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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, February 25, 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 23 general and other measures, draft bills, a Cabinet order, and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Minister Shindo made a statement concerning the Basic Policies for National Strategic Economic Growth Areas. The Minister for Foreign Affairs made a statement concerning the Official Visit of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.

In ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, Minister Furuya made a statement concerning the Government’s response to the damage from the heavy snow and other natural disasters. The Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications made a statement concerning advancement of the date of provision of the special local allocation tax grants.

During today’s Cabinet meeting, the Cabinet approved the “Expressions of Condolence on the Day of the Memorial Ceremony to Mark  the Third Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.” This decision sets out the actions that the Government’s administrative bodies will take in order to express mourning on the occasion of the Memorial Ceremony to Mark  the Third Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, and to seek the broad cooperation of the public. Based on the Cabinet’s approval, I will be notifying the heads of each ministry and agency of the items I would like to ask all departments of ministries and agencies, as well as local public bodies and other entities, to give proper consideration to. Also, the Prime Minister issued a statement entitled “Message by Prime Minister Abe to the Japanese People,” which has been distributed to you. For more information, please contact Preparation Office for the Ceremony at the Cabinet Office.

After today’s Cabinet meeting, the Inter-Ministerial Council for Nuclear Power held its second meeting. Minister Motegi explained the Basic Energy Plan draft. Following the discussion which took place among relevant ministers and other parties, the relevant ministers approved the section on nuclear power. Minister Motegi will be making the Basic Energy Plan draft available today. Upon coordinating with the ruling parties, the Basic Energy Plan draft will be subject to a Cabinet decision. For more information, I ask that you please contact Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.


  • The issues related to the reduction of U.S. troop strength
  • The issues related to Japan-Republic of Korea relations
  • The issue related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • The issue related to the Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime


REPORTER: The U.S. Department of Defense announced that it would significantly reduce the troop strength of its Army. It is quite a drastic plan, which entails reducing troop strength from the current 520,000 people to somewhere on the scale of 440,000 to 450,000 people. What impacts does the Japanese Government think this new U.S. policy will have on Japan’s security environment and the modality of the Japan-U.S. alliance?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I am aware that the U.S. Department of Defense made such statements. In any case, I am aware that in light of a severe budget situation and other circumstances, the United States spoke of various measures to take. These include a partial reduction of troop strength and giving priority to readiness and technological support. At the same time, the United States, in fact, also made clear that it would maintain its policy of rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region. In my view, Japan is not in a position to respond to questions about the U.S. budget. Meanwhile, as the security environment surrounding Japan further increases in severity, the Japanese Government will work closely with the United States to ensure the deterrent of Japan-U.S. security arrangements.

REPORTER: Today marks the one-year anniversary of President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea (ROK) assuming office. Would you care to give a message or make any comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is true that Japan and the ROK have a variety of outstanding issues because they are neighboring countries. However, we adopt the view that that is precisely why it is important to maintain communications built on a series of dialogue through diplomatic and other channels. As Prime Minister Abe repeatedly stated, Japan’s door is always open for dialogue. Japan will continue to provide careful explanations of its stance and negotiate persistently.

REPORTER: The Government continued to say that the door is always open for dialogue, and it has now been one year. Why has there not been any progress?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That, I do not really know. However, the basic position of Japan is that it is important to maintain communications between the leaders, precisely because there are a variety of issues.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Regarding the ministerial meeting in Singapore, Minister Amari stated that there is quite a gap in views with respect to the Japan-U.S. tariff talks, and there are concerns about prolonged talks. Some observers pointed out that in the worst case scenario, if the talks are prolonged, they may break down. How does the Government intend to handle this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, today is the final day of the ministerial meeting being held in Singapore. Therefore, the meeting has not yet ended. I was reported  that last evening, Minister Amari and U.S. Trade Representative Froman held talks once again. They affirmed a gap remains between the arguments of the two sides, and agreed that they would continue to work on closing the gap at the working level. With regard to the remaining issues, I hope that ministers come together and work hard until the very end to ensure that they will make achievements.

REPORTER: The Cabinet approved three draft bills during today’s Cabinet meeting. One of the bills is the draft bill on the implementation of an agreement between the Governments of Japan and the United States for strengthening cooperation for the prevention of and fight against grave crimes. Is my understanding correct that this is the draft bill concerning the exchange of fingerprints or intelligence between Japan and the United States, which some members within the Liberal Democratic Party and others have raised concerns about?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, there is an agreement aimed at strengthening counter-terrorism measures called the Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime, which was already concluded between Japan and the United States. The bill you referred to is the relevant domestic law to ensure this Agreement. The law will enable the fingerprints of criminals to be verified automatically between authorities. For more information, I please contact the National Police Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



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