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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, April 4, 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 19 general and other measures, as well as draft bills and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs made statements concerning the FY2014 Diplomatic Bluebook and emergency grant aid to the Republic of Guinea in response to the Ebola Haemorhagic Fever outbreak, I made a statement concerning Her Imperial Highness Princess Akiko's trip to Turkey, Minister Mori made a statement concerning the holding of the Spring 2014 National Traffic Safety Campaign and the "Zero Traffic Accident Fatality Day," and the Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission made a statement concerning the holding of the Spring 2014 Traffic Safety Campaign.

In ministerial discussions, Minister Yamamoto made a statement concerning the promotion of the reform of information systems in the Government and I made a statement concerning arrangements for contacting Cabinet members and other officials during the holiday period in early May, as well as which officials will be staying in Tokyo during this period.

Prior to today's Cabinet meeting, a ministerial meeting on the utilization of foreign workers in the field of construction was held. With the rising and urgent concern over the tight of skilled construction workers, the Government finalized emergency measures for further accelerating reconstruction projects and appropriately meeting the increased need for construction leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The emergency measures consist of a policy package for temporarily accepting foreign workers who have completed the necessary technical training and can be of immediate assistance, while also making great efforts to ensure the maximum employment of domestic workers. The acceptance of foreign workers will be monitored under an effective supervisory system that will be newly created. We will combine the measures to accept foreign workers with measures to ensure the maximum employment of domestic workers, and put the measures into effect by the middle of the year so that we can be fully prepared to deliver a successful Olympic and Paralympic games. The Cabinet Secretariat will provide a detailed briefing at a later date on this topic.

At the Cabinet meeting today, it was decided that U.S. President Barack Obama will be welcomed as a state guest on his upcoming visit to Japan on April 24 and 25. While the date of arrival has not been determined, President Obama is expected to arrive in Japan in the early morning of April 24 at the latest, and will take part in a series of events. During President Obama’s visit to Japan, Prime Minister Abe and President Obama intend to emphasize the role of the Japan-U.S. Alliance, which has contributed to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, affirm this strong alliance, and map out other specific areas of cooperation between our two countries. As is standard procedure for receiving a state guest, the state guest is expected to attend official functions including a Welcoming Ceremony, a State Call on Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, a State Banquet, and a Farewell Call by Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress, as well as a summit meeting. During President Obama’s visit, all of the aforesaid functions will take place from April 24 to 25 accordingly. Prime Minister Abe will hold a summit meeting with President Obama, and host a meal for him.


  • U.S. President Obama’s visit to Japan
  • Australian Prime Minister Abbott’s visit to Japan

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning President Obama's visit to Japan. What topics will the leaders likely discuss during the summit meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In light of the increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan, upon President Obama's visit to Japan, Japan and the U.S. intend to affirm the strong alliance between our two countries, and map out other specific areas of cooperation. Furthermore, I understand that in the interest of ensuring prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, the leaders will discuss cooperative relations between Japan and the United States in a variety of fields, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask another question on a related topic. I believe that the U.S. is strongly hoping to come to an agreement on TPP by the time the summit meeting is held. Could you give us an idea of the outlook for this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is my understanding that we will make final arrangements during the lead up to the summit meeting.

REPORTER: Will those arrangements be made by ministerial-level officials?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yes, I assume that diligent efforts will be made at the ministerial level, as well as the working level.

REPORTER: With the expansionist policies of neighboring countries in mind, which you just mentioned, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel told a Senate committee that China is keeping a very close eye on the annexation of Crimea and the response of the international community. His comments are perceived to have been a conraining in relation to Chinese actions in the East China Sea and the South China Sea. Could you share your thoughts, if any, with us?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan's stance is clear; Japan will absolutely not tolerate any attempt to change the status quo with force in the background. Japan has clearly stated this with the other G7 member nations.

REPORTER: Is there any possibility that President Obama may arrive in Japan on April 23?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding the schedule of the President's visit to Japan, I do not think the Japanese Government is in a position to discuss the plans of the U.S. Government. In any case, I have been informed that the U.S. Government is presently making final arrangements for the visit.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s visit to Japan. I understand that Prime Minister Abbott is expected to attend a National Security Council (NSC) meeting and I believe this is related to strengthening cooperation in the area of national security. I know that this is a matter involving the NSC and therefore there are some things you cannot tell us, but could you share with us the specific purpose for which Prime Minister Abbott will attend the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: After Prime Minister Abbott arrives in Japan, we will hold a special NSC meeting on April 7. Prime Minister Abe, Deputy Prime Minister Aso, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida, Minister of Defense Onodera and I will attend this meeting and exchange views with Prime Minister Abbott. During the upcoming special meeting, we are planning to hold broad discussions on the future of Japan-Australia security cooperation.

REPORTER: Do you have matters such as China's naval expansion in mind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is rather the case that we are hoping to hold broad discussions on the very matter of Japan-Australia security cooperation.

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