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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, March 21, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The Prime Minister's plan to visit Fukushima Prefecture

I have one item to report, concerning the Prime Minister's schedule. On Sunday, March 24, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to visit Fukushima Prefecture. Specifically, he is scheduled to visit the towns of Namie and Tomioka, where he will see for himself the measures being taken towards the upcoming revision of the areas to which evacuation orders have been issued, as well as survey the status of damage within the towns. The Prime Minister will also visit Koriyama City, where he will see the efforts being made by individuals in the agricultural and livestock sectors to overcome reputational damages arising from rumors, and pay a visit to an indoor exercise facility for children that opened due to the impact of the nuclear power station accident.


  • The balance of trade deficit
  • The Bank of Japan's new leadership
  • The power outage at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
  • The cyber terrorism attack against the ROK

REPORTER: The balance of trade deficit stood at 777.5 billion yen in February, the eighth consecutive month for the balance to be in deficit, which could be also termed a side-effect of "Abenomics." What is the Government's view of the eighth consecutive monthly deficit in the balance of trade?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you have just mentioned, the outlook for the balance of trade depends on various internal and external factors, including the economic situation, exchange rates and trends in the price of crude oil. It is for this reason that it is not possible to speak in general terms, but it is expected that gradually, due to the effect of the depreciating yen, an improvement will become apparent in the export environment.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Bank of Japan (BOJ). The new leadership at the BOJ has now taken office, but the Abe Administration and the Prime Minister himself have been citing the need to revise the Bank of Japan Act. To date, in your press conferences you have stated that if the situation does not require it, there is no particular need to engage in revisions. Given that the new leadership at the BOJ has now taken office, at the current point do you think that it is necessary to revise the Bank of Japan Act?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case, first of all the three leaders (Governor and Deputy Governors) have been presented with their letters of assignment today and represent a powerful lineup as all three concur with the direction set out by the Prime Minister toward bold monetary easing. I believe that under the current structure, the Government and the BOJ will engage in consistent efforts to advance resolutely in the direction stated previously by the Prime Minister. I believe that the Prime Minister's comments on revision to the Bank of Japan Act were probably predicated on a situation in which the BOJ structure did not advance in such a direction.

REPORTER: Are we to understand, therefore, that under the current structure the revision of the Bank of Japan Act will be withdrawn?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is not the case that proposals will be withdrawn, but rather, it is natural that various trends and developments will be taken into account. First of all, the three senior posts of Governor and Deputy Governors have been approved by the Diet in line with the Prime Minister's thoughts, we will watch with anticipation the work of these three people in managing the operations of the BOJ.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the power outage at Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which occurred on the evening of March 18. This incident revealed that there are still unstable elements at the power station, even two years on from the accident, such as the lack of back-up facilities. Could I ask for your views on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government wishes to urge TEPCO to implement the measures it has engaged in to date to improve reliability at the power station, including the installation of multiplexed power sources, at the earliest possible time. I can understand that looking from the public's perspective there is a strong feeling of surprise at this incident. In addition, the Government strongly requests that TEPCO devise a strategy that would ensure the swift recovery of power to the cooling facilities in the spent fuel pools that were subject to the power outage on this occasion.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question similar to the one that was asked in the morning's press conference, concerning the cyber terrorism attack in the Republic of Korea (ROK). The Government of the ROK has indicated its view that North Korea is behind the attack. Has the Government confirmed any incidents in which North Korea has implemented such an attack to date and if so, what response has been made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government of Japan is engaged in the collection of intelligence with a due sense of urgency and is also implementing monitoring and surveillance. However, at the current time no such attacks on Government organizations have been confirmed.


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