I was puzzled by Jeff Kingston’s column in the Sept. 17 edition. I will focus on a few points to explain why.
The conclusion of a peace treaty with Russia is one of the diplomatic priorities for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in 2016 marked one of the highlights to this date, when the two leaders expressed their sincere determination to resolve the peace treaty issue. On Sept. 23, former residents of the Northern Territories visited their family graves by airplane for the first time. Discussions about joint economic activities on the four islands have commenced and a joint public and private research team conducted its first field survey on the islands in June. We will continue to negotiate with Russia, and these efforts should not be denied at this stage.
As for Japan’s security policy, amid an increasingly severe environment in the region, the Guidelines for Japan-U.S. Defense Cooperation are essential to advance peace and security, deter conflicts and secure the basis for economic prosperity in the region. In addition, the Legislations for Peace and Security enable Japan to strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, further contribute to international peace and stability, and seamlessly respond to any situations to secure the lives and peaceful livelihood of the Japanese citizens. The legislations were approved by the Diet, winning support not only from the ruling coalition but also from three opposition parties. Also, in contrast to Kingston’s column (in the Sept. 24 edition), exercising the right of self-defense is permitted only when the strict “three new conditions” are met, in which the use of force should be limited to the minimum extent necessary. Moreover, it requires prior Diet approval in principle.
Regarding Abenomics, the economy has been having a run of six consecutive quarters of growth. Since the inauguration of the Abe administration, the economy has been climbing out of deflation and nominal GDP has risen by 10.1 percent, or ¥50 trillion, and real GDP has increased by 6.3 percent, or ¥31 trillion, reaching the highest level ever. In particular, the number of people employed has increased by more than 1.85 million, with women representing 1.5 million of these new entries into the workforce.
A public opinion survey by the Cabinet Office indicates that public satisfaction with the current lifestyle reached more than 70 percent in September.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.