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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Prime Minister's Policy Speech
  • The commemorative facility in particular for the remains of Ainu

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question regarding the Prime Minister's Policy Speech. The Policy Speech focused on the implementation of the growth strategy and realizing a positive cycle of the economy. Could you share with us your personal thoughts on the speech?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I thought that the speech expressed the Prime Minister's thoughts in a simple, honest and straightforward manner. With this extraordinary Diet session ordained the Growth Strategy Implementation Diet, the Prime Minister made clear assurances that words on paper have no meaning on their own. I believe that the speech was an excellent speech that demonstrated strong commitment, with the Prime Minister confidently assuring the public that the Government will definitely implement the growth strategy. These were my thoughts.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister also emphasized that he will deliver outcomes, using the phrase "decisive governance." However, given that there are a number of important bills and that the Diet session will be short, how is the Government planning to gain the support of the opposition parties and deliver outcomes?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I believe that it is imperative that we engage in earnest discussions during the Diet session rather than needlessly prolonging Diet deliberations. Through these deliberations, we will strive to ensure that the public gains a comprehensive understanding of our thoughts and we will pursue this kind of deliberation so as to have the bills enacted.

REPORTER: While the Prime Minister emphasized his commitment to economic recovery, the speech also included the phrase "Constitutional revision," a phrase that was not used in the previous Policy Speech. As the Chief Cabinet Secretary, what do you consider was the purpose of using this phrase?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that due to limitations, it is difficult to cover everything in one policy speech. I believe today's speech was prepared bearing all the issues in mind and to include anything that was not able to be included in the previous policy speech.

REPORTER: The Prime Minister announced during the speech that he will further deepen national discourse on Constitutional revision. However, the speech included only one sentence on this topic so it did not clearly convey how exactly the Government will pursue this agenda. Could you share with us how the Government is planning to proceed in calling for public discourse on this topic?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that there will be a number of opportunities for discussion during the Diet session and I understand that the Government will explain its thoughts on the topic.

REPORTER: I understand that today, Governor of Hokkaido Takahashi visited the Prime Minister's Office. The Ainu related-facilities that you recently visited are scheduled to open in the year of the Olympics but I believe that the Governor asked for the schedule to be brought forward by two years. Was there a positive response to that request?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: When I visited Hokkaido, I heard the various opinions of individuals concerning Ainu matters. When I attended the meeting, there were calls for the swift establishment of a commemorative facility in particular for the remains of Ainu. I thought that was a fair and understandable position. After the meeting I actually said something along the lines that I would like to meet those requests as soon as possible. When the Governor visited me today,  I said that we would like to complete the whole symbolic facility before the 2020 Olympic Games. With regard to the commemoration of the remains, given that 2018, which is two years before the Olympics, will mark the 10th anniversary of the Diet resolution calling for the recognition of the Ainu as the indigenous peoples of Hokkaido, the Governor requested the schedule be brought forward so that the facility is completed in order to mark the anniversary. The Government would like to provide full cooperation on bringing plans forward as much as possible. I understand that a commemorative facility is extremely important in the interest of truly respecting the spiritual culture of the Ainu, and this is what I told them.

REPORTER: This issue of remains is quite complex and challenging to resolve. More specifically, different communities seek different things, with some asking for remains to be returned while others requesting that the remains are collected. Given this, am I right to understand that if the plan can be brought forward even before two years, you are willing to do so?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that the issue is not something the Government should force. Therefore, while holding discussions with representatives of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido and other individuals, if we are able to establish the commemorative facility of the remains early, I think that naturally it is the Government's responsibility to bring forward the plans in order to meet, as much as possible, the requirements of all parties concerned.

REPORTER: Returning to the Policy Speech, I understand that the speech contained a number of pledges by the Prime Minister to remain committed and dedicated to the tasks at hand. From your view point, which were the words and phrases that you believe best demonstrate the Prime Minister's commitment and dedication?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It appeared to me that the overall tone of today's Policy Speech was overwhelmingly positive. The parts of the speech that conveyed the Prime Minister's view that there is only one  road to take, and also demonstrated the Prime Minister's strong desire and resolve, left a powerful impression on me.

REPORTER: I understand that much thorough preparation went into the writing of the Policy Speech, with you also making a contribution. Is there anything specific that the Prime Minister was particularly focused on and made instruction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated earlier, the Prime Minister made it very clear in the speech that words on paper have no meaning on their own. I believe that in that sense, the speech demonstrated the Prime Minister's strong determination to continue to take action with all his strength and deliver outcomes.


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