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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 12, 2017 (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

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to ask about U.S.-China trade negotiations. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross of the United States announced that the U.S. and Chinese Governments had reached an agreement on the concrete measures of the 100-Day Action Plan aimed at correcting the trade imbalance. The measures involve expanding trade between the two countries, including increasing U.S. exports of beef and liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China. How does the Government of Japan view this agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are aware that such measures were being taken by the United States and China. The relationship between the United States and China is an extremely important one for Japan that we observe closely. Therefore, we will continue to do so. At the same time, the Government considers that it is important to continue to enhance economic relations with the United States and China.

REPORTER: A related question. I believe the Government’s trade policy is to establish a free economic zone under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement or other mechanisms. What kind of impact do you envision these trade negotiations between the United States and China—two economic superpowers—having on Japan’s trade strategy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think it will have any impact at all.

REPORTER: A related question. The United States may request that Japan also open its markets through bilateral negotiations, as it has done with China. What is your view in this regard?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan’s markets are already entirely open compared with China’s, and so there is no need at all to panic about that.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Yesterday, President Renho of the Democratic Party participated in the Best Mother Awards prize-giving ceremony as a presenter. She said that when raising children it is important to teach them to say “thank you” and “sorry.” You yourself have children. What do you consider as important in raising children?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have told my children that it is bad to lie.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask a question related to reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake. The revised Law on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima, which centers on reconstructing the difficult-to-return zones to which access has been restricted following the nuclear accident, was enacted today. What is the significance of the enactment of this legislation, and how do you intend to accelerate the steps towards reconstruction following the passage of this legislation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, today, the Law for Partially Revising the Law on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima was passed at the plenary session of the House of Councillors and was enacted. Based on very strong requests from local communities, the revisions involve the implementation of measures that include the creation of a planning system to build special reconstruction and revitalization bases in the difficult-to-return zones, enhancement of the structure of joint public-private sector teams, further promotion of the Fukushima Innovation Coast Framework, and enhancement of measures aimed at eliminating harmful rumors. With the enactment of this legislation we have entered a new stage. The Government remains committed to the reconstruction and revitalization efforts in Fukushima in order to further accelerate this process. 

REPORTER: With these revisions, the Government will be assuming the decontamination costs which have been covered by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). Around when exactly does the Government hope to commence the decontamination work?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are basically thinking, as soon as possible.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question regarding Okinawa. May 15 will mark 45 years since the return of Okinawa to Japan. With regard to Okinawa, the Government has worked to alleviate the impact of U.S. military bases, maintain territorial integrity, and implement measures to promote and develop business in Okinawa. How do you evaluate the Government’s policies on Okinawa over those 45 years?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Okinawa was the only place in Japan where ground battle took place involving residents during World War II, causing the people of Okinawa to experience enormous suffering and sorrow. Subsequently, in 1972, after years under the U.S. administration, the ardent wish of the people of Okinawa, and of the people of Japan as a whole of returning Okinawa to Japan was fulfilled. Now nearly 45 years have passed since then. We must not forget this history of hardships that the people of Okinawa have faced. Since returning to Japan, thanks to the tireless efforts of the people of the prefecture, Okinawa has succeeded in overcoming difficulties and has continued to push forward with dynamic development. Over this period, the Government has implemented five plans for the promotion and development of Okinawa in succession, and has taken a variety of special measures to fully support the efforts of the people of Okinawa. Over those 45 years I believe steady achievements have been made, including the development of social capital, an increase in the number of people in employment, an improved job-to-applicant ratio, and a record high number of visitors to the area in FY2016, particularly the number of foreign visitors. I believe that, with its advantages and potential stemming from factors such as its geographical location in the center of East Asia, and its birthrate, which is the highest in Japan, Okinawa has the potential to become Japan’s frontrunner and lead the country toward economic revitalization. The Government will continue to comprehensively and proactively promote Okinawa promotion and development measures as an important national strategy. In the meantime, the target number for visitors to Okinawa was revised upward from 10 million to 12 million, and we are pleased that such efforts of Okinawa Prefecture and the support of the Government have contributed to the vitalization of Okinawa. 

(Abridged)

REPORTER: An executive from a U.S. information security company testified before the U.S. Senate that there is a highly likelihood that North Korea carried out cyber attacks targeting banks in 30 or more countries and in doing so stole vast sums of money. Is there evidence of an attack on any banks in Japan and has the Government issued a warning to banks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I am aware of these reports. I would like to refrain from answering your question, since announcing whether or not there was an attack by a certain party and divulging the details of any such attack could make our response capabilities known to the attackers. Having said that, the Government is of the view that cybersecurity is extremely important from the standpoint of crisis management and security, as well as for the promotion of Japan’s economic growth. Therefore, when there are news reports of illicit money transfers between international banks through their remittance systems and other such incidents, the Government issues the necessary warnings to financial institutions from the National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC) and the Financial Services Agency. In any case, the Government will continue taking such initiatives to steadily enhance the cybersecurity measures of financial institutions.

REPORTER: North Korea has focused on nuclear and missile development. However, it has been pointed out that North Korea’s theft of foreign exchange through cyber attacks on financial institutions in a number of different countries, as was just mentioned, has emerged as an additional new threat. What is the understanding of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has been noted that authorities in North Korea are involved for political purposes in conducting cyber attacks and training personnel in the cyber field. We are working with the United States and other countries concerned to collect and analyze information on such incidents with serious concern. Dealing with cyber attacks is an important issue from the standpoint of Japan’s security and crisis management, and the Government intends to address the issue with a sense of urgency.

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