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Japan: Social Security Panel Idea OK with Nagatsuma
Source: yomiuri.co.jp
Source Date: Sunday, June 10, 2012
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Institution and HR Management, Internet Governance
Country: Japan
Created: Jun 12, 2012

A senior lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan on Saturday was positive about an opposition proposal to set up a new panel to discuss social security reforms.

Former Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Akira Nagatsuma said on a television program the DPJ will not give up key campaign pledges, including minimum guaranteed pension benefits, although opposition parties want them scrapped.

However, "I think it would be reasonable to discuss [the measures in question] at a new panel instead of withdrawing them," Nagatsuma said.

This remark appears to indicate his willingness to accept discussions through a panel of experts the Liberal Democratic Party seeks to create under the Cabinet.

The DPJ's acceptance of the panel may help pave the way for progress in talks among the DPJ, the LDP and New Komeito to revise bills on a planned consumption tax hike that started Friday.

On the TV program, Nagatsuma said he was confident a conclusion could be reached on the social security and tax bills that have been submitted to the Diet.

He thus asked for serious talks between the three parties on possible amendments to the bills, including ones to enhance support for child-rearing families and the functions of public pension programs.

On the same program, Ichita Yamamoto, former LDP policy chief for the House of Councillors, said the three-party talks will end in failure if the DPJ cannot make concessions.

"We'll submit a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet to the House of Representatives and a censure motion [against Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda] to the House of Councillors" if no conclusion is reached by the end of the Diet session on June 21, Yamamoto said.
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