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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, April 14, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Director-general level talks between Japan and the Republic of Korea
  • Avian influenza in Kumamoto
  • The listing of government-owned Japan Post Holding shares
  • Stock price of the financial markets

REPORTER: A decision has been made to hold director-general level talks between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in Seoul on April 16. Please tell us what the subject of discussions at the talks will be, and what your expectations of the talks are.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Governments of Japan and the ROK will be holding intensive discussions regarding a number of matters at a variety of levels, including the director-general level. The aim of the discussions is to improve a variety of circumstances pertaining to Japan-ROK relations and to gain a more positive outlook. As part of this, Mr. Junichi Ihara, Director-General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, will visit Seoul on April 16 to hold talks with Mr. Lee Sang-deok, Director General for Northeast Asian Affairs.

REPORTER: The Government of the ROK has indicated that they would like to hold intensive discussions regarding the comfort women issue at the talks on April 16. How does the Japanese Government view the idea of focusing discussions on the comfort women issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do of course think the comfort women issue will be discussed.

REPORTER: There are a broad range of other outstanding issues such as the Takeshima issue. Does the Japanese Government intend to hold wide-ranging discussions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We would like to begin a frank exchange of opinions regarding a wide range of topics pertaining to Japan-ROK relations. 

REPORTER: Regarding avian influenza in Kumamoto Prefecture, have there been any new developments in the situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As of this morning 82,000 birds were culled. Since then, 99,500 birds out of a total of 112,000 have now been culled today.

REPORTER: Excuse me, I have another related question. Although it is still not clear whether the outbreak can be contained, there is a likelihood that, depending on the situation in the days to come, harmful rumors may begin to spread. What would the Government do to address such harmful rumors?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we quickly set up 11 disinfection stations for vehicles. The relevant ministries are coordinating with local authorities and now have thorough measures in place. The Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Crisis Management organized a meeting of director-general level officials from ministries relevant to avian influenza, and this was held at 1pm.  

REPORTER: Could you tell us what you discussed during the meeting and if any decisions were made?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We promptly responded to this issue, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and Kumamoto Prefecture have been working closely together on implementing countermeasures, including preemptive measures. As such, in the meeting we confirmed the line that the relevant ministries and agencies are now working to robustly implement these measures.

REPORTER: I have a question about Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. Today, a Ministry of Finance advisory panel meeting commenced discussions towards the listing of government-owned Japan Post Holdings shares on the stock market. How does the Government view this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The securities firm that will act as the lead managing underwriter will be selected today in preparation for the listing of Japan Post Holdings shares. It is my understanding that these consultations will involve deliberations regarding the selection criteria and other matters. At any rate, we are making steady progress toward the privatization of the postal services, which I view as positive. Furthermore, it is my hope that we can sell the shares as quickly as possible in line with the Postal Service Privatization Act, and that the proceeds from their sale will be as substantial as possible.    


REPORTER: If I may, stock prices are lackluster again today. How do you view this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of today’s stock price movements, but as I always state, I would like to refrain from commenting in order to avoid causing any unnecessary confusion in the markets. Be that as it may however, I think that it is crucial that the Government continues to pay close attention to the movements of the financial markets. Given the extreme importance of promptly setting the economy on a growth path and avoiding a relapse, the Government will continue to steadily implement the three arrows, and robustly address the top priorities of exiting deflation and revitalizing the economy.


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