Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Sunday that 2012 will be the year of Japan's rebirth.
Delivering his New Year address to the nation on TV, Noda said his government will make every effort to help Japan rebuild after the disaster of last March 11. He said he wants to restore pride and hope to the nation.
Concerning the ongoing nuclear crisis, Noda said, “Without the rebirth of Fukushima, there will not be a rebirth of Japan.”
Noda said recovery of the disaster-hit areas is No. 1 on his list of challenges that includes tax and social welfare reform, coping with the strong yen, Japan's participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks talks and boosting economic growth. “I am a realist. Without growth there will be no fiscal reconstruction,” he said.
Noda called out to opposition parties to cooperate with the government, but said he would not dissolve the lower house and call an election, something that the opposition Liberal Democratic Party has been calling for. Noda said that would create a political vacuum and delay reconstruction work. Instead, he emphasized that all parties must put aside their differences and work together to pull Japan out of its present crisis.© Japan Today