security based on principles

Next I will address diplomacy and security matters.

My diplomacy holds certain principles. Although I announced five principles of diplomacy towards ASEAN during my recent visit to ASEAN countries, the fundamental principles of my diplomacy are "strategic diplomacy," "diplomacy that places emphasis on universal values," and "proactive diplomacy" that safeguards national interests. We will rebuild Japanese diplomacy, which has been damaged, and clarify our steadfast position in the world.

Of course, it is the Japan-U.S. alliance that serves as the cornerstone of our diplomacy.

Under the principle of open seas, it is entirely reasonable for the United States, the world's largest maritime state, and Japan, the largest maritime democracy in Asia, to become partners, and constant reinforcement of our partnership is necessary.

Through my talks with President Obama the other day, we have fully revived the close Japan-U.S. alliance. I also confirmed that we hold the same strategic consciousness and share the same goals regarding not only politics, the economy, and security but also common challenges for the Asia-Pacific region and moreover for the international community. I succeeded in clearly demonstrating to both the people of Japan and people around the world that the close Japan-U.S. alliance has been restored and that Japan and the U.S. will join hands in cooperation in order to ensure world peace and stability.

The Japan-U.S. security arrangements provide deterrence, an important type of public goods. Japan will fulfill an additional role in order to enhance this deterrence. At the same time, the realignment of U.S. Forces, Japan is underway in accordance with the current Japan-U.S. agreement, and we are dedicated to reducing the burdens on Okinawa while maintaining deterrence. In particular, we must not allow Futenma Air Station to remain at its current location indefinitely. We will build up a relationship of trust while listening carefully to the voices of the people of Okinawa. And, we will move forward at an early time regarding the relocation of Futenma Air Station and the plan to return areas south of Kadena.

The nuclear test that North Korea conducted absolutely cannot be tolerated. It clearly violates UN Security Council Resolutions and Japan strenuously protests and condemns it. If North Korea seeks peace and prosperity, it should be made to understand that taking this kind of provocative action will not yield any benefits. We will pursue a resolute response in cooperation with relevant countries, notably the United States and the Republic of Korea as well as China and Russia.

Regarding the abduction issue, my mission will not be complete until the day comes that the families of all the abductees are able to embrace their relatives with their own hands.  Under the policy of "dialogue and pressure" with North Korea, I will do my utmost to achieve the three points of ensuring the safety and the immediate return to Japan of all the abductees, obtaining a full accounting concerning the abductions, and realizing the handover of the perpetrators of the abductions.

We strongly urge North Korea to take concrete actions towards the comprehensive resolution of the outstanding issues of concern, including the abduction, nuclear, and missile issues.

There is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent part of the territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Moreover, there exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands in the first place.

We also call strongly for restraint so that China strictly refrains from dangerous acts that would escalate the situation, like the recent targeting of a Japanese destroyer with fire-control radar. It is necessary for countries to act in accordance with international rules.

At the same time, as Japan-China relations are one of our most important bilateral relationships, we urge a return to the starting point of a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests" to control the situation so that individual issues do not impact upon the relationship as a whole. My door for dialogue is always open.

The Republic of Korea is our most important neighboring country with which we share the fundamental values of freedom and democracy, as well as common interests. I sincerely welcome the new President Park Geun-hye assuming her post. While there exist some difficult challenges between Japan and the ROK, we will act in cooperation with the aim of building an important future-oriented partnership appropriate for the 21st century.

Our relationship with Russia, another neighboring country, is among our bilateral relationships holding the greatest potential. I hope to make my visit to Russia scheduled for this year a visit that provides new momentum to the development of Japan-Russia relations. I will work towards the development of Japan-Russia relations as a whole in order to build an appropriate relationship with Russia as a partner in the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, I will tenaciously engage with Russia, working towards the settlement of the greatest outstanding issue, the issue of the Northern Territories, and thereafter the conclusion of a peace treaty.

