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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • An overview of the Cabinet meeting
  • Cabinet approval to invite the President of Mexico and the First Lady to Japan

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would first like to start by reading out several announcements.

I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 23 general and other measures, a legislation proposal, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry made a statement concerning the policy on electric power system reform.

At today's Cabinet meeting, approval was given to invite to Japan President of Mexico Pena Nieto and the First Lady to pay an Official Working Visit from April 7 to 10. Economic relations between Japan and Mexico have strengthened through the conclusion of an economic partnership agreement in 2005, and Mexico has become a vital manufacturing hub for Japanese companies. Furthermore, Mexico's profile in the international community has been rising, serving for example as the Chair of G20 and the meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Mexico is also a strategic global partner for Japan. Japan expects that their visit to Japan will further bolster and expand the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries and deepen their strategic global partnership.

I would like to report on a personnel decision concerning the Cabinet Secretariat, which was approved at today's Cabinet meeting. Effective April 3, Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Toyonari Sasaki will leave his position, and as is shown in the material distributed to you, it has been decided that Commissioner of the National Tax Agency Kazuyuki Furuya will be appointed as Mr. Sasaki's replacement. That is all from me.


  • Media reports alleging Ms. Kennedy will be named the next U.S. Ambassador to Japan
  • Ministerial Meeting on Okinawa
  • Instructions by the Prime Minister at the meeting of the Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization

REPORTER: Some members of the media in the U.S. have reported that Ms. Caroline Kennedy, the eldest daughter of former U.S. President Kennedy, is eyed as the replacement for Ambassador Roos. Have you heard any details about this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan has not formally heard anything as such. However, as I stated at the previous press conference, the Kennedys, including the former President, are a very familiar name in Japan. We will wait to see who will be chosen as the Ambassador.

Next question, please.

REPORTER: I believe a Ministerial Meeting on Okinawa was held at the Diet this morning. Can you explain the content of the meeting, in particular, what was discussed regarding the plan for the land returns south of Kadena?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Four ministers meet regularly as members of the Abe Cabinet team in order to respond to the issues of Okinawa in full coordination with each other. Discussion took place on my visit to Okinawa tomorrow and the status of the negotiations towards changing the situation south of Kadena, among other matters.

REPORTER: While this has been asked before, can you once again state what in particular you would like to advocate the most in visiting Okinawa tomorrow and your enthusiasm in this regard?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I hope to convey that four ministers in the Abe Cabinet are making wholehearted efforts in dealing with the issues of Okinawa, and I would like to listen to the opinions of the Okinawan people by personally visiting there.


REPORTER: I believe at the meeting of the Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization, the Prime Minister instructed the acceleration of reforms, identifying the next five years as the period for structural reforms, including industry realignment and demand regeneration. I believe the electric power system and a variety of other issues are involved. Can you once again explain what the Government will attach the greatest importance to during this five-year period?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: When the Cabinet was being inaugurated, the Prime Minister gave three instructions to all relevant Cabinet members or all Cabinet members-namely, the revitalization of the Japanese economy, the reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and thorough crisis management. In particular, the revitalization of the Japanese economy is identified as being especially crucial. This was reiterated at today's meeting as well. The Prime Minister directly gave instructions to the relevant Cabinet members regarding pharmaceuticals, healthcare, agriculture, the renewable energy issue, among other matters.

REPORTER: In this context, will one of the key pillars be, for example, the separation of electric power generation and transmission?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Of course, a statement as such was also made by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry. The Prime Minister too gave instructions. Thereafter, with regard to energy diversification and coal, the Prime Minister also instructed that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment work together on these issues.


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