"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference by Prime Minster Kishida

[Date] December 10, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

Today the extraordinary session of the Diet came to a close.We finished this 69-day session as originally scheduled and succeeded in passing almost all of the legislative bills submitted by the Government, including the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2022, which will set our comprehensive economic measures in motion, and the bill to amend the Infectious Diseases Control Law, intended to protect the public from future infectious disease crises.

With the extraordinary session of the Diet now having closed, I will give my remarks and also talk about our upcoming responses, centered on the two points of relief for the victims of the former Unification Church and also our comprehensive economic measures. As prime minister I stood at the fore on these, sparing no effort to ensure both came to fruition.

While the Diet was in session, as prime minister, I met directly with people suffering from the harm caused by the former Unification Church. That experience was nothing short of appalling, and it pained me very deeply.

With the seriousness of the problem deeply etched into my mind, I gave instructions to create a new law that incorporates the greatest amount of regulation possible under our Constitution that guarantees freedom of religion and property rights and under Japan's current legal system, working with the strong determination to have it enacted during this Diet session.

The staff at the various ministries and agencies involved worked through the night and gave up their weekends to draft the bill at an unprecedented speed. Even as the Government and the ruling parties were engaged in close cooperation, I had LDP Secretary-General Motegi also lead the coordination between the ruling coalition and the opposition. In the face of the difficulties confronting former believers and family members of believers, there are no distinctions between the ruling and opposition parties. Incorporating the views of the opposition parties whenever possible, we were able to enact the new law through the consent of an overwhelmingly large number of legislators that spanned the divide between the ruling and opposition parties. I extend my sincere thanks to all those in the public who kept an eye on our deliberations and also to those involved who made great efforts to ensure smooth deliberations.

That said, we have only just come to stand at a new starting line. We will do our utmost to swiftly prepare an environment in which injured parties can easily make use of this system. A government-wide team working in close cooperation with the Japan Legal Support Center (Houterasu) and other relevant organizations will swiftly carry out the necessary government support and get the new system operating reliably.

Next, I will address our comprehensive economic measures designed to overcome soaring prices and bring about economic revitalization.

During the Diet session, active debates took place regarding the scale of this package of economic measures, whose fiscal expenditures amount to 39 trillion yen, including the two reserve budgets. The outlook for the global economy in 2023 is being revised again and again, with prospects heading further towards a downturn as time goes on. This package of comprehensive economic measures was drafted in line with my judgment that it is precisely when the future becomes increasingly unpredictable that we should make all-out preparations to safeguard people's daily lives, employment stability, and business continuity.

In addition to continuing our measures to curb dramatic changes in the prices of gasoline and kerosene by providing assistance to lower the price by approximately 25 yen per liter, this package of initiatives will enable us to initiate assistance to counter the cost of electricity as well, across the board nationwide, beginning this January. Combining this with equivalent assistance measures we will take for liquified natural gas, we will provide the average household with a total of 47,000 yen's worth of assistance by September.

For businesses as well, we will speedily carry out assistance for electricity charges at an amount corresponding to renewable energy surcharges as well as assistance for natural gas expenses at that same level.

Recently five major electric power providers have submitted requests for rate increases. It appears that other requests may also follow. The Government will be thoroughgoing in conducting fair and strict assessments in response to these rate increase requests.

We also put a lot of effort into support for children and child-rearing. The future of Japan depends on our children. The Kishida Cabinet will continue to reliably place policies affecting children at the very center of Japanese society.

We will, first of all, enhance the "escort-runner-type" consultation support we provide to pregnant women and families raising children. We will also continue to provide next year and beyond the equivalent of 100,000 yen in economic support in a unified manner, not subject to income caps, that can be used for transportation expenses for prenatal checkups, baby clothes and other childcare-related goods, postnatal care, or housekeeping support services, among other options. Moreover, starting in fiscal 2023, we will raise the amount of the Childbirth Lump-Sum Allowance dramatically, to 500,000 yen from the current 420,000 yen. This is the largest increase in history.

We will get these measures up and running first, and then, under the auspices of the Agency for Children and Families to be inaugurated next April, we will indicate by next June our path towards realizing a society that places children at the very center.

