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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 25, 2015 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



Today, the Fourth Basic Plan for Gender Equality was approved at the Cabinet meeting. It is essential that we review men’s working styles and lifestyles for promoting women’s active participation. Therefore, this Plan includes measures, such as reforming work customs that assume male-centric working styles which expect long work hours and transfers, as well as measures for encouraging women’s recruitment and employment through the steady enforcement of the Act on the Promotion of Women’s Active Participation in their Occupational Lives, among other efforts, and measures for expanding the group of personnel who will assume leadership positions in the future. The Government will make concerted efforts to execute this Plan with a view to realizing a gender-equal society.



REPORTER: I have a question regarding Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida’s visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK). Japan-ROK consultations are ongoing with a view to resolving the “comfort women” issue. I understand that arrangements are being made for Minister Kishida to visit the ROK. Can you please explain in detail the status of the arrangements and what areas still need to be coordinated?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to the comfort women issue, at the recent Japan-ROK summit meeting, based on the recognition that the comfort women issue is having an impact on the development of Japan-ROK relations and bearing in mind the fact that this year is the milestone year of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-ROK relations, the two leaders concurred on continuing and accelerating the consultations in order to conclude them as promptly as possible. Based on the instructions given by the two leaders, Japan and the ROK are accelerating consultations on the various issues between the two countries, including the comfort women issue. Based on the instructions of the Prime Minister, Japan is currently coordinating with the ROK side regarding Foreign Minister Kishida’s visit to the ROK.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Two rounds of Director General-level meetings have been held since the summit meeting. The second round has just concluded. What is the intention or purpose of aiming to hold a foreign ministers’ meeting the next time around, rather than a third round of Director General-level consultations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, on this year of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of Japan-ROK relations, the two sides have been holding consultations from a variety of angles, including at the working-level, regarding various issues, such as the comfort women issue. In this context, arrangements are currently being held for Minister Kishida to visit the ROK, while closely following these working-level consultations and based on the instructions of the Prime Minister.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Tomorrow, the 26th, will mark the third anniversary of the inauguration of the second Abe administration. What is your assessment looking back on the course that the administration has followed over the past three years?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I cannot believe it is already three years since the Abe administration was inaugurated. What has been clear since its inauguration is that this administration presents parameters for what it will be doing and gets things done, with a drive to undertake reforms and by exercising political leadership. The administration has identified revitalizing the Japanese economy, achieving reconstruction from the Great East Japan Earthquake, and achieving thorough crisis management as its priorities. Accordingly, it has worked to develop the necessary legislation to this end. In this sense, I believe that under the leadership of Prime Minister Abe, the administration has made earnest efforts to date while remaining focused on its priorities.

REPORTER: My question is in regard to this matter. You yourself supported the administration as a Cabinet member in the first Abe administration, and now as the Chief Cabinet Secretary, you are supporting the administration from its core in the second administration. The first administration was a short-lived administration that ended after about one year. In sharp contrast to this, the current administration has remained very stable. What do you regard as the biggest differences between the two administrations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that based on reflections about the first administration, the Prime Minister himself has promoted efforts and policies in a strategic manner, while maintaining the policy of holding dialogue with the people.


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