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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 26, 2018 (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 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question regarding President Trump’s comments about the possibility of the United States joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), from the perspective of trade relations between Japan and the U.S. The United States has until now requested for a free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan. If the United States does join the TPP, which is a multilateral agreement, it would represent a major change in its trade policy. What is the Government’s view on this point and what impact do you think it would have on the markets?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: As I noted in this morning’s press conference, it is necessary to carefully ascertain the true intentions of President Trump’s comments. On various occasions to date, the Government has explained to the United States our efforts related to the TPP and its importance. The Government would be very pleased and would welcome such situation if President Trump has deepened his understanding on the significance of the TPP. It could be the case that the conclusion of the negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the conclusion of the negotiations and agreement reached among the 11 members of the TPP have inspired the President. In any event, we will once again explain the importance and significance of the TPP to the United States and that the TPP would also be beneficial for both the economy and employment of the United States, and encourage its return to the TPP among the 12 members.

REPORTER: In this morning’s press conference you stated that the TPP in principle does not expect renegotiations on the TPP. Can we understand that the Government will therefore not respond to any requests for renegotiation?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: The TPP was agreed on by 12 countries, including the United States. Therefore, the TPP itself does not expect any renegotiations. As I noted this morning, as I was also involved in the negotiations I could speak at great length on the topic, but suffice it to say, the TPP negotiations were held over a lengthy period during which the agreement was formulated. The process leading to the agreement was therefore a delicate one like glasswork and any slight change could have a major effect on the overall agreement. As the TPP is the result of careful negotiations among the 12 countries, realistically speaking, it would now be impossible to change it. In any event, as I have already mentioned, we hope to engage in constructive discussions with the United States, confirming the true intentions behind President Trump’s remarks, while also continuing to fully explain in the forum of the Japan-U.S. economic dialogue the significance of the TPP and the benefits it would have for the U.S. economy.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question regarding foreign exchange rates. U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin made comments about a weak dollar being good for the United States, which could be interpreted as the Secretary accepts a weak dollar. This caused a temporary surge in the value of yen. This was corrected after President Trump stated that he was ultimately seeking a strong dollar. Can I ask for your views on the series of developments on this matter?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY NISHIMURA: I would like to refrain from commenting on individual statements made by the officials of other countries concerning exchange rates or the levels of exchange rates. Basically, it is important to have stable exchange rates, and the Government will thus continue to monitor developments in the exchange rate market. As you know, the G20 also reconfirmed that excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability, which underlines the importance of exchange rate stability.

(Abridged)
 

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