01/27/2011 Representative questioning (II)

(Prime Minister Naoto Kan takes the podium.)

(Prime Minister Naoto Kan) I deeply appreciate Mr. Yasuo Tanaka for making highly constructive proposals filled with great ideas.

First, I’d like to respond to his question on the construction of ‘in-home nursery and nursing homes.’ I understand such centers are designed to provide both the elderly and children in their communities with services which meet individual needs in a very friendly, family-like atmosphere. I know the examples of some prefectures including Nagano, for which Mr. Tanaka use to serve as governor, already implementing such programs.

The budget, Mr. Tanaka was referring to, had been secured to pay for administration costs for nurseries which provide day care services for children who are unable to find a nursery to get in as well as construction costs for such facilities. Promoting such services to help support ‘cohabitation’ of the elderly and children is an important step towards a right direction. We plan to make best use of the budget for programs for the elderly and children, to come up with creative ways to increase awareness on such efforts in the communities. We may want to explore possibilities of combining different programs and positively engage in such efforts.

Next, I’d like to respond to the question on the use of dormant accounts.

I not only find Mr. Tanaka’s idea very interesting, but believe it can be a desirable thing if it’s possible as Mr. Tanaka suggested. But I’ve received a report which finds it not really viable. Savings in so-called ‘dormant accounts’ are temporarily acknowledged as ‘profits’ earned by financial institutions. But technically, depositors (even though they are deceased) won’t lose their rights to the savings and the money can be withdrawn any time.

The report I received from back-office also calls for cautious deliberations on the transfer of dormant accounts to state coffers, because of many points of contention, which include withdrawal procedures and impact on the fiscal health of financial institutions concerned. I believe we need to take things one step at a time. Yet, we plan to explore ways to remove those restrictions to make the best use of dormant accounts. We hope to explore the possibility at the cabinet level as well as at the DPJ level. I would also like to urge other parties to join us in exploring ways to overcome those constraints.

Next, I’d like to talk about enacting the basic law for water circulation. I also understand bipartisan and other lawmakers have been discussing the enactment of the basic law for water circulation. I heard, last summer, they drafted a bill to legislate the theory of ‘water-circulating society.’ It’s important for each party or respective parliamentary group to discuss how to deal with this proposal. I find the proposal very interesting and hope some positive direction will be found. I will also make efforts myself in the mean time.

In the 4th and the last question, I’d like to respond to the question regarding postal reform related bills. The postal reform bills are designed to overcome various problems caused by postal privatization and to ensure the provision of fair, user-friendly and universal postal business services at post offices across the nation in many years to come. In December of last year, the DPJ and the People’s New Party agreed that the postal reform bills will be enacted immediately after the passage of the fiscal 2011 budget at the ordinary session of the diet. We will do what we can to ensure the swiftly enactment of the postal reform laws during the current diet session.

Mr. Tanaka has given me a lot more constructive proposals than I have been able to comment on. His ideas are based on his wonderful sensitivity and have given me a lot of inspirations. I’d like to conclude my response by hoping to benefit from them in administering the government. Thank you.

(Vice Speaker Seishiro Eto) This concludes the Q&A.

The session is adjourned at 17:26.