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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, January 13, 2012 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would like to report on the first Cabinet meeting. First, a basic policy was determined. The policy is described in the materials that you have been provided.

Next, pursuant to Article 9 of the Cabinet Act, the Prime Minister made a statement concerning the designation of Cabinet Ministers who would serve as acting Prime Minister in a contingency. The order of precedence is as follows: first is Minister Katsuya Okada, who has been requested to serve as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Administrative Reform, and Minister for Comprehensive Reform of Social Security and Tax; second is myself, the Chief Cabinet Secretary; third is Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Michihiko Kano; fourth is Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Tatsuo Kawabata; and fifth is Minister of Defense Naoki Tanaka.

The decision was also made to convene the next ordinary Diet session on Tuesday, January 24. The Imperial rescript of the Diet convocation is scheduled for promulgation today. Next, agreement was reached on an overseas visit by Minister Goshi Hosono, whereafter the Prime Minister commented on the temporary acting minister during Minister Hosono's overseas visits. The first Cabinet meeting was then concluded.

Continuing on, ministerial discussions were held where discussion was continued on the issue of the partial return of Cabinet members' salaries. In order for the Cabinet to lead efforts to secure financial resources for reconstruction, agreement was reached that, until the bill concerning emergency special measures for the salaries of national civil servants - this would reduce the salary of the Prime Minister by 30% and state ministers  by 20% - is passed, we will continue to return the portion of our salaries stipulated in the bill as a salary reduction from February onwards.

That is all. Today, the Prime Minister is scheduled to give a press conference at 6:00pm.



REPORTER: This was brought up in your morning press conference, but with regard to the areas overseen by Deputy Prime Minister Okada, in addition to positions that previously existed such as the Minister of State for Government Revitalization, the position of Minister for Administrative Reform has been added. This position did not exist under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) administration. Perhaps it is because of organizational differences, but even after the advent of the DPJ administration the Cabinet Secretariat had divisions that oversaw administrative reform. Why, then, after this reshuffling have both positions been included as posts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I mentioned earlier, to phrase it simply, one post is in charge of government revitalization, which is carried out through the operation of the Meeting of the Government Revitalization Unit as Minister of State in charge of this matter in the Cabinet Office, and the other is in charge of administrative reform, which will fundamentally reexamine the administration and finances in the Cabinet Secretariat. The language is slightly different as are the offices involved. However, government revitalization and administrative reform are overlapping concepts. Separate orders were made because the organizations that the minister will oversee are in fact different; however, the underlying concepts of both posts share the same direction, so in general they are of the same category.

REPORTER: In that case, if the reform to take place in the Cabinet Secretariat is going to be a "fundamental administrative reform" as you have just said, have you asked the minister to take charge of various different issues moving forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Yes. The written orders were phrased in such a way. The new policy uses the words "fundamental administrative reform."


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