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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 30, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
Today a meeting of the Council for the Development of a Tourism Vision to Support the Future of Japan was held, chaired by the Prime Minister. In this council to date we have heard from many experts and all council members have understood the importance of tourism for Japan, which has helped to make significant progress in transforming awareness about tourism in the ministries and agencies concerned. As a result, today the Prime Minister announced new targets for the number of foreign tourists to Japan. The targets are to increase visitor numbers to 40 million by 2020 and to 60 million by 2030, and to increase the amount of money spent by foreign tourists to 8 trillion yen by 2020 and 15 trillion yen by 2030. The Prime Minister also indicated his determination to ensure that the Government stands at the forefront in taking all possible measures to achieve these targets, under the policy of “doing everything that the Government can possibly do” and towards the realization of a “tourism-oriented developed nation.” Based on today’s meeting, a new “Tourism Vision” was compiled that aims to create a “Japan the world will want to visit,” through the nationwide implementation of the three perspectives and 10 reforms detailed in the Tourism Vision. In order to strategically promote the new Tourism Vision, by the end of April the Government plans to create a task force of director general-level members from ministries and agencies concerned and a Tourism Strategy Promotion Office. The Government is committed to making concerted efforts to promote the contents included in the Tourism Vision.


REPORTER: I have a question relating to the Council for the Development of a Tourism Vision to Support the Future of Japan you mentioned in your opening statement. The target figures of 40 million foreign visitors by 2020 and 60 million by 2030 are extremely ambitious. What policies does the Government intend to prioritize in order to achieve these targets?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the efforts made by the Abe administration have resulted in a rapid rise in foreign tourist visitors to Japan. At the time of the change in Government administration in 2012 there were 8.36 million foreign visitors to Japan annually, which by last year had risen to 19.74 million. Last year there was a 47.1 percent increase over the previous year in visitor numbers. As you are all aware, the pace of increase remains unabated this year too, with the highest number of visitors ever recorded in January (1.85 million) and February (1.89 million), marking a 43.7 percent increase year-on-year for the first two months of the year combined. In the council, we heard from private sector members who explained that the global travel market is currently on a scale of 1.18 billion people, which is expected to rise to 1.8 billion by 2030. It is against this backdrop that Japan must endeavor to expand its share of the travel market. Japan still has great untapped potential and through policy efforts from now it is likely that we can further increase visitor numbers. Although the targets may be ambitious, when we considered the rise in visitor numbers from last year up to this year, our belief is that they are by no means unachievable targets. The Tourism Vision sets out ten targets for reform that will further encourage foreign visitors to come to Japan. Among these reforms is the opening of appealing government facilities, including the opening to the Japanese public and foreign visitors of the Akasaka Palace State Guest House, which I have also visited myself, and the Kyoto State Guest House. With regard to cultural assets, too, while to date the priority has been to preserve such assets, the Government will seek to utilize them in a way that promotes understanding from the perspective of tourism. The Government also plans to create approximately five national parks by 2020 that will be of a world standard. Through concerted efforts the Government will work towards the realization of the new targets that have been set today.


REPORTER: I have a follow-up question from this morning’s press conference. Has there been any progress in confirming the facts about the bullet that was discovered in the camp of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) in South Sudan, where the GSDF is engaged in peacekeeping operations (PKO)?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have received a report that members of the Fifth Engineer Unit of the GSDF, who were on dispatch to South Sudan at the time, are being questioned about the details of the matter you have mentioned. In any case, once the details have been confirmed an explanation will be provided by the Ministry of Defense.


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