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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, November 1, 2013 (AM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato

  • The overview of the Cabinet meeting
  • Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved 25 general and other measures, a draft bill, a cabinet order, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Minister Shimomura and Prime Minister Abe made a statement concerning the future of connections between high school education and university education and the screening process for university applicants, or the so called fourth proposal, of the Education Rebuilding Implementation Council. Minister Mori made a statement concerning the FY2013 Child and Youth Development Support Enhancement Month. The Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning the Fact-finding Survey on Reducing, etc. the Public Burden of Application Procedures (related to general procedures). The Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning the emergency grant aid to the Republic of the Philippines for earthquake damage in the central part of the country. The Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare made a statement concerning the FY2013 Child Abuse Prevention Promotion Month.

During the Cabinet meeting, the decision to invite H.E. Mr. Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary and his wife to Japan from November 21 to 23 on an official working visit was approved. Sharing the basic values with Japan, Hungary is a nation which has traditionally been friendly towards Japan Furthermore, many companies including from Japan have invested in the country. In addition, Hungary is the current chair of the Visegrad Group (V4), a regional cooperation framework comprised of four countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. We hope that the visit to Japan by Prime Minister Orbán and his wife will further strengthen our bilateral relationship with Hungary and will further evolve the V4+Japan framework.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting, there was a meeting of the Electricity Supply-Demand Review Meeting chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga. During the meeting, the electricity supply-demand measures for winter 2013 were decided based on Minister Motegi's report of this winter's electricity supply and demand situation. This winter, all areas are forecasted to be able to secure the stable and necessary supply. Therefore, excluding Hokkaido, where special measures are required, and Okinawa, in all areas serviced by Japan's electric power companies, the Government will request general power saving "not accompanied by a numerical target" to ensure that power saving efforts, now firmly established in Japan, are made in a steady and not unreasonable way. The period in question will be from December to March. With regard to the service area of Hokkaido Electric Power Company, as Hokkaido is a cold area and a tight electricity supply and demand situation could threaten the lives and safety of the people. The Government will request, in addition to the general power saving request, "power saving accompanied by a numerical target" of at least 6% compared to FY2010 from the late afternoon to the evening hours from December 9 to March 7 when electricity demand is particularly high. We ask the people of Japan, especially those in Hokkaido, for their cooperation with the power saving efforts. For more information on this matter, please contact the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In connection with this, Cool Biz ended yesterday, and Warm Biz will start from today. For more information, please contact the Ministry of the Environment.


  • The conduct of House of Councillors member Taro Yamamoto during Their Majesties' Garden Party,
  • The Japan-China relations
  • The issue related to whaling
  • The issue related to loans to organized crime group by financial institutions

REPORTER: Regarding the conduct of House of Councillors member Taro Yamamoto yesterday during Their Majesties' Garden Party, I believe that the response to his actions will be discussed today at the House of Councillors. May I ask what your thoughts are with regard to Mr. Yamamoto's conduct?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: I understand that Their Majesties' Garden Parties are events in which His Majesty the Emperor and other members of the Imperial Family engage in friendly conversation with those who have performed distinguished accomplishments or rendered distinguished service in various fields, and to express appreciation and offer encouragement to them. Diet members, such as ourselves, are also invited to the garden party and whether or not it is appropriate on such occasions for a Diet member to take such actions, that is, to hand a letter directly to His Majesty as if to convey one's personal political views, is, I believe, something that the individual Diet member must determine themselves, based on common sense.


REPORTER: Yesterday, I understand that China lodged a protest against Japan on the grounds that the Maritime Self-Defense Force of Japan interfered with Chinese drills, and that Japan refuted the claim. Can you please explain the developments related to the two countries since then?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: What you are referring to is remarks made by the spokesman of the Ministry of National Defense of China. In response to those remarks, Japan has already responded to the Ministry of National Defense and refuted that assertion, stating that our monitoring and surveillance activities in the seas and airspaces in the area are carried out in an appropriate manner, and as needed, and that there is absolutely no truth behind the assertion that we carried out dangerous activities that would interfere with the military drills of the Chinese Navy. In any case, the Government's view is that we will continue to closely monitor the movements of the Chinese military, including the movements of Chinese vessels in areas around Japan's territorial waters.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning whaling. We have obtained information that Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson, who had been on the run since July of last year, arrived in Los Angeles on Monday earlier this week and is heading to Seattle to fight the legal "Red Notice" lodged by Japan, which is the equivalent of an international arrest warrant. What is Japan's reaction to this?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Japan seeks the arrest of the Captain of the Sea Shepherd. However, we have not obtained the information besides what you have just identified.  Therefore, I would like to refrain from commenting further on this matter.

REPORTER: Concerning the issue of loans to organized crime groups, following-on from Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Shinsei Trust & Banking Co., Ltd. has revealed that it too had transactions with organized crime groups. What is the Government's view regarding this, and what countermeasures do you intend to take?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: Whatever the case may be, the Financial Services Agency will carry out a careful study and uncover the facts. On that basis, the Government will take appropriate responses as needed.

REPORTER: House of Councillors member Antonio Inoki intends to go ahead with his planned visit to North Korea even while the House of Councillors' Committee on Rules and Administration has decided not to authorize his travel there. What is the view of the Government regarding Mr. Inoki's actions, which could very well impact the resolution of the abduction issue?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY KATO: I am aware that House of Councillors member Antonio Inoki plans to visit North Korea. However, I believe the Government is not in a position to give detailed responses on this matter. Nevertheless, in any case, the basic view of the Government is that there can be no normalization of diplomatic relations with North Korea without the resolution of the abduction issue. Based on this basic recognition, the Government will continue to make every effort, as is our responsibility, to ensure the safety and the immediate return to Japan of all the abductees, obtain a full account concerning the abductions, and realize the handover of the perpetrators of the abductions. The Government has consistently requested Japanese people, including Diet members, to refrain from traveling to North Korea.

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