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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 28, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the Democratic Party (DP), the new largest opposition party. Yesterday, this new party, DP, formed from the merger of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Japan Innovation Party (JIP), held a founding convention. Its inaugural declaration articulates that a new party would be created that can gain control of the government by bringing opposition forces together. Can you please share your reaction?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, DP has made a new start as the largest opposition party, and we look forward to having constructive discussions with them. This is one of the various moves that opposition parties will be undertaking in the lead-up to this summer’s House of Councillors elections. DPJ and JIP merged for this reason. What will change and what will not change for the Japanese people? Or which policies were the parties able to agree on and what could they not agree on? Will the policies presented be steadily executed or not? I perceive that the people are keeping a close eye on these matters.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I would like to ask about the comments made by Mr. Donald Trump who is leading the race for the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. presidential election. In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Trump noted the unilateral nature of the Japan-U.S. security treaty and expressed his dissatisfaction, saying that it was an extremely one-sided agreement. Furthermore, he indicated that he wants to withdraw the U.S. Forces in Japan, if Japan does not increase its host nation support. What do you think about these comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the U.S. presidential election is an election that has very significant impact which countries around the world are closely following, including Japan. We are of course closely following the results. Meanwhile, I believe that the Government should refrain from commenting on each and every comment made by the candidates. In any case, however, no matter who becomes the U.S. President, the Japan-U.S. Alliance that forms the centerpiece of the Japan-U.S. security arrangements constitutes the cornerstone of Japan’s foreign policy, and is pivotal to the prosperity and the security of the Asia-Pacific and the world. Therefore, it remains entirely unchanged that Japan will work closely with the United States.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Mr. Trump has also commented on Japan’s possession of nuclear weapons. He indicated that he had an open stance, saying that this would not necessarily be bad for the United States. At this stage, does the Government have anything in particular to say about this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I should not respond to the comments made by a single candidate. That said, it remains entirely unchanged that the “Three Non-Nuclear Principles” of not possessing, not producing, and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons is an important basic policy of the Government, and we will continue to uphold it.


REPORTER: In the public opinion polls conducted over the weekend by Nihon Keizai Shimbun and TV Tokyo, over 60% opposed the consumption tax increase to 10% in April 2017. The polls show strong public concerns. How do you view the results?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, we are fully aware that there have been various opinions regarding the consumption tax increase. Against this backdrop, the Government will implement the consumption tax increase so long as a critical situation does not occur on the scale of the 2008 global financial crisis or a large earthquake disaster. In this context, it remains unchanged that we will seek to create a positive economic cycle, by creating momentum for the positive cycle of the economy.

REPORTER: My question is related to the previous question. Today, some media reported that Prime Minister Abe has decided to postpone the consumption tax increase to 10% in April of next year. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Of course I am aware of what has been reported. However, there is absolutely no truth to the reports that the Prime Minister decided to postpone the consumption tax increase.

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