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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


  • The act of terrorism in Pakistan
  • The financial market trends

REPORTER: An armed group has attacked a school in Pakistan, resulting in the deaths of more than 140 people, many of them children. The same Islamic armed group that attacked Nobel Peace Prize winner Ms. Malala Yousafzai has admitted responsibility for the attack. What is the Government of Japan’s reaction to this act of terrorism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is deeply shocked and saddened by the highly regrettable terrorist attack yesterday, which caused numerous deaths and injuries, including many children, at the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Japan mourns the victims and expresses its condolences to the bereaved families. Japan also offers its heartfelt sympathy to those wounded in the attacks. Japan strongly condemns acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. This act was particularly unforgivable, in that it targeted school pupils who had their whole lives in front of them. Japan is determined to fully support efforts by the Government of Pakistan to fight against terrorism in cooperation with the international community.

REPORTER: The Russian ruble has fallen sharply on international currency markets, causing widespread turmoil in Russia. What impact do you think this will have on Europe and the rest of the global economy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The recent downturn in crude oil prices has created downward pressure on the currencies of resource-producing nations and I believe that it will be necessary to monitor the international financial markets given the possibility of widening moves to avoid risk. The Government will continue to monitor crude oil prices, financial market trends, and their impact.


REPORTER: It has been noted that if the sell-off of the Russian ruble continues there is a possibility that this will result in yen buying, given that the yen is considered to be a safe haven currency. This has the potential to have a significant impact on the Japanese economy, so how does the Government intend to respond?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from making any specific comment on this matter, as currency trends are in principle decided by the markets. In any event, the Government will continue to monitor the situation.

REPORTER: Is the Government not giving any particular consideration to changing its policy on its economic sanctions?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point the Government’s first response will be to monitor market trends.

REPORTER: This may seem a strange question, but I believe that a downturn in oil prices and a stronger yen would have positive and negative effects on the Japanese economy. Although the downturn in oil prices would be largely positive, my feeling is that it may have a negative impact on the Abenomics policy of achieving a two percent increase in commodity prices. What are your thoughts?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case the recent fluctuations have been of a short-term and rapid nature. Against that backdrop I believe that it is necessary for the Government to first closely monitor market fluctuations.

REPORTER: I have an additional question. I believe that lower oil prices and a stronger yen would generally be considered to have many positive elements that should be welcomed. However, in view of the goal of Abenomics to achieve an increase in commodity prices and exit deflation they could also be viewed in negative terms. What is your view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I do not think that the situation should be viewed in positive or negative terms. It is rather necessary to closely monitor the situation and assess how it may impact the Japanese economy in the long term. The yen has weakened against the dollar by approximately 10 yen in the space of a month, so I believe that it is necessary to look a little more carefully at the situation.

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