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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 29, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the results of a public opinion polls. In the public opinion survey conducted by Nihon Keizai Shimbun over the weekend, 50% responded that they do not have favorable views of the Abenomics economic policy of the Abe administration, while 31% responded that they did. The former has risen to half of the responses. What is your take on these public opinion survey results?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I say all the time, with public opinion polls, we consider a higher approval rate to be preferable to a lower one but believe that we should not read excessively into each approval rate. In any case, we consider that Abenomics, a policy aimed at revitalizing the economy, is precisely why we have been able to break out of the deflationary situation in Japan. In this regard, our stance remains entirely unchanged; that is we will steadily implement this necessary policy for the Japanese people in a timely and accurate manner, while providing thorough explanations.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In response to a different question in the same public opinion survey, 58% responded that they were against the consumption tax increase in April of next year, indicating that people are still very much wary of the consumption tax increase. What is your view regarding the public’s wariness?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, we believe that the Government has the responsibility to securely hand down Japan’s world-renowned social security system to future generations. In this context, in order to secure the confidence of the market and of the international community, we will steadily proceed with the consumption tax increase, provided that no serious adverse events occur, such as the 2008 financial crisis and the Great East Japan Earthquake. This stance remains entirely unchanged.

REPORTER: At the Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors held in Shanghai, a Communiqué was compiled stating that all policy tools would be used to prevent a slowdown of the world economy. It was also included in the Communiqué that fiscal policy would be used flexibly, noting that monetary policy alone cannot lead to balanced growth. Is the Japanese Government considering any relevant responses at this time?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you just stated, the G20 issued a Communiqué indicating such a direction. In the Communiqué, it was agreed that all policies, including monetary, fiscal, and structural policies, would be used individually and collectively to achieve the strong, sustainable, and balanced growth of the world economy. In addition, it was agreed that a G20 working group would review the effectiveness of utilizing policy tools and frameworks to address capital flows. The Government perceives that the Communiqué was able to offer sufficient reassurance to the market. In this Communiqué, it was agreed that all policy tools, including monetary, fiscal, and structural tools, would be used individually and collectively, similar to the three arrows. There has been absolutely no change to Japan’s intention to continue to conduct appropriate economic and financial administration while taking into account the economic situation.

REPORTER: In that case, I have a question from the standpoint of fiscal stimulus. Currently, the budget is under deliberation. After it is passed, will you be reviewing the FY2016 draft supplementary budget?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this time, we have no such intention in view of Japan’s economic situation. In any case, we hope to execute the FY2015 supplementary budget ahead of schedule as much as possible. In addition, the deliberations regarding the draft budget are nearing their end. We hope to securely pass the budget by the end of the fiscal year while gaining the understanding of all stakeholders, including the opposition parties. This includes relevant budgets. The Government views the passing of the budget to be the best economic measure. Our view has not changed at all.


REPORTER: According to some news reports, Japan has decided to lease the MSDF TC90 training aircraft that have been retired from service to the Philippine Navy. Is this true? Can you please elaborate on the status of the arrangements and other relevant information?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I am aware of the news reports. It is not true whatsoever that such a policy has been decided. It is true that Japan and the Philippines have agreed to accelerate the reviews towards achieving equipment cooperation in the maritime security field. However, at this moment in time, we are still in the process of examining what types of cooperation are possible. Nothing has been decided yet regarding concrete cooperation arrangements. They are still under consideration.

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