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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

August 8, 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]

Q&As

REPORTER: His Majesty the Emperor expressed thoughts which strongly suggest His Majesty wishes to abdicate. How will the Government be addressing this matter? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In terms of the view of the Government, the Prime Minister stated he took seriously that His Majesty has addressed the people of Japan, and with regard to the nature of His Majesty’s official duties and public activities, in view of His Majesty’s age and heavy duties and activities, we need to give thought to the strain they place upon His Majesty and carefully consider what we can do. This is what the Prime Minister stated following His Majesty’s delivery of his message. Up to now, we have striven to make necessary revisions to the nature of the official duties and public activities of His Majesty to make them more suitable for His Majesty’s age. Under our constitutional government, the Emperor is the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power. Therefore, I view that we ought to keep this in mind in continuing to consider this matter. 

REPORTER: I have a related question. I imagine that nothing will happen until some time has passed to study specific measures. Will the Government be considering the establishment of an advisory council?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is only today that the Prime Minister made his views known. We will need to consider what we will do.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: In today’s message His Majesty also made a reference to his age. By when does the Government hope to reach a conclusion of these discussions? Can you please share your idea regarding the timeframe?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, His Majesty expressed his thoughts in his message. In regard to this, the Prime Minister stated that we need to carefully consider what we can do. Going forward we need to consider what we will do accordingly.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: In the past, you stated during your press conference that the issue of the declining number of Imperial Family members need to be addressed at an early date, rather than by the end of the year. Is there any change to the general timeframe due to today’s announcement of His Majesty’s thoughts? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A study team within the Government has been addressing the declining number of Imperial Family members. Today, as His Majesty delivered a message, the Prime Minister also expressed his views as the Prime Minister concerning the message. Going forward we will consider what we will do in this regard. I expect that what we will do would be decided in this process.

REPORTER: With respect to the nature of the heavy duties and activities, His Majesty stated in his message: “I think it is not possible to continue reducing perpetually the Emperor’s acts in matters of state and his duties as the symbol of the State.” From previously the Government has been considering reviewing the nature of the heavy duties and activities. In terms of the future course of the discussions, do you perceive that this issue indeed cannot be dealt with by continuing to reduce perpetually the heavy duties and activities?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister stated that we need to give thought to the strain they place upon His Majesty and carefully consider what we can do. I believe it is not appropriate for us to comment on the thoughts expressed by His Majesty in his message.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: In the opinion of the Government, is it correct to understand that His Majesty’s remarks are not in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to His Majesty’s remarks today, His Majesty personally expressed his thoughts that in the future it may become difficult for His Majesty to smoothly carry out his official duties and public activities. Accordingly, the remarks are not of a nature that affects national administration. We do not consider that there are any issues in connection with the Constitution.  


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