Suga renews resolve to fight coronavirus
NHK -- Jan 18
Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has vowed that he will be on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus to overcome the difficulties.

Suga delivered his policy speech on the first day of the regular Diet session on Monday.

He said he is deeply sorry that the government has to ask people to live under restrictions again. He called for people's cooperation, and said that the government will do all it can to control the virus.

The prime minister said the government aims to revise the special legislation on its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the legislation will include penalties and support for bars and restaurants to make sure that they agree to requests for shorter business hours.

Suga also said vaccines play the central role in controlling the virus, suggesting that the government will try to start a vaccine rollout by late February, after safety and effectiveness screenings.

As for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics that have been postponed until this summer, Suga expressed his resolve to hold the Games to send hope and courage to the rest of the world. He said the Games will be proof of humankind's victory over the virus.

Describing solutions for Japan's longtime issues, Suga stressed that the government will push forward to achieve a zero-carbon society, as well as making progress on the country's digitization by establishing a digital affairs agency.

On the diplomatic front, he said the alliance with the United States is the centerpiece for Japan's diplomacy and national security. He expressed his hope to meet incoming US President Joe Biden soon to make bilateral ties even more solid.

Suga also said that stable Japan-China relations are important for the region and for the international community, adding that Tokyo will say what it should say to Beijing and call for tangible action.

On the abductions of Japanese nationals by North Korea, Suga said his administration puts the utmost priority on the issue. He reiterated his readiness to meet the country's leader Kim Jong Un without preconditions.

As for South Korea, the prime minister said the bilateral ties between the two countries are now facing difficulties. He added that he will request Seoul take appropriate action to help return the relations to a normal track.

- NHK

新型コロナウイルス対策が最大の焦点となる通常国会が18日、始まりました。菅総理大臣は就任後、初めての施政方針演説を行います。  (政治部・大石真依子記者)  菅総理は、新型コロナ対策などしっかりと説明をし、国民の理解を得る国会にしたいと決意を述べました。  菅総理大臣:「新型コロナの感染対策や、さらに不妊治療、待機児童問題、35人学級、またグリーン・デジタル、こうした課題を実現するために全力で取り組んできました。しっかり説明をさせて頂いて、国民の皆さんのご理解を頂きたい。そういう国会にしたいと思います」  まず、政府・与党はコロナ対策の柱となる予算案と特措法改正案の成立を急ぎます。  支持率が下げ止まらないなか、政府高官は「政権浮揚はなんといってもコロナを抑えることだ」と話していて、実績を積み上げて批判を払拭したい考えです。  一方、野党側はコロナ対策の遅れや安倍前総理大臣や吉川元農林水産大臣の「政治とカネ」の問題などを徹底追及する構えです。  秋までに実施される衆議院の解散・総選挙を見据え、与野党の論戦がスタートします。


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