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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • A courtesy call on the Prime Minister by the Chairman and other members of the South Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' League

Firstly, I would like to speak on the Japan-Korea Parliamentarians' Union, a topic that was raised earlier. Mr. Hwang Woo-yea, the Chairman of the South Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' League, sorry, I should say the Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' Union, and other members of the union are currently visiting Japan and just now made a courtesy call to Prime Minister Abe. I haven't been informed of  the details of the visit, but I understand that in light of the significance of future Japan-Republic of Korea relations, they exchanged opinions with a determination to strengthen the friendly and cooperative relations between both countries. A group of Diet members led by Mr. [Fukushiro] Nukaga also visited the Republic of Korea on January 4 and held talks with president-elect Ms. Park Geun-hye. I believe that it is very beneficial for the political leaders of both countries to regularly visit each other and share their thoughts and opinions from a borad perspective. I should add that in the past some National Assembly members who are members of the South Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' League have made courtesy calls to previous Prime Ministers. Today's courtesy call by the Chairman and some members of the South Korea-Japan Parliamentarians' League on Prime Minister Abe came about in response to the visit to meet with president-elect Ms. Park by the relevant parties of the Japan-South Korea Parliamentarians' League, including Mr. Nukaga, on January 4.


  • The Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy
  • Interim storage facilities for contaminated soil

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. As this council was disbanded during the Democratic Party of Japan Administration, I believe that the Council is meeting for the first time in almost four years. I understand that when the council was established during the Liberal Democratic Party Administration, the council was led by the Prime Minister's Office and was responsible for envisaging mid to long-term economic policy. Could you tell us the objectives of the reinstatement of this council and the status the council will hold? Could you also tell us if the council is planning to develop comprehensive policies, such as 2014's "basic policies?"

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In principle, the council will serve as a venue to discuss the mid to long-term economic and financial issues of Japan. You just mentioned "basic policies," and in fact, we will discuss this today at the first meeting of the council. I believe that we will decide how to proceed after listening to the opinions of council members.


REPORTER: I believe that during today's meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy you will discuss economic measures. While it is likely that the 44 trillion yen national bond cap will be exceeded due to the supplementary budget, some have pointed out that the much discussed economic measures disproportionately allocate funding to public works. What are your personal thoughts on the maintenance of fiscal discipline?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Personally, I do not at all believe that funds are being disproportionately allocated to public works. I understand that spending required to minimize and prevent disaster, and spending needed to develop the economy of Japan will be accounted for in the coming supplementary budget. I also believe that naturally the issue of restoring fiscal health will be one of the major issues raised at the meetings of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.


REPORTER: This question concerns an issue carried over from the previous Government. Yesterday a meeting was held [in Fukushima Prefecture] by the Ministry of the Environment to explain to residents the preliminary investigation of candidate locations for an interim storage facility for contaminated soil. However, the residents expressed their strong dissatisfaction that there was no explanation concerning how much compensation will be received for land and also a lack of information regarding assurances that the lives of residents will be unaffected by the decision. How do you view this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As some newspapers reported today, I am aware that explanations have been made regarding interim storage facilities for contaminated soil. I have also been informed that during the meeting, residents requested more details of the amount of compensation they will receive in addition to the building of storage facilities for contaminated soil. I personally believe that naturally we had a responsibility to explain all these things to the residents at the meeting. I believe that the omission was a result of vertically-segmented administrative structures within the Government and therefore in light of the criticisms from the residents, I would like to tell the Ministry of the Environment to learn from this and review their processes to prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents. I believe this is a practice the Government as a whole should adopt.

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