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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, March 30, 2012 (AM)

[Provisional Translation]
JAPANESE

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved six general and other measures and also bills and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made a statement concerning the Long-Term Plan for Land Improvement. The Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism made a statement concerning the Tourism Nation Promotion Basic Plan. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda made a statement concerning the submission to the Diet of the bill for the drastic reform of the taxation system for ensuring stable financial resources for social security, etc. as well as the way forward in relation to the bill's submission to the Diet. The Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning the results of the labor force survey, the consumer price index, and the results of the household budget survey. The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare made a statement concerning the national ratio of jobs to applicants. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology made a statement concerning personnel affairs relating to heads of national university corporations, etc. I made a statement concerning the response to North Korea's announcement of the launch of the missile claimed to be an "artificial satellite."

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, I made another statement concerning the FY2012 "priority themes for public relations for the immediate future."

Also, a meeting of the National Security Council was held before the Cabinet meeting. Deliberations took place on the response to North Korea's announcement of the launch of the missile claimed to be an "artificial satellite." With regard to North Korea's announcement of the launch of the missile claimed to be an "artificial satellite," the Government has decided to take the responses listed in the material that has been distributed to you. They include actions to be taken under the "guidelines for emergency response" in the Self-Defense Forces Act, Article 82-3, paragraph 3 in the case of a falling missile or "artificial satellite," and information provision regarding the launch. The Government believes that normally the missile or "artificial satellite" will not be falling on Japanese territory, and the people of Japan should continue on with their normal lives and activities. Now, for the Government to be prepared for any eventuality, relevant organizations will be on alert. If North Korea launches a missile claimed to be a "artificial satellite," the necessary information will be promptly conveyed from the Government, including through the use of Em-Net and J-Alert. In addition, we ask that people are also alert to the information conveyed through other sources, including TV and radio. Furthermore, following this press conference, an official in charge is scheduled to give quite a detailed briefing on this matter. If you have any technical issues or other questions, I ask that you raise them at the briefing.

Q&As

REPORTER: The consumption tax bill was approved by the Cabinet today. Please share your views as the Chief Cabinet Secretary of the administration.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The proposal for the drastic reform of the taxation system for ensuring stable financial resources for social security, etc. was approved by the Cabinet today following vigorous discussions by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ). In view of the circumstances that I have mentioned a number of times before, including the rapidly declining birthrate and aging of the population, the change in the socioeconomic situation, and global market trends as seen by the euro zone debt problem, the Japanese Government recognizes that we cannot wait any longer for the comprehensive reform of the social security and taxation systems. In this context, the bill for the drastic reform of the taxation system sets out specific measures for the comprehensive reform, and I believe today's Cabinet decision is very significant. Moving forward, the Government will continue to work together and cooperate with the ruling parties. Furthermore, based on the ruling-opposition party consultations and other developments, the Government will take steps to achieve the early passage of the bill and the realization of the comprehensive reform, while taking comprehensive steps to advance also the economic revitalization and administrative reform.

REPORTER: To confirm, is my understanding correct that Minister Shozaburo Jimi of the People's New Party signed the Cabinet decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As Minister Jimi himself stated clearly, he said that he signed the Cabinet decision as a member of the People's New Party and the ruling party.

REPORTER: Since yesterday, President of the People's New Party Shizuka Kamei and Prime Minister Noda have also been holding talks. Will the coalition be maintained going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In my view, the present circumstance is not such that it cannot be maintained.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: The Prime Minister made a statement concerning the comprehensive reform at the Cabinet meeting. Can you briefly discuss the contents of his statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Prime Minister made a statement to the following effect: "The bill for the drastic reform of the taxation system for ensuring stable financial resources for social security, etc. was able to be submitted to the Diet today, following vigorous discussions by the DPJ. The Government and the ruling parties need to continue to make concerted efforts to comprehensively advance also the economic revitalization, political reform, and administrative reform, in addition to the comprehensive reform. Therefore, I ask that the relevant ministers make every effort to realize the reform. In particular, with regard to the direction for the steps that will follow the submission of the bill on the agenda item approved by the Cabinet today, I believe it is important that consideration of the direction is advanced within the Government as well as in close partnership and cooperation with the DPJ and to obtain the understanding and consent of the people."

(Abridged)

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