Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed on Monday to ensure workers' wage hikes to protect the economy from rising global inflation, while strengthening the country's defenses.
Kishida made the remarks on the opening day of parliament's extra session convened to debate a supplementary budget to cushion the blow from the COVID-19 pandemic as he aims to restore the economy and then tackle fiscal reform.
Wage hikes hold the key to the premier's aim of defeating deflation by reversing a cycle of tame wage growth and weak consumer spending while encouraging Japanese firms to spend their record cash piles on boosting wages and investment.
Since he took office in October, Kishida has piled pressure on Japanese firms, urging those whose earnings have recovered to pre-pandemic levels to raise wages by 3 percent or more.
The government will lay the groundwork to help private-sector firms hike wages by strengthening taxation and give bold deductions for companies that raise pay, he added.
"As anxiety has grown that rising global inflation may have ripple effects on Japan, I will do the utmost to [realize] wage hikes in order to protect the Japanese economy," Kishida said.
On security policy, Japan will fundamentally strengthen its defense posture by looking into options including acquiring the capability to strike enemy bases, Kishida said.
"In order to safeguard the people's lives and livelihood, we'll examine all the options including capability to attack enemy bases... and strengthen our defense posture fundamentally with a sense of speed," he said.
Such capability would mark a shift in Japan's military posture as Tokyo, constrained by its post-World War II pacifist constitution, is to play a role of the shield in its security alliance with the US, while Washington is to play a role of the spear.
As part of effort to boost Japan's defense capacity, the government will renew three main documents laying out the nation's security policy - the National Security Strategy, National Defense Program Guidelines and Medium-Term Defense Program - in a year, Kishida said.
On Japan's coronavirus response, Kishida said he planned to make it possible to get a booster shot without waiting for the end of the current waiting period, set by the government, of eight months after the second shot.