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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, November 19, 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
  • A meeting of the Security Council

I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 20 general measures and the promulgation of legislation, a cabinet order, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, I made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers are away on overseas visits, among other matters. In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, Minister Amari made a statement about the formulation of new economic measures.

A Security Council session was held prior to the Cabinet meeting. The agenda for today was the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Program Guidelines. After confirming the progress of the Council on Security and Defense Capabilities, discussions were held. By leveraging the Security Council, the Government will work actively toward formulating and developing policies based on the discussions held in the Council on Security and Defense Capabilities.


  • The issue related to the cabinet order approved at the Cabinet meeting on November 19
  • Japan-ROK relations
  • The issue related to reduced tax

REPORTER: Could you provide a detailed explanation about the copy of this cabinet order that has just been distributed, which entails a partial revision of the Act on Special Measures concerning Cargo Inspections, etc. Conducted by the Government Taking into Consideration United Nations Security Council Resolution 1874, etc?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I seem to have termed the Security Council the "National Security Council" in my opening statement. I would like to correct that. At this point in time, it is still the Security Council.

With regard to your question, I would like to come back to it later. Could I first have the next question please?

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Security Council meeting that was held today. It appears that meetings of the Security Council were held frequently in recent days.  Does the Government have intention to make the Security Council meetings a regular and periodic event?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No, meetings will be held as and when necessary. There are no particular intentions to hold regular meetings.


REPORTER: With regard to actions by the Republic of Korea (ROK), there are plans to erect a stone monument to commemorate Ahn Jung-geun, who assassinated Hirobumi Ito, Japan's first Prime Minister and the first Japanese resident general of Korea. When Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi met with ROK President Park Geun-hye yesterday, President Park commented that the plan was going well. Could you please tell us your views on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of this exchange. On Japan's end, while we would like to refrain from evaluating the content of meetings in detail between other countries, we have been communicated to the ROK Government that Ahn Jung-geun is a criminal. In light of this, I think that ROK's taking this course of action, in spite of our communication, is not beneficial to the Japan-ROK relations.

REPORTER: As you have just commented, this appears to be a move that will clearly have a negative impact on the Japan-ROK relations. ROK is strengthening anti-Japanese stance, including the raising of such issues that are so clearly in the past. Once again, what is your thought on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just explained, by communicating our notion clearly whenever there is a need to do so, we would like to continue asserting our stance to ROK.

REPORTER: I have a question about reduced tax rates. When Prime Minister Abe met with Chairman Noda of the Research Commission on the Tax System of the Liberal Democratic Party yesterday, it seems he instructed Chairman Noda to accelerate work on considering the introduction of a reduced tax rate. Is that a fact?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I am not aware of these facts. However, with regard to responses when the consumption tax rate is raised to 10%, the ruling party is scheduled to reach a conclusion by December this year, when the outline for the tax reform proposal is due, after obtaining understanding of the related parties. We will continue to observe the reviews conducted by the ruling party.

REPORTER: On a related note, you often point out that the Abe administration has not yet confirmed to raise the consumption tax rate to 10%. In terms of the sequence of events, under these circumstances, is it logical to consider reducing the tax rate at this point based on the assumption that the consumption tax rate will be raised to 10%?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With respect to that, it has only been decided that the consumption tax rate will be raised to 8% with effect from April 1 next year, and I am certain that the economic situation will also be taken into account. Legally speaking, it has been decided that the consumption tax rate will be raised to 10%. I think it is inevitable that we will be heading in that direction, but there has been no official decision yet on whether or not to raise it to 10%. However, in order to prepare for that, the ruling party has decided to come to a conclusion by December this year, when the Outline of Tax Reform Proposal is due. The Government's stance is to observe and await the results of the reviews by the ruling party.

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