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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, November 25, 2011 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 16 general and other measures, and also the promulgation of cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning the consumer price index and Prime Minister Noda made a statement concerning  temporary acting Ministers while Ministers in charge are on overseas visits.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology made a statement concerning the Tokyo Olympic Bidding Committee for the 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

With regard to the countermeasures for the supply and demand of electric power this winter that were decided at the Third Review Meeting on Power Supply and Demand held on November 1, 2011, I would like to report that there have been partial revisions to the stated targets. These revisions to the targets have been made following the decision by Kyushu Electric Power Company to initiate the regularly scheduled inspection of the Unit 4 reactor of Genkai Nuclear Power Station from December 25. From the perspective of requesting detailed power saving measures, the Fourth Review Meeting on Power Supply and Demand was held in a round-robin format as a result of which it was decided that the start date for the period of power saving measures that will entail numeric targets within the service area of Kyushu Electric Power Company will be pushed back by one week from December 19 to December 26, 2011. The Government would like to reiterate its request to the public and to industries to provide their cooperation in voluntary power saving efforts during the winter season. For further details please direct your questions to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.


REPORTER: According to some press reports this morning, in a meeting with the Prime Minister on October 5, Grand Steward Haketa of the Imperial Household Agency requested that consideration be given to the establishment of princely houses by female members of the Imperial Family. Could you tell us the facts of this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The facts are as follows. On October 5, following the inauguration of the new Cabinet, the Grand Steward of the Imperial Household Agency paid a visit to Prime Minister Noda to provide an explanation about his duties. During these discussions the Grand Steward noted that the system as it currently stands under the Imperial Household Act means that female members of the Imperial Family leave the institution upon marriage and that a number of female members of the Imperial Family are nearing the age of marriage. He also pointed out his recognition that given in the context of the activities of the Imperial Family the matter is one of pressing urgency. However, the Grand Steward did not make any request for consideration to be given to the creation of a specific system. The Government has been aware  for some time of the fact that in the generation after His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince and His Imperial Highness Prince Akishino, there is only His Imperial Highness Prince Hisahito who is eligible to accede the throne and that therefore concerns about securing a stable line of succession have not been allayed. The securing of a stable line of succession for the future is a matter that is fundamental to the nation and the Government believes that it is a matter that will require consideration, based on due discussion among all sectors of the public.


REPORTER: With regard to the increase in the consumption tax, Prime Minister Noda has indicated that he would like to finalize a direction on this issue by the end of the year. Does this mean that the aim is to construct a guideline for a consumption tax increase by the end of the year?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: There are two points to be considered, the first of which is the guidelines for the reform of the tax system with an eye to the formulation of the budget for next fiscal year and naturally this will be compiled prior to a Government decision on the finalization of budget formulation. The second point will come thereafter, based on the framework of the draft proposal concluded in June, and the Government aims to finalize discussions within the fora of the party Tax Commission and the Government Tax Commission. Whether this will be referred to as a guideline has not been decided, but it is slightly different in nature from the guidelines for the reform of the tax system.


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