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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, March 25, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The bail-out of Cyprus
  • Realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan
  • Three months since the inauguration of the Abe administration and challenges moving forward
  • The Japan-EU summit telephone talks

REPORTER: I have a question with regard to Cyprus. This morning, Japan time, the European Union (EU) agreed on a financial package of up to 10 billion euros. Last week, the depositor bill was voted down in Cyprus and there were concerns that a European crisis may resurface. Can you please share the views of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to this matter of concern, the Government of Japan commends the progress made to resolve this matter through consultations led by the EU, and we expect that these efforts will surely be translated into action.

REPORTER: I apologize for changing the subject, but my question concerns the return of land areas south of Kadena. In the interim report of the review of the realignment of U.S. Forces in April of last year, it was stated that of the five facilities, the swift return of land will be realized for just a few areas and that much of this will come with conditions attached. In this context, has the relocation destination been decided for the Makiminato Service Area for which you are requesting the swift return? Are any considerations being made at this time? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated a number of times, we are now making every effort to undertake negotiations to be able to realize the return of the base areas south of Kadena as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: On a related note, I understand that the negotiations are still going on with regard to the relocation destination. How do you intend to obtain the understanding of the local government regarding the relocation destination?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, the negotiations are still ongoing. I would like you to understand that we are in the process of conducting the negotiations precisely at this time to be able to meet the expectations of the people of Okinawa.

REPORTER: I'm sorry to belabor the point, but is it correct to understand that the negotiations you are referring to include negotiations with the local government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the negotiations will also include such matters.


REPORTER: Tomorrow marks three months since the inauguration of the Abe administration. If you have any comments about the past three months, can you please share them with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Since the inauguration of the administration on December 26 of last year, we have continued to persistently move forward with the intent of meeting the expectations of the people. In particular, the Prime Minister has set forth as his priorities the revitalization of the Japanese economy, the reconstruction from the earthquake disaster, and thorough crisis management. I believe these three months have been marked by our earnest efforts to achieve these priorities.

REPORTER: On a related note, what do you believe the administration has achieved over the past three months?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: During these past three months, we have been working earnestly. Our goal has been to place delivering a single outcome over uttering a hundred words. We have kept this goal in mind while implementing measures over the past three months. I believe we are beginning to gain the understanding of the people for these efforts, one by one, and their high expectations for the administration are beginning to be reflected in the high approval rating we are currently enjoying. At present, I believe our vision of countering yen appreciation and breaking away from deflation is becoming clearer to the people. I believe we have pursued the right policies and we will continue to make every effort to realize our objectives. 


REPORTER: Chief Cabinet Secretary, in your talk on Saturday, you said that the administration must do what it needs to do rather than avoiding risks. A moment ago you discussed the administration's track record to date. What are your specific thoughts concerning the challenges that the administration should tackle moving forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: What I meant by that statement was that we need to steadily move forward, one step at a time, on items that need to be addressed right now, rather than talking about what we will or won't do because of the upcoming election. For the revitalization of the Japanese economy, we have undertaken regulatory reforms and announced that we will join the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. We need to make steady progress on these matters. Furthermore, I believe it is important that growth strategies like the healthcare and medical strategy or resource energy policy are promoted in a strategic manner. Yesterday, the Prime Minister visited the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The affected areas are still in critical condition, and we believe that reconstruction from the earthquake disaster must be accelerated. Also, in the face of the harsh security environment that surrounds Japan, I believe the major tasks going forward include taking steady steps towards establishing a National Security Council, relocating the Futenma Air Station, and obtaining the understanding of the people of Okinawa. 

REPORTER: I believe during the telephone talks with the EU leaders following this press conference, the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement (EPA) will also be discussed. With regard to Japan's trade with the EU, vehicle and electronics exports have originally been subject to high tariffs, and I believe there are rising expectations over this matter. Can you please explain what the Japanese Government expects from the EPA and what kind of negotiations the Government would like to hold? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although unfortunately the EU delegation was unable to visit Japan to have face-to-face talks, even in these circumstances, efforts are being made to make advancements through telephone talks. Regarding the issue in question, we hope that the talks will facilitate the execution of policies from a broad perspective. .

REPORTER: Excuse me, I have a question regarding the plan to integrate the areas of the five facilities south of Kadena which was asked about a short while ago. Earlier, you said you believed that negotiations are being conducted, including negotiations with the government of the areas to which the functions of the facilities will be relocated. Is this understanding correct?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe negotiations are being carried out, including those with the local government with regard to where and what will be done there.

REPORTER: Have you begun negotiations with the local government yet?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the negotiations have not yet reached the stage of determining anything concrete about what will happen in the municipalities. However, my understanding is that the specifics with regard to where and in what way the U.S. Forces will be relocated are naturally included in the agenda of the negotiations.

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