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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 7, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

(Abridged)

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question following the morning conference. During this morning’s press conference, you noted that the leaders of Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK) confirmed at their trilateral summit meeting that greater pressure would be applied on North Korea. You explained that at the meeting the leaders agreed to coordinate with each other during the G20 Summit in order to send out a message to China. Specifically, what kind of message are the leaders thinking of sending out to China, a country with influence over North Korea, at the G20 forum?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated earlier, the leaders agreed on the four points. For example, they agreed that the international community needs to elevate pressure on North Korea to the next level, and that the three countries will work together to deal with this matter, including imposing sanctions on Chinese groups and individuals identified by the United States. The three countries will take steady responses based on these points that were agreed upon.

REPORTER: I have a question in this connection. It is very significant that the leaders agreed to apply greater pressure on North Korea. However, I understand that while President Moon Jae-in of the ROK is willing to hold dialogue, the Prime Minister discouraged dialogue at the trilateral summit meeting, stating that dialogue for the sake of dialogue is meaningless. There seems to be some differences in views between the ROK on the one hand and Japan and the United States on the other hand. A Japan-ROK Summit meeting is also coming up. What will the Government urge to the ROK?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The three leaders confirmed the four points during their respective meetings. I believe they say it all. As I stated earlier, the four points are that the three countries will: elevate pressure on North Korea to the next level; work together to deal with this matter, including imposing sanctions on Chinese groups and individuals; urge China, a country with an extremely important role, to fulfill a larger role; and coordinate with each other during the G20 Summit to send out a strong message to North Korea. The three leaders confirmed these four points at the summit meetings and will take actions based on these points that the countries have just committed to. I believe they say it all.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the investment of public pension. Today, the Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) announced that it made gains of over 7.9 trillion yen in FY2016. This was the first time in two years that a surplus was recorded. Can you please share your comments, including the underlying factors that led to these results?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to the returns of GPIF in FY2016, the pension fund has posted returns of 7.9 trillion yen on the whole following significant increases in domestic and overseas stock prices, including the Nikkei Stock Average rising by over 2,000 yen. I understand that the rate of return was under 6%. As a result, the cumulative returns posted in the last four years since the change in government amounts to 40.9 trillion yen. Furthermore, cumulative returns since FY2001, when GPIF began investing pension funds, amounts to approximately 53.4 trillion yen. The rate of return was under 3% in terms of the annual rate. These figures largely exceed the numbers that were anticipated in the pension finance. I believe these results will contribute substantially to maintaining the stability of pensions that support the post-retirement lives of the people. We will continue to manage pension reserves based on specialized expertise, without being swayed by the short-term results of the investments.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question about yesterday. A venture company in Hokkaido, Interstellar Technologies Inc., announced plans to launch a 10-meter rocket developed and manufactured by the company into space to reach an altitude of 100 kilometers on July 29. I believe the Space Activities Law that was passed last year has helped drive this initiative. If the launch is successful, it will be the first time that a Japanese private company launches a rocket into space on its own. What are your thoughts on the private sector’s initiatives in space development?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware of the rocket launch planned by the company that you mentioned. A variety of venture companies including the company you mentioned have entered into the space sector. In this sense, I am truly pleased that space has become a vibrant industry. The Government intends to support such activities of the private sector as much as possible, including the enactment of the Space Activities Law. I hope that the upcoming launch is successful and that it leads to enhancing the competitiveness of Japanese industries.

REPORTER: Today, July 7, is Tanabata (Star Festival). On this day, it is customary to write wishes on strips of paper called tanzaku and hang them from bamboo branches. In recent days there have been many heart-wrenching incidents including the flood disaster in Kyushu and an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) flying from North Korea. If you were to write a wish on tanzaku what would it be?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: All-out efforts are now being made to deal with the aftermath of the heavy rainfall in Kyushu. I hope that as many people as possible are rescued and that the impacts are minimal.

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