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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 11, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Rt. Hon. Bill English, Prime Minister of New Zealand, will pay an official working visit to Japan from 16 May to 18 May. Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to hold a meeting with, as well as host a dinner for, Prime Minister English. Japan and New Zealand have a Strategic Cooperative Partnership and share fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights. By inviting Prime Minister English to Japan for the upcoming visit, which will be his first destination in Asia since taking office as Prime Minister in December of last year, we seek to further strengthen the political and economic cooperation between our two countries, as well as our cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

Q&As

REPORTER: I would like to ask about Japan-Republic of Korea (ROK) relations. I understand that a summit telephone talk between Japan and the ROK is currently being arranged. Could you share the current state of the arrangements, and whether the talk will take place this afternoon?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is currently being arranged.

REPORTER: I have a related question. I recognize that it is still being arranged, but when this first telephone conversation takes place, what sort of matters will the Prime Minister discuss with President Moon? Will the Prime Minister make any efforts to urge the ROK to steadily implement the Japan-ROK agreement reached in 2015?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the talk will mainly involve the two sides exchanging greetings and then discussing the importance of the Japan-ROK relationship.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask a question related to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Governor Koike of Tokyo just held a meeting with Prime Minister Abe, and then made an announcement that Tokyo would bear the expenses for temporary facilities, including those related to the hosting of events outside Tokyo. In preparation for the holding of the Games, how do you evaluate the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's recent statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, Governor Koike visited the Prime Minister's Office and discussed matters relating to the division of roles and the allocation of expenses for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games with Prime Minister Abe. However, I am not yet aware of the details of the discussions.

REPORTER: I recognize that you are still unaware of the details of the discussions. However, after her meeting with Prime Minister Abe, the Governor made an announcement to the press corps that, broadly speaking, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government would bear the expenses for temporary facilities, including those outside of Tokyo. How do you evaluate that point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I evaluate that point highly. The three Governors of Kanagawa, Chiba, and Saitama visited our office recently, and informed us that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government had not yet made a practical proposal regarding the allocation of the expenses for hosting the Games, even though it was originally scheduled to do so in March, that the situation remained unclear, and that if the situation persisted it could hinder preparations for the smooth holding of the Games. Based on the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's statement that it will bear the expenses, I hope the related local governments will proceed with the arrangements and preparations for the temporary facilities. In any case, the day before yesterday the Prime Minister instructed Minister Marukawa to promptly make arrangements with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo Organising Committee regarding the issue of the allocation of expenses for hosting the Games. In light of the proposal made by Governor Koike, the central government will also proceed with arrangements, and work together with the main host of the Games, namely the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Tokyo Organising Committee, as well as related local governments, in a forward-looking manner to ensure the success of the Games, and live up to the expectations of the people. The central government would like to offer its utmost support in this matter.

REPORTER: You just mentioned that the policy regarding expenses was supposed to have been made by March. What is your reaction to the proposal having been delayed until now?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, as I just stated, the three Governors had strong concerns. However, with the Governor Koike's decision today, I believe the local governments will proceed with the arrangements and preparations for the temporary facilities. As I also stated, I believe it is necessary for Tokyo, the primary host city, and the Tokyo Organising Committee, the organizing body, to take ownership for and lead efforts for ensuring the success of the Games. In accordance with the Prime Minister's orders, the Government will cooperate and work towards the success of the Games.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: Today the Ministry of Finance announced the preliminary international balance of payments for fiscal year 2016, stating that the current account surplus reached 20 trillion yen, its highest level since fiscal year 2007, the year before the global financial crisis. What is your impression of this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding the current account balance for fiscal year 2016, it increased by 2.3371 trillion yen compared to the previous year to achieve a surplus of 20.199 trillion yen. This is the first time in 9 years, since fiscal year 2007, that the current account surplus has exceeded 20 trillion yen. The primary drivers of this are dividends and interest from foreign assets, which contributed to a robust primary income of 18.356 trillion yen. Furthermore, because of factors such as the strong yen and drop in crude oil prices in fiscal year 2016, the decline in imports exceeded the decline in exports, which resulted in a 5.7654 trillion yen trade surplus. These factors resulted in a large expansion of the surplus compared to fiscal year 2015, which was noted in the report. In any case, the Government will continue paying close attention to trends in the balance of payments.

REPORTER: With the recent expansion in the current account surplus, I believe there is a possibility that President Trump, who considers the U.S. trade deficit with Japan to be an issue, will criticize Japan more strongly. Could you please explain your response?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, we have already established the framework of the Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue to discuss the various economic issues pertaining to Japan and the United States. We will make thorough efforts to achieve a win-win relationship for both parties while holding meetings within that framework.

REPORTER: Regarding the visit by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, which was mentioned in your opening statement, will the summit meeting include discussions regarding the TPP11, or will the Japanese side discuss calling on other countries to join the TPP?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I believe a wide range of subjects will be discussed in the summit meeting, such as strengthening the bilateral partnership between our countries, and international and regional affairs. I would like to refrain from answering on whether specific topics, such as the TPP, will be discussed in the summit meeting, but in any case I believe a wide range of subjects will be discussed, including the economy.

(Abridged)


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