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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 14, 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]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question in connection with Okinawa. Today, Secretary-General Nikai of the Liberal Democratic Party who is visiting Okinawa held a meeting with Governor Onaga, and communicated the party’s intention to deepen dialogues, and as much as possible, meet the wishes of Okinawa for its promotion and development measures. The clashes with Okinawa over the relocation to Henoko and other issues are still ongoing. What is your assessment of today’s meeting, including the party’s role in improving the relationship?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the issue of Okinawa, the Abe administration is committed to doing all that it can to alleviate the burden of the bases in Okinawa in a visible manner. Based on the Prime Minister’s strong commitment, the Government and the ruling parties are working collectively on this issue. In this sense, nothing has changed in that the Government and the ruling parties are intent on addressing this matter while maintaining communications with each other.

REPORTER: I have a related question. During the meeting, Governor Onaga stated that despite Okinawa’s hard work to support the Japan-U.S. security arrangements, the Government has given no considerations to building trust, and criticized the series of responses taken by the Government. On the other hand, following the meeting, the Governor commended the latest response of the party, saying that he expected discussions to take place smoothly instead of in a narrow-minded manner as before. You yourself have held a series of meetings with Governor Onaga. What is your understanding of the Governor’s remarks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the Governor’s remarks, the Government and the ruling parties are in a sense working as one. The Government too gives the highest priority to dialogue. However, the relocation to Henoko is currently the only solution. Because the Government and the ruling parties are working as one, the Government and the ruling parties will steadily hold dialogues to achieve this solution. This remains entirely unchanged.

REPORTER: Are you then saying that the Government has already built trust with the Prefecture?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government and Okinawa Prefecture are now proceeding to hold discussions based on the court’s settlement recommendation. It ended up being the case that dialogues and the lawsuit are being conducted in parallel, and ultimately, we will comply with the results of the trial. Steps are being taken based on the court’s settlement recommendation. This remains entirely unchanged.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about North Korea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced that, during a telephone meeting between the ROK and Chinese foreign ministers, China agreed to adopt the new sanctions resolution of the United Nations Security Council against North Korea. China had taken a cautious approach towards additional sanctions. What is your assessment of China’s position?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Following the recent nuclear test, the Security Council agreed to begin to work immediately on implementing appropriate sanctions through a resolution. In this regard, Japan has been coordinating appropriately with the United States and the ROK, as well as with China, Russia, and other countries concerned. In this sense, Japan hopes that China will follow through on the intention that it expressed.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: My question concerns monetary policy. At next week’s Monetary Policy Meeting, it is forecasted that the Bank of Japan (BoJ) will make deepening negative interest rates the centerpiece of its monetary easing policy. How does the Government construe this outlook?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, at the previous meeting, the BoJ unveiled that a comprehensive assessment would be conducted from the perspective of what is necessary to achieve the 2% price stability target as quickly as possible. We believe that the concrete ways of doing this should be left up to the BoJ. We expect that the BoJ will consider them based on a comprehensive assessment. With regard to the negative interest rates you referred to, the BoJ will be applying them to some of the financial institutions’ deposits at the BoJ. It is explained that exiting deflation will have positive effects on financial institutions as well in the form of long-term profits. In any case, the Government expects that based on the overall situation, the BoJ will make efforts to make certain that we exit from deflation.

REPORTER: A related question. Some financial institutions and others are still expressing opposition to the negative interest rate policy. As you stated just now, I believe you have said from before that the BoJ needs to carefully explain the purpose and objective of its monetary policy including negative interest rates. Do you think adequate explanations are being provided?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the BoJ is providing explanations. I believe it is also true that the negative interest rates have produced a level of achievements. In any case, the Government would like to leave future monetary policies up to the BoJ.

REPORTER: I would like to return to the issue of Okinawa. In regard to mitigating the impact of Futenma Air Station, today, Mr. Shimoji, a Diet member from the Initiatives from Osaka party, stated to the press in Kagoshima Prefecture that the landowner in Mageshima Island has agreed to sell the land to the Government and that the remaining issue is the price. Mr. Shimoji also noted that the landowner handed over to you a written request regarding the sale. Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, since 2011, the Government has explored the possibility of building Self-Defense Force facilities to enhance our defense posture in the southwest region and conducting landing exercises of carrier-based aircraft in Mageshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture. While we have conducted repeated negotiations with the owner of this land in Mageshima Island, to date they have not led to the securing of the necessary land.

(Abridged)

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