We will deepen our cooperation with Australia and India as well as the countries of ASEAN and other maritime Asian nations, with the close Japan-U.S. relationship as our cornerstone. Through such international frameworks as the G8, the G20, and the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), which will be held in Japan, Japan will uphold its responsibilities commensurate with its stature as a major power, working towards the resolution of common challenges facing the international community, such as poverty and development.

7. A crisis of the here and now

The security environment surrounding Japan has become increasingly severe, with ongoing provocations against our territory, territorial waters, and territorial airspace as well as against our sovereignty itself.

The other day I visited Okinawa and had the opportunity to encourage the members of the Japan Coast Guard, the police, and the Self-Defense Forces, who are carrying out their missions on the front line. I saw for myself their serious expressions and the pervading sense of vigilance. I am full of appreciation also to their families who sent them off on their missions.

I am determined to stand at the fore of these men and women, fully defending the lives and assets of our nationals as well as our territory, territorial waters, and territorial airspace in a resolute manner.

We will increase defense-related expenditures for the first time in eleven years. In the future, we will conduct a review of the National Defense Program Guidelines and work to enhance the Self Defense Forces' response capacity, including in Japan's southwestern region.

We will begin full-fledged consideration of the establishment of a National Security Council, which will serve as the control tower for Japan's foreign policy and national security policy. At the same time, within the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security we will pursue an appropriate position for Japan within the international situation of the 21st century.

In the face of a crisis, the important thing is not to lose perspective.

Japan's national interest lies eternally in keeping the seas, which are the foundation of Japan's very existence, unequivocally open, free, and peaceful.

"We tried to defend a principle of basic importance for the entire world, namely the principle that above all, international law should prevail over the use of force."

These are the words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as she looked back on the Falklands War.

"The rule of law at sea." I would like to appeal to the international community that in modern times, changes to the status quo through the use of coercion or intimidation will not legitimize anything.

The crisis over security is not "someone else's problem." It is a crisis of the here and now.l

Right now, at this very moment, members of the Japan Coast Guard, the police, and the Self-Defense Forces are taking on their missions with strong will and endurance. They do not fear rough seas and they overcome air turbulence. They tolerate extremely tense circumstances and carry out their missions with strong feelings of pride. My honorable colleagues, whether we are in the ruling or the opposition parties, shall we not show our feelings of gratitude to them now, from this hall?

8. Conclusion

Kaibara Ekken, a distinguished scholar of the Edo Period, had been growing a peony bloom with great care. One day while Ekken was away, the young man who was minding the scholar's affairs in his absence broke the flower's stalk. The youth was worried that Ekken would be angry with him, but it is said that Ekken forgave him, telling him, "I planted the peony in order to bring enjoyment, not anger."

Ekken succeeded in being broad-minded by being always mindful of his initial objective in planting the peony and then returning to that mindset.

I call on all the legislators gathered in this hall to think back.
For what purpose did we set our sights on being members of the Diet?
The reason is our desire to make our country a better place, or to devote ourselves to working for the public, and not in any case to spend our time politicking or to stand in each other's way.

Engaging in constructive discussions with a spirit of mutual tolerance and producing results, all for the sake of the country and the people, is the mission assigned to us as national legislators.

Let us negotiate among the various parties and parliamentary groups and squarely produce conclusions, even regarding reducing the number of seats [in the House of Representatives] and reviewing the electoral system.

Let us promote the discussions of the Deliberative Council on the Constitution [in each chamber of the Diet] and deepen national discussions toward revising the Constitution.

It goes without saying that the ruling parties of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito shoulder the principal responsibility for political administration. In addition, I will make efforts to obtain agreement by engaging in persistent and thorough discussions with my fellow legislators in other parties and parliamentary groups.

I will end my policy speech with a final request that all those gathered here recall the original ardent intentions they held upon first becoming members of the Diet. I urge you to engage in constructive discussions.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Page Top

Related Link