March 8(Tuesday)

Continual progress by the government: The first "review of government regulations"


The resignation of Minister for Foreign Affairs Seiji Maehara is truly regrettable. I am presently working to coordinate matters so as to designate his successor as minister at the earliest possible time. We cannot have any discontinuity in foreign policy.


Regardless of circumstances, there are a number of policy processes proceeding simultaneously within the government at all times. For example, we also held the very first review of government regulations yesterday and the day before. I visited the venue on the first day and observed the discussions there.


This approach of "reviewing" that has been underway since the review of government programs (jigyou shiwake) is something that developed from an attempt within local administrations to reflect the authentic voices of the public as they asked why certain things were impossible to carry out. Especially having arisen from just such a background, there is truly enormous significance in the process itself in which future directions are decided in view of the public through a format that they find acceptable, rather than through discussions by experts behind closed doors.


While the various regulations by the government may at times impede growth, there are also times when they must be formulated rigorously to ensure public safety and peace of mind. (This is why the review meeting also discussed a "strengthening" of regulations addressing malicious solicitations for investments in condominiums, aggressive home visits by precious metals buyers, and so on.)


One example is the discussion on regulations governing the handling of lithium ion batteries that I attended the day before yesterday. Japan enjoys the highest technological level worldwide in this field, and there is a substantial possibility that Japan's approach will become the global standard. In various fields such as electric vehicles, it is imperative that in the future, the desirable state of regulations be discussed from the dual aspects of this "exploitation of their potential" and "ensuring safety." I listened intently to the discussions, thinking that this was a very symbolic issue within the advanced fields Japan is working to develop.


At this meeting, the way the discussions progressed had been improved, such as by inviting participants from relevant businesses, with two hours being spent on each topic, double the length spent until now in other review work. Taking this review process as a catalyst, I hope to link this to further regulatory reforms.

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