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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, January 24, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The first meeting of the Regulatory Reform Council
  • The abduction of Japanese nationals in Algeria

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all I would like to report that the first meeting of the Regulatory Reform Council took place today. In the meeting Prime Minister Abe sought consultation from the members of the Council, who provided their opinions concerning the necessary regulatory reform for advancing structural reform of the socio-economy. I am aware that from now, in cooperation with the Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization and the Industrial Competitiveness Council, the Regulatory Reform Council will continue to give consideration to the task it has been presented with. For further details, please direct your inquiries to the relevant authority.

With regard to the incident in Algeria, in which Japanese nationals were taken hostage, I have received a report from Algeria concerning the safety of the last Japanese national who remains unaccounted for. Operations to confirm the safety of the last Japanese national continued on January 23, until they were concluded for the day at 7:00 pm local time (3:00 am, January 24, Japan time). In the mortuary in Algiers there are multiple bodies that have still not been identified, including some bodies that have been very badly damaged. The operations to confirm the last Japanese national are therefore continuing painstakingly. I have received a report that work is scheduled to resume at 8:30 am, local time, in Algeria (4:30 pm, Japan time).

Next I would like to report about the flight of the Government plane. With regard to the anticipated time of departure of the plane for Japan, this is expected to be at 6:00 am local time (2:00 pm, Japan time) at the earliest. This is due to a number of factors, including maintenance for the plane, which was struck by lightning on its arrival in Algiers, the procedures concerning the bodies of the two further Japanese nationals who were identified, and also the fact that the airport in Algiers is closed during night hours. In the event that the Government plane does depart as tentatively scheduled, depending on circumstances in the stop-over location on the way back to Japan, the time of arrival at Haneda Airport is expected to be 7:00 am tomorrow at the earliest.

With regard to the incident in Algeria, I have one more item to report, concerning the disclosure of the names of the persons who have lost their lives. As I have noted previously, the response of the Government in this matter has been based on the wishes of the bereaved families of the deceased. In these circumstances the Government has engaged in coordination with JGC Corporation and as a result, upon the arrival of the Government plane tomorrow and the return to Japan of the bodies of the deceased, I will announce the names in my regular press conference on behalf of the Government.


  • Environmental policy of the LDP administration
  • Okinawa related issues
  • Territorial issues


REPORTER: I have a question concerning environmental issues. At the start of the administration of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) under Prime Minister Hatoyama, the Government made an international pledge to reduce GHGs emissions, stating a specific numeric target of a 25 percent reduction on 1990 levels to be achieved by 2020. Now that the Government administration has changed, under the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) administration of Prime Minister Abe, the policy, as indicated by the Prime Minister, is to engage in a zero-base review and establish new numeric targets and an environmental strategy. Can you confirm that it is the policy of the new Government to engage in a review of the targets set by the DPJ government and establish new targets?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, I believe that basically a review will be undertaken in that direction.

REPORTER: So are you saying that the numeric target of a 25 percent reduction will be abolished or changed by the Abe Administration?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have stated previously that the target set by the previous government was an incredibly large target that is simply not feasible.

REPORTER: Okinawa Prefecture is requesting an early start to construction on a second runway at Naha Airport. There are press reports that suggest the Government has settled on a policy to shorten the construction period, which was initially scheduled to last seven years. What are the facts behind these reports? Okinawa Prefecture is requesting a funding framework for the airport expansion that is separate from the budget allocated for the development of Okinawa. What is the current status of considerations on this matter within the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the issue of United States bases, the people of Okinawa are being asked to take on a tremendous burden. Against this backdrop, yesterday, Minister Yamamoto made his second visit to Okinawa, where he met with the governor and engaged in discussions. I have received a report that in the course of those discussions Minister Yamamoto received a strong request from the governor concerning the airport expansion. The Government seeks to respond to the wishes of the people of Okinawa to the greatest extent possible, and the current status is that budget formulation work is ongoing.

REPORTER: With regard to the relocation of Futenma Air Station, the local population is requesting the return of U.S. bases south of Kadena Base, including Camp Kinser. I believe that this is an important matter from the perspective of lessening the burden of bases on Okinawa. What is the current state of coordination on this matter between Japan and the United States?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like you to understand that the Government of Japan is currently engaged in negotiations with the United States Government, with a view to realizing the wishes of the people of Okinawa concerning an early return of the bases.


REPORTER: I would like to ask whether the Government is considering establishing a new organization to deal with territorial issues, including the issue of Takeshima, and if such an organization were to be established, what is the schedule for its establishment and launch of operations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A preparatory team has already been launched with regard to the issue of Takeshima. The Government recognizes the necessity of implementing a structure to deal with territorial issues and it is based on this recognition that preparations are being made.

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