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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, June 3, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The reconstruction budget
  • The Senkaku Islands


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the reconstruction budget. Asahi Shimbun reported that approximately 100 billion yen of the 200 billion yen allocated to employment in FY 2011 was once again used in areas other than earthquake affected areas. It has been revealed that some of these funds were used for purposes that have no relation whatsoever to the earthquake affected regions, such as being used for local girl groups and local mascot characters. Could you tell us the Government's views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the fact of the matter is that we have been attempting to be more stringent in the application of the FY 2012 supplementary budget and the FY 2013 initial budget, which were created after the change of Government. Therefore I believe that this will be addressed appropriately. I believe that the funds in question mostly relate to the FY 2011 third supplementary budget, which was created by the Democratic Party of Japan. However, spending already executed is not included in our changes. Therefore I believe that those funds are considered to have already been executed. However, we are not trying to shift responsibility to the previous Government as we understand that this money is sourced from tax payers and we treat it with importance. The Reconstruction Agency, Ministry of Finance and other ministries and agencies responsible for the funds are currently investigating budget spending, which includes funds allocated to prefectures throughout Japan and funds allocated for disaster-related emergency employment projects. Based on the results of these investigations, this matter will be addressed with the aim of ensuring more stringent budget application.

REPORTER: I understand that, as you said, this misappropriation of the budget is a result of deficiencies in the DJP's ability to design an effective administrative system. However it has been six months since the inauguration of the Abe Administration and after looking at the recent misappropriation of funds, it appears to me that the 19 trillion and now 25 trillion yen that has been allocated in the budgets that were created after appealing to the public to raise taxes, have not been effectively used in earthquake affected regions. In other words, the problem is not that the budget is insufficient; the problem is that the funds are not being used effectively, which is leading to these problems.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has been five months since the current Government came into office. Naturally we are in a position of being responsible for these matters. Therefore, as I said earlier, since coming into office we have been working on this issue with a sense of responsibility, but even when we were in opposition we were pointing out this misappropriation of the reconstruction budget. Setting aside the issue of the budget that has already been executed; the Government is currently reinvestigating the issue including funds to maintain the public's trust.


REPORTER: A senior official of the People's Liberation Army of China said that the sovereignty issue of the Senkaku Islands and other islands should be shelved after acknowledging that the opinions expressed in the Chinese media, which disputed Japanese sovereignty over Okinawa, are not the official views of the Government. Could you share with us the Government's thoughts on this debate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, there is no doubt, in the light of historical facts and based upon international law, that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan. Indeed, the Senkaku Islands are under the valid control of Japan. Therefore there exists no issue of territorial sovereignty to be resolved concerning the Senkaku Islands. We have never made an agreement with China to shelve or maintain the status quo concerning the Senkaku Islands because there are no issues to be shelved. Japan cannot accept any Chinese assertions concerning the Senkaku Islands.

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