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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, October 21, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue related to preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • The Diet reform
  • The issues involving Mizuho Bank

REPORTER: In relation to the New National Stadium Japan, some media reported over the weekend that construction expenses might swell to as much as 300 billion yen, which is a significant increase over the initial expected cost of 130 billion yen. I believe that from the very beginning the selection of this project was unclear and it was said that the 130 billion yen would not be sufficient. Is the Government discussing the possibility of revising the plan? What knowledge does the Government have at the moment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have been informed that with regard to the redevelopment, the Japan Sport Council, which is responsible for the stadium, is undertaking discussions on the stadium's basic design. In relation to the new stadium, the Government believes that it must be of a size and have the functionality fit for an international athletics meet such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, but we also believe that the cost must be appropriate.

REPORTER: Does that mean that the Government may review the plans?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regardless of whether we conduct a review or not, the Government believes that expenses must naturally be transparent and appropriate.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning Diet reform. A similar question was asked during this morning's press conference, but I have heard that this topic was also discussed at the meeting of the Government and ruling parties this afternoon. I believe that originally it was the Japan Restoration Party that submitted the first draft for Diet reform in June this year, which was discussed at the Prime Minister's Office, a meeting that you too attended. Now the Japan Restoration Party is backing out of what they started due to the issues they have with the time allocated for questioning during the Budget Committee meeting. What are your thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have not been informed that they have reversed their stance on Diet reform. However, I have been informed that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) also stated that the party intends to propose that Diet reform is necessary. Regardless, when looking at national interests, as was mentioned in a question by Secretary-General Ishiba during today's conference, a Japanese Prime Minister is required to be in Diet many more days than his or her international counterparts. I believe that in Japan it is over 120 days, in the UK it is 38, and in Germany, the most economically stable nation in the EU, the number of days the Prime Minister is in parliament is, I believe, 11 or 12 days. Considering the different practices throughout the world, duties such as summit diplomacy and international interactions of cabinet members are extremely important. Therefore, taking those into account, I truly hope Diet reform that best suits national interests. I understand that today the Secretary-General is likely calling for cooperation on this matter and I will keep a close eye on the developments of the parties.


REPORTER: In relation to the Budget Committee meeting, I believe that some members of the DPJ are hoping to summon the President of Mizuho Financial Group as an unsworn witness with regard to the issues involving Mizuho. I understand that this is a matter being dealt with by the House of Representatives, but how do you think Mizuho should respond to these efforts to investigate the matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you just said, this is a matter for the House of Representatives. I understand that the Committee Chairman also said that the decision will be made by the board. Therefore, I believe that the matter should be left with the board.

REPORTER: It is believed that the initial investigation conducted by the Financial Services Agency was flawed given that the truth was not revealed by the investigation. What are the Government's thoughts of this criticism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that the Financial Services Agency has conducted a thorough investigation.

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