Prime Minister NODA's BLOG

Yesterday (the 29th), upon the start of the extraordinary session of the Diet, I made a policy speech to the House of Representatives. This was my fourth speech to the Diet since taking office as Prime Minister.

What is the purpose of "politics that makes decisions"? What will the Noda administration seek to achieve? Taking "our responsibility towards tomorrow" as my key phrase, I clarified these while making the case from various perspectives for the messages of "following through on those things we must do now" and "fulfilling our responsibility as the generation alive at the present."

If you listen to the actual speech itself or read it afterwards, I believe you will understand just how many difficult issues still remain before us.

It was against such a backdrop that the policy speech was not delivered to the House of Councillors, the first time such an anomaly has occurred in the history of Japan's constitutional government.

The measures undertaken by the DPJ-centered administration are still only half complete in terms of measuring up to the public's great expectations, and I believe that the Noda Cabinet also still has areas that are not quite satisfactory. That is precisely why it is necessary to seek out a better path forward through debates in the Diet.

However, the approach of not even listening to the policy speech and not participating in debates at the Diet is extremely regrettable. We must somehow tackle this Diet stagnation and fulfill our responsibility towards tomorrow.

The revitalization of the Japanese economy is the greatest task for us at present. On the 26th, we compiled a first round of economic measures, making use of reserve funds. In addition, today (the 30th), the government and the Bank of Japan announced a "mutual understanding" that they have put together. We succeeded in getting the Bank of Japan to take further steps towards strengthening monetary easing. This will become an even greater step towards breaking away from deflation at an early time.

Reconstruction from the earthquake is also one of the utmost priorities for fulfilling our "responsibility towards tomorrow." On Saturday the 27th, I paid a visit to Mr. Tatsuya Tasso, the governor of Iwate, and afterwards we together visited the city of Miyako and the town of Yamada, both on the coast.

A large number of people whom we met in the disaster-stricken area during this visit were single-mindedly looking ahead and taking steps forward towards "tomorrow."

The vibrant shopping district that conducts events to congratulate new adults by laying out a red carpet on the roadway, issues its own local currency, and creates its own original lively activities; the business people who, using group-based subsidy programs for small and medium enterprises, rebuilt their seafood processing plant that had been damaged in the disaster and talked about their experiences during the disaster together with their employees with tears welling up in their eyes; the personnel of the coastal communities who resolved to "protect the land that has been handed down from our ancestors" even as they were being struck by tsunami again and again.

I felt that the tireless spirit of the disaster areas was condensed into the T-shirt I received at the shopping district, which read "The Miyako spirit - Gambattso!" and that once again I was able to receive vibrant energy from them, even though I was the one who should be encouraging them.

In the temporary housing in the town of Yamada, I listened to the people who are about to experience their second harsh winter. One very memorable comment for me was made by some elderly people who are worried about creating in the midst of their inconvenient living situation an environment in which children preparing for their entrance exams can study on their own.

We must not allow any interruptions in assistance to people in the disaster areas who are struggling to recover their livelihoods. We have also decided to expand group-based subsidy programs for small and medium enterprises and location subsidies for companies planning to newly establish facilities in Fukushima, making use of reserve funds. I will take on the challenging Diet situation encouraged by the spirit of kind-hearted people who are trying to fulfill our responsibility towards tomorrow.

Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
October 30, 2012

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