Prime Minister NODA's BLOG

The extraordinary session of the Diet has come to a close and a daily scramble has now begun to address squarely the major issues needing resolution as we head into the end of the year.

Last weekend, the guidelines for reform of the tax system for the next fiscal year were compiled through coordination that lasted until midnight.  The Cabinet then approved them at a meeting convened after 2 AM.  This week as well, I convened a meeting of Cabinet members relevant to the TPP Agreement and developed a system for thoroughly advancing forthcoming consultations with relevant countries as well as the provision of information to the public.  I also gave various instructions to the relevant ministers at meetings at which important policy decisions are made, including that in charge of "package" types of infrastructure, the Council for Science and Technology Policy, the forum for consultations between the national and regional governments, and the Council on National Strategy and Policy, among others.

Having now completed more than 100 days since the launch of my administration, I feel that the gaze of the public upon the Noda administration is becoming increasingly strict here and there, whether in the newspapers or on television or in the views sent to the Prime Minister's Office from the general public.

There are aspects in both myself and among my Cabinet that do not measure up to the public's expectations.  Sincerely taking to heart these concerns and criticisms, I will put right my inner thoughts and thoroughly rectify those points in need of reform, carrying out my mission by responding to each issue individually.  This is the only way forward.

Yesterday, the "Administrative Reform Research Committee" was newly launched within the DPJ and I myself also made some remarks to the committee.  What I stated was that in my view, the great majority of the public seems to be speaking in a unified voice, saying, "Cut more expenditures and secure more non-tax revenue!"

As Senior Vice Minister of Finance and as Minister of Finance I was also involved in the formulation of the budgets for fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011, as well as their multiple supplementary budgets.

How can we realize the key elements of our Manifesto against a backdrop of plunging tax revenue after the Lehman Shock?  How can we plot a course forward for the enormous budget for reconstruction after the great earthquake?  I believe I made strenuous efforts to conduct responsible policy management in the face of such extremely challenging issues.  I took great pains to gather up reserve funds and surpluses held in eight special-purpose budget accounts, thereby generating non-tax revenue of 10.6 trillion yen in fiscal 2010, an unprecedented level.

However, the voice of the people has been, "You need to work still harder!"

In particular, in the extraordinary Diet session just completed, to my regret I was unable to secure passage of a bill related to postal reform and a bill to reduce the salaries of national civil servant by 7.8%, a temporary and extraordinary measure.  Both of these were expected to provide non-tax revenue for fiscal resources for reconstruction.  As I mentioned in my last blog entry, I will continue consultations between the ruling and opposition parties within this year in order to ensure passage at an early time within next year's ordinary Diet session.

First and foremost must be the principle of Diet members themselves first undertaking the actions they call on others to take.  The DPJ must expend more of our muscle tackling the issue of reducing the number of seats in the Diet, taking the initiative to ensure passage at an early time within next year's ordinary Diet session.

There are various perspectives on administrative reform, requiring us to have wisdom and passion as well as the ability to get things implemented.  For example, I intend to submit to next year's ordinary Diet session a bill regarding the reform of special-purpose budget accounts, and I have instructed the Minister of Finance to investigate the matter in still greater depth.

With regard to the state of incorporated administrative agencies, public interest corporations, and state-owned assets, I believe that the Noda administration must vigorously put forward an approach of "putting forth every possible effort to tackle administrative reform" and then prove itself through the "execution" of such reform.

Through the cooperation of the parliamentary groups in each party, I will steadily give concrete shape to this "resolve" to bring about administrative reform, targeting each matter one by one.  Restoring the public's trust in politics must begin from there.

This major "assignment" I have received from the public to conduct administrative reform, together with the comprehensive reform of Japan's social security and taxation systems, is something that must be successfully completed without fail.

Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
December 15, 2011

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