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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 18, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga




REPORTER: I have a related question. Operations at many factories in Kumamoto have been suspended due to the series of earthquakes. What impact do you think this suspension of operations will have on the domestic manufacturing industry?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In today’s newspapers, for example, there are articles about the impact on Toyota Motor Corporation, where the entire supply chain, including component manufacturers that do business with Toyota, has been affected. The Government intends to do all it can to respond to the situation, not just for Toyota, but by listening carefully about the circumstances facing all affected businesses, including companies and their related subcontractors and suppliers. The Team to Support the Daily Lives of Disaster Victims that was established yesterday has an industry sub-team that will concentrate on support to industry. The Government will continue to make concerted efforts to respond to issues facing companies and businesses.

REPORTER: I have a related question. With regard to the economic impact of the earthquake, if the impact proves to be significant it could be the case that it could influence the decision of the Government about raising tax rates, which it has been seeking to do, assuming that the impact is not as large as the financial crisis and the Great East Japan Earthquake. What are your thoughts on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is not something the Government is considering. The current situation is extremely severe and what the Government is doing now is concentrating all its efforts on response measures to ensure that companies that have been affected can get back on their feet as soon as possible.

REPORTER: On a related note, what are your thoughts on the economic impact this earthquake will have on Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already mentioned, the Government is well aware that for companies like Toyota the entire supply chain has been affected, impacting not just Toyota but other components manufacturers. In order to minimize the impact on companies, the industry sub-team under the Team to Support the Daily Lives of Disaster Victims was established yesterday. The Government will respond thoroughly to the situation, starting by making an assessment.

REPORTER: I have another related question. Is the Government considering any kind of specific financial assistance to companies?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I have already noted, the industry sub-team has been established and its members will immediately begin inquiries and assessments of the situation. The Government is moving to implement all the necessary measures to respond to the situation.


REPORTER: On a different topic, I have a question about the actions of North Korea. According to media in the Republic of Korea (ROK) there is a possibility that North Korea will conduct a fifth nuclear weapons test in the near future. These reports are based on movements in the vicinity of the North Korean nuclear weapons test site. What information has the Government received about the current situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is aware of these reports and is constantly engaged in efforts to collect and analyze intelligence about moves by North Korea relating to nuclear and missile issues, which are of the utmost concern. I would like to refrain from making any specific comment about the nature of the analysis and intelligence. The Government will continue to cooperate with the United States and the ROK to call on North Korea to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the Joint Statement of Six-Party Talks and cease provocative actions. At the same time, we will continue to collect intelligence and engage in monitoring with a due sense of alert so that we can respond to any contingency.

REPORTER: There has been a major earthquake in Ecuador in South America and there are reports that multiple Japanese nationals remain unaccounted for. What information does the Government currently have about the actual situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current point, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responding to this issue and I have yet to receive a detailed report.


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