Prime Minister NODA's BLOG

On the afternoon of the 16th, I dissolved the House of Representatives.

At that instant, it was utterly impossible to have the urge to shout "banzai," a traditional occurrence upon the dissolution of the Diet.

It was a decision of significant gravity undertaken for the sake of upholding the promises I had pledged before the public and bringing about "politics capable of making decisions." Thinking about that weightiness, it was in a solemn mood that I watched the Speaker of the Lower House Mr. [Takahiro] Yokomichi read the Imperial dissolution rescript.

The forthcoming House of Representatives election is one that will decide the sense of direction by which Japan will be steered after 2013.

Will we move forward or turn back? Will we be able to advance still further the reforms which were set forth as goals through the historic change of government but which are still not complete? Or, will we return to the old-style government that existed before the change in government?

As I stated at the press conference which I attended immediately after the dissolution, there are in concrete terms five policy areas in which the government's direction will be tested through this election.

  1. Social security: Will we accomplish the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems, or will we pass the burden on to the next generation?

  2. Economic policy: Will we set the path towards "investment in people" and "growing together with the globe" as our pivotal axis? Or will we repeat the distribution of wasteful public works projects once more?

  3. Energy policy: Will we aim for zero nuclear power in the 2030's and then move forward in a realistic way? Or will we leave the matter unsettled, failing even to set ending reliance on nuclear power as a direction?

  4. Foreign and security policy: Will we advance a pragmatic foreign and security policy in a level-headed manner, taking a broad perspective? Or will we be swept up in the dangerous current of "being satisfied at using strong language"?

  5. Political reform: Will we move forward in breaking free of hereditary politics and in reducing the number of seats in the Diet? Or will we return to the old-style politics in which hereditary legislators dominate?

There appear to be various kinds of movement afoot here and there, but it is impossible even to evaluate them as they have not clarified their orientation regarding these five areas, or indeed they embrace contradictory stances. In the month between now and election day, I would like to obtain a proper decision from the public after engaging in extensive debates concerning each party's policy orientation.

On Saturday the 17th, I paid a visit to Tokyo Metropolitan Kogei High School. This is a high school that is distinctive in that it is advancing new efforts to fuse design with high quality in manufacturing things. I had the opportunity to interact with the earnest high school students who are working to progress while looking squarely at the future. I also delivered a message to those young people who were endeavoring to go forth with ambition.

It is absolutely necessary for us to enhance support for children and child-rearing and achieve economic recovery in order to sweep away the anxiety towards the future held by young people, who will lead the next generation, and prepare an environment in which they can pursue intently the dreams and ambitions they hold dear. Moreover, I recently instructed the relevant ministries and agencies to continue to move forward with making public high school tuition free of charge and to move ahead on providing scholarships and also assistance for studying overseas.

The duty of a politician is to think about these sorts of concerns of "the next generation," rather than "the next election." Who is anxious about this country and considers the future of our nation in earnest? Do they endeavor to open up difficult paths forward with fortitude and resolve? I believe that the people will most certainly assess the situation properly.

Even with the dissolution of the House of Representatives, there is no pause in the work of the government. I have instructed the government to compile economic countermeasures on the 30th and we will work to put the contents of those countermeasures into concrete form as soon as possible. In addition, from now I will be departing for Phnom Penh in Cambodia in order to attend the ASEAN summit and the East Asia Summit, where I will have thoroughgoing discussions with the heads of state and government assembled there.

Yoshihiko Noda
Prime Minister of Japan
November 18, 2012


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