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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, July 1, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Bank of Japan's Tankan Survey
  • The communication monitoring activities of the United States
  • Japan-China relations
  • The necessity for reform of Diet procedures


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Short-term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan (Tankan) issued by the Bank of Japan (BOJ). In this month's Tankan Survey the figure for the business conditions of large enterprises is given as four, the first time in one year and nine months that large companies have marked positive growth. However, the figure for small and medium companies is as low as minus 14, which would suggest that while the weaker yen, brought about by "Abenomics," is helping to support a broad recovery among large enterprises, these positive effects have yet to be felt by small and medium enterprises. What is the Government's recognition of this disparity and what measures will be taken in the future to counter it?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I believe that there is a time lag between the improvement being witnessed among large enterprises and the time it will take for a similar effect to reach small and medium enterprises. I believe that in actual fact there is no mistaking that small and medium enterprises are also on the way to an improvement in business conditions. The Government therefore believes that it is important to continue to implement the current economic policies with a sense of confidence.

In addition, as I have previously stated, in regional areas there is also a time lag between when the supplementary budget for fiscal 2012 and the budget for fiscal 2013 was approved by the national Diet and when related bills will be approved by prefectural and municipal assemblies, meaning that it takes some time for budgetary allocations to filter through. The Government continues to have confidence in such measures.

The Government will, however, continue to work to ensure that the effects of the economic measures can be felt by small and medium enterprises and people living in regional areas as soon as possible.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the communications monitoring activities of the United States, which also came up in this morning's press conference. This morning you stated that the Government would be asking the United States governments about the veracity of the various reports on this matter. Has such an inquiry been made, and even if it hasn't yet been made what specific matters will the Government be seeking answers about?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, let me note that the Government of Japan is doing all that needs to be done with regard to this matter, including at our embassies overseas. Given the press reports on this matter, the Government will request the United States to provide information on any information that the Government cannot acquire itself.

REPORTER: If that is the case, did the Government of Japan have some sort of inkling that monitoring activities were being implemented? Are we to understand that the structures in place overseas were engaged in operations that took such a possibility into account?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that it is common practice around the world for due care to be taken within foreign overseas missions with regard to such possibilities. As I have already noted, the United States Government is being requested to provide information on matters that the Government of Japan has not confirmed itself.


REPORTER: In a program broadcast last week on Nico Nico Douga, Prime Minister Abe stated that with regard to the Senkaku Islands the Chinese Government has indicated that unless Japan accepts certain conditions there will be no Japan-China summit meeting. Given the strong comments made by people like Mr. Nonaka and Mr. Hatoyama, coupled with the statements coming from China, which have further served to stir things up, what are the facts of the situation and what is the Government's view of the current status of Japan-China relations and the outlook for a Japan-China summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the first instance, there are various communications being implemented between Japan and China at the working level. There are certain matters where there is no room for compromise for the Government and on those matters we will continue to maintain a firm stance. At the same time, looking at the broader perspective, we seek to advance a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests with China. From that perspective, the Government's basic stance is that the door is always open to dialogue.

REPORTER: With regard to the possibility of a Japan-China summit meeting, is there a feeling that compared to before there is an increasing likelihood of a summit meeting being realized?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is not a matter of whether the possibility is increasing or not, but rather it is the case that communications at the working level are proceeding between Japan and China.

REPORTER: When you say "working level," the Government has recently dispatched Special Advisor to the Cabinet Yachi to China, so will a decision be made on the basis of the results of such visits?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Various efforts are being made at the working level.

REPORTER: In the previous session of the Diet, which closed on June 26, the Prime Minister attended the Diet on more than 60 days, which, coupled with overseas visits and weekend commitments, resulted in a very hard schedule for him. You have previously written about the necessity for reform of Diet procedures, so what are your thoughts concerning Diet reform and how it should be advanced in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you all cover the actual proceedings of the Diet I am sure that you appreciate the difficulty the Prime Minister faces in engaging in Diet deliberations while also advancing summit-level diplomacy. The recently concluded session of the Diet was a long one, in which there were many intensive deliberations on a scale not previously seen and I was also involved in many of these myself. The question that needs to be examined and addressed is whether it is truly in the national interest to engage in such long deliberations. The Government therefore believes that it is necessary to consider Diet reform, from the perspective of allowing the Prime Minister to engage in his various work commitments, including summit-level diplomacy.


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