Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga appeared today in Shinso News program on BS Nittere. He talked about the right to exercise collective self-defense and abenomics.
– Many people think the right to exercise collective self-defense was approved too quickly and they are worried about it.
YS: Cabinet decision does not mean that anything is allowed right now. We need to fix the laws that would allow Japan to really execute the right for collective self-defense. It will take time, about a year, and I am sure people will understand.
– Can Japan be drawn into a war as a result? Many people are concerned that lives of JSDF personnel are now at risk and Japan will be fighting wars for other countries.
YS: The very minimal right to execute collective self-defense that was approved by the cabinet mean that it is to be executed only to protect Japanese nationals. Japan as a country has liability to protect its people. In order to achieve this we changed interpretation of the Constitution, but now the corresponding laws need to be created so that it all would really work. There is misunderstanding that the right to execute collective self-defense was all approved by cabinet decision only. It is not true. The laws are still to be discussed and in any case Japan has the right to execute only for protecting its own citizens.
– Will JSDF responsibility area increase as result? Will their lives be endangered?
YS: We need to be prepared for different scenarios. If we have the right to execute collective self-defense it will serve as a preventive measure as well, and lives of JSDF personnel will be saved thanks to this.
The interpretation until now dates back to 42 years ago. But the situation has changed with North Korea possessing powerful weapons, for example. We did not have this situation 42 years ago, now we do. All this time we had the same interpretation of the Constitution that did not reflect the real international situation.
– What people think about the right to execute collective self-defense? The society seems to be divided on this topic.
YS: We should think about people’s’ safety. All countries possess the right for collective self-defense, but in Japan it was forbidden to use it. Now it is allowed to the very minimum extent and just to protect Japanese people. I am sure people will understand this in time.
– Many people say that there was not enough of discussion.
YS: First the cabinet made decision so that we had something to discuss. We showed that the cabinet is united on this. Now we need to amend corresponding laws. It will take about a year to do so. And all the laws will be discussed in parliament of course.
– Many say that the opinion of the opposition parties was ignored
YS: This is not so. Many opposition parties also agreed that the right to execute collective self-defense should be approved – Your Party, Japan Restoration Party, some members from Democratic Party of Japan too.
– But when you talk to people in the street the mood is quite different. It seems there is a discrepancy between public opinion and the opinion of parliament parties.
YS: Cabinet made this decision in order to protect Japanese people. Government has responsibility to do so.
– Should it not be first discussed in parliament?
YS: No. First government has decided on the policy and now we are discussing it.
– Should not PM Abe have explained his motivations better?
YS: It is always difficult when you want to change something or introduce something new. We made decision on the approach and now we have about one year to discuss the corresponding laws.
– About abenomics – has economic situation got better?
YS: GDP has started to grow, so I believe that the situation is changing for the better. Shares price may go up and down, but we are on the right track to make economics better. PM Abe’s administration is only 1.5 years old. The effects of abenomics may not be yet perceived in the regions. It will take time. PM created special commission for regional revival and is a chairman of it. He takes the economic situation and other problems there very seriously. Especially the depopulation problem in the regions.
– How to revive regions?
YS: Tourism, for example. We have relaxed procedures for visa obtaining for several countries. At the same time the regions should also change and take matters in their own hands. If there are employment opportunities, people will stay in regions, doing farming, for example. It will take time though, but after politicians make decision on the policy, it is be easier to go forward.
– It is all long-term, are there any results visible now?
YS: I said already – tourism. Number of tourists increased 1/3 already. Then the individual savings accounts (NISA) – those work very well.
– Can it be said already that the consumption tax will certainly be further raised to 10% as planned?
YS: We need to wait and see what will be of the economic situation. It is not decided at the moment, but we have positive feedback from economy, we will proceed as planned.