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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 29, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question about monetary policy. The Bank of Japan (BoJ) decided to introduce a negative interest rate policy at today’s monetary policy meeting. Please explain the Government’s view, including expectations for lending by financial entities, prices, and other points.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, my understanding is that the items decided by the BoJ today represent necessary measures for steady realization of the price stability goal. The latest decision adds a negative interest rate to quantitative and qualitative measure and establishes a scheme that allows for additional monetary easing with three dimensions, moving beyond the previous approach. I think the BoJ reached a suitable decision after thorough analysis of domestic and overseas economic conditions and extensive discussions. While I imagine that the BoJ will be conducting monetary policy management utilizing the new tool, I would first like to express my support for the BoJ’s adoption of a bold new tool for realization of the policy goal. I am hoping that the BoJ will make efforts to achieve the price stability goal while taking into consideration economic and price conditions.


REPORTER: I would like to ask about the comfort women issue. There is a proposal to use the term “sex slave” in textbooks at public high schools in the US State of California. While Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) supposedly reached agreement on a final and irreversible resolution of this problem in December 2015, what is your view of this situation? Additionally, how does the Japanese Government intend to deal with this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan and the ROK reached an agreement last year. I think it is very important for both sides to properly fulfill the content of this agreement. The two sides agreed to a final and irreversible resolution, and they should implement what they respectively promised in order to achieve this goal. You mentioned a situation in the US, and the Government plans to sufficiently respond to this assertion through diplomatic channels because it is not correct.


REPORTER: I have a question related to the North Korean situation. Some media sources are reporting that Minister of Defense Nakatani issued a shoot-down order today in light of signs of a possible missile launch by North Korea. Please clarify the facts.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of this media report, and let me state that the Government is fully ready to protect the lives of the Japanese people under any circumstances, including being prepared for the launch of a ballistic missile. While there was this type of media report regarding the situation, and the Government is analyzing developments related to the missile launch and responding accordingly as a very important matter, I would like to refrain from commenting because of the nature of this issue. Nevertheless, the Government is fully prepared.

REPORTER: This question is related. I think being fully prepared would naturally include issuance of an order because Japan would need a shoot-down order as the legal basis for a shoot-down if a missile arrived. Is there some reason for not making this disclosure?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: What I would like to say, taking into consideration the nature of the situation, is that Japan is obviously fully prepared as a country.

REPORTER: On a related point, the US side has presented a view that the launch might occur as soon as within two to three weeks. Does the Japanese Government have the same outlook?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is responding to this problem through close cooperation between Japan and the US and Japan, the US, and the Republic of Korea.


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