Japan's Upper House begins deliberating defense fund bill

Japan's Upper House of the Diet has begun deliberating a bill that would allow the government to secure cash to strengthen the country's defense capabilities.

The bill is aimed at ensuring funding to boost defense expenditures through such means as spending reforms, using surplus from financial results and establishing a new fund from non-tax income.

Such income would include that from sales of state properties and provisions from special accounts.

The bill has already been approved at the Lower House.

Upper House member Yokosawa Takanori from the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party criticized the bill.
He said the framework for securing defense funding is based on a scheme for the special income tax for rebuilding areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and that the government is treating the idea of the reconstruction lightly.

Prime Minister Kishida Fumio denied the view, saying he does not think the reconstruction efforts would be affected by the defense budget scheme. He said he will offer detailed explanation on the matter at various occasions to seek understanding of people in the affected areas and younger generations.

On the G7 Leaders' Hiroshima Vision on Nuclear Disarmament, the statement adopted during the summit, Kishida said it could further enhance international momentum toward a world without nuclear weapons.

He vowed to continue strengthening realistic and practical efforts to win engagement by nuclear powers, using the document as a solid step.