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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, April 5, 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
  • A new government structure for the TPP
  • Measures to be imposed on North Korea (*)

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly I would like to raise a number of topics discussed in the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 14 general measures as well as draft bills, cabinet orders and personnel decisions.

With regard to statements by ministers, Prime Minister Abe and Minister Amari made statements concerning the formation of the Meeting amongst Main Ministers on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Minister for Foreign Affairs then made statements concerning the Diplomatic Bluebook 2013 and the measures to freeze the assets of individuals involved in the North Korean development of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles; I made a statement regarding the measures taken by Japan against North Korea; Minister Mori made a statement concerning the holding of the Spring 2013 National Traffic Safety Campaign and the "Zero Traffic Accident Fatality Day"; and Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission Furuya made a statement concerning the holding of the Spring 2013 Traffic Safety Campaign.

In keeping with Prime Minister Abe's instructions to develop a strong structure that allows the Government to work in unity during the TPP negotiations, today following the Cabinet decision, we established the Governmental Headquarters for the TPP, a new organization that will prepare us for TPP negotiations, which will be chaired by Minister Amari under the Meeting amongst Main Ministers on the TPP. Under the head, Mr. Toyonari Sasaki, the former Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary, has been appointed the Chief Domestic Coordinator and is responsible for domestic coordination. Mr. Koji Tsuruoka, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of economic affairs, has been appointed the Chief Negotiator and will lead negotiations. We have formed a strong organization consisting of 65 individuals that allows all members to work on domestic coordination, negotiations, the provision of information and streamlining in order to reach a conclusion that best serves national interests, by completely eliminating vertical structures. Moving forward we would like to further enhance this structure and we are planning to have a final team that consists of 100 people.

Day to day work will be led by Chief Domestic Coordinator Sasaki and Chief Negotiator Tsuruoka, but whenever political decisions are required, the head of the Governmental Headquarters for the TPP Amari and I will work in close cooperation to come to the best decisions.

(*) Measures against North Korea: "Measures Taken by Japan against North Korea" (announced by the Chief Cabinet Secretary) (See "Related Link")


  • North Korea
  • A new government structure for the TPP
  • Monetary policy
  • Avian influenza in China

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding North Korea. I believe that the Cabinet approved a two year extension of sanctions against North Korea. If the Prime Minister or other ministers made any comments before making this decision, could you please share them with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No one made any specific comments or statements. However, previously, sanctions were only extended by one year each time but the Abe administration has taken a harder line.

REPORTER: Now that the extension has been approved does the Japanese Government have any plans to independently add further, new sanctions such as additional financial measures?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We will implement these sanctions as per the agreement between Japan and the U.S. At the same time, there have been a number of proposals from the ruling party to the Government. In fact, the Government is currently discussing the possibility of new measures including denying the re-entry of engineers involved in the development of nuclear weapons or missiles as well as financial sanctions.

REPORTER: I would like to ask another question. Cooperation among Japan, the U.S. and the Republic of Korea on this issue is very clear. However, we have not seen any sign of partnership or cooperation with China, which is a very important country to North Korea. In fact, there has not even been a meeting involving high ranking officials since the leadership change in China. What are the Government's plans in regard to working with China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, China has agreed to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions as a permanent member of the Security Council. Therefore, Japan and China will faithfully remain compliant with these resolutions against North Korea. At the same time, we have the Six-Party Talks of which China is a participating nation, so from our perspective we are cooperating through this diplomatic route.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Governmental Headquarters for the TPP. Could you tell us what will be the first thing that the headquarters will work on? Could you also tell us how many people will be assigned to the Chief Negotiator and the Chief Domestic Coordinator? Also, what ministries will these people be from?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that the group will be divided into domestic coordination and negotiation teams to which about 30 and 70 people will be assigned respectively. These administrative details will be explained at a later time. As for the members of the headquarters under Minister Amari, in addition to the Chief Negotiator and the Chief Domestic Coordinator, we will start the team with 15 deputies, 48 counsellors, and 30 other members in each team as regular members at the Cabinet Secretariat. I understand that we would like to build a team of about 100 people eventually.


REPORTER: Today the yen exchange rate at the Tokyo foreign exchange market was 97 yen at one point while the Nikkei Index climbed to over 13,000 for the first time in four years and seven months. Could you tell us how you view this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the first Monetary Policy Meeting since Mr. Kuroda became the Governor of the Bank of Japan was held. I am aware that the meeting presented very drastic measures and I believe that this has been welcomed by the markets and has resulted in these movements. The Prime Minister himself has expressed strong determination to revitalize the Japanese economy, which is evident in the Government's decision to implement the three economic prongs, or the so-called Abenomics. I understand that the first of the three prongs, bold monetary policy, is now finally in its implementation stage. I believe that this unprecedented monetary policy is contributing to these positive market movements.


REPORTER: In light of the rising death toll from avian influenza in China, how is the Government planning to respond, and will the Government heighten the state of alert?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been informed that there have been no reports of person to person infection of the new strain of influenza reported in China. However, as I stated yesterday, I have instructed the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare to make every effort to collect information, provide information to the public and develop preventative measures. Following these instructions, the Executive Policy Council, comprised of Division Director-level representatives from the relevant ministries and agencies, will be held to enable the Government to work in unity in addressing the issue. Furthermore, the Office for Countermeasures against Novel Influenza at the Cabinet Secretariat and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare will take the lead in keeping watch on developments and collecting information from the World Health Organization and other organizations. At the same time we will provide information to citizens in a timely manner.


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