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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, May 27, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Stock prices
  • The Senkaku Islands
  • The radiation leakage at an experiment facility in Tokai Village
  • Coordination on the President of Brazil's visit to Japan
  • The TPP
  • Japan-India summit meeting

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask you a question regarding stock prices. This morning stock prices dived across the board, at one point dipping 500 yen lower. It is believed that moving forward, volatility in the stock market will continue. Could you share with us the Government's view on this volatility?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of these movements in the stock market, but I have been refraining from passing comments so as not to cause unnecessary confusion in the market. I believe that in the past, we have also seen stock prices skyrocket with changes of over 1,000 yen within a week. So I believe that we are going through a phase of realignment. The Japanese economy is gradually picking up and I believe that it is crucial we respond calmly to these fluctuations. Moving forward, the Government will continue to monitor trends in the capital market and will seek to overcome deflation in the near term and to achieve private sector-driven sustainable economic growth through the integrated implementation of the three prongs of economic revitalization. We will swiftly yet steadily address each issue to realize these policies.

REPORTER: Premier of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang said in relation to the Senkaku Islands during his visit to Germany that Japan stole the islands and that China is unable to accept words and actions that attempt to deny a history of acts of aggression. Could you tell us how the Government views these comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that these comments completely disregard the facts of history. If those comments have been made based on the Chinese Government's own assertions concerning the Senkaku Islands, they are absolutely unacceptable from the perspective of the Japanese Government. The Senkaku Islands are an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law, and in fact the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. I believe that any comments based on the Chinese Government's claims over the Senkaku Islands do not influence Japan's stance.

REPORTER: Many researchers were exposed to radiation due to the leakage at the nuclear and particle physics facility at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC). I believe that there were a number of issues, including the reporting of the incident being delayed by a day and a half. Could you share with us your thoughts on the safety and management of this facility?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has always placed highest priority on securing the safety of nuclear facilities. Therefore, it is extremely regrettable that there was a delay in reporting the leak at J-PARC to the relevant institutions.

Yesterday, the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority commenced its investigation into the state of the leakage of radioactive material and the radiation exposure of the researchers in order to identify the causes. The Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority has also asked J-PARC to develop measures to prevent recurrence. The Government will ensure that the incident is dealt with in a strict and thorough manner.

REPORTER: It has been reported that the President of Brazil is planning to visit Japan as early as late June to hold a Summit Meeting with Prime Minister Abe. Could you inform us if this information is correct, and if so, what topics will be raised during the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan has invited the President of Brazil to visit Japan. In line with President Dilma Rousseff's desire to visit Japan before the end of the first half of the year, both countries are currently making earnest arrangements to fix a specific date for the visit.

REPORTER: Over the weekend, it became apparent that Japan may only be able to participate in the last three days of the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. I believe that initially Japan accelerated negotiations so that it could participate in the next round of negotiations. We are now in the final stages before negotiations, but some people have expressed concern that Japan will not be able to fully communicate our message due to issues such as Japan only being able to participate in the last three days of negotiations. Could you share with us the Government's views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you may know, there is the so-called 90 day rule in the U.S., which only allows us to participate in negotiations from July 23, or 90 days after the procedures were completed. As you have noted, I cannot deny that this means we will join negotiations towards the end of the negotiations, but as for July 25, we have been informed that the day will be devoted solely to discussions with Japan. Therefore I believe that we will be able to participate in a constructive and meaningful way. The Government will deploy negotiators from the relevant ministries to the participating countries to gather as much information as possible as to the state of TPP negotiations in different fields. Furthermore, using this information, we will discuss and develop policies to enable us to enter the negotiations in July fully prepared.

REPORTER: I would like to ask another question concerning the radiation leak accident in Tokai Village. I believe that there are other facilities conducting similar experiments, so how will the Government decide on the resumption of such experiments and the manner in which they will be conducted?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I touched on this earlier, but safety is our highest priority. The Government believes that the most important thing now is to establish the status of the leak and the radiation exposure of the researchers. Therefore this issue will only be addressed after first identifying the causes.

REPORTER: It has been reported that during the upcoming Summit Meeting with India, discussions in relation to the export of seaplanes of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to India will take place. Could you inform us of the facts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of these media reports; however I have been informed that diplomatic authorities from both countries are currently determining the discussion agenda of the Japan-India Summit Meeting. For this reason I cannot reveal what may be negotiated during the meeting at this time.


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