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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Monday, October 6, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The issue of another consumption tax increase
  • The South-North dialogues in Korea

REPORTER: My question concerns a matter which also came up during the meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives a short while ago. House of Representatives member Kozo Yamamoto of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) gathered a panel of Diet members who are wary about the second consumption tax increase and held a study meeting. Mr. Yamamoto stated that the second consumption tax increase would be difficult, and should be postponed for another year and a half or so. How will such campaigns within the LDP impact your decision on the second consumption tax increase? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, with regard to this matter, as I have stated from before, the Prime Minister’s consistent intention has been to make an appropriate decision at the end of the year, upon a careful examination of economic indicators, including the July-September quarterly GDP estimates. The opinions of experts will be listened in making this decision. This too has already been announced. As one would expect, the Government will also be lending its ear to the various debates taking place within the ruling parties. In any case, ultimately the Prime Minister will make a decision at the end of the year in this context.

REPORTER: I have a related question. During the Budget Committee meeting, the Prime Minister said that he hoped to start the experts’ meetings at an early date. What is the status of the consideration regarding the meeting’s launch date?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We asked the opinions of experts when the consumption tax was last increased. Obviously we believe we need to listen what such experts have to say about how the second consumption tax increase would compare to the previous increase. I gather that the opinions of experts will be listened around the time of the release of the first preliminary estimates of the July-September GDP. I imagine that the meetings will be starting around this timing.

REPORTER: In connection to this, I have a question regarding Mr. Yamamoto’s study meeting, which was mentioned moments ago. Do you think it is better that various debates take place, and do you consider it a good thing that a variety of opinions are voiced within the party?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is to be expected in a sense. With regard to the LDP, one would expect members to go to various electoral districts, lend an ear to the opinions of the people, and discuss them within the party.


REPORTER: Over the weekend, close advisers of Kim Jong-un, First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea of North Korea, and senior officials of the Republic of Korea (ROK) held talks and agreed to resume the Inter-Korean High-Level Meeting. What is your assessment of these talks? Also, in your opinion, will this momentum for South-North dialogue have a positive effect on the Japan-North Korea consultations over the abduction issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is following the South-North dialogues with interest. These developments need to lead to the denuclearization of North Korea, and the settlement of various other matters. Japan’s position is that we will continue to deal with the North Korea issues in close coordination with the ROK and the United States. As for the Japan-North Korea negotiations, as is evident from Japan’s position, we are requesting that North Korea promptly report the results of the investigations on Japanese nationals, while making clear that the abduction issue is our number one priority.

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