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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The overview of the Cabinet meeting
  • The recommendations from the Reconstruction Headquarters of the ruling parties
  • Japan's Assistance for Typhoon damage in the central part of Philippines (Update)

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved twenty general measures as well as draft bills, cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Minister Nemoto made a statement concerning the report on the progress of reconstruction in the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning the findings of the administrative evaluation and the monitoring of the efforts to ensure appropriate use of Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research and other subsidies. I also made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers in charge are away on an overseas visit.

In ministerial discussions, Prime Minister Abe made a statement concerning the acceleration of reconstruction efforts following the accident at the nuclear power station and Minister Mori made a statement concerning implementation of the Campaign for Eliminating Violence against Women.

The ruling parties held intensive discussions on the acceleration of reconstruction efforts following the accident at the nuclear power station and yesterday submitted their recommendations to the Government. Following the submission of the recommendations, during today's ministerial discussions, the Prime Minister provided the following three instructions: The Government is to duly take the recommendations on board and steadily implement the measures; cabinet members concerned must immediately commence deliberations on the recommendations; and, under the leadership of the Minister for Reconstruction, reconstruction efforts must be accelerated so that the affected people and the affected areas can have hope for the future. We will earnestly consider and take the recommendations on board, and the Government and ruling parties will work as one to undertake the reconstruction and recovery of the affected areas in line with the Prime Minister's instructions.

I would now like to speak on the situation in the Philippines following the typhoon. In relation to the response to the typhoon in the Philippines, the Japanese Government has decided to provide emergency grant aid of $10 million in addition to dispatching the Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team announced earlier. We will provide emergency shelters, food, water and assistance in the sanitation and other areas through international organizations. We will do our best to ensure that the supplies will be delivered as soon as possible to those who have been affected. We will continue to explore means of providing further assistance.


  • The issue related to the catastrophic situation caused by the typhoon in the Philippines
  • The former Prime Minister Koizumi's recent actions and statements on energy policy
  • The issue relate to media report on Japanese and Turkish companies' joint development of tank engines
  • The issue related to the first head of the NSC Secretariat

REPORTER: In relation to the situation following the typhoon in the Philippines, which you just spoke about, I understand that Japanese rescue teams have already arrived in the affected areas. Could you update us on the damage sustained in those areas?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As for the damage and casualties attributed to the disaster, according to media reports, the Philippine Government has announced that the death toll has now reached 1,174. On the other hand, it has also been reported that the number of casualties will significantly exceed the figures announced by the Government. I understand that the Philippine Government is presently still attempting to determine the extent of the damage and loss of life.

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask another question on this topic. With regard to the safety of Japanese nationals residing in the area, I believe that contact has yet to be made with a number of people. Has there been any progress in this regard since yesterday?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are doing our very best to confirm the safety of Japanese citizens. At present, we have yet to obtain any information that suggests that Japanese nationals have been killed or injured. Leyte Island and Samar Island are believed to be home to 133 permanent Japanese residents, with approximately 110 and 20 Japanese citizens respectively, many of whom permanently reside on the islands after marrying local residents. Of the 133 residents, the safety of 27 residents has been confirmed. I have been informed that contact has yet to be made with the remainder of the Japanese citizens there.

REPORTER: Please let me ask another question. I understand that the Japanese Government will consider dispatching the Self-Defense Force (SDF) provided the Philippine Government makes such a request. Could you provide us with the updates of the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Currently we are engaged in discussions with the Philippine Government. The Japanese Government is continuing to make arrangements so that we can swiftly dispatch the SDF as soon as the Philippine Government makes such a request during the course of our discussions. We are also closely coordinating with the U.S. as well.

REPORTER: On the same topic, with regard to the emergency team dispatched yesterday, could you share with us the state of their activities and their location?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The team arrived in Manila last night and is currently traveling to the affected areas, including Leyte Island, where the team will be providing emergency assistance.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question on the same topic. Is the team going to Leyte Island?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been informed that the team is heading to the affected areas, with a focus on Leyte Island, which was hardest hit. The team is currently traveling to the affected area.


REPORTER: Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will hold a press conference this afternoon on energy policy and the path that Japan should take. Could you once again share with us your views on the recent actions and statements by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who has been promoting zero nuclear power dependence?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has been making these comments as a former Prime Minister. Nonetheless, I believe that the Government must take responsibility for ensuring the stable supply and affordability of energy. The Government's policy is to reduce the ratio of energy produced by nuclear power plants and this has not changed at all.

REPORTER: It was reported on the front page of Nikkei that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and a Turkish company are currently making arrangements to commence the joint development of tank engines. If this is true, while this may be the result of Prime Minister Abe's second visit to Turkey, it could also raise questions in relation to compliance with the Three Principles on Arms Exports. Could you share with us your views on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that Japan and Turkey are currently exchanging views on bilateral defense cooperation and exchange at various levels. However, the Government has not made any decisions to undertake the development of defense equipment with Turkey. Please contact the Ministry of Defense for more details.

REPORTER: Some media outlets have reported that Special Advisor to the Cabinet Yachi has been appointed as the first head of the National Security Council (NSC) secretariat. Could you tell us how the arrangements are progressing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the media reports but deliberations on the bills are still ongoing in the Diet. Once the bills have been passed, we will consider the appointment. No decision has been made at this stage.

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask another question. You just said that you would only consider the appointment after the bills are passed, but given that the Government is attempting to launch the NSC as soon as possible, am I right to understand that the Government will be making a swift decision on who will head the secretariat as soon as the bill passes?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Once the bill has finally been passed, we will launch the organization and address that issue as quickly as we can.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question on a related topic. Setting aside who you would like to see head the secretariat, what are some of the ability and insights that you would like someone in that position to have?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Our ideal candidate would have excellent insight into security and have vast experience. Also, I believe that the candidates will be narrowed down to those who are able to coordinate and liaise externally and also have access to an extensive network.

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