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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • A question concerning the foreign exchange markets
  • Japan-China relations (the Senkaku Islands)
  • Government's response to the Boeing 787 airliner
  • The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
  • The Global Economic Prospects issued by the World Bank

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the foreign exchange markets. Following on from the comment made yesterday by Minister Amari, today Secretary-General Ishiba has also made a statement that a depreciation of the yen would be a demerit for some industries. In actual fact the yen is moving on an appreciating trend today. Given that on consecutive days, the Cabinet Minister, a significant member of the Abe Cabinet, and the Secretary-General of the LDP, have now made statements that they are not accepting of yen depreciation, does this imply that the statements are intentional on the part of the Abe Administration? If this is not the case, what do you think of these statements by important figures in the Government and party and what is your reaction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all I would state that these comments do not represent any sort of intentional statement by the administration. I also saw the statement by the Secretary-General of the LDP and I think that it is a case of there being an overreaction to something that was said in a very normal way. I think that naturally, depending on the industry, various reactions to the movement of the yen could be expected. However, the Government's view, as I have stated before, is that the excessively strong yen is currently going through a phase of correction. I would also like to share with you that Minister Amari telephoned me to tell me that his intention was the same as mine when he made his statement.

REPORTER: For confirmation, could you tell us when you received the phone call from Minister Amari and in what way did he express his intention to be the same as your own?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Minister Amari telephoned me today to tell me that the intent of his statement was exactly the same as what I have just mentioned, namely that the excessively strong yen is in a phase of correction.

REPORTER: On a related note, a break away from prolonged deflation and the appreciating yen have been set as priority challenges for the Abe Administration. Do you consider, therefore, that Secretary-General Ishiba shares a common recognition with the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe his recognition is exactly the same. Therefore I would like the members of the press to scrutinize his statement accordingly and report it in full. I feel that there has been a tendency to focus unduly on a single part of his statement and report only that part. I would therefore like you to understand that our views and intentions are the same as those I have just mentioned.

REPORTER: With regard to the Senkaku Islands, a general in the People's Liberation Army of China has made a statement in which he warned that if Japan fires even so much as a tracer bullet, that would constitute the opening salvo in a war and that China would retaliate. What is the Government's reaction to this warning, and to the recent activities of China in the vicinity of the islands?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of these press reports, but I would like to refrain from commenting on individual press articles originating in other countries. However, the Government's position is that in accordance with international standards, and this applies not just to the airspace over the Senkaku Islands but to general cases of incursions on Japan's airspace by aircraft, the Government will continue to make every effort to maintain robust territorial integrity and security, including the implementation of rigorous anti-incursion measures, such as those that have been implemented to date.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Boeing 787 airliner. Many Japanese companies are involved in the manufacture of the airliner, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., making such parts as the carbon fiber materials used in the aircraft's wings. The recent incident could therefore have a very significant impact on Japanese companies. What are your thoughts on the potential impact to Japanese companies?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to this matter, I would like to note that I have received a report that four members of the Civil Aviation Bureau of Japan have been dispatched to the site, together with five members of the Japan Transport Safety Board, who are examining the cause of the incident. In addition, I have also heard that both All Nippon Airways, Co., Ltd., and Japan Airlines Co., Ltd., have decided to ground their fleets of 787s until the matter surrounding flight ANA692 has been clarified. Whatever the case, of prime importance is to investigate the incident and elucidate the causes in order to ensure safety. At the current stage, where the causes remain unclear, I think that I should refrain from responding to your question.


REPORTER: With regard to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, out of all the major countries Japan is the only one to have not ratified the convention. I believe that European countries and the United States have been calling on Japan to ratify the convention, so what is the administration's view concerning ratification?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government's position is to aim for early ratification of the convention, once all the required procedures have been completed.


REPORTER: In the Global Economic Prospects issued by the World Bank, the outlook for Japan is for a year-on-year drop in GDP of 0.8 percent in 2013. What is the view of the Abe Administration that this negative figure has been published, in view of the administration's focus on economic revival? Also, economists at the World Bank have pointed to the drop in exports caused by the dispute over the Senkaku Islands and also the issue of the independence of the Bank of Japan being threatened by "Abenomics." This gives the impression that the economic stimulus measures that the Abe Administration is attempting to implement from now have not been adequately conveyed to an international audience. What are your thoughts on these two points?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is to prevent such a drop in GDP that the government is giving priority, first and foremost, to the economic revival of Japan, including measures to break away from the appreciating yen and deflation. All efforts will be concentrated on such measures. Also, to prevent such a scenario from occurring, the Government seeks to implement the supplementary budget for FY2012 and the budget for FY2013 with speed, ensuring seamless continuation. This is what the Prime Minister has stated to the people of Japan and the Government will work hard to ensure the realization of economic revival.

REPORTER: What will the Government do to convey this stance to an international audience?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Abe Administration has only just started and as can be seen from the fact that the Prime Minister is currently on an overseas visit to three countries, he will be presenting his concepts to international leaders. Also, at such a time as a Japan-United States summit meeting is held, the Prime Minister will also be sure to provide information and present the Government's concepts so that they can be understood by a global audience. In so doing, I believe that the views held by some overseas will come to change.

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