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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, September 20, 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: Firstly, I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet Meeting. The meeting approved six general measures and the promulgation of a treaty, as well as cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Minister Mori made a statement concerning the implementation of the Autumn 2013 National Traffic Safety Campaign and the "Zero Traffic Accident Fatality Day"; Minister Furuya made a statement concerning the implementation of Autumn 2013 National Traffic Safety Campaign; and Prime Minister Abe also made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers in charge are away on an overseas visit.

In ministerial discussions, Minister Furuya made a statement concerning the damages caused by the heavy rain of typhoon No. 18.


  • The new United States Ambassador to Japan
  • The Self-Defense Force in relation to the right to collective self-defense
  • The government-labor-management meeting

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the new United States Ambassador to Japan. Yesterday or early this morning, Ms.Caroline Kennedy spoke at her Senate confirmation hearing. If you have had a chance to watch the hearing, could you share your thoughts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that the next U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Ms.Caroline Kennedy, testified before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on September 19 U.S. time. I understand that during her testimony she stated that Japan and the U.S. are bound by deep political, economic, cultural and strategic ties, and our partnership has a global reach. I understand that she also stated that Japan and the U.S. both share a commitment to ensure freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. Japan welcomes the appointment by the Obama Administration of Ms. Caroline Kennedy as the next ambassador to Japan. We anticipate that Ms. Kennedy will assume the position shortly and play an active role in various fields. I am also aware that in response to one of the questions during the hearing, Ms. Kennedy stated that the Japan-US Alliance is the cornerstone of the peace and security of the region and that the U.S. is committed to, under Article V of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, to support Japan in the Senkakus. This statement was a straightforward expression of the longstanding view of the U.S. Government and I welcome her statement.

REPORTER: Ms. Kennedy also stated that she holds grave concern for the dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands, and will therefore seek a diplomatic resolution. How will the Japanese Government work with it?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The stance of the Japanese Government remains unchanged. There is no doubt t that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law. Therefore, we will protect  which needs to be protected while keeping our door open to dialogue, understanding that a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests is extremely important. We will, as we always have, address the issue with this stance.

REPORTER: Yesterday at the joint working group meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Takamizawa stated, in relation to the right to collective self-defense, that when considering the defense of Japan, the Self-Defense Force would not be unequivocally barred from being sent to faraway places. I believe that he presented a slightly different view to that of the other LDP members. Am I right to understand that this is representative of the Government's view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of this media report, however, as I have said during these press conferences on a number of occasions; the Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security has been meeting. The advisory panel has been discussing what Japan can do to maintain the peace and security of the country in light of the changes in the security environment since submission of the previous report. Aftert receiving reports from the advisory panel, we also discuss the issues as the Government. Therefore, we will see how discussions go at the advisory panel prior to making a decision.

REPORTER: Am I then correct to understand that Mr. Takamizawa's comments were supposed to explain that there are a number of possibilities?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not sure why he made those comments. However, the Government believes that this issue of the right to collective self-defense is something we must thoroughly explain, and something for which we must seek public understanding.

REPORTER: I believe that the government-labor-management meeting will be held this afternoon. I understand that wage increases will be one of the major topics of discussion, but I believe that wage increases are fundamentally determined by individual employers and employees. Could you share with us the reason or objective of the Government's involvement in this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The priority task of the Abe Government is to break out of deflation and as such, the Government has been making large efforts to create a positive economic cycle that will result in wage increases and new employment opportunities. In light of this, we decided to organize today's meeting with the understanding that it is imperative that the three parties, the Government, employees and employers, work as one and exchange frank opinions on the actions required to achieve our goals.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister asked for wages to be increased during this year's spring wage offensive. What are your thoughts on the result and the influence of the Prime Minister's request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Prime Minister Abe developed and implemented economic measures known as Abenomics, which have resulted in between a 60 to 80% increase in stock prices with economic growth finally showing a positive trend over three consecutive quarters. Following this trend, I understand that the public's greatest concern is wages, and I therefore believe that the Prime Minister's request for wages to be increased was only natural. I understand that many companies experienced higher profits and consequently responded to the request by, for instance, providing lump-sum payments.

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