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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Tuesday, April 8, 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 seven general and other measures, the promulgation of legislation, and personnel decisions.


  • Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement


REPORTER: I understand that yesterday, Japan and Australia reached a broad agreement in the economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations. First of all, can you please comment on this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan and Australia were able to reach a substantive agreement on this EPA. Australia would become the largest trading partner with which Japan has concluded an EPA to date. As such, this EPA will surely contribute significantly to strengthening the Japan-Australia relationship. For Japan, the removal of Australian tariffs on Japanese exports will promote the competitiveness of Japanese companies in the Australian market. Specifically, in the tariff negotiations, Japan and Australia agreed on the following. Australian tariffs will immediately be removed on 75% of the Japanese exports of automobiles, one of the products of interest for Japan, with the remaining tariffs to be removed in the next three years. Also, Japanese tariffs on Australian beef will be reduced gradually over several years. Safeguard measures will be introduced, that if the volume of Australian beef imported to Japan exceeds a certain amount, then the tariff rate will return to its original level. Through such measures, the agreement ensures the viability and solid development of domestic industries. In addition, Australia is a major source of energy supplies, mineral resources, and food supplies for Japan. Thus, the EPA will also contribute to the stable provision of such supplies. As such, it is truly outstanding that we were able to reach a broad agreement.  

REPORTER: The TPP negotiations are also pending. How will this agreement on the EPA with Australia affect the TPP negotiations? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, Japan hopes that the fact that we have reached a broad agreement in the EPA negotiations will contribute to the vitalization of regional economic partnerships, including the TPP. In any case, as far as the TPP is concerned, Japan and the United States are now making maximum efforts to resolve the outstanding issues between our two countries and we are facing a very challenging situation. Nevertheless, both sides are playing proactive roles with the aim of concluding the TPP at an early date, and Japan will continue to pursue the path that best serves our national interests. We will address this matter under the leadership of Minister Amari, who is in charge, and we will see to it that this is achieved. That is how I view the situation.




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