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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

  • The overview of the Cabinet meeting
  • A meeting of the Security Council
  • Changes to the implementation plan for the International Peace Cooperation Program in South Sudan

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 15 measures, including the draft policy speech by Prime Minister Abe to the 185th session of the Diet, as well as draft bills, a cabinet order, and personnel decisions.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting, the Security Council convened a meeting. The theme of today's meeting was the "extension of the dispatch of the Self-Defense Force (SDF) engineering unit and other personnel to South Sudan, and other matters." As a result of the deliberations, decisions were made as described in the material in front of you.

During the Cabinet meeting which followed, the Cabinet approved changes to the implementation plan for the International Peace Cooperation Program in South Sudan and other matters. Accordingly, the dispatch period of the SDF engineering unit and other personnel from the SDF program to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan has been extended by one year. In addition, as a measure to fully realize the expansion of the area of operations of the SDF engineering unit, which I announced at the end of May of this year, the Cabinet has approved changes to the number of dispatched personnel, unit formation, and equipment. South Sudan now faces the critical juncture of nation-building. The peace and stability of South Sudan is one of the significant challenges also for the international community. The Government of Japan, as a responsible member of the entire international community, believes that it is very meaningful to cooperate with the international community and make proactive efforts towards the nation-building of South Sudan. For more information regarding the implementation plan and other matters, please contact the Secretariat of the International Peace Cooperation Headquarters of the Cabinet Office.


  • The Cabinet meeting
  • The upcoming extraordinary Diet session
  • The purchase of aircraft by airline companies

REPORTER: Chief Cabinet Secretary, I believe a meeting of the Security Council was held prior to the Cabinet meeting. The National Security Council (NSC) bill is among the bills which will be submitted to the next Diet session. Can you please once again explain what the nature of today's Security Council meeting was, including about South Sudan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the content of the Cabinet meeting, as I noted moments ago in my explanation of the Security Council meeting, the theme was the extension of the dispatch of the SDF engineering unit and other personnel to South Sudan, and other matters. No other topics were discussed. 

REPORTER: I would like to once again ask about the extraordinary session of the Diet, which will start from today. This will be the first Diet session held since the problem of the divided Diet has been resolved. Despite the fact that many important bills are packed together for this Diet session, including bills left over from the previous Diet session, such as the electricity business bill, the industrial competitiveness bill, the NSC bill, and the special intelligence protection bill. Considering the Diet is in session for a relatively short period of around 50 days, can you describe how the administration intends to pursue these bills?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The extraordinary Diet session will commence from today. From before, we have identified that this Diet will be the Growth Strategy Implementation Diet. There are important bills, including bills related to the growth strategy, and, as was just mentioned, bills which could not be passed during the previous Diet session, as well as the NSC bill and the special intelligence protection bill. Therefore, we intend to ensure that session truly thorough deliberations on these bills will be carried out to obtain the people's understanding during this Diet session.

REPORTER: In addition, as I noted earlier, this will be the first Diet session since the resolution of the divided Diet. How do you intend to proceed in terms of the distance between the Government-ruling parties and the opposition parties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The way we interpret the resolution of the divided Diet is that, the people of Japan have decided to entrust the ruling parties, including the Liberal Democratic Party, with the responsibility of making progress on important matters, above all. We intend to ensure that this Diet lives up to the decision and expectations of the people. With regard to the discussions, we will work to gain the understanding of the people to the greatest extent possible.

REPORTER: The industrial competitiveness strengthening bill, the NSC bill, and the special intelligence bill - I believe these and other bills are all important bills. However, which bills in particular do the ruling parties hope to pass during the extraordinary session of the Diet?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The bills submitted by the ruling parties are bills we have proposed based on the recognition that they are all important bills for the lives of the people. Therefore, we will work hard, making utmost efforts, towards the passage of all bills.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It seems that the opposition parties will raise questions about the Government's response to the contaminated water issue. How do you intend to respond to these questions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the contaminated water issue, I believe it is extremely important that such deliberations take place at the Diet. Also, I believe this presents a very good opportunity for us to fully explain the current situation to the people and to obtain their understanding regarding the nature of the Government's responses. Therefore, we intend to provide thorough explanations regarding the current situation and seek the people's understanding.

REPORTER: I believe that the extraordinary Diet session will be a little over a month long, which is a relatively short session. As such, while I believe your aim will of course be to pass all of the bills during the Diet session, you will need to give an order of priority to the bills as indeed time is limited. What are your current thoughts regarding whether the "Growth Strategy Implementation Diet," as the Government calls it, will give priority to, for example, security and other matters that are in line with Prime Minister Abe's political style, or whether it will give priority to the economy and prioritize the rebuilding of the economy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I noted a short while ago, we have asked to hold this Diet session as truly a "Growth Strategy Implementation Diet." Therefore, naturally, there is no question that the growth strategy will be the central focus. However, as they are important bills, the wish of the Government is for all of the submitted bills to be passed through Diet deliberations and by obtaining the understanding of, of course, the ruling parties as well as the opposition parties. That is our basic stance, and we believe that is the way we shall meet the expectations of the people.

REPORTER: Among the various key bills which have been identified, I believe that the bill regarding the reform of the public servant system has not yet been submitted. Given that there are many key bills packed together for the rather tight schedule of the Diet session, are you still going to stick to submitting this bill during this coming session of the Diet? Or depending on the circumstances, is there a possibility that you will carry it over to the ordinary session of the Diet? To which session do you intend to submit the bill?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We understand that the Government and ruling parties are now engaged in their final coordination aimed at the submission of the bill to the Diet. Therefore, we strongly hope to submit and pass this bill.

REPORTER:  Rather than from Boeing Company as is usually the case, Japan Airlines ordered a large quantity of aircraft from the European company Airbus recently. Did the Government have any involvement with this decision-making? Also, in the near future, All Nippon Airways is expected to place orders for similar new aircraft. Does the Government have any thoughts as to which company it will be?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is really a matter that concerns the private sector and with which the Government has absolutely no involvement. I believe that the respective airlines will make purchases according to their own business judgments.

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