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2019 December 25 - 2020 January 14 [POLITICS]

PM Abe in New Year press conference focuses on constitutional revision rather than US-Iran crisis

January 7, 2020

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo at the New Year press conference on January 6 expressed his determination to attain his long-cherished ambition of revising the pacifist Constitution. He also indicated his intention to impose further financial burdens on the elderly.

At the press conference, regarding the increasing tensions over U.S.-Iran relations, PM Abe made comments that lacked substance while declaring that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will be sent to the Middle East. In addition, Abe refused to answer questions about the cherry blossom-viewing party scandal.

Meanwhile, at the same time, asked about constitutional revision, PM Abe proclaimed his intent to achieve this goal. Interpreting the results of the last Upper House election and recent polls in his favor, Abe said, “I can’t ignore the growing public awareness of the issue of constitutional revision. I’d like to accelerate the process of drafting a bill for the revision of the Constitution.”

Furthermore, citing that the post-war baby boomers will turn 75 or older in 2022, PM Abe said that as the biggest challenge this year, his Cabinet will carry out reforms of the current social welfare system to create one beneficial to all generations.

PM Abe said that his reform plan includes measures to encourage elderly people to work for as long as they wish and to shoulder a certain part of the costs for a sustainable welfare system.

Regarding a measure for continuous employment of the elderly, PM Abe pointed out that 80% of seniors are willing to keep working even after the age of 65. However, the figure cited by PM Abe came from a small survey of elderly workers. In addition, the reason why Japanese elderly have a relatively high motivation to continue working is that they have financial anxieties arising from insufficient pension benefits.

As for a measure to impose a “certain part of costs” on the elderly, what PM Abe intends is to increase medical charges which elderly people aged 75 and over pay at hospitals to 20% from the current 10%.

Past related articles:
> Elderly stage sit-in protest near Welfare Ministry [December 14, 2019]
> Abe sends all LDP chapters video message calling for constitutional revision [December 14, 2019]
> Abe allegedly used taxpayers’ money to entertain his supporters [October 21, 2019]
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