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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 13, 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.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
(Abridged)

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question about the situation in North Korea. Following the recent nuclear test by North Korea, the U.S. Air Force dispatched strategic bombers to the Republic of Korea (ROK), which flew over the ROK. What is your evaluation of this exercise from the perspective of suppressing provocative acts by North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, fighter jets of the Air Self Defense Force (ASDF) engaged in joint exercises with strategic bombers of the U.S. Air Force in a training area in the vicinity of Kyushu. I have received a report that this exercise was implemented to provide an opportunity for U.S. Air Force strategic bombers to fly in the vicinity of Japan, purely for the purpose of enhancing operational capabilities and the tactical skills of units. I am aware that after completing the joint exercises, the U.S. Air Force strategic bombers flew to the ROK, where they conducted joint exercises with the ROK military.

REPORTER: What are your thoughts about the effect of such exercises on suppressing provocative acts by North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just mentioned, the exercises in the ROK were conducted by the ROK military and the U.S. Air Force and therefore from a Government standpoint I would like to refrain from making any comment.

REPORTER: It would appear that serious flood damage has occurred in the eastern region of North Korea. Is the Government aware of the status of the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of this matter through press reports.

REPORTER: According to some reports, approximately 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate. Given that the Government is currently considering measures to strengthen sanctions against North Korea, if North Korea were to request humanitarian assistance through an international organization such as the United Nations, how would the Government respond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government will monitor the situation concerning responses made through international aid organizations. At the current point assistance is not being considered.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the case where the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Reconstruction was carried over a puddle on the back of a staff member. In a press conference following today’s Cabinet meeting, Minister for Reconstruction Imamura suggested that it was the Parliamentary Vice-Minister’s staff that were at fault. What is your view of this statement that seeks to lay the blame for this matter with Government officials?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, on September 2 both Minister Imamura and Parliamentary Vice-Minister Mutai were severely reprimanded about this matter. Whatever the case, the Government will continue to make every effort with a sense of urgency to gain a full picture of the status of damage and engage in rescue and relief activities.

REPORTER: I have a question about regulatory reform. Yesterday the Regulatory Reform Promotion Council was launched and today a working group on agriculture has also started deliberations. Could I ask about the Government’s aims in starting with the agricultural sector in the process of regulatory reform, and whether the Government is seeking to advance structural reforms after first achieving a breakthrough in the agricultural sector?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, in yesterday’s meeting of the Regulatory Reform Promotion Council the Prime Minister stated that the Government will accelerate efforts toward the realization of “agriculture on the offensive,” which is a top priority of the Abe administration. To that end, the Government will heighten the international competitiveness of our production materials and food manufacturers, and develop efficient distribution structures that can accurately respond to the needs of consumers. From this perspective, the Prime Minister also issued instructions for work to be undertaken to reconsider without prejudice the state of related industries and Japan Agricultural Co-operatives, and to discuss concrete measures in relation to fundamental reforms for raw milk, as well as production materials and processing and distribution structures, with a view to reaching a conclusion in the autumn. Following these instructions from the Prime Minister, the working group on agriculture of the Regulatory Reform Promotion Council held its first meeting today. Although the timeframe is short, the Government hopes that under the chairmanship of Mr. Yasufumi Kanemaru the working group will engage in vigorous discussions.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question relating to Okinawa. Secretary General Nikai of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is visiting Okinawa today and tomorrow and is scheduled to hold talks with Governor Onaga of Okinawa Prefecture tomorrow. It appears that there are plans for senior ruling party officials to engage in regular interaction with officials from Okinawa Prefecture, but with the Government and the Prefecture currently engaged in a lawsuit, what sort of effect does the Government think this visit will have in advancing the issue of U.S. bases in Okinawa?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Naturally I am aware of Secretary General Nikai’s visit to Okinawa. The policy of the Abe administration is to do everything that the Government can possibly do to achieve results in a tangible manner concerning the alleviation of the burden the bases on Okinawa. It is based on this policy that I, as Minister in charge of Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa, am working to make concerted cross-governmental efforts. The Government is of course cooperating with Secretary General Nikai and will ensure that the Government and ruling parties engage in united efforts concerning this issue.

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