Japan’s Prime Minister promotes defense plan that worries China

World Today

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a policy speech, outlining his commitment to collective self-defense, economic recovery and improving diplomatic relations with neighboring countries. CCTV’s Terrence Terashima reported on this story from Tokyo.

Japan\'s Prime Minister promotes defense plan that worries China

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a policy speech, outlining his commitment to collective self-defense, economic recovery and improving diplomatic relations with neighboring countries. CCTV's Terrence Terashima reported on this story from Tokyo.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began his policy speech with high expectations. First was a focus on fighting terrorism after Islamic State militants murdered two Japanese nationals in recent weeks.

Abe called for further public debate on changing the constitution to pass security related legislation to enable Japan to exercise collective self-defense. A change in the constitution that China opposes, and critics call a re-militarization of the island nation.

Abe’s security policy that involves changing Japan’s pacifist constitution and potentially enabling the Japanese Self Defense Force to enhance its roles in international peacekeeping operations has been the subject of public criticism.

“We will resolutely safeguard the lives and well-being of the people of our nation. To do that, we will proceed to put in place the legal framework for national security, to enable a seamless response to any situation,” said Prime Minister Abe.

On the subject of the public’s utmost concern, the economy, Abe reiterated that ‘Abenomics’ is taking effect, stressing an increase in jobs and highest wage hike in 15 years.

He also piled pressure on companies to raise wages during the spring labor negotiations, in turn promised to lower corporate tax as part of revitalizing Japan’s economy, the Prime Minister promised to carry out a number of reforms.

These reforms include administrative reform to streamline government organization, agriculture reform to boost the declining agriculture sector and most importantly the long promised social security reforms.

On diplomacy, the importance of U.S.-Japan alliance is once again stressed and he vowed to improve diplomatic relations with China, South Korea and Russia.

“Japan and China bear a large responsibility for regional peace and prosperity. Our relationship is inextricable. In November, I met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a bilateral summit, and confirmed our basis for a strategic and mutually beneficial relationship. I hope we can develop a stable friendly relationship from a broad perspective, and deepen our dialogue at various levels,” Abe said.

This year will be a test for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who has to show that economic recovery on track, while carrying out a number of unpopular issues, such as nuclear restart and security related legislation that will enable Japan to exercise collective self-defense.