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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, April 4, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • New monetary easing policy of the Bank of Japan
  • Revision of the Bank of Japan Act
  • North Korea
  • Working lunch with House of Councillors member Mr. Yoichi Masuzoe

REPORTER: The Bank of Japan (BOJ) has set forth a new monetary easing policy, modifying the conventional benchmark from interest rate level to monetary base and increasing the amount of long-term government bond purchases. Can you first explain how you assess this policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that intensive discussions have taken place at the Monetary Policy Meeting of the BOJ both yesterday and today. The Government very much welcomes the fact that the meeting set out a quantitative and qualitative monetary easing policy which is fully in line with the bold monetary policy envisioned by the Abe Cabinet.

The Government expects that the BOJ will continue to pursue accurate monetary policies to overcome deflation.


REPORTER: Can you please explain exactly how the Government and the BOJ will work together closely going forward? Also, if you can please discuss the possibility of the revision of the Bank of Japan Act?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is stated clearly in the Bank of Japan Act as well that the Government and the BOJ shall pursue monetary policies which are consistent with each other. It is envisioned that based on this common objective, the BOJ will follow up by appropriately executing the policies.

The proposal to revise the Bank of Japan Act was raised when there was disagreement between the views of the Government and the views of the BOJ. The Bank of Japan Act is a legal act. It is not out of the ordinary to habitually amend a legal act, and I do not deny that. However, I do think that in this context in which the Government and the BOJ share a common vision, there is no reason for forcibly revising the law.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding North Korea. To what extent has the Japanese Government instructed or considered specific responses, such as, for example, missile defense?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In this regard, we are working together closely with the United States (U.S.) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to take steps to be able to fully safeguard the safety of the Japanese people even in a worst-case scenario.

REPORTER: Related to this, there are reports that North Korea moved what are believed to be its long-range ballistic missiles towards the Sea of Japan. How does the Japanese Government intend to respond to this situation? Also, how does the Government assess the current situation or tension in North Korea and the Korean Peninsula?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Japanese Government is aware of all such developments based on the Japan-U.S.-ROK partnership. However, I would like to refrain from explaining how this is done specifically.


REPORTER: Since this afternoon, there have been many Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials at the Prime Minister's Office. Did you, Chief Cabinet Secretary, give any instructions with regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Indeed, with North Korea making such announcements over the last several days, I would like to inform them that the Japanese Government is fully taking steps in coordination with U.S. Forces and the ROK with a constant sense of urgency with our utmost priority being to protect the lives and safety of the Japanese people.

REPORTER: With regard to this matter, are there plans to arrange any meetings among Japan, the U.S., and the ROK at the working-level or ministerial-level?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As of now, there are no such plans.

REPORTER: Chief Cabinet Secretary, in relation to this matter, along with this, the U.S. Department of Defense has announced that it will deploy new mobile missiles to Guam in a few weeks' time for readiness against North Korea. What is your view on this? How does Japan intend to work with this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated a short while ago, Japan is also working together with the U.S. and the ROK to take full responses in preparation for a worst-case scenario.

REPORTER: What about the fact that the U.S. will deploy missiles to Guam?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan will naturally work together with U.S. Forces. This is because we are working together closely.

REPORTER: The U.S. is taking moves ahead of other countries. Does the Japanese Government believe that the U.S. is now more conscious about North Korea?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe the U.S. is taking preparatory measures given that North Korea has taken a number of provocative actions to date.

REPORTER: In regard to this matter, I believe there is also the risk of the further escalation of the situation. What kinds of efforts have you asked for or intend to ask for from China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, this will be done in close coordination among Japan, the U.S., and the ROK. We have conducted drills and other joint efforts to date. Also, there is the Six-Party Talks involving China and Russia. The Six-Party Talks have a significant role to play, and efforts will be made to ensure compliance with the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. And there are the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. We are working hard to also ensure compliance with the resolutions, urging for the efforts of the international community to avoid any outbreak of hostilities.


REPORTER: This afternoon I believe you had a working lunch with Mr. Yoichi Masuzoe. What did the two of you discuss?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: House of Councillors member Mr. Masuzoe went to China recently, where he met with Chinese officials and delivered an address at a university. Mr. Masuzoe explained how these events went.

REPORTER: More specifically, China has still not once held high-level talks with Japan after establishing its new regime. Did the two of you discuss how to move forward? Or can you share your personal views with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: China is a neighbor of critical importance to Japan. There is, however, the issue of the Senkaku Islands. As there is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of the territory of Japan, we will take responses to fully protect the islands. The basic stance of Japan is that in this context, Japan will pursue, among other efforts, the enhancement of a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests that Prime Minister Abe established during his first Cabinet.


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