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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, July 23, 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
  • Personnel decisions

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved two general measures, the promulgation of a treaty, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry made a statement concerning the FY2013 policy regarding the provision of specific subsidies, etc. to small and medium enterprises and related entities. Minister Amari made a statement concerning the Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance 2013. The Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning the FY2013 ordinary local allocation tax principles. I made a statement concerning the travel to the United States of America by Her Imperial Highness Princess Kako and the personnel affairs relating to the heads of independent administrative agencies, respectively. The Minister of Finance and the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology made a statement concerning the heads of independent administrative agencies. Prime Minister Abe made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers are away on overseas visits, among other matters.

I would like to make an announcement concerning a personnel decision related to the Cabinet Secretariat, which was decided at today's Cabinet meeting. Cabinet Public Affairs Secretary Mikiya Chihiro will be retiring from his post effective today. As his replacement, as shown in the material in front of you, it has been decided that Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Eiichi Hasegawa will concurrently serve as Cabinet Public Affairs Secretary and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister.

At today's Cabinet meeting, Cabinet members approved that effective August 1, Prof. Tsuneo Matsumoto from the Graduate School of Law of Hitotsubashi University will be appointed to replace Mr. Hiroshi Nonoyama, the President of the National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan (NCAC), who is expected to leave his post effective July 31.


  • An appointment of the new Cabinet Public Affairs Secretary
  • The birth of the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of the U.K.
  • The leakage of contaminated groundwater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
  • The Monthly Economic Report

REPORTER: I have a question regarding Special Advisor Hasegawa. Special Advisor Hasegawa served as the Cabinet Public Affairs Secretary during the first Abe Cabinet. Can you please explain the aim behind deciding to have Mr. Hasegawa concurrently serve as the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Public Affairs Secretary?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Personnel decisions are made based on the concept of placing the right person for the right position, bearing in mind the personal character and insight of the individual. Mr. Hasegawa, as you have just stated, served as the Cabinet Public Affairs Secretary during the first Abe Cabinet, and currently, is doing a splendid job as the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister places tremendous trust in him. Precisely because Mr. Hasegawa has this track record, it was believed that the work could be performed more effectively by having Mr. Hasegawa continue to make policy and planning recommendations to the Prime Minister, in parallel with the public relations work pertaining to important Cabinet policies, among other matters. Mr. Hasegawa was appointed as he was judged appropriate from a comprehensive perspective. We have high expectations of Special Advisor Hasegawa.

REPORTER: With regard to the public relations structure of the Cabinet or the Government, are you considering, for example, making any drastic changes or transforming the modality of the press conferences?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In principle, those items are not under consideration at this point in time. However, I believe as is typical of Special Advisor Hasegawa, he has a variety of reform proposals in mind regarding a new public relations system for the Cabinet.

REPORTER: The Prince and Princess of the United Kingdom (UK) welcomed their first child. Can you please share your reaction with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government of Japan wishes to express its heartfelt congratulations to Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the rest of the British Royal Family as well as to the people of the UK. Prime Minister Abe has already sent his congratulatory message to Prime Minister Cameron. We pray that the child will grow in good health and hope that this auspicious occasion will lead the people of Japan to feel an even greater affinity towards the UK.


REPORTER: With high concentrations of radioactive substances being detected from the observation well near the sea by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), TEPCO has acknowledged the leakage of contaminated groundwater for the first time. However, it has taken considerable time for TEPCO to acknowledge this and take measures. What are your thoughts regarding the modality of TEPCO?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister and the Government take very seriously the current situation, that is, the report which has been received that groundwater and seawater inside the port had seeped back and forth and that contaminated groundwater may have leaked into the seawater. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has been requested to swiftly deal with this matter. Also, on July 7, METI has been instructed to speed up the measures to prevent the outflow of contaminated water. I understand that TEPCO has reported about the injection of liquid glass in July. In any case, the Government will give guidance to ensure that outflow prevention measures are taken with promptness. With regard to the issue of TEPCO's delayed release of the data, in fact, some data had been submitted to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) on the 18th. I understand that the outflow into the sea could not be confirmed from this data. I understand that when TEPCO had all of the data in their possession on the 22nd, it reported the data to METI and NRA. In any case, we believe that such data should be released quickly, and we would like to have METI give appropriate guidance to TEPCO.


REPORTER: Regarding the Monthly Economic Report which was released today, the assessment of the economy was revised upwards for the third consecutive month, and the word "recovery" was included in the description of the economy. I believe that the Monthly Economic Report made this judgment on the basis of the indicators through June. Will this decision, the upward revision, lead to the judgment to raise the consumption tax?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the Prime Minister has also responded repeatedly to questions, it is in a sense a major task to exit deflation, and it is well understood that increasing fiscal soundness is important. Therefore, the Prime Minister will make the final decision in the context of taking into consideration various figures, such as the second preliminary estimate for the April-June quarter which will be released in autumn, as well as various circumstances, that is, in the context of making use of various data and measures.


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