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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 17, 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: The Advisory Council that will discuss easing the burden of the official duties and public activities of His Majesty the Emperor will be meeting this evening. The Advisory Council is set to compile a proposal. Suppose that during the meeting, there is discussion on the need for some sort of legal measures for His Majesty to abdicate. In that case, do you expect that the Advisory Council will go so far as to say in the proposal that a special measures act is ideal, or that the Imperial House Law should be revised, or mention other concrete legal measures?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government hopes that the Advisory Council will hold discussions on easing the burden of the official duties and public activities of His Majesty free of assumption. This is to say that the Advisory Council does not have a concrete proposal in mind before going into the discussions today. In any case, if the discussions point us in a certain direction, then the Government will take that into account in addressing this matter.

REPORTER: I have a related question. While this question may have been asked before, can you tell us how the Government will flesh out the proposal after it receives it and about how much time the Government intends to spend doing this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: So as I stated moments ago, we will not be working off a preset schedule. First, we would like to calmly advance the discussions, while thoroughly listening to the opinions of a variety of experts. However, we consider that this is a vital issue which concerns the foundation of our state, and we believe that we should not postpone our response aimlessly.

REPORTER: I have just one more question regarding this topic. Recently it was reported that the Government has begun studying the possibility of holding the Daijosai ritual (rite of offering of new rice after the enthronement ceremony) in November 2018 for His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince to succeed the imperial throne from His Majesty. Is this the timing that the Government has in mind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no knowledge of this at all. We would like the Advisory Council that will be meeting from today to calmly advance the discussions on easing the burden, free of assumption. I cannot understand why this article was published when this has not been discussed at all.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Advisory Council. You stated that the Government would like the Advisory Council to advance the discussions free of assumption. What about the proposal that will be compiled at the end? Does the Government want the Advisory Council to present a single direction in terms of the Government’s responses? Or is there a possibility that the Advisory Council will identify multiple responses and directions depending on how the discussions go?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We would like the discussions to begin free of assumption. Therefore, we have no views regarding this.

REPORTER: Today, the Prime Minister offered a masakaki votive stick to Yasukuni Shrine in the name of “Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.” In what capacity did the Prime Minister make this offering? Was the offering a public or a private expense?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I am of course aware that the Prime Minister made a masakaki offering. I understand that this was done in a private capacity, and I believe this is not a matter on which the Government should make comments. In any case, I would assume that the Prime Minister made an appropriate judgment. 

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in this connection. The name on the offering is “Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.” It is written, “Prime Minister of Japan.” Even then you perceive that the Prime Minister did not make the offering as a Government official?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is correct. As a custom, the job title is frequently written down to refer to an individual with standing.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. The Prime Minister has not visited Yasukuni Shrine since December 2013. However, some members of the Cabinet have visited the shrine or expressed interest in visiting the shrine again. Can you once again explain the Abe Cabinet’s policy on visiting Yasukuni Shrine?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The visits are made in a private capacity, and therefore, there is no Cabinet policy.


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