January 14(Friday)

What lies ahead as a new structure is launched


Today I undertook a strengthening of the Cabinet and party structures.


The position of acting DPJ president which Mr. Sengoku will take on is one which I myself held in the past.  It is a post in which people with high aspirations and competence can engage in significant work.  I have great expectations that Mr. Sengoku's abilities will be demonstrated fully through enhancing the think tank-like functions and building up the network of human resources supporting the ruling parties among the private sector, among other future endeavors.


He and Mr. Yosano, who will serve as Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, have a great deal in common in their ways of thinking.  In the report of the Council for the Realization of a Reassuring Society, organized by Mr. Yosano and his colleagues two years ago, I found areas that were very similar to my own ideas, and among the members of the current Council on the Realization of the New Growth Strategy we can find some people who had also been members of the Council.  In this area, in which suprapartisan discussions are truly needed now, I look forward to Mr. Yosano serving in the role of a bridgebuilder.


Mr. Kaieda, an ardent supporter of trade liberalization, will take up the post of Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and I have great expectations from his appointment as well.  We cannot afford to put off the 21st century opening up of Japan any longer.


In this way, a lineup now stands ready to boldly and proactively tackle the critical issues such as the rebuilding of the social security system, issues of associated fiscal resources, the liberalization of trade, and the reform of the agricultural sector.  We will engage with the Diet, which is just about to start, through this structure.  In the next Diet session, I very much want to focus on discussing the substance of policies.  I would like members of the opposition parties also to come forth with specific alternate proposals and other ideas, and I would like to set topics and toss out questions to my colleagues.  Shall we not in this way go beyond the framework of unilateral questioning vs. answering to develop meaningful deliberations?


Now more than ever, we simply cannot allow the various issues to be kicked further down the road.  This is a time for politicians and bureaucrats as well as ruling and opposition parties alike to engage in concerted efforts to confront the crisis Japan faces.  History is watching us.


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