January 25(Tuesday)

The beginning of a new Diet session and where we now stand


The ordinary session of the National Diet convened yesterday.  First I delivered a Policy Speech in which I stated my thoughts regarding issues that Japan simply cannot avoid addressing in the present day, including economic partnerships and agricultural reform and also reform of the social security system and associated fiscal resources.


In fact, there is a graph that has been key in driving my sense of impending crisis.  Here as we are about to begin our discussions, I would like to share this graph with you once more.


I would like you to take a good look one more time at the following graph of the Japanese population, without saying, "Nothing new here."


Shifts in Japan's Total Population
(Click on the graph to enlarge it.)


We have now gone beyond the abruptly projecting peak and in actuality all of us have now come to stand at the edge of a severe precipice, at the point directly following where this inverts to the downhill trend.  Yet although we find ourselves at such a point as this, all discussion is focused on the political situation of "when will the Cabinet reach a deadlock?"


Here in the midst of a society with a shrinking population, occurring for the first time since the dawn of Japanese history, how shall we bring into reality a sustainable social security system in which people can live without anxiety?  I call on the entire nation to discuss in the immediate future the substance of policies in a serious manner.


[Related Link]
Policy Speech by Prime Minister Naoto Kan at the 177th Session of the Diet


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