Minister Abe Shinzo delivered a policy speech in the Diet January 20. He,
however, did not touch on thorny issues, including his-hosting party to enjoy cherry
blossoms and the bribery case over the IR=integrated resort development plan.
He referred without any emphasis to the most topical points: amendment of the
war-renouncing constitution as well as his zealous commitment to carry out
reforms in the public services for all generations. He spent more time in his
speech on the Olympic Games, vitalization of local economies and his investment
plan on innovation-needed fields.
SCREAM WITHOUT MENTIONING FAILURES AND MISTAKES
Abe, since late last year, has been emphasizing two major duties to be
finalized before his tenure ends; amendment of the constitution and reforms on
public services for all the generations. His government is ready to present
bills to the current Diet session to change pension plans, or, to apply the
Kosei-nenkin program, or the employees’ pension program, more broadly and to
make others more flexible in terms of benefits of recipients. The government is
planned to propose another bills on medical services to the coming extraordinary
session to be held in autumn, which is to oblige senior citizens over 75 years
old to pay more at the hospitals.
elections in mind
Abe gave the speech in a short version, using euphemism and choosing cautious rhetoric,
saying that ‘I cordially ask you lawmakers to discuss new steps in the medical
services for the elderly over 75 years old, some of whom will be required to owe
20% of treatment costs’.
Minister Abe, conscious of dissolution of the Diet during the coming extraordinary
session, concealed his real goal of the reforms on public services, which will demand
users to pay more as is seen in the healthcare for the elders. He did not
elaborate the bills, as he is well ready to cope with a period coming after the
general elections. He will produce a social atmosphere, through debates with opposition
lawmakers, in which people will admit a mode ‘less amounts of benefits and
bigger sum of payments’ and ‘a higher consumption tax rate over 10%’, using
mass media. He will launch a campaign ostentatiously to ‘reduce the long-term
deficit of 1,100 trillion Yen’ in order to find a breakthrough, beginning with ‘a
proportional payment for the elderly’.
told that tax income was the largest as ever and the amount of government bonds
recorded a decrease for eight consecutive years. The 2020 budget shows that the
biggest tax income source is the consumption tax, which is 1.8 times bigger
than the corporate taxes which have been reduced. His remark was absurdly
incorrect, as if his government had achieved a feat. Premier did not say
anything about the sluggish behaviors of personal consumption due to the
increased tax and the lingering deflation trend.
put inconvenient facts behind: resignation of two key ministers, the cherry
blossom viewing party, the IR-related political scandal accompanying arrest of a
lawmaker, the going police investigation in suspect of violation of the Public
Offices Election Law, and etc. These misconducts should have led to resignation
of all cabinet members, if the opposition political parties had been stronger. Premier
did not make an apology in the address.
a dispatch of the Self Defense Forces to Middle East,
Premier Abe had made a decision in the cabinet in advance of the legislature’s
session, but he did not touch on that. As for diplomatic relations with Republic of Korea, which is the worst since the end
of WWII, he simply reiterated to keep promise between the governments though
economic costs on tourism and food industries are enormous.
of Fukushima residents
Abe spent a third of his time on promotion of local economies in the context of
the Olympic Games and on backing to develop venture businesses, citing concrete
projects and hinting to take advantage of the National Strategic Special Zones.
These are certified business-friendly areas where the government implements
deregulation rules to spoil safety and environment.
Olympic torch starts from the J-Village, Fukushima.
Premier expressed loudly that ‘smiles of children’ and ‘many visits of foreign
tourists to Fukushima’,
contemplating to lift the bans imposed on the radio-actively contaminated areas,
including highways where transportation by motorcycle is currently prohibited,
and to restore railway service of the Joban Line.
government has terminated its restitution benefits to the affected residents.
Anxieties are enormous as they are obliged to return home. Prime Minister does
not pay attention at all.
to the previous Games in 1964, he shouted ‘Japan attracted the world’s attention
with great emotion’. He continued ‘let’s develop a new era’ in the coming
Olympics, adding to say that ‘let’s reform the country to formulate another one
through the constitution’. He had a glass of water three times as he apparently
felt awkward on the last days of regime. The recent speech was the most