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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

August 3, 2016 (PM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Ad Hoc Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the first Cabinet meeting. First, the Statement by Prime Minister Abe and the Basic Policy were approved as shown in the materials in front of you. Following this, the Prime Minister made a statement concerning the prior designation of ministers who would serve as the acting Prime Minister pursuant to Article 9 of the Cabinet Act. The following ministers will serve as the acting Prime Minister according to the following order of precedence: first is Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Aso; second is myself, Chief Cabinet Secretary; third is Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization Ishihara; fourth is Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida; and fifth is Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Shiozaki. In addition, two personnel decisions were made. The Prime Minister made a statement concerning acting ministers while the ministers in charge are away on overseas visits. With that the first Cabinet meeting was adjourned.

Following this, ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting were held. Mutual agreement was reached for Cabinet members to return a portion of their ministerial remuneration, in the same way as the previous Cabinet. With that the ministerial discussions were adjourned.

State Ministers and Parliamentary Vice-Ministers will be appointed on the 5th.

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: You have been Chief Cabinet Secretary since the inauguration of the second Abe Cabinet. What do you consider as your role in the Cabinet?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, based on a clear outline of the scope of the policies presented by the Prime Minister and of what the Abe administration should be doing, relevant ministers driven by a motivation to reform advance this nation forward under the leadership of politicians. With this being our basic approach, I believe the most important role of the Chief Cabinet Secretary is to ensure that things move smoothly in this manner by eliminating the vertical divisions within ministries and agencies and promoting their coordination. Another role is crisis management. As Chief Cabinet Secretary, I work to ensure crisis management with a constant sense of urgency, in order to secure the safety, security, and peaceful daily lives of the Japanese people. Furthermore, as Minister in charge of Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa, I will make thorough efforts based on the Prime Minister’s instructions to do everything possible to alleviate the burden of the bases in Okinawa and to do so in a visible manner, while maintaining deterrence amid the extremely severe security situation surrounding Japan.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: The post of Minister for Working-style Reform was established with today’s Cabinet reshuffle. I believe it was the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare that had been undertaking working style reforms. What was the aim behind the establishment of this new ministerial post?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, we perceive that creating a society that enables childcare, nursing care, and diverse lifestyles according to the circumstances of each individual would give society vitality, and that working style reform is most key to creating a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged. Therefore, the new post of Minister for Working-style Reform was established, and the Council for Working-style Reform will be established under the Minister. They will compile concrete plans by the end of this fiscal year in close coordination with the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. With regard to the establishment of the new post of Minister for Working-style Reform, well, working style reform is not of a nature in which things can move forward solely under the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare. It cannot be achieved unless the relevant ministries and agencies are working towards the same goal. As working style reform is indeed key to a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged, we will work to realize such a society through establishing this new post of Minister for Working-style Reform and through close coordination between the Minister and the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Earlier the Prime Minister stated that the economy was the top priority of the re-reshuffled Cabinet. Meanwhile, some have opined that the large-scale economic package that was decided recently would weaken fiscal discipline. What will the new Cabinet be doing to realize the existing target of achieving a primary surplus by 2020?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated frequently, if the economy cannot be sustained, then neither can fiscal soundness nor social security. In this context, we have been taking steps with the economy as our top priority. In addition, the recently announced economic package—we decided on a robust economic package with a sizable total budget exceeding 28 trillion yen as investment in the future. Our existing stance has not changed at all with the economic package, which is to maintain our target of achieving fiscal soundness by 2020 as well as revitalize the economy and achieve fiscal soundness. We took measures to revitalize the economy without issuing additional deficit-covering government bonds. I believe it will be clear if you take a look at it.

(Abridged)


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