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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Saturday, December 27, 2014 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to give an overview of the extraordinary Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved eight general measures. With regard to statements by ministers, Prime Minister Abe and Minister Amari made statements concerning the Basic Principles of FY2015 Budget Formulation; Minister Ishiba made a statement concerning the Comprehensive Strategy for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalizing Local Economy in Japan; and Prime Minister Abe and Minister Amari made statements concerning the Emergency Economic Measures for Expanding Virtuous Cycles to Local Economies.

During the extraordinary Cabinet meeting a short while ago, the Emergency Economic Measures for Expanding Virtuous Cycles to Local Economies and the Basic Principles of FY2015 Budget Formulation were decided. We believe that implementing the emergency economic measures with urgency will shore up private consumption and jump-start local economies, thereby spreading virtuous economic cycles throughout the country. Therefore, we will work swiftly to implement the measures. In addition, the Basic Principles of Budget Formulation present the Government’s basic intentions, namely to boldly review expenditures, designating no program as sacred, for achieving both economic revitalization and fiscal soundness; to place priority on measures that promote sustainable economic growth led by private demand; and to make maximum efforts to achieve the target of improving the primary balance next fiscal year.    


  • The issue of the supplementary budget
  • The Japan-ROK relations

REPORTER: The supplementary budget to fund the economic measures is expected to be passed as early as the beginning of the new year. What is the Government’s approach for establishing the supplementary budget?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, as stated in the Basic Principles of supplementary Budget Formulation, we will target economically vulnerable areas to ensure that the benefits of Abenomics further reach local economies. With regard to the sources of funding, we will make use of, for example, the natural increases in tax revenue, the FY2013 surplus, and the FY2014 budget appropriations that have become unnecessary. Therefore, we will not be issuing government bonds. In any case, the Ministry of Finance will be reviewing the precise sources of funding in the process of establishing the supplementary budget. The supplementary budget will be established bearing in mind the weak private consumption, discrepancies in economic performance among the regions, and other factors.

REPORTER: The latest economic measures were decided in less than two weeks since the House of Representatives election. Was speed foremost in your mind in the process leading up to today’s decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, there were the July-September GDP figures that the Prime Minister has referred to. The yen’s depreciation has also led to sharp rises in the prices of raw material imports. Furthermore, the consumption tax increase has had a significant impact. As Minister Amari has said, from the outset our intention was to compile economic measures that focus exclusively on consumption in local communities. We are truly pleased that based on this concept, we were able to compile the economic measures by the end of the year despite the short timeframe.

REPORTER: If I may, I would like to change the subject. I have two questions regarding Japan-ROK relations. This year, following on from last year, a formal Japan-ROK summit meeting was not conducted between Prime Minister Abe and President Park Geun-hye. Do you hope that a meeting will happen next year? Also, do you have any intention of inviting President Park to Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, as I always say, it is true that precisely because Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are neighboring countries there exist a variety of issues between us. But at the same time, our two countries are both responsible, important partners for the peace and prosperity of the region, including on the issues of North Korea. Prime Minister Abe had a conversation with President Park on a variety of matters during the APEC dinner. Since then, the President has expressed her hope that a Japan-China-ROK foreign ministers’ meeting is held at an early date and that this leads to summit diplomacy. The Prime Minister in turn has communicated that Japan will cooperate to this end. Japan’s door for dialogue is always open, and we hope to hold a series of dialogues to strengthen our future-oriented relations. While there are no prospects for a summit meeting at the moment, Japan’s door for dialogue is always open, and we believe dialogues should be held without any conditions attached.      

REPORTER: I have a related question. As part of the efforts to set the stage for a summit meeting, would the Japanese Government consider the option of taking measures requested by the ROK over the “comfort women” issue, such as making an official apology or paying compensation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan’s basic position on the comfort women issue and our related efforts are as I have stated before. We will continue to explain them persistently to the ROK.

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