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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, December 16, 2013 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary(PM)(Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Q&As
・The issues related to the results of the Bank of Japan's Short-term Economic Survey of Enterprises
・The issue related to Abenomics
・The issue related to the transfer of the KC-130s from Futenma to Iwakuni

(Abridged)
REPORTER: The results of the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) Tankan Survey (Short-term Economic Survey of Enterprises in Japan) were announced this morning. With respect to the very positive figures, I recall that this morning you stated that the effects of Abenomics are beginning to be observed throughout the economy. What kind of impact do you believe these results will have on future governmental administration?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, it will soon be one year since we assumed the government. In light of this, we have fully dedicated ourselves to revitalize the Japanese economy and implemented the three arrows of Abenomics by addressing yen appreciation, and exiting deflation. The results of these initiatives are starting to be firmly reflected in the economic figures and the Prime Minister has pursued these initiatives with the conviction that this is the only road forward. We will continue to steadily follow through on our initiatives.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a follow-up question. A variety of opinion polls conducted recently have shown that Government support is decreasing. Do you believe that these numbers will also recover?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I often say, when it comes to opinion polls, higher support is preferable to low support. I understand that generally speaking, more than 60% of citizens polled have a positive evaluation of the Government's performance over the past year or so. Given that we have the support of a large portion of the public, we will remain humble and will steadily implement the policies we have pledged to the people, one by one.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning Abenomics. According to a recent joint opinion poll conducted by Fuji Television Network and the Sankei Shimbun, the lowest levels of positive public sentiment for Abenomics were recorded since the poll was begun. Some indicators such as the BOJ's Tankan Survey and share prices have displayed some improvement, but it does not reflect on public opinion polls yet. Could you share with us any thoughts you may have on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am sure that you are all familiar with the BOJ's Tankan Survey results announced today. Business sentiment for SMEs in the non-manufacturing sector as well has turned positive for the first time in 21 years. I believe that these figures indicate that the trend toward economic recovery is now reaching SMEs. Furthermore, according to the Economy Watchers Survey, the economy is making a gradual recovery, while examination of the state of the economy of each region reveals improvement across the board as well. So such indicators have in fact emerged. In order to ensure that the turnaround of the economy is felt tangibly throughout the whole of the country we will continue to steadily implement the three arrows of Abenomics, as well as firmly put into action based on the economic measures finalized on December 5. We will do everything possible to break out of deflation and revitalize the Japanese economy.

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask another question on this topic. 17.2% of people feel that they are experiencing the effects of an improving economy, while 80.5% feel that they are not. As you just said, some numbers have shown improvement. However, as this poll shows, the majority of people are still unable to experience the effects of economic improvement. What do you believe are the reasons for this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In my opinion, the effects will gradually begin to be felt throughout the economy. It has still been less than one year since we assumed the administration. The share prices too have clearly increased by as much as 60 or 70%, while public pension fund profits under the Abe administration have exceeded 18 trillion yen as well. In that sense we will continue to do our best to ensure that the effects permeate among people throughout Japan.

REPORTER: I understand that earlier today the Vice Governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture and the Mayor of Iwakuni City, among others, visited you and they expressed their intention to approve the transfer of the KC-130s from Futenma Air Station to Iwakuni City. Could you first share your thoughts with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the end the Vice Governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture, the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson of Yamaguchi Prefectural Assembly, as well as the Mayor of Iwakuni City and mayors of two other related municipalities visited me at the Prime Minister’s Office today. They clearly stated today that they approve the transfer of the KC-130s from Futenma Air Station. I am very thankful for their cooperation. It will be the first time to relocate a whole squadron from Okinawa. We have run the administration with the belief that reducing the burden placed on the people of Okinawa is an extremely important responsibility of the Government. In this sense, we are very pleased that we have been able to achieve something tangible.

(Abridged)

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