Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  January 2012 >  Monday, January 23, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, January 23, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Government response to the comprehensive reform (of social security and tax systems). I believe that public backing will be an essential factor in order to proceed with these difficult reform, however, when you look at current opinion polls, the support rate for the Cabinet is not very high at all, standing at around 30 percent according to some sources and there are also many who are opposed to an increase in consumption tax. In this situation how do you propose to realize this difficult reform?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Starting from last weekend explanations will be given in all regions around the country, and these efforts will be one part of the Government's efforts to publicize the comprehensive reform. At the moment the electorate has only heard reports from the mass media, including newspaper and television reports, and therefore the Government will set out from now to provide detailed explanations about why the reform is necessary, how the social security system will evolve from now and what sort of system we are aiming for. These efforts will seek to gain the understanding of the public. In the Diet it is already a common understanding, as has also been acknowledged by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), that in order to ensure the stable provision of social security and enhance those parts of the social security system that need extra support, funding from consumption tax will be required. Deliberations in the Diet will proceed along these lines, although these are not currently cross-party deliberations. These are difficult issues, but it is the Prime Minister's strong resolve that we must work to overcome these various challenges one by one.


REPORTER: In terms of ensuring pensions under the social security system, Deputy Prime Minister Okada has referred to the possibility of raising consumption tax beyond 10 percent in the future as well as percentages after 2010s. Is this the unified recognition of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Given that Japan has the world's fastest super-aging society, under the current system it is a fact that by 2020, 2030 or 2040, there will be insufficient financial resources and this is also the case for the new structure that is being currently proposed. I believe that Deputy Prime Minister Okada was probably referring to this point.

REPORTER: So if a fundamental reform of the pension system is contemplated in the future, as mentioned by Deputy Prime Minister Okada, are we to understand that an increase in consumption tax above and beyond the 10 percent that is envisaged under the current draft plan for reform of the social security system will become necessary?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: Current projections, particularly with regard to the pension system, are focused on maintaining the current system as it stands. However, if you calculate figures for the future under the current system it is a fact that there will be a shortfall in the calculations.

REPORTER: On a different subject, there have been some press reports that the Government is seeking to postpone the implementation of free medical care for persons under the age of 18 years in Fukushima Prefecture. What are the facts of this matter and what is the future outlook?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: This matter was raised on January 8, at the time of Prime Minister Noda's visit to Fukushima, where one issue was raised was the fact that in Aizu and other places compensation had not yet been received and another issue related to medical care expenses. The Prime Minister recognized these as extremely important issues and announced that they would be considered by the Government. These issues are therefore under consideration within the Government. As I mentioned in my press conference the other day, there are various opinions on the subject of medical care expenses in particular, both for and against, and as serious deliberations are currently underway by the relevant bodies the situation at present is that a conclusion has yet to be made.


Page Top

Related Link