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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, November 7, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue related to reconstruction of Fukushima
  • The issue related to information leaks from photocopier
  • The issue related to the mislabeling of food products

REPORTER: It is expected that recommendations concerning the reconstruction of Fukushima will be approved by the project team of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito this evening. I understand that the recommendations speak to the national Government's proactive involvement in recovery after the accident at the nuclear power station. How does the Government intend to implement these recommendations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been informed that last week the LDP Headquarters for Accelerating Reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake, under the leadership of Chairman Oshima, finalized its recommendations, and the ruling parties' recommendations will be finalized by as early as the end of this week. However, at this moment, I have not yet been informed that the recommendations have been finalized. Regardless, the Government and the ruling parties share the opinion that the Government must play a part solidly in accelerating the reconstruction and restoration of Fukushima. Therefore, once the plan of the ruling parties is finalized, the entire Government will duly take it on board and sincerely conduct deliberations on the plan.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning all-in-one photocopiers. It has been reported that there have been information leaks from photocopiers at institutions such as universities. Could you share with us what the Government intends to do? Also, I understand that public offices and other governmental institutions also use similar photocopiers, so could you tell us what measures are being taken to prevent such leaks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On October 18, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology reminded universities to take security precautions. We are currently investigating the information leaks that were reported by the media. Regardless, as appliances become more computerized and IT equipment becomes increasingly multi-functional and sophisticated, we will encourage universities to undertake thorough inspections of their equipment and take appropriate measures to ensure information security, such as by imposing access restrictions. However, the Government has been very thorough in taking such precautions, and I therefore believe that we are well prepared.


REPORTER: With regard to the issue of the mislabeling of food products, recently there have been so many cases where food and meals provided to ordinary people at hotel restaurants and other venues have been advertised with false information about the place of origin and type. What are the Government's thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Cases of the intentional mislabeling of food products have been coming to light one after another. Inappropriate labeling undermines consumer trust and is therefore extremely regrettable. I have been informed that yesterday the Consumer Affairs Agency urged the hotel industry to rectify the false labeling problem and asked them report to the Consumer Affairs Agency on their initiatives to resolve the issue.  It has also decided to take the same action for department stores. It is my opinion that we must address this issue in cooperation with other ministries and agencies responsible for overseeing the respective industries in addition to the Consumer Affairs Agency. Therefore, I instructed the Consumer Affairs Agency to immediately convene a meeting involving all ministries and agencies concerned to facilitate the Government-wide addressing of this issue.

REPORTER: On the same topic, when you were asked questions on this topic yesterday, you used a few different words such as "intentional mislabeling" or "accidental mislabeling." However, today you said more clearly "the intentional mislabeling of food products." Does that mean that you now view these as malicious acts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whether it is intentional or accidental mislabeling, what clearly appears to be cases of the mislabeling of food products have been coming to light one after another, and I think that cases like this significantly undermine consumer and public trust. Therefore, the Government must thoroughly address this issue.

REPORTER: I understand that food providers are not required by law to inform customers of the place of origin and type of their products, for instance wagyu, but choose to do so to give their customers a sense of value. It appears to me that one of the reasons for this recent spate of cases is that there are no regulatory or legal obligations prohibiting the practice. Does the Government intend to establish some kind of legal framework?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: You said that there are no legal or regulatory obligations, but common sense says that it is wrong to provide false information. The Consumer Affairs Agency has always imposed supervision on these practices but I believe it is necessary to take stronger measures, including on-site inspections, for cases that clearly appear to be intentional mislabeling.

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