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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, December 17, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The outcome of the House of Representatives election

REPORTER: The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) has suffered a historic defeat in the election for the House of Representatives. As a senior figure in the Noda Cabinet, what is your reaction to the outcome of the election?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The Prime Minister has already responded to this question in a press conference held last night. As the representative of the DPJ and also of the Noda Administration he noted that the election results had dealt a severe blow to the DPJ. He stated that as the election results represent the judgment of the people of Japan, we must reflect gravely on the outcome. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to those people who found the time during this busy year-end period to take the trouble in the cold weather to visit a polling station and vote for the DPJ candidates. We would also like to express our profound apologies that despite the votes we received, we were unable to achieve a better outcome. These are the points that Prime Minister Noda covered in his press conference last night, and in my position as Chief Cabinet Secretary I would like to refrain from stating anything more than what was mentioned by the Prime Minister himself.

REPORTER: Notwithstanding what you have just stated, the fact remains that the DPJ has suffered a crushing defeat, securing fewer than 60 seats in the Diet. The factors behind this defeat have been covered by various persons since last night, including DPJ leaders and the Prime Minister himself. What is your analysis of the factors that contributed to this defeat in the election?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: In my honest opinion, I don't think that any analysis as such has yet been implemented. From now, as the ruling party and as the DPJ we must engage in thorough analysis of the results, and deduce lessons for the future. Personally, I believe that various analyses will be necessary, taking the big picture into account to consider the factors involved, including factors following the change of administration three years ago, following the inauguration of the Noda Administration in September last year, and also, more recently, the dissolution of the Diet and the election campaign itself. Therefore, I believe it would be difficult to immediately enumerate the factors involved in this election result.

REPORTER: At the time of the dissolution of the Diet and the start of the election campaign, Prime Minister Noda stated he had decided on dissolution as a necessary measure to drive politics forward. Given the results of the election, do you think that any political advancement has been made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The power to dissolve the Diet is granted to the Prime Minister alone and when Prime Minister Noda resolved to dissolve the Diet he stated that his purpose was to drive politics forward. However, as the DPJ has lost the election, with regard to the question as to whether there has been any political advancement, that will be something for history to decide.


REPORTER: With the change of administration there is a possibility that the policy of the Noda Administration to have zero operating nuclear power stations in the 2030s may be revised. What is your view with regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As you are aware and as you have just mentioned, the Noda Cabinet and also the DPJ decided on a policy, based on public opinion, to mobilize all policy resources with the aim of achieving zero operating nuclear power stations in the 2030s. The DPJ therefore promoted this policy during the recent election campaign. I believe that matters relating to energy policy, including nuclear power, will be considered by the new administration as one of the major policy issues for the country, based on discussions to date. However, with regard to the policy direction from now, at this current point in time I would like to refrain from comment.

REPORTER: Do you think that the election results will have any impact on the framework for the three-party agreement, which was compiled by the Noda Cabinet at the time of the comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This was a matter that was debated during the election campaign and the various parties made related statements. Based on the consultations among the three parties on comprehensive reform of social security and taxation systems, I expect that three-party consultations will be taken forward, including on the enactment of the related legislation and also on the establishment of a national council for comprehensive reform, as agreed by the three parties.

REPORTER: The voting rate at this election was very low. What are your views on the voter turnout on this occasion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The voting rate was apparently the lowest in the post-war period. I cannot say with any certainty why voter turnout on this occasion was high or low, but I do not think it was due to a lack of interest in the political process. It may have something to do with the multiplicity of political parties that stood for election this time, however, it is difficult for me to comment and give an on-the-spot evaluation as to why this election had the lowest voter turnout in the post-war period.


REPORTER: In each of the last three elections, in 2005, 2009 and this year, the largest political party gained 300 Diet seats or more, demonstrating large swings in support. What is your reaction to this tendency and do you think that the current single-seat constituency system needs to be changed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe that the basic proviso should be for the Diet, the various political parties and groups to engage in serious discussion on the issue of the electoral system, and to create a better system. In your question you mentioned the characteristic of the single-seat constituency system that is currently in effect, whereby there have been three large swings in the number of seats held by the largest political party, involving 300 seats or more each time, in the last three elections. Whether this is something that will continue to be the case remains to be seen. However, I believe that going forward various discussions will take place in the Diet concerning the electoral system.


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