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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, April 27, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Japanese government's response to the recent movement by North Korea
  • Monetary easing measures by the Bank of Japan
  • The realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan ("2+2" Joint Statement)
  • The International Hydrographic Conference (in relation to the name of "Sea of Japan")

REPORTER: Two Cabinet ministers are scheduled to make overseas visits during the Golden Week national holidays. However, the plan for members of the Steering Committees of the Diet to make overseas visits has been withdrawn. What are the facts of this case and given the recent talk about the possibility of a nuclear test by North Korea, what measures is the Government taking for the Golden Week holidays?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: There are still various aspects to the developments in North Korea. The Government continues to follow these developments with the greatest concern and is always working to gather intelligence and engage in analysis. In order to ensure that the Government can make a full response during the national holidays it is necessary to keep a structure that is prepared for any contingency. Coordination efforts are being taken to ensure that the required structure is duly in place.


REPORTER: The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has today decided on further monetary easing measures, in which the stated price stability goal is 1 percent in terms of the year-on-year rate of increase in the CPI. When considering this goal, does the Government consider the measures decided by the BOJ today to be sufficient?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In terms of a comment from the Government, in today's decision the BOJ has indicated that it will increase the purchase of Japanese government bonds (JGBs) by about 10 trillion yen in the Asset Purchase Program and also extend the remaining maturity of JGBs to be purchased under the Asset Purchase Program from "one to two years" to "one to three years." These are two examples of the enhanced monetary easing measures that have been decided. I believe that these measures are balanced and respond well to the measures being taken by the Government.


REPORTER: The Joint Statement issued by the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee concerning the realignment of U.S. forces states that the relocation of the Futenma Air Station to Henoko is the "only viable solution that has been identified to date." This phrasing is one that considers the position of U.S. side. Does the Japanese Government have no plans to consider options other than Henoko?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Minister for Foreign Affairs Gemba has responded that in general this does not mean that various other opinions will be ignored. However, it is my understanding that as a result of various considerations within the Japan-U.S. Security Consultative Committee (Two Plus Two) it was decided to compile the Joint Statement under the recognition that the relocation to Henoko is the most effective solution of the various options considered to date.


REPORTER: Returning to the topic of monetary easing, I believe that the measures taken by the BOJ will lead to calls for the Government to take fundamental measures against deflation. What is the Government's intention in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Later today a meeting of the Council on the Economic Situation including the Issue of Overcoming Deflation will consider various proposals and the Government's stance is that specific measures will be taken after considering various options towards overcoming deflation in the near term.

REPORTER: In the Outlook for Economic Activity and Prices issued by the BOJ today, the outlook for the consumer price index (CPI) in fiscal 2013 is an increase of 0.7 percent, which fails to reach the target of 1.0 percent set by the BOJ itself. This begs the question whether the BOJ is really committed to monetary easing. What is the Government's view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I have already indicated in response to a previous question, under the current market and economic conditions, I believe that the decision made by the BOJ is an appropriate one. The deliberations of the Council on the Economic Situation including the Issue of Overcoming Deflation are also being implemented with great urgency, and the Government will continue to cooperate closely and exchange information with the BOJ, engaging in proactive, decisive monetary policy management with the aim of overcoming deflation in the near term.


REPORTER: The International Hydrographic Conference of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), which was held from April 23 to 27, has decided to reject the request by the Republic of Korea (ROK) to include the name "East Sea" next to the name "Sea of Japan," and decided to use the "Sea of Japan" What is the Government's response to this decision? The ROK has been extremely active over the past five years in lobbying the international community to use dual nomenclature for the Sea of Japan. The next IHO conference is scheduled to be held in five years' time. What will the stance of Japan be during this time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: At the recent International Hydrographic Conference of the IHO, it was decided that no new decision would be made concerning the IHO Publication S-23 "Limits of Oceans and Seas," which was originally published in 1953. As a result it is the case that the current usage, namely using "Sea of Japan" alone, will continue to be followed by the IHO. The Government will continue to participate constructively in the work of the IHO, based on the firm principle that the "Sea of Japan" is the only internationally-established name.


REPORTER: You stated that the overseas visits of two Cabinet ministers during the holidays have been cancelled in order to prepare for a contingency. Given that North Korea has warned the ROK that it will soon initiate special actions, what measures does the Japanese Government have in place to protect the approximately 30,000 Japanese citizens in the ROK in the event of a contingency, and would it be possible to protect all these people?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Recently the Japanese Embassy (in Seoul) has been issuing mail magazines to the Japanese citizens, remaining in close contact with various information and providing warnings or advisories where necessary. The Government takes all possible measures to protect the Japanese citizens. That is our stance.


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