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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, January 11, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • An overview of the Cabinet meeting

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 14 general measures, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Prime Minister Abe and Minister Amari respectively made a statement concerning the "Emergency Economic Measures for the Revitalization of the Japanese Economy."


  • The Prime Minister's meeting with Mayor Hashimoto of Osaka City (Acting President of the Japan Restoration Party)
  • The next fiscal year's budget
  • Considerations on the consumption tax increase
  • The relocation of the Futenma Air Space of the U.S. forces
  • The disposal of debris from the Great East Japan Earthquake


REPORTER: The Prime Minister and Mayor Hashimoto of Osaka City held a meeting this afternoon. I believe the Prime Minister asked the Mayor for his cooperation with the supplementary budget. Can you please first describe your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Mayor is in a leading position of an opposition party. So I believe it is natural for a Prime Minister of the Government and ruling party to ask this when holding a meeting.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister and Mayor Hashimoto have already met a number of times last year, particularly before the presidential election of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan (LDP). I believe you were also sitting in on the meetings. I think you served as a link between the Prime Minister and Mr. Hashimoto. In what direction do you think their relationship should be moving?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the Prime Minister and Mr. Hashimoto share a common vision - for example, regarding the education reform set forth by the Prime Minister and the education reform that is currently underway in Osaka. Therefore, on the whole, the Prime Minister will ask for Mr. Hashimoto's cooperation on the legislation proposals which have to do with the policies for which there is mutual agreement. This is not limited to the Japan Restoration Party (JRP) led by Mr. Hashimoto. I believe if the proposals of the Government are to gain the support also of other parties, then it is natural that there is coordination on these proposals.

REPORTER: From your perspective, do you think the Prime Minister and Mr. Hashimoto have a good chemistry together?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I wonder. I do believe the issues raised by the JRP, such as the education reform and the basic ordinance regarding municipal personnel, are along the same lines as those raised by us in the LDP.


REPORTER: I have a question about the meeting with Mr. Hashimoto a short while ago. I believe that Prime Minister Abe identifies the revision of the Constitution as a huge, necessary goal and that JRP President Shintaro Ishihara and Acting President Toru Hashimoto have a similar will or goal. As a major goal following the House of Councillors election, are you eyeing the possibility of asking for their cooperation under the framework of the revision of the Constitution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is a long time away from now. I believe in executing our policies, if we are to gain support, it is then natural for any party as a ruling party to ask for the cooperation of opposition parties.


REPORTER: My question concerns the next fiscal year's budget. According to some reports, the Government intends to maintain the fiscal framework of the previous administration of setting new bond sales at 44 trillion yen and policy expenditures at 71 trillion yen. Can you please explain the status of considerations or adjustments, including the points I have mentioned?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the emergency economic measures were decided just today, and going forward we will make every effort to establish the supplementary budget. Naturally, we will do this while bearing in mind the maintenance of sound fiscal discipline. However, our short-term goal is to revitalize the economy. In any case, we will be working on this from now on.

REPORTER: Next year, the consumption tax will be increasing. The legislation includes an economic situation clause. The judgement on this economic situation clause will be made in fall of this year. What is your view on this at this present stage?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this present stage, the circumstances are such that I cannot yet say anything. However, today we decided on economic measures in order to achieve an economic upturn. We will make every effort to mobilize a full range of policies to achieve an economic recovery, so that an atmosphere is created such that the people of Japan sense that the economy has improved with the change in administration. That is the situation.


REPORTER: Changing the subject, I have a question regarding the issue of the relocation of the Futenma Air Station of the United States (U.S.) forces. According to reports, the Government will submit an application for land reclamation in Henoko, Nago City to the Governor of Okinawa as early as by the end of February, before the Prime Minister's visit to the U.S. Can you confirm the facts as to whether the Government is making these considerations? Also, by when does the Government intend to submit the land reclamation application? Furthermore, do you believe that some kind of progress needs to be made with regard to the relocation of the Futenma Air Station by the time the Prime Minister visits the U.S.?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government will submit the land reclamation application after adjustments have been made internally. However, nothing has been decided yet with regard to the specifics, including the application timing. That is the reality.


REPORTER: The percentage of disposed debris from the Great East Japan Earthquake has not increased for some time. At this pace, some believe it may be difficult to achieve the mid-term target which has been set for the period up to March of this year. What is your view on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This work is currently being led by the Ministry of the Environment. As we will definitely not catch up (with the target) unless all ministries and agencies make a collective effort, including the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Abe administration, which was launched on the 26th of last month, believe we need to pursue not the approach which was taken up to now, but make an all-out effort as the Government. This matter is of extreme importance to those in the affected areas, and we will make every effort to move this forward. I too personally believe that this has proceeded too slowly, and I intend to make stronger requests.


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