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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, January 7, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Reconstruction Promotion Council
  • The Prime Minister's overseas trips
  • The policy agreement with the Bank of Japan
  • Establishment of various councils with experts
  • The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy

REPORTER: I have heard that during this afternoon's meeting of the Government and ruling parties you stated that the Government intends to hold a meeting of the Reconstruction Promotion Council with the attendance of all Cabinet members sometime in the near future and that Reconstruction Promotion Council members will be replaced. Could you tell us what kind of time frame you were considering when you said "in the near future?" Could you also let us know your objectives for replacing members of the Reconstruction Promotion Council at this time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: For now, I can only tell you that it will take place in the near future, and that I am currently making arrangements to fix a time with all cabinet members. What I meant was that I would like the meeting to take place as soon as possible. In relation to the replacement of council members, the new administration came about as a result of a change of government and therefore we would once again like to review the members from the time of the previous Government. Reviews like this will not be limited to this council. I believe that after the review there will be members who remain on the council while others will not. The administration would like to further accelerate efforts related to the Great East Japan Earthquake in particular as we are aware that thus far reconstruction efforts have been slow to progress. This review is part of our effort to speed up the recovery.


REPORTER: My question may be similar to one of the questions asked during this morning's press conference, but I would like to ask another question regarding the Prime Minister's overseas visits. I understand there will be an inauguration ceremony for the President of the Republic of Korea on February 25. Depending on when the trip to the U.S. is scheduled, is it possible that the Prime Minister's first trip overseas will be to the Republic of Korea? Or is Prime Minister Abe determined to make the U.S. his first overseas destination as Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We are hoping the first overseas trip is to the U.S. if possible. However, the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs is currently in the U.S. making arrangements for a visit by the Prime Minister. Therefore, we will decide the destination of the first trip after these arrangements have been determined.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the policy agreement with the Bank of Japan. During the lead-up to the election Prime Minister Abe used the word "accord," and during his election campaign speeches he repeatedly said that he will seek to form a policy accord with the Bank of Japan. On the other hand, on a TV program yesterday, and on other occasions, Deputy Prime Minister Aso said that he was not too insistent on using the word "accord". I'm not concerned whether the word "accord" is used or not, but I would like to ask if this choice of word reflects the Abe Administration's or Prime Minister Abe's desire to form an agreement that ensures enforceability? Or is the Government seeking to establish some kind of mutual understanding or seeking to communicate with the Bank of Japan? Is it the former or the latter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the word "accord" is not yet to be fully understood by the public. I am aware that it is a difficult word to understand. However, the promises the Prime Minister made during his election campaign will be fulfilled without failure. I believe that both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister share this understanding.

REPORTER: Am I then correct to understand that an agreement or something with some degree of enforceability is being sought, as before?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, basically that is how I understand it.

REPORTER: In relation to timing, or a deadline, specific times have been reported, with one report suggesting that it will take place sometime before the end of January. Could you tell us what kind of time frame you are considering and whether the Government particularly wants it to be resolved before the end of January?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that I should not be the person to provide you with an answer to this question. However, the Government is committed to working toward the goals that we established during the election campaign. I believe that this is the political style of the Prime Minister.

REPORTER: I understand that a few meetings of experts are scheduled to take place to discuss  issues, such as the National Security Council, that the Prime Minister has particularly strong feelings toward. Could you first inform us of the objectives or reasons for relegating those policy issues to third parties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is not about relegating those issues to third parties. Rather we would like to draw on the opinions of various people. Experts naturally have extensive expertise within their respective field. Therefore we would like to determine the policy direction after considering our own opinions and after listening to the wide-ranging opinions of experts.

REPORTER: I understand that those meetings will commence sometime this month. Do you have a schedule in mind for when recommendations on each political issue will be made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have not yet established any specific dates. I believe that some issues will take priority so that they may be resolved as quickly as possible, while others may be held back for now.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. I understand that the first meeting of the council will be held sometime this week. I believe that the main role of the council during the previous Liberal Democratic Party Government, for instance during the first half of the Koizumi Administration, was to establish "basic policies" to ensure that the Prime Minister's Office takes the lead in budget formulation. Am I right to understand that the council will have this role once again?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In principle, the Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization will be established sometime in the near future; therefore I believe that naturally the council will share responsibility with the Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization. I may have said this before but the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy will address macro issues and in the process of doing so I believe that we will be working on "basic policies," which you mentioned earlier. I believe this is the basic policy direction. I believe that we will decide how we proceed after holding a meeting and listening to the opinions of everyone.


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