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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 23, 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

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA:

(Abridged)

The Advisory Council on Mitigating the Impact of the Public Duties of His Majesty the Emperor will be formed consisting of the six members listed in the material distributed to you. Bearing in mind that His Majesty the Emperor is at the advanced age of 82, we consider that a review from all perspectives is needed on what can be done to mitigate the impact of the official duties and public activities of His Majesty. We are arranging to hold the first meeting of the Advisory Council sometime in mid-October. The Imperial House Law Revision Office of the Cabinet Secretariat will serve as the secretariat of the Advisory Council. Accordingly, today, we have strengthened the organization of the Office. For more information, please inquire with the Imperial House Law Revision Office. 

Q&As

REPORTER: Was the Advisory Council established by a Cabinet decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It was established by way of the Prime Minister’s approval.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The council is called the “Advisory Council on Mitigating the Impact of the Public Duties of His Majesty the Emperor.” Does this mean that discussions will take place with priority given to His Majesty’s abdication?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, let me explain the purpose of its establishment. Bearing in mind that His Majesty the Emperor is at the advanced age of 82, this Advisory Council will be formed as a forum especially for discussing matters such as mitigating the impact of the official duties and public activities of His Majesty, without making any prejudgments. Under the Constitution, the Emperor derives his position from the will of the people. In this light, at the meetings, hearings will be conducted with people who have a range of expertise. Highly resourceful people will compile a set of recommendations that reflect the wide-ranging opinions of the people, by teasing out the issues and problems and communicating them to the people to further deepen the discussions.

REPORTER: I have a question on the method of reaching a conclusion. You just stated that a set of recommendations would be compiled. By around when will the recommendations be compiled?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, this issue is a critical matter that pertains to the foundation of the nation. That said, we view that we also should not keep putting off our responses uselessly. This being the case, we hope to quietly carry on the discussions, while thoroughly seeking the opinions of experts who have a range of expertise, without having a preset schedule. I imagine that the timing for reaching a specific conclusion as well as the frequency at which the meetings will be held will be decided in the course of the discussions of the Advisory Council.  

(Abridged)

REPORTER: My question is in regard to the Northern Territories. Some media are reporting that the Government is considering the possibility of concluding a peace treaty with Russia without making it a precondition to solve the issue of the return of the four islands. Is it true that the Government has changed its existing policy? In addition, can you explain the current status of the coordination work over this territorial issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is absolutely no truth to the reports. I will state that clearly. The Government has not changed its basic policy of concluding a peace treaty by resolving the issue of the return of the four islands. We will negotiate persistently based on this policy. We have not budged at all from this policy.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to U.S. monetary policy. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) postponed additional interest rate hikes and decided to hold the policy interest rate steady. It is expected that an additional rate increase will take place once this year. Can you please share the thoughts of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, on September 20 and 21, the FOMC decided to maintain its existing monetary policy including the policy interest rate. At the same time, the possibility of a rate increase before year-end was suggested in the revised policy interest rate outlook and in the press conference by Chair Yellen. We are aware of this. The Government would like to refrain from making specific comments regarding the monetary policy of another country. Having said that, the Government expects that the FOMC will continue to take appropriate responses based on various situations, and the Government will continue to closely monitor market movements.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to return to the topic of Russia. A short while ago, you stated that the Russian news reports were not true. During the Japan-Russia summit meeting in May, the two sides discussed that they would engage in the territorial negotiations based on a “new approach.” Are you saying that not dwelling on solving the issue of the return of the four islands is not part of this new approach?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The basic policy of Japan is to conclude a peace treaty by resolving the issue of the return of the four islands. Therefore, Japan will negotiate persistently based on this policy. This remains unchanged, let me make that clear.

(Abridged)

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