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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The passing away of Mr. Eiji Toyoda, former President and Chairman of Toyota Moter Corporation
  • The Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security
  • The contaminated water issue
  • Prime Minister's message to a Merrill Lynch conference


REPORTER: Mr. Eiji Toyoda, who has held such positions as President and Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, has passed away. Mr. Toyoda is a globally renowned businessman who developed Toyota into a global company. Would you care to share your comments with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Mr. Eiji Toyoda has passed away. Mr. Toyoda is the person behind the establishment of the "Toyota production method," a method characterized by a commitment to continuous improvements and the production of low-cost and high-quality vehicles. In addition, he is the person who decided to expand Toyota into North America. In this regard, I understand that he made immense contributions to growing Toyota into a global company. Also, as the Chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, I believe he made vast contributions to the development of the Japanese automobile industry. He was an indispensable figure to the automobile community, and furthermore, to Japanese industry as a whole. I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security. Today, the Advisory Panel met once again, and I believe it will continue to hold meetings in the future. What does the Government envision in terms of the timeframe for receiving the report of the Advisory Panel or the schedule for the relevant draft bills?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A report from the Advisory Panel was received during the first Abe Cabinet. However, since then, the security environment surrounding Japan has changed dramatically. Therefore, the Government has decided to ask the Advisory Council to once again review what measures are necessary for maintaining peace and safety in the current environment. In any case, in order to facilitate people's clear understanding, I believe the discussions will consider specific issues rather than abstract concepts. The Government will take into account the discussions conducted by the Advisory Council in exploring our response options. It is not known yet when the report will be received.

REPORTER: You mentioned people's clear understanding. However, your coalition partner, the New Komeito Party, has also indicated that it would like to discuss this matter. In order to deepen their understanding, does the Government believe that the discussions should be conducted even if this requires a certain amount of time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, we believe that in the process of the discussions, we will naturally need to make continuous efforts to obtain the understanding of our allied party, the New Komeito Party.

REPORTER: In connection with the Advisory Council, I have a question regarding the discussions within the ruling parties. Will the discussions within the ruling parties be held in parallel with the discussions of the Advisory Council with experts? Or will the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the New Komeito Party hold discussions after the Government has received the report? Which do you consider more desirable?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe it will be difficult to hold discussions before receiving the report. I believe at the stage at which the report is received, members of the New Komeito Party and LDP will proceed with their discussions. If there is a gray zone, it may be different. But if not, I believe in principle the discussions will be held after receiving the report.

REPORTER: Based on what you have stated now, it seems that inevitably the report will be received during the ordinary session of the Diet between the end of the year and the start of the new year. Is that correct?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has not yet been decided when the report will be received. In any case, as there are Diet deliberations and the passage of bills still to come, I believe there is no need to be in such hurry.


REPORTER: When Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Ichita Yamamoto delivered an address at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference, I believe he was asked by the IAEA and relevant countries to provide timely and accurate information (regarding the contaminated water issue). In response to these opinions, does the Government intend to take any kind of responses going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, let me explain what we have done to date. With regard to the outflow of contaminated water, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided information to all overseas diplomatic missions in Tokyo on a total of eight occasions. Furthermore, outside of Japan, we have provided information to various parties, including international organizations and the foreign media. In addition, with regard to information dissemination overseas, it was decided at the meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Council for Contaminated Water and Decommissioning Issues on the 10th that proactive public relations efforts directed at the foreign media will be conducted under the Office of Global Communications of the Cabinet Secretariat, with the cooperation of relevant ministries and agencies. The Government will continue to steadily carry out wide-ranging public relations efforts.

REPORTER: This morning, the Prime Minister delivered a message to a Merrill Lynch conference that contained statements like, "Clearly, Japan is now a Buy" and "Now is our chance." While I'm sure this doesn't do any harm, it seems unusual or even going a little too far for a Prime Minister to make such statements in front of institutional investors. What is your opinion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you just stated, it does no harm, right?

REPORTER: Excuse me?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Primarily because of Abenomics, the Japanese economy has recovered to the point of coming under the spotlight of investors. Perhaps the Prime Minister was displaying his pride in this achievement.

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