Toward a society where everyone can shine: Yamaguchi comments on Abe’s policy speech

January 27 , 2018

Yamaguchi takes the podium at the Upper House plenary session on Jan. 26Yamaguchi takes the podium at the Upper House plenary session on Jan. 26

At the House of Councillors plenary session held on January 26, representatives of the respective political parties were given the floor to comment on Prime Minister Shunzo Abe’s administrative policy speech. Komeito Chief Representative Natsuo Yamaguchi began by voicing his resolve to boldly weather the challenges posed by an aging demographic, low birth rate and declining population, and to build a society in which every individual can truly look forward to a better future.

Yamaguchi stated that work reform is an urgent priority and that promoting communities of coexistence where residents support one another will be key. He declared that Japan should take the lead in serving as a bridge between states that possess nuclear weapons and states that do not, establishing a global consensus on the need for nuclear abolition. He also pointed out that the government must continue extending its full support to rebuild Fukushima and other prefectures hit by the March 11, 2011 mega-quake and tsunami.

With regards to work reform, a major focus of this Diet session, Yamaguchi advocated for the earliest adoption of a legal cap on overtime hours, which includes provisions for penalties on violators; promoting widespread implementation of the rest interval system (mandating fixed rest hours between the end of one workday and the start of the next); and other legislation related to preventing overwork and improving employees’ life-work balance.

On the topic of enriching society at the community level, the Komeito leader said efforts should be hastened to promote a local holistic care system by which the elderly are able to receive nursing and medical care in their long accustomed places of living. He also stressed the need for concrete strategies and visible progress in combatting the lingering prejudice and negative stereotypes associated with Fukushima and its residents—the area affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster—from which the tourism and agriculture, forestry and fishing industries are still struggling to recover.