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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, November 16, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  • An overview of the Cabinet meeting
  • The Monthly Economic Report
  • Economic measures
  • The handling of the revision of national public servant remuneration
  • The Prime Minister's plan to visit Tokyo Metropolitan Kogei High School

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 35 general and other measures, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications and I made a statement concerning the handling of the revision of national public servant remuneration. The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry made a statement concerning the 2012 Annual Report on Energy (Japan's "Energy White Paper 2012"). The Minister of Justice made a statement concerning the White Paper on Crime 2012. The Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning relations with the new government of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the postponement of the official visit by H.E. Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur. Prime Minister Noda and Minister Maehara made a statement concerning the establishment of economic measures by the end of this month. The Minister of Finance made a statement concerning the use of Government reserves for the second round of economic measures and regarding the bill on special provisions concerning issuance of government bonds.

I would like to speak about the Monthly Economic Report. After the Cabinet meeting, a meeting of the Ministerial Council on Monthly Economic Report and Other Relative Issues was held. With regard to the assessment of the current state of the Japanese economy, the Monthly Economic Report for November downgraded the assessment from the previous month, stating that, "The Japanese economy shows weakness recently due to deceleration of the world economy." Concerning short-term prospects, the Monthly Economic Report states that a degree of uncertainty about external economic prospects, notably those of the Eurozone and China, remains high. Under such circumstances, further slowing down of overseas economies and sharp fluctuations in the financial and capital markets are downside risks of the Japanese economy. Attention should be paid with a sense of caution. For details, please direct your questions to the Cabinet Office.

Also, as economic measures will be established by the end of this month, at today's Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister once again gave instructions with regard to the economic measures which are to be established by the end of this month. I would like to report them to you. I believe the reference material is now being distributed. The first round of economic measures is currently being implemented pursuant to the decision made on October 26. Following on from these measures, with the passage of the bill on special provisions concerning issuance of government bonds now in sight, the Prime Minister instructed that a second round of economic measures which are highly urgent and require implementation ahead of schedule be executed swiftly by making proactive use of Government reserves. In addition, for the third round of economic measures, the Prime Minister asked that an economic stimulus package be compiled by pooling together the wisdom of the ministries and agencies concerned in view of the supplementary budget. Furthermore, the Prime Minister instructed that the package include non-fiscal measures for reviving the economy, including regulatory and institutional reforms as well as measures to promote private sector loans and capital injections, such as making more effective use of the emergency fund in response to the yen appreciation. The Prime Minister instructed that this economic stimulus package be established, along with deciding the uses of Government reserves, by November 30. The Government will continue to make every effort to implement seamless economic measures aimed at overcoming deflation at an early date and reviving the economy. Regarding the details, Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy Maehara, as the minister in charge, will be providing an explanation.

Today, at the second meeting of the Ministerial Meeting Relating to Remuneration of National Public Servants and at the Cabinet meeting, Cabinet members decided on the handling of the revision of national public servant remuneration. With regard to the remuneration of national public servants, the system in which the National Personnel Authority makes recommendations is, in principle, respected under the existing system where basic labor rights are restricted. However, the remuneration revision, coupled with the Act Concerning the Revisions and the Temporary Special Provisions of the Remuneration of National Public Employees, are imposing severe remuneration reductions, especially on older employees (age 55 and older). Taking this into account, a decision has been made to carry out wide-ranging considerations from the standpoint of optimizing remuneration distribution across generations as well as sustaining employment of staff and the payment of pensions. Furthermore, a decision was made to reach a conclusion in 2013 with a view to reviewing the remuneration level of older employees, including reviewing the system of remuneration increases, starting in April 2014, when the current remuneration reductions will expire. The message regarding the content of today's Cabinet decision is as stated in the form of a Statement by the Chief Cabinet Secretary, which has been distributed to you.

Regarding the itinerary of the Prime Minister's visit, tomorrow, Saturday, November 17, Prime Minister Noda will visit Tokyo Metropolitan Kogei High School in Tokyo. Specifically, the Prime Minister will: 1. Observe a class offered at the high school; 2. Deliver a speech to students; and 3. Exchange views with students, graduates, as well as parents and guardians, and listen to the concerns and issues confronted daily in conducting studies at the high school.


  • The expected dissolution of the House of Representatives
  • The Japan-North Korea consultations


REPORTER: At this afternoon's plenary session of the House of Representatives, it is expected that procedures will be taken to dissolve the House of Representatives. At today's Cabinet meeting or in ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, did the Cabinet members or the Prime Minister make any statements regarding the dissolution of the House of Representatives?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As is customary, the dissolution process, in other words, the process leading up to the delivery of the Imperial rescript to the Speaker of the House of Representatives will not be discussed officially, that is, it will not be disclosed. What happened at the Cabinet meeting is up to your imagination. At this point in time, I will not give any precise explanation.


REPORTER: You stated that it is customary not to disclose the Cabinet meeting exchanges which take place regarding the dissolution. However, I did a quick search now, and it seems that when the Aso Cabinet dissolved the House of Representatives, then Chief Cabinet Secretary Kawamura described then Prime Minister Aso's expression of resolve to carry through the dissolution and go to the people. Does this mean that the Aso Cabinet's handling was exceptional?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe yes if you look at past examples. Of course, I believe it also depends on the beliefs held by the Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time. Cabinet meetings address various matters, including conclusions of treaties and more, and the matter of dissolution is considered an "unlisted" matter. In principle, "unlisted" matters are kept undisclosed until the matter in question takes place, and I would like to uphold this principle.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Japan-North Korea consultation. Today, the second day of the consultation is being carried out. Will there be any kind of foreseeable progress with respect to the abduction issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This is as has been explained by Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Sugiyama of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his briefing to the press and other instances, and as you all have in your memos. With the main agenda items touched upon for the most part yesterday, during day one of the consultation, I believe you can all make a presumption. However, as the consultation is still ongoing, I cannot discuss any specifics at this time. That is my response at this moment in time.

REPORTER: I would like to ask one additional related question. President of the Liberal Democratic Party Abe has criticized the Government for holding the Japan-North Korea consultation prior to dissolving the House of Representatives and the general election, saying that the consultation is being held for election purposes. If the Government has any rebuttals to this criticism, could you share them with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: With regard to the Japan-North Korea consultation?

REPORTER: Specifically, I am referring to yesterday's reports about the Government's consultation with North Korea about Ms. Megumi Yokota's parents making a visit to North Korea.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Let's get the facts straight. The Japan-North Korea consultation is being held for the first time in four years. It began with the director-level consultation in August. This was not met with any criticism from anyone, and indeed, we believe we are being urged to properly carry out the consultation. With regard to the second matter, yesterday I denied completely the reports that such a matter is being discussed by the Government, and as I stated, there is no validity to the reports.

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