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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Statement by Prime Minister SUGA Yoshihide upon the General Resignation of the Suga Cabinet

October 4, 2021

[Provisional translation]

Today, the Suga Cabinet resigned en masse.

Since the inauguration of my Cabinet in September last year, we have advanced various reforms and taken on a great many issues as “the Cabinet that works for the people.”

As for the battle against COVID-19, our highest priority issue, under my determination to defend fully the lives and livelihoods of the Japanese people, we pressed forward determinedly with ensuring the medical treatment structure is reliably in place, taking measures to curb the spread of infections, and administering vaccines.

Above all, we made all-out efforts with regard to the vaccines. We successfully navigated the global competition to acquire them, and then, unfettered by conventional thinking, secured the human resources to administer them and introduced vaccinations in the workplace. The result was vaccinations proceeding at a pace that exceeded our expectations, with some 70 percent of the entire population now having received one dose and 60 percent having completed two doses. If we continue on in this way, Japan will rank among the highest tier of countries worldwide in vaccine coverage.

With the administration of vaccines progressing at a rapid pace, the number of new cases of infection has dropped markedly and the situation in medical treatment facilities is improving. Given that situation, we were able to lift the declaration of a state of emergency and all other urgent measures at the end of last month. In addition, we are maintaining a high degree of vigilance towards the virus while reinforcing our medical treatment system and forging further ahead with our vaccinations; accordingly, we decided to relax in stages restrictions on dining out and drinking and other activities. I believe we took a significant step forward towards restoring our vibrant daily lives in which we enjoy peace of mind.

I express my heartfelt appreciation for the cooperation extended to us by individuals working in relevant fields, including those in medical care and nursing care, as well as the cooperation we have received from owners of dining and drinking establishments and other businesses and from the citizens. All of these have made tremendous efforts until now.

In addition, with the aim of making the common sense held by the citizens into a reality, we took on various longstanding challenges.

New driving factors for growth through working to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and establishing the Digital Agency have gotten us off to a powerful start. The lowering of mobile phone charges was implemented immediately, substantially reducing the burden on household budgets. The minimum wage is now 930 yen, reflecting the greatest increase over the previous level in history.

Addressing the declining birth rate is an urgent matter. My administration succeeded in setting out the path forward for fertility treatments to be covered by public health insurance, promoting the taking of childcare leave by men, and reducing to 35 the maximum number of students per elementary school class, the first such reform in 40 years. Moreover, taking the approach of reaching our hands out to those suffering from isolation and loneliness, I appointed a minister in charge of addressing the matter and I expanded support for NPOs serving as bridges between people facing hardships and the administration.

I have also acted responsibly in addressing issues that cannot be avoided. My administration has realized reforms by which elderly people having a certain level of income cover 20 percent of their medical treatment fees, and we decided to release ALPS (Advanced Liquid Processing System) treated water into the ocean, premised on safety being ensured and reputational damage being prevented and countered. We also enacted a bill on surveilling important plots of land and other sites and a bill on national referenda. Both of these issues had been longstanding matters of concern.

We also gained ground in the reconstruction of Tohoku, a critical mission for my Cabinet. During my visit to the United States in April, I made a direct request to President Biden, and last month import restrictions on food products from Japan, including rice and beef from Fukushima, were lifted in their entirety.

In the fields of diplomacy and security as well, my administration further reinforced the Japan-U.S Alliance, which is the cornerstone of Japanese diplomacy, and we also deepened our collaboration and cooperation with like-minded countries and regions with regard to giving concrete shape to the concept of a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

We brought the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to a successful completion, fulfilling our responsibilities as the host country. The magnificent performances of the athletes moved and inspired an enormous number of people and delivered dreams and hopes to people the world over. We also sent out the message of a “barrier-free mindset,” leading towards the realization of an inclusive society in which both those with and without disabilities live together, helping each other.

I believe that over the past year, I laid out the path forward for a future in which children and young people, and indeed all citizens of Japan, can enjoy peace of mind and hope.

I am truly grateful for the support and cooperation that has been extended to my Cabinet by the citizens. I ask for your support towards the next Cabinet and new prime minister as well.

Thank you very much.


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