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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 29, 2015 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: This morning, at the Prime Minister’s Office, I understand that you held talks with H.E. Mr. Sofyan Djalil, Minister of National Development Planning/ Head of National Development Planning Agency, who was visiting Japan as a special envoy of the President of Indonesia. Can you please elaborate on your talks with the Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Mr. Sofyan visited Japan as a government special envoy, and we held talks. Regarding the content of our talks, we discussed the Indonesian high-speed railway project. Previously, Japan submitted the best feasible proposal to Indonesia. However, Japan’s proposal was not selected. This was very regrettable. Initially, the Government of Indonesia explained that the project would be revised, and that it would build not a high-speed but a medium-speed railway. In fact, it was explained that the Indonesian Government would set out the details of the project, present them to companies in various countries including Japan, and provide a fair opportunity for participation. Nevertheless, there was a sudden change of plan. Special Envoy Sofyan came today to explain that the Indonesian Government decided to welcome the Chinese proposal. I conveyed to Special Envoy Sofyan candidly that this was completely incomprehensible and extremely regrettable. In short, despite explaining to Japan and other countries up to this point that a fair opportunity for participation would be provided, the Indonesian Government suddenly accepted the Chinese proposal. Special Envoy Sofyan came to explain to this effect, and I conveyed that this was regrettable.

REPORTER: I have a related question. As of now, it means Japan lost the contract that Japan and China were bidding for. Can you please share your comments on this as well as tell us the Government’s responses going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is not that we lost. Today, it was explained that Indonesia welcomed China’s new proposal to implement the project without requiring the Indonesian Government’s fiscal spending or debt guarantee – a proposal that Japan regards as entirely inconceivable. Therefore, I ask that you direct your question to Indonesia. In no way can Japan take part on such terms.

REPORTER: A related question. Chief Cabinet Secretary, as you just mentioned, I gather that as long as you are using ODA loans, it would be risky to proceed without government guarantees, which the Indonesian Government sets out as a requirement, and that therefore, the Japanese Government cannot agree to it. In this regard, what lessons can be learned, should similar cases arise in the future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is not so much a matter of lessons learned. In terms of conventional practice, the terms are entirely inconceivable. The Government, first and foremost, must be accountable to the people. In this sense, it is clear that Japan cannot agree to a proposal that implements the project without government fiscal spending or debt guarantee. I made this point strongly to the Indonesian side.


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