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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, July 11, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue concerning constitutional interpretation
  • Doubling the investment ceiling in relation to the NISA program
  • The issue of cyber security

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question about the speech you delivered earlier today at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan. A French journalist asked you a question concerning the proposal which proposed by the Liberal Democratic Party in 2009 when it was an opposition party. In relation to constitutional interpretation, the proposal stated that, in accordance with the principle of sovereignty of the people, the arbitrary changing of the constitutional interpretation without due consideration is not acceptable. Am I right to understand that the Abe administration also believes in this principle?


REPORTER: I have another question on the same topic. During the speech, you emphasized that the recent Cabinet decision was made in line with the Government's longstanding policy concerning constitutional interpretation. I would like to once again ask if you believe that the recent Cabinet decision does not contradict the proposal in 2009.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that they do not at all contradict each other. The Cabinet decision was made after we deemed that this would pose no problem at all, based on consultations among the parties that form the ruling coalition, and of course also after consulting the Cabinet Legislation Bureau. I do not believe that the decision was in any way arbitrary.

REPORTER: During the speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan, you mentioned “doubling” in relation to the Nippon Individual Savings Account (NISA) program. Did you mean the number of accounts, the investment amount, or tax-free investment ceiling?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, NISA is a program designed to promote stock investment by private investors. In terms of macroeconomic policy, the total amount of individual financial assets in Japan is approximately 1.6 quadrillion yen, a 100 trillion yen increase over the previous year. We would like to make effective use of such financial assets belonging to individuals. Also, in order to advance the revitalization of the Japanese economy and to ensure that the benefits are enjoyed by people all across Japan, we believe that we must enhance the effects of the scheme. The revised Japan Revitalization Strategy that was recently approved by the Cabinet also sets out our policy to promote NISA. Currently, an investor is only able to buy up to 1 million yen a year in stock tax-free, but we are examining whether or not we are able to make it more than double this figure.

REPORTER: Does that mean that you were talking about doubling the investment ceiling?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is correct. In addition to increasing the investment ceiling, I believe that it would also be beneficial if investors were allowed to hold a larger number of accounts. We will pursue both.

REPORTER: Please allow me to ask another question on the same topic. Minister Aso mentioned a figure of around 2.4 million yen. What are your thoughts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Given that the comments came from the minister in charge of the matter, I am inclined to believe them. 

REPORTER: I would like to ask for some clarification. Am I right to understand that you are hoping to also double the number of accounts that an investor is permitted to have?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Putting the matter of doubling the number of accounts to one side, what I would say is that we are hoping to increase the number of accounts an individual could hold. Deputy Prime Minister Aso spoke about increasing the investment ceiling because investors who are purchasing stock through NISA have said that the 1 million yen limit is quite halfway when considering the monthly investment amount. For instance, if an investor were to invest 100,000 yen per month, the total investment for the year would be 1.2 million yen. I assume that it was in light of such comments that the Deputy Prime Minister mentioned the figure of 2.4 million yen. Regardless, as we seek the revitalization of the Japanese economy, I think it is extremely important that we make the most of financial assets belonging to individuals, which is estimated to be 1.6 quadrillion yen.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question concerning cyber security. It has been reported that during the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue held in Beijing, for example, China was reluctant to discuss the issue of cyber attacks. China's reluctance to discuss this issue has not been limited to this particular meeting. What impact do you believe China's reluctance to speak about this issue will have on resolving the issue of cyber attacks?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Japanese Government would like to refrain from commenting on communications between third party countries. However, I can say that the frank and honest dialogue between the U.S. and China is extremely beneficial for the peace and stability of the international community. Regarding the matter of dealing with cyber attacks, the Japanese Government was the victim of more than 5 million cyber attacks. As such, we are facing a very real problem. In light of this, we recognize the cyber attack issue as a pressing problem from the perspectives of ensuring national security and crisis management. We therefore believe that it is extremely important for the international community to continue to apply existing international law and to develop further regulations, while also supporting confidence building and capacity building efforts. In this regard, the Japanese Government believes that each and every country should of course act in a responsible manner.


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