In his first comments after he announced the demonetisation move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday acknowledged the hardship being faced by people in India but said more steps could be taken to curb black money if required.Addressing members of the Indian community in this Japanese city, Modi said he had already opened several windows for people to come clean on their ill-gotten wealth. After that, he said, he had to think of other ways and demonetisation was one such step -- a matter that had to be kept secret.He said that after the window offered in September for people to declare their unaccounted wealth, Rs 125 lakh crore was received by banks. "If after this you think that the situation remains like before then it's not my fault," he said, adding that after the demonetisation scheme, "there is no guarantee that more won't follow".
He said if the money that surfaced in the banking system came without its legitimacy and source then there would be proper scrutiny since the beginning."I believe very clearly, that unaccounted money if it comes to light, then the accounts will be scanned from Independence."He said the government would bring in as many people as possible to do this work.
At the same time he said that he was aware of the hardship people were facing in India because of the demonetisation move, but emphasised that it was necessary in the larger interests of the nation.He said people back home were hailing his decision of rendering the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes invalid but alleged some of them were being prodded to speak against the government because of politics."I know it is difficult. People are made to speak against Modi but I salute the people... some stood in the queues for five hours, six hours but endured the hardship. The same way as people in Japan endured in 2011," he said, referring to the earthquake-triggered tsunami five years ago that hit Japan.He said the government had not taken the decision on demonetisation in haste.
"We had given 50 days to people to show their unaccounted wealth" till September, before the government decided to render the large currency bills illegal tender.Modi arrived in Japan on Thursday to attend the annual India-Japan bilateral summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Friday.Modi also attended an India-Japan Business Leaders' Forum and addressed a luncheon meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Keidanren or the Japanese Business Federation.On Saturday, Modi, along with Abe, travelled by the Shinkansen high-speed rail from Tokyo to Kobe and visited the Kawasaki Heavy Industries plant there to get first hand knowledge of the technology.The Prime Minister interacted with the Indian community both in Tokyo and Kobe.He left for New Delhi later on Saturday evening from Osaka This was Modi's second visit to Japan in two years.