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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, November 20, 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

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Today's Cabinet meeting approved four general and other measures and the promulgation of legislation, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning emergency grant aid for the hurricane disaster in the Republic of Haiti.


  • The LDP President's recent remarks on the monetary easing and the Government's policy
  • Data released by TEPCO on the radiation dose at the time of the accident
  • The clashes between Israel forces and Hamas

REPORTER: President Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has made repeated statements lately about the monetary easing of the Bank of Japan (BoJ). In today's ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting or at the Cabinet meeting, were any comments made by Cabinet members regarding the statements of President Abe?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: If you ask me "were any comments made," then my response is none. However, Prime Minister Noda spoke about this matter from where he is currently (Cambodia). Prime Minister Noda stated, "Whether it is government constructions bonds or deficit-financing bonds, debt is debt. Implementing fiscally lax public works projects that accumulate debt goes against fiscal discipline." Skipping ahead, the Prime Minister stated that this brings up issues of the independence of the BoJ or the central bank. As to where and how President Abe made his statement, I am not certain about the details of the content at this time. If President Abe stated that he would have the BoJ directly underwrite Government bonds or have the Government de-facto decide on the monetary policy, then I believe this brings up issues of fiscal discipline or the independence of the central bank.

REPORTER: I have a slightly related question. It seems that the LDP intends to include the revision of the Bank of Japan Act in its campaign platform. Leaving aside this issue of the revision itself, so far, the discussion on the revision of the Bank of Japan Act has pertained to giving the Government the authority to dismiss the BoJ Governor, as with the revision proposal submitted by Your Party, and other such matters. Can you, as the Chief Cabinet Secretary of the Democratic Party of Japan administration, once again explain about the revision of the Bank of Japan Act?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In the context of overcoming deflation as early as possible in order to revive the economy, the Government has said continuously that it must work closely with the BoJ, which carries out monetary policy. To this end, Prime Minister Noda and Governor Shirakawa meet face to face occasionally and conduct candid exchanges of views. Furthermore, recently, the Government and the BoJ compiled a joint statement which expresses their resolve to overcome deflation as early as possible. This was unprecedented. In this sense, the Government continues to expect the BoJ to carry out powerful monetary easing. However, your question was how the Bank of Japan Act should be changed. As nothing exists, I cannot provide any simple response. Naturally, I believe this requires a careful review.

REPORTER: There is also the view that there is little difference between what the LDP is saying and what the Government is doing in terms of carrying out further monetary easing. Is my understanding correct that the major difference between the LDP and the Government is that, as you stated now, whereas the Government stops with expectations, the LDP goes so far as to make note of the revision of the Bank of Japan Act?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: It is as I explained a moment ago. It is up to you to interpret as you will.

REPORTER: Regarding a different subject matter, yesterday, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) released data on the radiation dose at the time of the accident. What is your opinion regarding the fact that more than a year and a half after the accident, there are still key data from the time of the accident which are undisclosed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The bottom line is that TEPCO missed releasing some data. However, it was not as though the data was undisclosed. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) had been releasing data on the radiation doses of areas around TEPCO's power station, and therefore, it is not as though for that period there were no data. It was announced yesterday that only TEPCO had not released some data of the monitoring post of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Station for a certain period. As NISA has already released data on the radiation doses at the time, my understanding is that it was not as though no data were released.

REPORTER: If I may change the topic, I would like to ask about the clashes between the Israeli forces and Hamas which are continuing in Gaza, Palestine. There have been many fatalities, including civilians. What are the views of the Government regarding this? Also, it seems that the countries concerned are making moves toward mediation. Can you please comment on these moves?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released or will be releasing a Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs just around this time. Japan is deeply concerned by escalating tensions in Gaza. To prevent the expansion of violence and any further bloodshed, especially an increase in civilian casualties, Japan urges Palestinian militants to suspend rocket attacks and Israel to exercise maximum self-restraint, and continues to strongly urge both parties to reach a lasting ceasefire agreement as early as possible. Japan supports and encourages the mediation efforts of the international community, including by the countries concerned, the Arab League, and the United Nations (UN), toward achieving a ceasefire as early as possible, and Japan will offer its utmost cooperation. On Sunday, November 18, Prime Minister Noda and President Morsy of Egypt held telephone talks. This has been announced. President Morsy asked for the cooperation of major powers, including Japan, including at the UN, to put a stop to the situation and bring about peace. Naturally, Prime Minister Noda stated that Japan will urge both Israel and Palestinian militants to exercise maximum self-restraint. Furthermore, Prime Minister Noda commended the mediation efforts made by Egypt, including President Morsy, and pledged to offer full support to the efforts made by nations, including Egypt.


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