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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • An overview of the Cabinet meeting and ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting
  • Cabinet approval on the invitation to the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and his wife as an official working visit to Japan
  • Cabinet approval on the special extension of the period of residence for Indonesia and Filipino nurses and certified care workers

I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 15 general measures and personnel decisions.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning the visit of Prime Minister Abe to the United States. At the Cabinet meeting today, the Cabinet approved measures concerning expressions of condolence on the day of the Ceremony to Commemorate the Second Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake. The purpose of this decision is to set out the actions to be taken by governmental administrative bodies, and to seek the broad cooperation of the general public. A statement by the Prime Minister concerning this matter has been distributed to you.

Today the Cabinet approved the invitation to His Excellency Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and Mrs. Rajapaksa, to pay an Official Working Visit to Japan from Tuesday, March 12 to Friday, March 15. Sri Lanka is a country that has traditionally had friendly relations with Japan, and following the conclusion in 2009 of the 26 year-long civil war, the country has been working towards reconstruction and national reconciliation, for which Japan has been also providing active assistance. In addition, Sri Lanka is located in an extremely important area along the sea lanes in the Indian Ocean and is an important maritime country for Japan also in geo-political terms. Through the visit to Japan of the President of Sri Lanka, the Government seeks to further deepen and expand our friendly and cooperative bilateral relations and strengthen partnership between our two countries.

Today the Cabinet approved the special extension of the period of residence for Indonesian and Filipino nurses and certified care workers currently residing in Japan, based on the Economic Partnership Agreements that have previously been concluded with these two countries. In summary, the approval granted by the Cabinet today affects Indonesia and Filipino candidates who entered Japan in FY2010 and FY2011 and Filipino candidates who entered in FY2012. As these candidates did not receive six months of Japanese-language training prior to their arrival in Japan, in cases where certain conditions are satisfied it will be possible for the candidates to extend their period of residence in Japan by one year, in addition to the period of residence stipulated in the EPAs. This additional period of residence will provide the candidates with the opportunity to take additional national examinations in Japan. Based on today's Cabinet decision, after the announcement of the results of the national examinations for this fiscal year the necessary procedures will be implemented. For further details please direct your questions to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, which will both be providing separate explanations concerning this matter.


  • The general election in Italy
  • The relocation of Futenma Air Station

REPORTER: This is a somewhat unrelated question, but could you tell us the view of the Government with regard to the general election that is currently taking place in Italy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have seen press reports that suggest that no political party is likely to gain overall control of the upper house and that this could have an impact on fiscal and economic reforms that are being implemented in Italy. Trends in the European economy have the potential to significantly impact the global economy and Japan will continue to carefully monitor the situation in Europe as a whole, including in Italy.


REPORTER: In a recent press conference, Minister of Defense Onodera has stated that with regard to the relocation of Futenma Air Station, a request seeking agreement to engage in land reclamation at Henoko, which is the planned site for the relocation, will today be submitted to the Nago Fisheries Association, which owns the fishing rights in the vicinity of Henoko. What is the expected schedule from now, leading up to an application for land reclamation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given the fact that a situation must absolutely be avoided in which Futenma Air Station becomes fixed in its current location, the Government is continuing with operations towards relocation, based on the agreement reached with the United States. In the recent Japan-United States summit meeting, the Prime Minister issued a request that the return of lands south of Kadena should be expedited and President Obama shared the same view on this matter. That is the background to the current situation, but with regard to specific timing no decision has yet been made.


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