Our Growth Strategy is also important. This package of economic measures includes a large number of measures to bring about a New Form of Capitalism that will carve out Japan's future.

The important thing is the public and private sectors joining forces to distribute cash on hand and on deposit lying dormant in companies and households into capital investment, into research, development, and investment, and into wage increases, an investment in the future. To bring this about, we will make use of a supplementary budget at a scale of 7 trillion yen to support domestic investment into such strategic fields as semiconductors, green transformation (GX), next-generation communications technologies, and furthermore, biotechnology and space.

Efforts under a New Form of Capitalism, which places emphasis on investment through public-private cooperation, have resulted in increased enthusiasm among corporations for domestic investment. This week, we launched a public-private partnership forum on increasing domestic investment. At that forum, an outlook for 100 trillion yen per annum of capital investment five years from now was put forth by the business community. That will be investment at the highest level in history, rivaling the bubble era, and will enable us to raise the Japanese economy to a new stage, in both name and substance. Even though as a purely private sector investment, the level of risk is high, we will make use of the supplementary budget to further draw out pioneering investments that have a substantial ripple effect on regional economies.

In addition, what holds the key to Japan's economic revival is structural wage growth. To work towards realizing structural wage growth, we have incorporated a package of investments into people totaling 1 trillion yen over five years to provide support for reskilling, career changes, transitioning workers into permanent employment, and so on. We will make all-out efforts to expand our systems by which we pay attention to each worker as an individual and support each person's efforts, whether through the creation of systems that provide streamlined support for not only reskilling but also career changes and career advancement, through direct support to people proactively working to gain greater skills in digital and green areas, which are growth fields, or through other means. Alongside major reforms in industrial structures, we will urgently create the institutional foundation to advance labor mobility without unemployment and realize structural wage growth.

To ensure that these measures are used as quickly and broadly as possible, under the oversight of the Task Force on Prices, Wages, and Daily Living, which I head, we will conduct a check each week on the state of progress for all initiatives appearing in the supplementary budget, and we have prepared a system for totaling the relevant figures. We will make all-out responses taking into account the schedules of local assemblies and other factors.

Finally, I will speak about our measures to tackle COVID-19.

As part of our responses to what is called the eighth wave, keeping in mind that this wave is spreading concurrently with influenza, we have strengthened our systems that provide high-fever outpatient facilities and telephone and online medical consultations, adding to the medical treatment structure we have expanded and set solidly in place thus far.

During this Diet session we amended the Infectious Diseases Control Law. Taking into consideration not only responses to the current challenge of COVID-19 but also the risks associated with the next infectious disease crisis, we have reinforced new preparations in order to ensure ample human resources, smooth adjustments to hospital admissions, and sufficient numbers of hospital beds at medical institutions, reinforce the functions of public health centers and our systems for screening in times of emergency, and moreover administer vaccines in a flexible manner.

From now we will be heading into the year-end and New Year’s holiday period, when infections spread easily. Having gotten the system solidly in place, our accelerated administration of vaccines has surpassed 1 million doses given per day. I continue to ask all of you in the public to get vaccinated early in order to protect both yourself and the people who are important to you. Also, even though it is now a cold time of year, I ask you to take all possible steps to prevent infections, such as ventilating spaces well. My fellow citizens, let us together overcome the New Year’s holiday period and next year work to restore all aspects of our pre-COVID-19 day-to-day lives.

A number of important issues have accumulated here at the end of the calendar year, including the fundamental reinforcement of our defense capabilities, fiscal 2023 budget formulation and tax reform, and the compilation of our action plan for green transformation. We will produce the best outcome for each of these matters, taking them on one at a time.

In particular, the fundamental reinforcement of our defense capabilities is an urgent issue that, in the face of a severe security environment, must be addressed without delay. We will urgently conduct a fundamental reinforcement of our defense capabilities over the next five years. The outcome of that will be boosting our defense capabilities and our efforts to supplement those capacities to 2 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) in fiscal 2027. We will also secure stable revenue to maintain and bolster these reinforced defense capabilities. At the end of the calendar year I will resolutely set forth, both domestically and internationally, these three aspects unified as a single policy as our will as a nation, and undertake them with strong determination.

Thank you.