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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 1, 2016 (AM)

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)

Tomorrow the Secretariat for Promoting the Realization of Work Style Reform will be established within the Cabinet Secretariat, headed by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Sugita. The new secretariat is tasked with pushing forward with work style reform, which is the greatest challenge we face as we aim for the realization of a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged. In the near future the Council for the Realization of Work Style Reform is also scheduled to be launched, which will be headed by Prime Minister Abe.

Next I would like to report on an official announcement concerning the appointment of the Minister for Economic Cooperation with Russia. Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit Russia from September 2, and from the perspective of promoting dynamic economic cooperation between Japan and Russia, the Government will officially announce the appointment of Minister Seko as Minister for Economic Cooperation with Russia, effective from today. Minister Seko will cooperate with other ministers concerned in formulating and advancing the economic cooperation plan between Japan and Russia.

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the announcement of the appointment of the Minister for Economic Cooperation with Russia. Can I ask about the Government’s aims in creating this new ministerial portfolio and also why Minister Seko has been appointed to the post?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the leaders of Japan and Russia have confirmed that they will not limit themselves to the ideas that have been put forward up until now, and will advance cooperation through new approaches. It was against this backdrop that at the previous summit meeting in May it was decided to engage in discussions on how to crystallize the eight-point cooperation plan that was proposed by Prime Minister Abe, among other matters. During his time as Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Minister Seko headed meetings at the Prime Minister’s Office concerning diplomacy with Russia and was also a dynamic force in promoting foreign policy, coordinating the formulation of the economic cooperation plan proposal. The appointment to the new ministerial post reflects the expectations of the Government that Minister Seko’s diplomatic efforts at the Prime Minister’s Office will bear results and is also based on the fact that the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry is already responsible for many areas of the economic cooperation plan with Russia. The appointment was made against the backdrop of ongoing cooperative efforts among ministries and agencies concerned to crystallize a specific cooperation plan.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Do you think that the creation of a new ministerial post for economic cooperation will send a strong message to Russia?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the post is specific to Russia, in that sense I believe it will send a strong message.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Japan-Russia relations. There have been reports in the press today that the Government intends to submit a proposal to Russia, stating that if an agreement were to be reached to attribute the Northern Territories to Japan, the Government would grant residency rights to Russian nationals currently living in the Northern Territories. Can I ask about the current status of this proposal?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I am aware of the press reports, there is no truth to the matter you have just mentioned.

REPORTER: I have a further related question, concerning the appointment of Minister Seko. Can we understand that the official appointment will take place from now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, the appointment is scheduled to be made today.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You have just stated that the appointment will send a strong message to Russia, so can I ask what the Government’s expectations are concerning how Russia will respond to the creation of a ministerial position specifically for Russian economic cooperation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any event, there are many diplomatic issues to be covered in summit meetings, starting with the issue of economic cooperation and also including the conclusion of a peace treaty, based on agreement on the attribution of the Northern Territories. Overall efforts with regard to economic cooperation have tended to be compartmentalized among various ministries until now and the Government therefore decided that a minister is necessary to guide and advance Japan’s economic policy with regard to Russia. I imagine that Russia will naturally recognize the importance of this role.

(Abridged)


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