February 10(Thursday)

Looking beyond the question time in Diet


Yesterday I participated in my first Diet debate with each party leader since becoming Prime Minister.


We now stand at the very brink with regard to the integrated reform of social security and the tax system, such that we must tackle this issue through the mobilization of our collective wisdom truly as a nation. What is important is not the political situation, but rather the big picture. That is precisely why I looked beyond party lines to bring in Mr. Yosano, asking him to serve as the minister responsible for this matter.


Even after I stated repeatedly that I would "put forth an overall direction forward within April and submit a proposal in June," Mr. Tanigaki, who has been asking "how can we get on board any consultations without you first putting forth a plan," would not respond to my question of, "So, will you take part in these discussions?"


Mr. Tanigaki, who, in response to my belief that we need to accelerate serious deliberations, repeatedly states that first the House of Representatives should be dissolved for a general election, used the expression, "Slow and steady wins the race." However, it is in fact the dissolution of the Lower House about which we should be "slow and steady." Surely, the correct order is to first carefully hammer out in the Diet the format for reform to be adopted and then ask for the judgment of the public before it enters implementation.


Next in order to discuss the crux of the issues from the very outset, I would like to hold a party leaders' debate once more and advance our discussions broadly. With regard to that point I believe that the views of the public and all the party leaders are in perfect alignment.


[Related links]

Committee on Fundamental National Policies Joint Meeting of Both Houses at the Diet (Party Leaders' Debate)


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