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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, June 9, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The second preliminary estimates of the GDP figures
  • The right of collective self-defense
  • The attack of the international airport in Karachi
  • The operational change to the Government Pension Investment Fund

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the GDP figures. The second preliminary estimates for January to March have been announced and include an upward revision to the GDP growth rate, which is now 6.7% on an annualized basis. Can you first share your thoughts with us on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the recent quarterly estimate, the annualized year-on-year real GDP growth rate for the January to March period was revised upwards to 6.7%, which marks the sixth consecutive quarter of positive growth. There was a surge in last minute demand prior to the consumption tax increase, leading to a sizable increase in consumer spending. At the same time, capital investment increased substantially on the back of improved corporate earnings and outlooks, while employment is also steadily improving. In view of such factors, my understanding is that the foundations of the economy remain strong and there is no change in the trend towards a moderate recovery.

REPORTER: It may still be a little early to ask this question, but in the lead up to the next consumption tax increase, what are your thoughts about the current series of events?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the reaction following the last minute rise in demand was within our expectations. At the same time, there has not been any change in the trend towards a moderate economic recovery, as evidenced by the significant rise in capital investment and steady improvement in employment, among other factors. To date, we have implemented our current economic policies with exiting deflation as our utmost priority. Through such policies, I believe Japan is steadily heading in the right direction. I consider it extremely important to act with greater confidence, to promote all three arrows of Abenomics in a truly integrated manner, and to take solid steps to make further progress. Therefore, I would like us to make rigorous efforts toward revitalizing Japan’s economy, which is the foremost goal of the Abe administration, including exiting deflation and achieving fiscal consolidation.     


REPORTER: JNN conducted a public opinion poll over the weekend. The results showed that with regard to the right of collective self-defense, 42% said they would approve its limited exercise, while 47% did not approve. This means that the majority of respondents still do not approve of the right of collective self-defense. However, as for individual cases, more than 60% would approve, for example, of protecting US naval ships carrying Japanese evacuees, suggesting there is some disparity there. How do you view these results in terms of the people’s understanding of the matter?     

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I would like to draw attention to the fact that results have been completely different based on which media company carried out the public opinion poll. In several surveys conducted by other media outlets, more than 70% of respondents approved of the limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense. There really are a wide variety of surveys being carried out, including cases where the media outlet has no reference to “the limited exercise of the right of the collective self-defense”. However, what is most important is the fact that it is the crucial role of the Government to secure the lives and property of the people, and to ensure national security. We are currently holding consultations regarding the necessary legislation toward that end. Once we have gained the understanding and approval of the Cabinet for the right of collective self-defense, including the limited exercise of said right, we will need to prepare a bill in the Diet. We will therefore discuss the matter in the Diet. We will spend a lengthy period of time discussing this matter, so I am sure that once we have completed that process, there will be nothing to worry about. In any case, right now the discussions among the ruling parties are approaching a conclusion. 


REPORTER: An armed group has attacked the international airport in Karachi, Pakistan. Many people have been confirmed dead. Have you received any information on the safety of Japanese nationals in Pakistan?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At 11:00 pm local time on June 8 the old terminal at Karachi’s international airport was attacked and explosions occurred. 18 people have been confirmed dead, with airport security personnel also among the deceased. Gunfire broke out between the security forces and multiple assailants. I understand that the security forces have closed off the airport, and all departures and arrivals have been suspended. No Japanese nationals have been confirmed as being harmed in this attack.  

REPORTER: I have a question about operational changes to the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF). If I may, I would like to ask a question about a matter from last Friday. Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Tamura made it clear that he intends to request that work on these changes be carried out ahead of schedule. Once again what are your views regarding the significance and aim of changes in the GPIF’s operational policy? 

REPORTER: Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Tamura announced in a press conference that he had presented the Prime Minister with a report requesting that the review work on the GPIF’s basic portfolio be conducted ahead of schedule. Minister Tamura also announced that the Prime Minister gave his approval and instructed that the work be conducted ahead of schedule. Rather than limiting ourselves to next fiscal year’s medium-term target, by immediately adapting to changes in the market and reviewing the GPIF’s basic portfolio ahead of schedule, this will of course allow us to achieve greater stability in pension financing. As a result, I believe this will also contribute to the growth of Japan’s economy. 


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