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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, July 26, 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

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved four general and other measures, cabinet orders, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Minister Inada, as the temporary acting Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, made a statement concerning the consumer price index, and Deputy Prime Minister Aso, as the temporary acting Prime Minister, made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers are away on overseas visits, among other matters. In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, the Minister of Finance made a statement concerning the budget execution survey.


  • The consumer price index
  • The TPP negotiations in Malaysia

REPORTER: The consumer price index (CPI) for last month was 0.4% higher than the CPI for the same month last year, marking the first increase in one year and two months. How do you analyze this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you stated in your question just now, the 0.4% increase year-on-year was the first increase in one year and two months. We believe that the stabilization of the increases in energy prices, which were caused by the yen's depreciation, and of the price competition relating to home electrical appliances were the main reasons for the CPI increase. Looking at the price movements overall, we believe the deflationary situation is easing. Nevertheless, the index, when energy, etc. are excluded, is still decreasing, and we will continue to closely monitor the movements.


REPORTER: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations have ended. What is your overall take on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We expect to receive a detailed report next week at an appropriate time. Speaking on this basis, from this round, Japan has formally joined the TPP negotiations. During the negotiations, we found out that Japan was actively able to obtain information on the current status of the negotiations, including documents on the matter. In this light, we underscored the basic position of Japan. While this is just a tentative impression, we have received a first-hand report that the negotiations were conducted in accordance with the preliminary survey to date and did not differ largely from Japan's understanding. In any case, in forthcoming negotiations, Japan will fully assert the position that we will protect those areas that should be protected and seek to gain what should be gained. As necessary, we will take thorough responses in full coordination with countries which have the same position.

REPORTER: According to what has been reported, negotiations on tariffs have not made very much progress. What is your sense regarding whether or not there will be tariff exceptions for the key agricultural items at the focus of this debate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is the statement which was released on the Malaysia negotiations yesterday. It states that there are still issues that require further work. With regard to market access, members agreed to create a work plan to accelerate the negotiations. With regard to difficult and key matters, there seems to be a split in the debate among countries, and Japan believes it is possible for us to participate in substantive discussions.


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