The Noda administration is about to finish its third month in office.
On November 21st, the Diet enacted the third supplementary budget, the total scale of which is 12 trillion yen, and on the 30th, the day before yesterday, it passed the Bill on Special Measures for Securing Financial Resources Necessary for Reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, the legal backing for the budget. Through these steps, I believe that we will be able to dramatically accelerate efforts towards the Noda Administration's top priority agenda items, namely recovery and reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, bringing the nuclear accident under stable control at an early time, and reviving the Japanese economy.
Transitioning to the stage of implementation of the third supplementary budget, which has been long-awaited by many, is the result of the "determination of the Diet." Having discussed the significance of this at yesterday's press conference, I won't repeat myself, but by taking unprecedented fiscal measures that put the financial burden on the local authorities of the disaster-stricken areas at essentially zero, the people working there at the scenes of the affected local authorities can compile their visions for reconstruction of the area without hesitation and take steady steps forward towards realizing them.
I and the relevant members of my Cabinet will stand at the forefront in tackling these issues so that we are able to execute as early as possible the third supplementary budget, which incorporates necessary operations such as large-scale decontamination and measures to counter the hollowing out of industry in addition to fully-fledged reconstruction of the disaster-stricken areas, so as to provide "living" funds to the affected areas.
In that sense, the enactment of the third supplementary budget is a "major step," and yet the situation surrounding Japan is one in which there is a widespread sense of uncertainty in the future, even greater than what we have experienced so far, as the result of the ongoing appreciation of the yen, the flooding in Thailand, and the European debt crisis.
Given that situation, yesterday I instructed Finance Minister Jun Azumi to formulate a fourth supplementary budget. We will adopt a stance of executing the third supplementary budget steadily and following up properly via a fourth supplementary budget for those issues that remain despite those efforts. In so doing we will take all possible means to ensure the peace of mind and safety of the Japanese people.
As the end of the year approaches, we must also advance to the next stage of discussions on the various issues that Japan has been facing since before the earthquake disaster and clarify our prescription in concrete terms.
Last week continuing into this week, discussions about the "Japan of the future" have been underway in earnest in various settings, including the Local Sovereignty Strategy Council, the Council on National Strategy and Policy, the Council for Science and Technology Policy, and during the coordination towards the formulation of the budget for fiscal 2012. In particular, an extremely major issue is putting into concrete form "the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems," which aims to strengthen the functions of social security and ensure stable sources of revenue to make the system sustainable.
Since yesterday, the air outdoors has suddenly become quite chilly. As even Tokyo has reached temperatures typical of the heart of winter, I am very worried about the situation in the disaster-stricken areas. We will speed up efforts to winterize temporary housing. I hope that everyone takes care of him or herself so as not to catch a cold from this sudden change of weather.