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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 19, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: China’s GDP growth rate for 2015 has been announced today. At 6.9 percent it is the lowest growth rate for 25 years. What is the Government’s view of this figure?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, China’s real economic growth rate for 2015 of 6.9 percent as announced today is the lowest growth rate for 25 years, since 1990. This once again confirms that Chinese economic growth is gradually decelerating. In addition to monetary easing measures and fiscal policies that have been implemented since August last year, from October last year, the Government of China implemented a policy to support the purchase of compact vehicles. I understand that this policy has been effective and that sales of passenger vehicles for 2015 were the highest ever recorded. Furthermore, at the Central Economic Work Conference held in December, the basic policy for economic management in 2016 incorporated active fiscal policies, including the implementation of tax reductions, and structural reforms, such as the elimination of excess production capacity. We hope that such reforms will be implemented steadily. With regard to the outlook, although it is projected that stable growth will be maintained, there are also downside risks in the economy, due to such factors as property prices and capital movements. As trends in the real economy of China and its policy management have the potential to affect not just Asian countries and the Asian region, but the entire global economy through various markets, trade and investment relationships, the Government will continue to monitor developments.

REPORTER: The ruling parties have agreed that the draft bill amending the Public Offices Election Act will be submitted to the Diet on January 21, which, following the lowering of voting age in Japan to 18 years, would enable newly enfranchised young voters who have recently moved to a new address to exercise their right to vote from their former address. It is expected that the amendment will be passed this month. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, this amendment is expected to enable approximately 70,000 18 and 19 year-old voters to retain their voting rights. What is your opinion on the significance of this amendment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is a law that must be passed for the sake of those 70,000 people and as the bill has been submitted as legislation initiated by Diet members to the special committee of the House of Representatives, the Government will be watching the status of deliberations on this bill.

REPORTER: Many young people will be unable to vote if this amendment is not passed. What is your view on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is exactly for this reason that the committee of the House of Representatives is engaged in deliberations, with a view to enabling young voters of 18 and 19 years of age to vote once the voting age is lowered. The Government actively seeks to have the voice of young people reflected in politics.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the report to be published by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). In today’s meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councilors, Foreign Minister Kishida stated that the Government had issued a request to the Special Rapporteur, who had previously made comments that 13 percent of schoolgirls in Japan have experience with “Enjo Kosai” (compensated dating), to disclose the basis and information source relating to other comments, including those made about the conviction rate for child pornography being low in Japan. Will the Government be making any further response ahead of the report by the UNHRC, which is scheduled to be published in March?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the Special Rapporteur, it is not acceptable for a person in such a position to make inappropriate comments that are not based on objective data and could also create international misunderstanding. In that sense, given that the person in question responded to a protest by the Government calling for the retraction of the comment relating to the 13 percent figure, accepting that it had no objective basis, the Government is seeking the submission of objective data relating to other comments, in the same manner as for the 13 percent comment.

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