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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 (AM)

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 first like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved one general measure, Cabinet orders and personnel decisions.

With regard to statements by ministers, Prime Minister Abe and the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology made statements concerning the holding of the Education Rebuilding  Implementation Council.Minister Amari made a statement concerning partial amendments to measures relating to the disbandment of ministerial meetings and ministerial discussion groups. Prime Minister Abe made a statement about a temporary acting Prime Minister during his overseas visit.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Prime Minister Abe made statements about promotional efforts to bring the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to Tokyo. The Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Minister of Finance made statements concerning the promotion of iPS cells and other researches.


  • Considerations on the successor of the governor of the Bank of Japan
  • Press reports on the establishment of a meeting of experts to consider revising the interpretation of the Constitution for the right to collective self-defense
  • The deployment of U.S. forces in Japan
  • The abduction issue

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the successor to the governor of the Bank of Japan (BOJ). A meeting is scheduled to be held today with financial experts to give the matter full-fledged consideration. Will the meeting today therefore engage in discussion of potential candidates? What is the schedule for the consideration of candidates?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any specific comment on this topic. The meeting today will be attended by a number of academic scholars, including Professor Koichi Hamada of Yale University, who is an advisor to the Cabinet, as well as the Prime Minister, Ministers Aso and Amari and myself. We will be discussing the various factors relating to Japan's financial and economic policy. Therefore, rather than discussing the framework and procedures for the selection of the next governor of the BOJ, it will be a meeting to exchange opinions on current policies.

REPORTER: During the first Abe Cabinet there was a case where a former vice-minister for transport was denied the top position at Narita International Airport Corporation, from the perspective of prohibiting the practice of government bureaucrats "parachuting" into senior positions in other organizations. Currently a former member of the Ministry of Finance is being talked about as a potential candidate for governor of the BOJ. Do you think that such a person should be included in the list of candidates, given past precedent?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have said before, I believe that a decision will be made to appoint the person who is most needed for the position to promote economic revival, who understands the policies towards which Prime Minister Abe is aiming and who will work to this end, regardless of that person's former place of employment.


REPORTER: The Government is expected to establish a meeting of experts to consider revising the interpretation of the Constitution, allowing the right to collective self-defense. My question relates to this review. There are some press reports that suggest a policy has now been decided to consider allowing the Self-Defense Forces to provide protection, even in the event that a United States vessel sailing in international waters a great distance from Japan were to be subjected to an attack. What are the facts behind these press reports?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have not heard anything about such a so-called policy. It is surprising that news reports would even be published on this point. However, as I have said previously, at the time of the first Abe Cabinet a meeting of experts was convened and their conclusions were submitted to the successor Cabinet of Prime Minister Fukuda. The starting point for any discussions therefore will be from the recommendations that were made by the meeting members on the previous occasion.

REPORTER: Returning to the issue of the next governor of the BOJ, I believe that the term of office of the deputy governors is slightly different to that of the governor, with the deputy governors' term concluding on March 19, and the governor on April 8. Does the Government consider it to be the best option to present the proposal for the new governor and two deputy governors as a three-person set to the Diet?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that the terms of office are slightly different, but what will be done specifically to respond to this matter has not yet been decided.


REPORTER: I have a question about the deployment of U.S. forces in Japan. The United States Secretary of the Air Force has indicated a policy of additional deployment of Air Force-specification Osprey transport aircraft to Okinawa. Could you tell us the current status of coordination regarding this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan has received no notification about this matter so I would like to refrain from making any specific comment.

REPORTER: Given the fact that Okinawa Prefecture is opposed to any additional deployment, what is the Government's view of this statement by the U.S. side?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have just stated, the Government of Japan has not received any notification about this matter and therefore I would like to refrain from making any comment.


REPORTER: With regard to the issue of abduction of Japanese nationals by North Korea, could you tell us about the timing of a decision on the new Government response policy and also about the possibility of sanctions to be imposed by Japan in response to the launch of the long-range ballistic missile?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The United Nations is currently engaged in consultations concerning sanctions and Japan seeks to respond accordingly, based on the outcome of these consultations. Whatever the case, the Abe Cabinet is resolutely determined to resolve the abduction issue and will engage in activities vigorously, seeking to create a structure that allows every sort of measure to be taken. Under the leadership of the Minister in Charge of the Abduction Issue, measures relating to this issue are being finalized and therefore I will restrict my remarks to stating that they are being finalized at this point.


REPORTER: You have just stated that "measures are being finalized" with regard to the abduction issue. By "being finalized," do you mean that the Government policy is being finalized?


REPORTER: What is the policy relating to sanctions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to sanctions, the United Nations Security Council has been engaged in consultations since the previous missile test and the Government would therefore like to monitor the actual progress of these consultations.

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