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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, January 30, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue related to the open debate in the United Nations Security Council
  • The issue related to Prime Minister Abe's Visit to Yasukuni Shrine
  • The issues related to stock prices
  • The issues related to the discovery of stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells

REPORTER: Yesterday, in an open debate in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) criticized Prime Minister Abe's visit to Yasukuni Shrine, among other matters. The Japanese side did provide counter arguments, but could you once again tell us your thoughts about this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the country holding the presidency of the Security Council, Jordan held an open debate of the UNSC for the purpose of discussing how to achieve reconciliation for lasting peace based on a shared understanding of history, and what the UN's role is to this end. This debate was not a forum in which to criticize specific countries. Regardless of this, it is highly regrettable that the aforementioned comments were made criticizing Japan's understanding of history and other matters. I received a report that the representative from Japan immediately expressed Japan's deep displeasure and its intention to protest this, providing counterarguments for each of the individual points raised.

REPORTER: The United States expressed its disappointment following the visit to Yasukuni Shrine. As such, on the occasion of President Obama's expected visit to Japan, what kind of explanation will be provided and what efforts will be made to mend relations in the Japan-U.S. summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Assistant to the President of the United States did not make any specific announcement during his press conference about the countries that President Obama will visit on his trip to Asia in April. However,  I am aware that the Assistant to the President stated  that in general terms President Obama promised to visit Japan and wishes to do so at the earliest possible time. Nevertheless, the current status is that, nothing has yet been decided regarding the President's visit to Japan, nor have we received a report from the US side. Whatever the case, given that the United States and Japan are true allies, we have, in a sense, thoroughly addressed all the issues that President Obama had made requests about in the summit meeting held in February last year. These include the relocation of Futenma Air Station, participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, and the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. As things stand, the sense of trust between the two countries remains unwavering and therefore I do not believe that the situation will require any further explanation about the visit to Yasukuni Shrine.


REPORTER: Today the Nikkei Stock Average dropped at one point by 500 yen at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. This drop is considered to be an adverse reaction to the United States Federal Reserve Board's (FRB) decision to reduce quantitative easing measures. What are your views concerning further impacts on and the outlook for the Japanese economy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I am aware of the drop in the Nikkei Stock Average, as is usually the case, I would like to refrain from commenting on each individual fluctuation, so as not to cause the market any unnecessary confusion. However, as you just mentioned, I understand that factors such as speculation over quantitative easing in the United States, as well as concerns about the outlook for emerging economies, form the background to the stock price fluctuations. That being said, the Japanese economy is recovering at a moderate pace. The Government intends to continue to monitor market trends. Whatever the case, the Government will seek to achieve the passage of the drafts we have submitted for the supplementary budget and the fiscal 2014 budget as soon as possible, and work to steadily implement the three arrows of economic revitalization. We are seeking to create a positive economic cycle in which increased corporate earnings lead to increased capital investment, increased wages and the expansion of employment opportunities.


REPORTER: One of the big news since yesterday has been the new discovery of stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells. Can I ask for any thoughts you may have on this discovery?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are tremendous hopes that STAP cells could lead to the future realization of revolutionary regenerative medicine, depending on further advancements in research in such areas as their application in human cells. Firstly, I would like to express my respect for the efforts of all those involved in this research, especially Ms. Obokata. I understand that the outcomes of this current research have elicited congratulations and praise from countries around the world. I hear that initially no-one would believe what had been discovered and papers submitted to overseas scientific journals were rejected as well. I believe that this shows just how revolutionary this research is, and how much it breaks down the conventional knowledge of the scientific community. The Government will continue to promote measures that give rise to such revolutionary outcomes in basic research and  promote activities towards the realization of regenerative medicine. In addition, the work of young researchers and female researchers is essential in order to create such innovation. Ms. Obokata, who has been in these recent press reports, is in fact just around 30 years of age. In that sense, the Government for its part also would like to   continue to thoroughly support the creation of environments in which such people can flourish.


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