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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 20, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



REPORTER: In the recent meeting of the Emergency Response Headquarters, the Prime Minister has announced a Cabinet decision to use 2.3 billion yen in emergency funds to respond to the earthquake. Can you tell us what these funds will be mainly used for?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The measures for emergency funds that have been announced today are based on requests from local governments affected and will be used for the provision of supplies needed for people who have evacuated from their homes, including the emergency provision of food, drinking water and daily necessities. Based on a stance of doing everything that it is possible to do, the Government will accurately assess local needs and work to thoroughly implement the necessary measures in an appropriate manner, including the establishment of temporary housing and evacuation centers and emergency repairs to homes.


REPORTER: I have a question about a matter other than the earthquake. With regard to the procurement plan for submarines in Australia, according to a report by Australia’s national public broadcaster, Japan has been dropped from the procurement process, leaving Germany and France in the running. Apparently this decision has been communicated to the Government of Japan. Is the Government aware of these reports and what is your view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware of the reports. It is my understanding that with regard to the procurement plan for future submarines, the Government of Australia is currently engaged in an assessment process to select a partner and the decision on partner selection will be announced during the course of this year. The specific timing of the decision is something for the Government of Australia to decide and therefore the Government of Japan is not in a position to make a response at the current time.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Although I understand that a formal announcement will be made at a later date, do you think that the outcome could have an impact on Japan-Australia and Japan-U.S.-Australia security cooperation, which is currently being advanced?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the current stage, we do not know what the outcome will be and the Government will engage in its best efforts. That is all.

REPORTER: I have a question about the number of foreign tourists to Japan. The Japan Tourism Agency has announced that visitors to Japan in March increased more than 30 percent year-on-year, to exceed two million, meaning that FY2015 is the first fiscal year in which visitor numbers have exceeded 20 million. Can I ask for your thoughts on this news?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan in March this year exceeded two million for a single month for the first time ever, representing a year-on-year increase of 32 percent. The cumulative total of foreign tourists for FY2015 rose year-on-year by 46 percent to stand at 21.36 million, the first time that the 20 million mark has been exceeded in a single fiscal year. Looking at this calendar year, for the first quarter from January to March consumption by foreign visitors totaled 930.5 billion yen, 32 percent increase over the same period last year. These figures clearly demonstrate the results of the Government’s active implementation of policies since the inauguration of the Abe administration that seek to make Japan a tourism-oriented nation, including the relaxation of visa requirements and the expansion of consumption tax exemptions for foreign tourists. The rate of increase in foreign visitors Japan shows no sign of slowing, and at the end of March the Government announced the Tourism Vision to Support the Future of Japan, which aims to realize Japan as a tourism-oriented nation at an even higher level. The policies included in the Tourism Vision include, for example the opening to the public of the Akasaka Palace State Guest House, which occurred yesterday and was very busy with visitors. Other facilities that are to be opened to the public include the Kyoto State Guest House, the Imperial Palace and Kyoto Imperial Palace. We will continue to implement policies that highlight the appeal of Japan’s tourism resources, and also national parks, and make them more accessible to tourists. We will continue our efforts so that we can make further progress towards our objectives.


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