Prime Minister NODA's BLOG

For the 20-some days since I reshuffled my Cabinet, there have been major policy decisions and important meetings one after the other, including the final decision regarding the restart of Units 3 and 4 of the Oi Nuclear Power Station, the three-party agreement on the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems, and my participation in the G20 summit meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, among other recent happenings.During that time I had virtually no opportunity to take a break, so I'm afraid it's been quite a while since I addressed the readers of this blog.

Yesterday, the bills related to comprehensive reform passed the House of Representatives.This is the result of our moving forward with discussions one step at a time through carefully taken procedures.We launched discussions in October of the year before last, finalized a draft in June of last year, made the draft plan at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, and then crafted the broad outline, with the related bills submitted to the Diet in March, after which consultations were held among the three political parties regarding modifications.

At various occasions over the past few days I have appealed vigorously concerning the significance of these reforms and the sense of crisis and of urgency that has been motivating me, so I will not repeat those matters here.

Securing stable fiscal resources for social security, providing support for the battered working generation and the child-rearing generation, economic revival, reforms in which legislators and the government put themselves on the line-all of these are matters of urgency.It is not a matter of "which of these to tackle first," but rather that we must "tackle all of them simultaneously."

The most pressing topic at the grueling 4-day, 1-night G20 summit I attended the other day was how best to respond to the European sovereign debt crisis.The results of the election in Greece became known while I was there, and this was a major topic of discussion at the summit meeting as well.

It seems to me that democracy's degree of maturity is now being tested in various locations around the world.Under pressure to make difficult decisions against a backdrop of harsh economic conditions and severe constraints on public finances, a number of developed countries find themselves in a situation in which they are "unable to settle matters that need to be settled."

The country seen by the international community as a prime example of such "politics unable to make decisions" and "politics that puts off decisions" had been Japan.

While passage of the bills through the House of Representatives is only one step, after thorough deliberations, we will take decisions when decisions must be made.I cannot help feeling that we should ensure that such a political culture takes root in Japan, utilizing the opportunity of this comprehensive reform.

It is extremely unfortunate that during the House of Representatives vote, a number of dissenters emerged within the DPJ ranks.I will deal with the matter strictly in accordance with prescribed party rules.I will be rolling up my sleeves in order to garner a greater amount of support during the House of Councillors deliberations that are about to begin.

National policy challenges span a broad array of issues beyond the comprehensive reform, including reconstruction from the earthquake disaster, fight against the nuclear accident, and economic revival.All of these are weighty matters.It is imperative that we face them squarely and not avoid dealing with them.

I will undauntedly take on even the difficult tasks so that the recent passage of the bills in the House of Representatives becomes a major step forward for "politics that makes decisions."

Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
June 27, 2012

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