June 6, 2014 11:54 pm JST

Abe indicates corporate tax cut to be implemented in FY 2015

ROME (Kyodo) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday expressed his readiness to reduce the nation's corporate tax in fiscal 2015 as part of efforts to encourage foreign investment in the country.

     Speaking to reporters in Rome, Abe indicated that his government will accelerate discussions with a tax panel of his Liberal Democratic Party and others to compile an economic blueprint by the end of this month.

     On security, Abe also reiterated his intention to seek early Cabinet approval for reinterpreting Japan's war-renouncing Constitution to enable the country to exercise the right to collective self-defense.

     "As the government and the ruling parties, we have to decide when we have to," Abe said, adding he has no intention of extending the current Diet session beyond June 22 for deliberations on the controversial issue.

     With regard to North Korea's recent promise to reinvestigate its abductions of Japanese nationals, Abe said he will urge Pyongyang to implement the pledge and achieve specific results.

     While Japan has signaled it will ease its sanctions on North Korea once the reclusive country commences the investigation, it has said Pyongyang's Mangyongbong-92 passenger-cargo ferry, the only direct link between the countries until its entry was banned as part of Tokyo's 2006 sanctions, should not be part of the agreement.

     "At this stage, we have no intention of allowing entry" of the vessel to a Japanese port, Abe said.

     Japan, which officially lists 17 people as having been abducted by North Korea, suspects Pyongyang's involvement in many more disappearances. Only five of the 17 and their families have been returned to Japan.

     North Korea promised in 2008 to reinvestigate the abduction cases, but that commitment has yet to be fulfilled.

     Speculation is rife that Abe may reshuffle his Cabinet sometime this year. Asked about the possibility, however, Abe said, "I'm not considering it at all."