Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  November 2014 >  Thursday, November 27, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, November 27, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The Japan-ROK relations
  • The inscription of Washi to the UNESCO’s Representative List
  • The Campaign pledges for the upcoming House of Representatives elections
  • The issue of the investigations of defect made by Japanese company
  • The issue of the enforcement of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets

REPORTER: Today, Japan-ROK Director-General level talks will be starting in Seoul. Can you please once again explain how the two countries will be working to improve the bilateral relations amid outstanding issues of concern between the two countries, such as the “comfort women” issue? Also, I understand that the Japanese delegation will be meeting with the ROK official in charge of North Korean affairs. What kinds of opinions do you hope to exchange?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, this afternoon in Seoul, Director-General Ihara of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau will be holding talks with the ROK Director-General regarding the various issues between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). In any case, I expect that views will be exchanged regarding issues of concern to both sides. At this stage, I would like to refrain from elaborating further.

REPORTER: I would like to ask another question in relation to Seoul. Today is also the first day of the trial of the former Seoul Bureau Chief of Sankei Shimbun. What measures will the Japanese Government be seeking from the ROK? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We will take such opportunities as today’s Director-General level talks to fully convey our concerns and request that the ROK Government take appropriate responses.

REPORTER: It has been decided that Washi, traditional Japanese paper, will be inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We welcome this decision with great pleasure. Washi is a cultural heritage that is rooted in our lives in Japan as it is used for various purposes, including shoji screens and stationary. I express my sincere respect to all relevant people who dedicated themselves to the promotion and passing-down of Washi to new generations. With this inscription, we hope that people will once again recognize the cultural value of Washi and that this will contribute to the further vitalization of the regions. We hope that this cultural heritage of which Japan takes pride in will continue to be steadily succeeded.

REPORTER: Many political parties have released their campaign pledges for the upcoming House of Representatives elections. The campaign pledge of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) contends the following about Abenomics. “It spread illusions – while it increased stock prices, the actual economy has deteriorated. Now is the time to change the tide.” Can you please share your reaction to this statement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, if it is only criticism, that is something that any party can do. The question is how to go about changing the reality. Parties need to demonstrate policies that reflect this to the people – to only use terms such as “ample middle class” and “minimum guaranteed pension,” as the DPJ does, is, I think, completely irresponsible. The voters know the actual situation, and I think they are fed up with the rhetoric. This is because when we assumed the reins of government, the economy had recorded three consecutive quarters of negative growth during the DPJ-led government. Growth was negative without the imposition of the consumption tax increase, without doing anything. In addition, this happened the year following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Growth was lower than in the year of the earthquake disaster. In this sense, the economic situation was extremely severe during the DPJ-led government in my opinion. Export industries in particular were affected. Automobile and electronics companies were in the red. In particular, Sharp and Panasonic laid off 3,000 people and 28,000 people, respectively. The companies’ operations themselves were in a crisis situation. I believe this is still fresh in your memory. We took over the government under these circumstances, and afterwards, stock prices increased from the 8,000 yen level to the 17,000 yen level. Furthermore, the yen, which was about to dip below the 75 yen to the dollar mark, has broken out of its appreciating trend. In addition, as a result of the stock price increases, the public pension balance – integral to everyone’s post-retirement – increased by as much as 29 trillion yen. The ratio of job offers to applicants reached their highest level in 22 years. The number of bankruptcies declined significantly. I think they are also down to the lowest level in some twenty years. Abenomics is still only half completed. We are committed to making every effort to ensure that the benefits of the economic recovery are felt by everyone, including those in regional areas, those working at small- and medium-sized enterprises, and those with low incomes.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the defect found with the air bags made by Japanese automobile parts manufacturer, Takata. The U.S. Department of Transportation issued recall orders to Takata as well as to five other automobile makers. What is the view of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On the 21st, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism set up a countermeasures headquarters to deal with this matter. On the 24th, the headquarters instructed a recall in Japan and also instructed investigations into whether or not there is a defect, its causes, and other such aspects. I understand that the investigations are ongoing. In any case, it is important that the companies concerned carry out thorough investigations. Based on the reports of these investigations, the Government, namely the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, will be steadily dealing with this matter

REPORTER: According to some news reports, the Government is making arrangements to appoint Mr. Atsushi Kitamura, prosecutor with the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, as the first Independent Public Records Management Secretary in time for the enforcement of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets on the 10th of next month. What is the status of the arrangements? Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the news reports. It is true that candidates are now being considered. However, I have never heard of the individual referred to in the news reports.

REPORTER: I would like to return to the subject of my publication’s former Seoul Bureau Chief. He was detained for a long period, and on top of that, a trial will be starting today in Seoul. Can you please once again explain the Government’s views regarding the approach taken by the ROK authorities?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have stated repeatedly here with regard to this matter, freedom of the press and freedom of expression should be highly valued in democratic nations. We have made Japan’s position clear. This matter is very regrettable from the standpoint of Japan-ROK relations. As I stated earlier, this matter will be fully raised during today’s Japan-ROK Director-General level talks, during which Japan will request that the ROK take an appropriate responses.


Page Top

Related Link