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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, November 13, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The GDP growth rate for the July-September quarter
  • The Japan-China relations
  • The issue of the nuclear-related development in Iran
  • The extension of operation of the reactors in Takahama Power Station


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the GDP growth rate for the July-September quarter. Yesterday a private-sector forecast for the quarter was issued. October’s forecast of annualized real growth of 3.66 percent over the same period last year was revised downwards to annualized growth of 2.47 percent. Can I ask for your thoughts on this forecast?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case, these figures are still predictions. There is no change to the situation. The Prime Minister will come to a decision after carefully examining the preliminary figures for the July-September quarter that will be announced in November and December.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In a meeting of the House of Representatives Financial Affairs Committee, Governor Kuroda of the Bank of Japan re-emphasized that the recent additional quantitative easing measures had been implemented on the premise that consumption tax would be raised next year. If the increase were to now be postponed there are those who would consider that the Governor has bilked these measures. What are your views on the comments made by the Governor?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of the exact nature of the Governor’s comments, but this is ultimately a decision for the Government to make.

REPORTER: Prime Minister Abe and Premier Li Keqiang of China stood with each other and exchanged greetings at a dinner held ahead of the ASEAN-related summit meetings. Could you tell us how long the two talked for and what it was they discussed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have not received a detailed report, but what I have heard is that the Prime Minister exchanged brief greetings with Premier Li in the anteroom prior to going into dinner. In any event, I hear that they spoke briefly about further developing the mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests, based on the outcomes of the recent summit meeting with President Xi Jinping. That is the direction in which relations are gradually heading.


REPORTER: In a recent address you referred to the raising of the consumption tax to 10 percent, noting that an appropriate decision would be made by the end of the year that takes the economic situation comprehensively into account. Is postponing the increase in the consumption tax rate considered to be an option within the scope of making an “appropriate decision”?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: “Appropriate decision” is exactly what it sounds like. Nothing more, nothing less.

REPORTER: I have a related question. There are several people within the ruling parties who have suggested that the consumption tax rise could be postponed for 18 months to April 2017. What are your views about the general concept of postponing a rise for 18 months?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think that in my position I should respond to questions concerning various speculative predictions.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning Iran. With the deadline of November 24 fast approaching for negotiations between Iran, and the European Union and the United States over nuclear-related development issues, Iran has announced that it has successfully developed an unmanned drone aircraft that exceeds the performance of the United States drone aircraft that it commandeered after it was shot down three years ago by the Revolutionary Guard of Iran. What is the Government’s view of this announcement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is collecting various sources of intelligence concerning developments in Iran. However, I would like to refrain from making any comment about the content of such intelligence.

REPORTER: I have a further question, concerning the decision by Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., to extend for two years the operations of the Unit 1 and 2 reactors of Takahama Nuclear Power Station, which have already been in operation for more than 39 years. There are reports that the company will conduct special tests at the end of the year with a view to submitting an application for an extension of operation to the Nuclear Regulation Authority in spring next year. What are your thoughts concerning these moves that could also have an impact on the future operations of other nuclear power stations around the country that have been in operation for around 40 years?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the point you have raised, each company makes a decision at their own discretion, regarding whether or not to submit an application to restart power stations that have been in operation for more than 40 years. However, in the event that an application is submitted it will be examined by the Nuclear Regulation Authority. If it is deemed that the power station in question complies with the standards set forth in the Act on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors, then I expect that such a decision will be respected. However, in any event, the Government’s basic policy is to reduce dependence on nuclear power to the greatest degree possible. As such I believe that it is also possible that operators will decide to decommission reactors that have been in operation for more than 40 years, without submitting an application to restart operations.

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