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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, March 4, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • Government's measures in response to the damage from the heavy snowfall in north Japan

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to report on the Government's measures in response to the damage from the heavy snowfall over the weekend.

It has been reported that in north Japan, particularly Hokkaido, from the day before yesterday to yesterday, a blizzard and storm have caused damage, including the deaths of eight people in Hokkaido. I pray for the repose of the victims and express my sincere condolences to those affected.

In light of this situation, yesterday, Prime Minister Abe instructed three items to the Minister of State for Disaster Management: to promptly confirm the status of the damage and gauge the dangerous areas; to carry out thorough snow removal operations and make every effort to secure lifelines and restore the transportation network; and to endeavor to provide precise information to the residents.

Furthermore, from 9:00 am today, a Ministerial Meeting on Response to Heavy Snow was held. The Prime Minister's instructions which I have just noted were once again conveyed to the relevant ministers. Also, the ministers reaffirmed that every possible response will continue to be taken with a sense of urgency, in accordance with the Prime Minister's instructions. Parliamentary Secretary of Cabinet Office Kameoka and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Kimura will go to Hokkaido today to study and will find out the status of the damage.


  • Tokyo's bid to host 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the visit by the IOC Evaluation Commission
  • Nominees of the Bank of Japan Governor and Deputy Governor positions


REPORTER: I have a question in relation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). I believe that this morning there was an official reception for the IOC Evaluation Commission and that the Prime Minister attended and delivered remarks. What kind of an appeal did the Prime Minister make?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Prime Minister stated that it was his lifelong dream to hold the Olympics in Tokyo. In particular, he recalled that when he saw the Olympics being held in 1964, he thought that at the time the Japanese had a dream. At present, Japan is faced with a variety of issues. In this context, the Prime Minister stated that he would like to place his dreams and hopes on the Olympics to show that Japan can move forward even with an aging population and a declining birthrate. I understand that these are the remarks that the Prime Minister delivered today.

REPORTER: Regarding the Olympics, what do you personally think of the current buzz in Japan or Tokyo? Furthermore, what do you think is the significance of holding the Tokyo Olympics in 2020?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It was the case before that there wasn't very much buzz (in Tokyo). If I am not mistaken, last month's public opinion surveys of the respective mass media showed that public support now exceeds 70% and is on par with the other two bidding countries. We, the Government, also created a ministerial meeting. The Government would like to make an all-out effort for Tokyo's bid. With this spirit, the Government will work in concert with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and everyone at the Bid Committee to be able to further raise the interest of the Japanese people, which is now on par with the other competitor countries, so that the Japanese people are convinced that Japan is the overwhelming first choice. And indeed, I believe the previous Tokyo Olympics spurred the high economic growth of Japan. For Japan, which is currently confronted with an extremely stagnant economy due to a declining birthrate and aging population and has become inward-looking, I believe it is critically significant to once again hold the Olympics in Tokyo in order to bring back dreams and hopes, and furthermore, a bright society overall.

REPORTER: I have a related question. You explained that holding the Olympics in Tokyo is beneficial even from the standpoint of domestic advantages. Moving forward, I believe Tokyo will be competing with the other cities in order to win the bid to host the Olympics. In doing this, how will you be appealing to the world the advantages of holding the Olympics in Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: By holding the Olympics in this maturing and aging Japan as well as in the compact city of Tokyo that is making the bid, and therefore, in a sense, holding a new form of Olympics, I believe Japan will be able to convey the significance of the games to the world. In addition, we would like to showcase to the world that despite the catastrophic nature of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan, with the Japanese people working as one, is taking steps towards reconstruction.

REPORTER: Right now, a hearing is being conducted at the House of Representatives' Steering Committee regarding the opinions of Mr. Kuroda, the Bank of Japan Governor nominee. Can you once again explain how you intend to seek the understanding of opposition parties in order to obtain their agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Currently, Prime Minister Abe is promoting "Abenomics" through the "three prongs" of economic policy, in particular, bold monetary easing. The supplementary budget has been passed and soon so will the regular budget. Fortunately the market is also responding steadily, and stock prices are increasing. Business confidence, a key factor for Japan, is also improving. I believe these developments are critically important. We are convinced that the three nominees are the most suited for further promoting these developments. We will sincerely explain this to opposition parties and seek their understanding.

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