The following is the gist of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Friday policy address to the Diet:
Abe pledged to
* Take a more assertive diplomatic stance, pushing ahead with Japan’s bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.
* Strengthen the decision-making powers of the prime minister’s office in national security and foreign affairs.
* Build “future-oriented” ties with China, South Korea and continue pressuring North Korea to return all abducted Japanese.
* Deepen discussions with the ruling and opposition camps with a view to revising the Constitution.
* Study the possibility of easing restrictions on collective defense.
* Place priority on cutting fiscal expenditures to rebuild state finances before considering tax hikes.
* Hold government bond issuances to no more than 30 trillion yen for fiscal 2007.
* Carry out plans to revitalize local-level economies and provide “second chances” to disadvantaged people in order to minimize the gap between rich and poor.
* Gain passage of an educational reform bill to teach “patriotism” in schools.
* Revive traditional Japanese virtues and family values.
* Make Japan a “beautiful nation” full of confidence and pride.
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