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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • Negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
  • Report on the economic and exchange rate policies from U.S. Department of Treasury
  • Situation of eastern Ukraine


REPORTER: Minister Amari is visiting the United States from today for the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Could you please tell us once again your expectations for the negotiations, if any?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you just stated, Minister Amari is visiting the United States from today. Following on from last week, Minister Amari and U.S. Trade Representative Froman will continue their negotiations on the outstanding issues between Japan and the United States. Both sides are conducting negotiations as firmly as we can and are seeking to protect national interests. Therefore, there are the things which can be done and the things which cannot be done. Nevertheless, both sides need to come to a compromise in order to conclude the negotiations. As such, I hope that in the negotiations, the two sides can find resourceful ways to reach a satisfying solution.

REPORTER: President Obama will be visiting Japan very soon. Do you regard this as a deadline for the negotiations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We do not have any particular deadlines in mind. What I will say is that during last week’s negotiations, we managed to considerably narrow down the issues. Therefore, during this visit to the United States, I expect that we will conduct negotiations as firmly as we can and seek to protect national interests.

REPORTER: In the Republic of Korea, a passenger ferry carrying more than 400 people is sinking, and rescue activities are ongoing. Do you have any information on the matter, such as if any Japanese nationals were on board?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, according to what the Korea Coast Guard (KCG) announced on the 16th, approximately 350 people were on board and a distress signal was received from the passenger ferry, which was navigating off the southwest coast. I understand the KCG reported that the ferry was sinking and that many of the passengers were students heading to Jeju Island for a school trip. As of this moment in time, there is no information to suggest that Japanese nationals were among those affected.

REPORTER: On the 15th the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a report regarding the economic and exchange rate policies of major trading partners, which stated that an increase in domestic demand is imperative for the Japanese economy’s durable recovery and for Japan to exit deflation. What is the reaction of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you are aware, the Japanese economy is currently recovering, primarily led by an increase in domestic demand. Therefore, I believe, in a sense, this is a natural outlook for the economy. Although the consumption tax was increased, the Government is steadily taking measures to cope with this. We will make every effort to ensure that there is no relapse in economic conditions, while closely monitoring the developments.

REPORTER: In eastern Ukraine, military operations to expel pro-Russian forces have begun. How does the Government see this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government of Japan is closely following the developments with grave concern and apprehension. Japan strongly urges that these acts of violence are suspended, and that all the parties concerned behave with maximum self-restraint and responsibility and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Furthermore, Japan urges the Government of Ukraine to carry out activities to maintain security with maximum self-restraint and responsibility.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding Japan’s responses. Could you share your views regarding how Japan will move in step with the G7? Will Japan be imposing additional sanctions, for example?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As we have stated to date, we will decide on the Government’s response while working with the relevant countries, including the G7.


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