The Yomiuri ShimbunPrime Minister Shinzo Abe told The Yomiuri Shimbun on Wednesday he wanted to accelerate his Abenomics economic policies to strongly facilitate a virtuous economic cycle, and create an environment that allows for more wage hikes.
Abe, who is also president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, spoke with the Yomiuri ahead of the Oct. 22 House of Representatives election. “The major point of contention is how to deal with the threat posed by North Korea and the declining birthrate. The upcoming election will determine the future of the country,” he said.
Abe reiterated his intention to resign as prime minister if the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito fail to secure a 233 or more majority of seats in the lower house in the general election.
The prime minister emphasized the achievements of Abenomics, saying, “Over the past five years, 1.85 million jobs have been created, and companies have achieved record-high profits.”
Abe also said the aging population coupled with the chronically low birthrate is the “greatest barrier” to accelerating his economic policy plan.
To overcome the graying population and low birthrate, Abe proposed changing the allocation of the increased revenue from the consumption tax hike to 10 percent, planned for October 2019, so that the current social security system that focuses on elderly people will be transformed into one for all generations.
Abe criticized Kibo no To’s (Party of Hope) policy to freeze the planned consumption tax hike.
“I wonder if they were always opposed [to the hike], or in what kind of situation they would raise [the rate]. They should make statements responsibly, and they are being completely irresponsible.”
With the de facto dissolution of the Democratic Party and the establishment of Kibo and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan in mind, Abe said, “I’m quite disappointed by the repeated fission and fusion among lawmakers without clear policies.”
“The LDP will tenaciously and honestly appeal to voters for support for our policies,” he added.
It has been rumored that Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, who leads Kibo, will run in the lower house election, but Abe said, “She must decide her course of action on her own.”
Abe also said: “Koike firmly received the responsibility of making the Olympics and Paralympics succeed from the mayor of Rio de Janeiro [which hosted the previous Olympics]. Tokyo is the face of Japan, and she has the heavy responsibility of handling the Tokyo metropolitan government,” suggesting he wants Koike to focus on her current job as the governor of Tokyo.Speech