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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, March 16, 2017 (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]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the daily reports from the Self-Defense Force (SDF) units. Data for the daily reports from the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) units dispatched to South Sudan for peacekeeping operations were found, after it was announced that the reports had been discarded. Furthermore, senior officials had ordered the elimination of the reports. Can you provide us the background with regard to this issue, which is being questioned at the Diet, and what the Government is aware of?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, the media reports, if they were true, would largely undermine the people's trust in the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and SDF. Minister Inada has stated that the MOD and SDF take this seriously, and would first and foremost quickly check the facts by conducting an investigation that is thorough and highly independent, detached from the GSDF, at the Minister's responsibility. We have been briefed that following these media reports, the Inspector General's Office of Legal Compliance, which is under the direct control of Minister Inada and headed by a former Superintending Prosecutor and whose members include prosecutors in active service, was immediately ordered to conduct a special defense inspection. We understand that the Inspector General's Office will carry out a thorough investigation at the Minister's responsibility. The investigation will be conducted as quickly as possible and its results will be released.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Chief Cabinet Secretary, just now you stated, "if the media reports are true." Does the Government know, for example, whether the data of the daily reports from the GSDF had been kept?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We do not know. The Minister ordered an investigation into the media reports, into what the actual situation was. It was reported to the Minister that the daily reports did not exist. It is under these circumstances that the recent media reports came out. Therefore, the Minister, at her own responsibility, ordered an extremely independent, special inspection to be conducted, which is the most rigorous within the SDF, as to whether the media reports are true or not.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the topic. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System  of the United States raised the federal funds rate . While some speculated that the pace of rate hikes would accelerate, a moderate pace has been maintained, resulting in the yen appreciation and the dollar depreciation due to the selling of dollars. Can you please share your reaction to the rate increase and your expectations regarding the implications on Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we are aware that the rise in the federal funds rate was decided, and that the rate is forecast to rise two more times by the end of the year based on the outlook for the federal funds rate. In principle, as this concerns the monetary policy of another country, I would like to refrain from making detailed comments on this matter. That said, I understand that this decision was made taking into account various circumstances, including the economic situation. In any case, Japan will continue to give its maximum attention to the trends in the interest rates of the United States.

REPORTER: What are your expectations regarding the implications on Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Generally speaking, if the U.S. rate increases are being made against the backdrop of a strong U.S. economy, then we perceive that this is not necessarily bad for the Japanese and world economies.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I have a question concerning the abdication of His Majesty the Emperor. Yesterday, the Speaker and Vice-Speaker  of the House of Representatives and the President and Vice-President  of the House of Councillors presented the compilation of discussions  to the political parties. The compilation seeks, among other things, a consideration of the status of the female members of the Imperial Family, including the possibility of allowing them to keep their Imperial status after marriage , in order to ensure a stable imperial succession. What are your thoughts in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, we are of the view that discussions are taking place under the leadership of the Speaker and Vice-Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President and Vice-President of the House of Councillors. The Government's current position is to watch over the discussions. The Government intends to firmly accept the conclusion, if one is reached, and to further look into this matter. As a conclusion is yet to be reached, we are still watching over the discussions.

(Abridged)

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