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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 21, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


The Government seeks to communicate useful information to the people affected by the recent earthquake in an integrated manner. Based on this recognition, yesterday, a special page was created on the website of the Prime Minister’s Office and a special Twitter account was opened. The Government will continue to carry out search and rescue operations, as well as make every effort to assist the daily lives of the affected people under the leadership of the Team to Support the Daily Lives of Disaster Victims .



REPORTER: Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) announced that it had manipulated fuel consumption data. What is the Government’s reaction to this announcement, and what responses will it be taking?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, this is a case in which data used for the testing of fuel consumption and emission gases of motor vehicles were falsified arbitrarily, and it constitutes an act that undermines consumer trust. Such an act is inexcusable. The Government considers this to be a very serious matter. Yesterday, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism issued a written instruction that the company report the details of the improper conduct by the 27th of this month. In addition, since yesterday, we have been conducting on-site inspections at the Research & Development Center at the Nagoya Plant of MMC . Based on these on-site inspections and the company’s report, the Government intends to uncover the full details of the improper conduct as quickly as possible and ensure the safety of the relevant vehicles through the implementation of rigorous measures.

REPORTER: Reporters Without Borders released the 2016 World Press Freedom Index . Japan’s ranking fell for the third consecutive year, falling from last year’s 61st place to 72nd place. There are some indications that one of the reasons is Japan’s enforcement of the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets . What is the Government’s comment to the fact that Japan has slipped down the ranking for three consecutive years?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, this is a ranking compiled by a private organization, and we have no knowledge of what criteria were used and what judgments were made. In Japan, broadcasting is provided for in the Broadcast Act , which upholds freedom to edit. In addition, freedom of expression is fully guaranteed in the Constitution. In my capacity as Government spokesperson, I would like to refrain from commenting on what criteria were used to arrive at these results. Having said that, freedoms, such as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and of course freedom to edit, are certainly ensured in Japan. You referred to the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets. While more than one year has passed since it entered into force, I do not perceive that reporting has atrophied by any account. I believe you know that best. The Government will continue to steadily ensure the proper implementation of this law.

REPORTER: Today, the Prime Minister made an offering a masakaki votive stick coinciding with the Annual Spring Festival  at Yasukuni Shrine. Special Advisor to the Prime Minister  Eto paid a visit to the shrine. Can you explain in what capacity they respectively made the offering and visit and share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I am aware that the Prime Minister made an offering of a masakaki votive stick. However, in any case, the Prime Minister did so in a private capacity, and of course, public funds were not utilized. I believe this is not a matter on which the Government should express its opinion.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Do you yourself have any plans to pay a visit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I myself have no plans to pay a visit.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding a different matter. Some media have reported that the U.S. Government has decided on President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, and has started making the final arrangements with the Government of Japan. What is the status of the arrangements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no truth at all to the reports that the Government is making arrangements with regard to President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima.

REPORTER: My question is related to this. The New York Times and the Washington Post have published editorials seeking the President’s visit to Hiroshima. The momentum seems to be building for the President’s visit. What are your thoughts regarding this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is something that the United States will decide.


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