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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Press Conference by Prime Minister Abe

November 1, 2017

[Provisional translation]

Opening Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Today, assuming the position of Japan’s 98th prime minister, I have come to continue to shoulder the weighty responsibilities of this position.

First of all, I wish to extend my sincere thanks once again to the Japanese people, who in the recent general election strongly placed their confidence in us, the Liberal Democratic Party, by giving us the largest number of votes received among any of the last three elections.

We must reliably live up to that trust. Taking the gravity of this responsibility deeply to heart, we will administer the government earnestly on the basis of the robust and stable foundation of the coalition between the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, in a spirit of humility.

We will take the confidence of the public as a major source of strength as we carry out the policies we pledged during the election campaign one by one and generate results. The Abe Cabinet will immediately, from today, devote itself fully towards that end.
At the Cabinet Meeting following this press conference, I will direct my Cabinet to draw up a new policy package. We will undertake a productivity revolution and a human resources development revolution in tandem to take on Japan’s greatest wall, the declining birthrate coupled with an aging society.

We will position the three years between now and 2020 as the period for a productivity revolution and concentrated investment and mobilize an entire spectrum of policies and measures, including bold approaches to the tax system, the budget, and regulatory reforms. By significantly boosting productivity, we will make the force of wage increases, which have been ongoing for four consecutive years, even more powerful and aim to pull out of deflation.

We will also carry out a human resources development revolution. We will press forward in one stroke to make early childhood education effectively free of charge, while also making higher education effectively free for children for whom such assistance is truly necessary. We will also carry forward further improvements to the treatment of nursing care workers and related matters so as to ensure adequate human resources in this field. By doing so we will eliminate the unease felt by the working generation regarding childrearing, nursing care, and other such issues. We will carry out policies at a scale of 2 trillion yen by boldly reviewing the way consumption tax revenues are used, and we will substantially reform Japan’s social security system into one that is oriented to all generations, in which both the elderly and the young can enjoy peace of mind.

I intend to compile that policy package in early December. At the same time, we will transition swiftly into implementing what can already be carried out. I intend to give instructions to compile a supplementary budget during the Cabinet Meeting following this press conference.

We will move forward in preparing childcare arrangements for 320,000 as a step towards eliminating the wait for acceptance into childcare facilities, an urgent matter. We will take the budgetary steps necessary to accelerate implementation of the Plan for Raising Children with Peace of Mind. We will vigorously support investment towards raising productivity among micro-, small, and medium enterprises, which can be called the core of our productivity revolution. Towards the end of the year I intend to compile a fiscal 2017 supplementary budget alongside measures to cope with natural disasters and also prevent and mitigate disasters, as well as measures to strengthen the agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries in light of the agreement in principle on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement.

The Abe Cabinet will continue to shoot the three arrows of Abenomics, placing the highest priority on the economy. We will implement reforms, then more reforms, and then more reforms still.

Having received strong confidence from the public, we will develop even more powerful economic policies. Public confidence in us is also the source of strong diplomacy. And, perseverance is the source of success.

Getting off to a quick start, next week I will welcome U.S. President Donald Trump to Japan. I wish to build upon the friendship we already enjoy and further deepen our relationship of trust while spending time discussing various world issues, including responses to the increasingly tense North Korea situation.

After that, I will advance active diplomacy by making use of the opportunities of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and the East Asia Summit, both of which will bring together leaders from around the world.

We will resolve the North Korean nuclear and missile issues as well as the abduction issue by making our solidarity with the international community even more robust. In order to make North Korea change its policies in these areas, we will continue to develop resolute diplomacy hand in hand with the international community.

On the basis of the dialogues built up with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China, I intend to have thoroughgoing discussions regarding not only the North Korea issue but also bilateral issues, taking a broad perspective.

In addition, I will resolutely secure the lives and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people under any circumstances. It is not an exaggeration to say that the security environment surrounding Japan is the most severe in the post-war era. In light of the current situation, we will also take all possible measures to reinforce our security arrangements.

In the context of a plethora of challenges both domestic and international, we are now called on to advance our policies single-mindedly and bring about results. We must take the support of the public and transform it into considerable power and dedicate ourselves heart and soul to our work.

It is necessary to structure the Cabinet with ministers who are focused on results, who will put work above all else and who have the ability and competence to perform well. Taking that perspective, I have decided to retain all of the ministers within my Cabinet, from veteran to junior members. This “Cabinet of doers” will start its work today with a new sense of resolve. I ask the public for its understanding and support as this “Cabinet of doers” takes on new challenges.

I will end my remarks here.

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