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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, December 20, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary(AM)(Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet Meeting. The meeting approved seven general measures, as well as cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by Ministers, the Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning a report pursuant to the provisions of Article 106-25, Paragraph 1, etc. of the National Public Service Act, and a statement concerning the FY2013 White Paper on Fire and Disaster Management. The Minister of the Environment made a statement concerning the report by the Central Environment Council on the evaluation results of implementation progress of the Basic Environment Plan.

In ministerial discussions, I made a statement concerning the overseas visits of ministers and others during the end of year and New Year holiday period.

Prior to today's Cabinet Meeting, a joint meeting of the 33rd Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters and the third Nuclear Emergency Preparedness Council was held. The meeting approved additional measures for the issues of contaminated water and the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, as well as the Guidelines for the Acceleration of Reconstruction of Fukushima following the Nuclear Accident. At the same time, a report was made during the meeting on the current state of initiatives for enhancing the prevention of nuclear accidents. The Prime Minister instructed the attendees of the meeting to materialize a path for rebuilding the lives of those affected by the accident and for the restoration of affected municipalities, while maintaining effective communication with local communities. The Government will closely follow these instructions as we address the issue.

Following today's Cabinet Meeting, the IT Strategic Headquarters held a meeting. Attendees approved the revision policy of the scheme for the utilization of personal data, expected to be formulated by the end of the year following the Declaration on the Creation of a World-leading IT Nation approved by the Cabinet in June of this year. Furthermore, other items such as the Intensive Action Plan for Regulatory and Institutional Reform to Expand Utilization of IT were also approved. Moreover, in keeping with the instructions that Prime Minister Abe gave last month to the Minister in charge of Information Technology Policy Yamamoto, it was decided that the council on strategies to promote the utilization of information and communications technology is to be established under the IT Strategic Headquarters, in order to facilitate intensive discussions on trading in an information technology society and other matters. For more details on this topic, please contact National Strategy office of Information and Communications Technology, Cabinet Secretariat. 

I would now like to speak on the prior notice of appointments of the Ministers of State and expert members, whom the Prime Minister assigns, of the National Strategic Special Zone Advisory Council. In keeping with the Act on National Strategic Special Zones enacted during the recent extraordinary Diet session, the National Strategic Special Zone Advisory Council will be formed. The council members will discuss and investigate important items such as basic policies. The National Strategic Special Zone Advisory Council is chaired by Prime Minister Abe, with members to include myself (Chief Cabinet Secretary); Minister in charge of National Strategic Special Zones Shindo; Minister of States nominated by the Prime Minister; and experts appointed by the Prime Minister. Minister of Finance Aso, Minister of State Amari, and Minister of State Inada are expected to be appointed by the Prime Minister. Additionally, five individuals with strong economic or academic expertise have been given notices of prior appointments as Experts of the Council by the Prime Minister.  They are Ms. Reiko Akiike, Mr. Masahiro Sakane, Mr. Ken Sakamura, Mr. Heizo Takenaka, and Mr. Tatsuo Hatta. These individuals will be officially appointed as members of the National Strategic Special Zone Advisory Council in the near future, after completing the necessary formalities. We will strive to launch the National Strategic Special Zone Advisory Council without delay, and proceed steadily and swiftly in order to ensure that the National Strategic Special Zone contributes to the revitalization of the Japanese economy.

・The issues related to the situation in South Sudan

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning South Sudan affairs. It has been reported that three Indian servicemen engaged in peacekeeping operations were shot dead. What effect do you think this incident will have on Japanese Self-Defense Force (SDF) operations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I have been informed that conflicts, including firefights, broke out on December 19 local time, and continue in major cities in the Jonglei State. However, Juba, where the SDF is operating, is approximately 150 km away from Bor, the capital of Jonglei State. Furthermore, Juba is located approximately 400 km from Akobo in Jonglei State. I have received reports that due to these proximities, the situation in Juba is relatively stable. We will continue to keep a close eye on the local situation, and do everything we can to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals and SDF personnel.

REPORTER: Following so, do you believe that the principles of SDF operations stipulated by the Law concerning Cooperation for United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations and Other Operations are still applicable?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At present, we are obviously in the middle of the situation, and we will keep a close eye on how the local situation is developing.

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