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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, October 31, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue related to House of Councillors member Yamamoto handed a letter to His Majesty the Emperor at Their Majesties' Garden
  • The issue related to the NSC bill
  • The issue related to the decontamination expenses
  • The Diet reform
  • The successful performances of Japanese baseball players in the U.S. major league baseball team

REPORTER: It has been reported that House of Councillors member Taro Yamamoto handed what looked like a letter to His Majesty the Emperor at Their Majesties' Garden Party, which was held today. t Could you tell us the fact situation and the Government's thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: According to the Imperial Household
Agency, House of Councillors member Taro Yamamoto handed some sort of document to His Majesty the Emperor, which was then given to the Grand Chamberlain.

Regarding the appropriateness of handing a letter to His Majesty the Emperor at an occasion such as today's Garden Party, I believe participants should exercise common sense when making such a decision.


REPORTER: In relation to the NSC bill, I believe that the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) is planning to submit a draft amendment centered on requesting the creation of minutes during the four ministers' meeting. Could you share with us the Government's view on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We have no concrete details on the matter at this stage. The Government believes that the bill we have submitted is the most desirable in terms of its content. Therefore, we will make efforts to gain the understanding of the DPJ. If the DPJ does submit a draft amendment, the Government will examine the proposals with great care.

REPORTER: Sometime later today, the Liberal Democratic Party will approve the third proposal in relation to the decontamination expenses following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The proposal includes the allocation of national funds to cover a portion of the expenses. Do you have any thoughts on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Led by Chairman Oshima, the committee has engaged in broad and earnest discussions on the topic of Fukushima's reconstruction and revitalization. I am aware that further discussions on this topic will take place at party headquarters this evening. The Government will keep close eyes on these party discussions and if a proposal is made, the Government will consider it  seriously.

REPORTER: In relation to decontamination expenses, under the Act on Special Measures Concerning Handling of Radioactive Pollution, the Tokyo Electric Power Company is obliged to bear the entirety of the expense. Is it possible that the act will be amended in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I was informed that party discussions will take place today, so we will keep a close eye on the progress of these discussions. If a proposal is made, I believe that the entire Government must consider it seriously.

REPORTER: In relation to Diet reform, some parties are against the proposal to restrict the Prime Minister's attendance of committee meetings. How do you believe discussions should proceed in terms of developing rules for the Diet?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated previously, Diet reform is not only an issue for the Prime Minister or Government, it is also extremely important in the sense that it will allow both the opposition and ruling parties to earnestly pursue Japan's national interests. We have been entrusted with running the Government and strive to proceed the administration forward. As I said recently, looking at the situation in other countries, Japanese Prime Ministers spend around 120 days in the Diet each year, while in Germany, which has the strongest economy in the European Union, the Chancellor only spends 11 days in parliament. I think that these differences are symbolic. We have a duty to provide good explanations of this matter to the public. At the same time, the Government is also responsible for resolving a variety of issues and moving forward for the sake of Japan's national interest. In light of this, I believe the fact that the ruling and opposition parties began discussions on how the Japanese Diet should operate in the context of global competition is a positive thing.

REPORTER: On a lighter subject, U.S. major league baseball team the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. Koji Uehara put in a great performance and the team picked him up and tossed him up in the air in celebration. I believed that you played baseball in your youth, could you share your thoughts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Two Japanese players pitched wonderfully in the critical 8th and 9th innings and contributed to the team's victory. As a baseball fan, this is something that was unimaginable back when I was playing baseball. Even when the major league players came to Japan and played against the Japanese all-star team, Japan rarely had any chance of winning. Knowing this, I think it is wonderful to see the progress Japanese baseball has made and it was great to see the two players being roundly accepted and congratulated by fans in the U.S. I think that their performances are a source of inspiration and hope for today's young baseball players.


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