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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, January 10, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved six cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Aso, in his capacity as Acting Prime Minister, made a statement concerning acting Ministers while Ministers in charge are away on overseas visits.

If circumstances permit, Prime Minister Abe is planning a trip to Switzerland from January 21 to 23 to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2014 in Davos. The WEF meeting in Davos is one of the largest forums at which economic and national leaders from around the world meet to share their opinions. We regard this meeting as an excellent opportunity to communicate to the entire world Japan's economic and foreign policies. On January 22, Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to be the first Japanese Prime Minister ever to deliver a keynote speech in the opening session. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe is planning to exchange views with WEF Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab, as well as business representatives and other attendants from around the world.


  • The issues related to the Basic Energy Policy
  • The issue related to the Prime Minister's attendance at the World Economic Forum


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning the Basic Energy Policy. The Advisory Committee for Natural Resources and Energy, which is an advisory body for the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, formulated a draft for the policy on December 13 last year. Some members of the Liberal Democratic Party have said that they require some time for deliberation. Some also believe that there may be a delay in having the draft approved by the Cabinet. What time frame do you have in mind for cabinet approval?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Basic Energy Policy is expected to be formulated after considering comments solicited from the Japanese public and views shared at the inter-ministerial councils. So far, we have received comments from approximately 19,000 members of the public and I believe that we will naturally require a certain amount of time to analyze all this information. Given these circumstances, in order for us to develop a responsible energy policy, I think we will of course need to conduct thorough deliberations. Furthermore, during a Liaison Meeting of the Government and Ruling Parties held this year, the ruling parties asked that sufficient time is taken to make thorough arrangements. Following this request, we are currently discussing the future schedule, but ultimately I believe thorough discussions are extremely important.

REPORTER: I understand that the main debating point of the draft is its acknowledgment of nuclear power as an important energy base. Is there room for even a core statement like this to be revised based on opinions within the party?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government's stance on energy since its inauguration is to address Japan's energy needs through renewable energy sources as much as possible. At the same time, by implementing a variety of such energy policies, the Government will seek to limit the number of nuclear power plants to be restarted to the greatest extent possible. The Prime Minister has explained this position in the Diet and on other occasions. The plan has been made in line with this stance, but in any case, given that such requests have been made by members of the ruling parties, it is my opinion that it is important to have through discussions.


REPORTER: During your opening statement, you reported on the WEF meeting in Davos. You talked about communicating Japan's economic and foreign policies. As for economic policy, I assume that this includes Abenomics and proactive investment, but under the topic of foreign policy, will Prime Minister Abe share his thoughts or an explanation about the visit to Yasukuni Shrine?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not sure, but I understand that the Prime Minister will deliver a regular keynote speech. In principle, given that the Prime Minister has also stated that there has been no change to the Government's basic policy of making the economy the highest priority this year, I believe that the economy will be the focus of his talk.


REPORTER: To follow up on the comments solicited from the public on the Basic Energy Policy, did you say that the Government has so far received comments from 19,000 people?


REPORTER: Could you tell us the details and the breakdown of the comments so far?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government has to date received comments from 19,000 people and is currently still in the stage of processing them. Therefore, I do not yet know any details of the comments. However, in any case, I believe that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is taking the lead in thoroughly processing and analyzing the opinions, and making the information publicly available.


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