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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 21, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



REPORTER: The Government has decided to provide ordinary local allocation tax grants equal to 42.1 billion yen earlier than scheduled. What is the objective in making this decision today at this timing?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, as you are all aware, the affected areas are in a critically severe situation. In the face of such a situation, it is expected that the emergency measures, the recovery measures, and other responses will certainly involve a considerable financial burden. Therefore, in order to smoothly finance these responses for the time being, the Government decided today to provide a part of the ordinary local allocation tax grants equal to 42.1 billion yen normally provided in June, to Kumamoto Prefecture and its 16 municipalities earlier than scheduled. The Government will continue to swiftly carry out the necessary responses to support the emergency measures, the recovery measures, and other responses based on the situation of the relevant local public entities.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido. Some media reported that the Government has decided to increase the daytime arrival and departure slots at New Chitose Airport ahead of schedule. Is this true? What is the aim behind this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Recently, the Government announced that it would aim to become a tourism-oriented developed nation  in accordance with the Tourism Vision. We consider that Hokkaido, which is particularly rich in tourism resources, has significant tourism potential. Therefore, we have chosen Hokkaido as the first region of Japan where we will implement our efforts to become a tourism-oriented developed nation. We wish to fundamentally review the operations of the airport, which serves as the gateway to Hokkaido, and make it a trigger for realizing our objective. More specifically, the arrival and departure slots at Shin Chitose Airport, which there are now 32 of per hour, will be expanded to 42 slots. This will begin to be implemented one year ahead of schedule, beginning with the summer schedule that starts in late March of next year. In addition, with regard to the winter schedule that starts late this October, we have decided to significantly increase the arrival and departure slots for international flights to between 12 PM to 5 PM on Monday through Thursday, after 12 PM on Friday, and during the whole day on Saturday and Sunday to enable the operation of international flights during those hours. The Abe administration has decided to promptly take these measures that have not been realized for over ten years, despite the requests from local communities. The airport had been unable to accommodate significant increases in overseas requests for Hokkaido connections. The Government made this announcement following the completion of its internal coordination work. The Government expects that the significant increase in the slots will drastically boost tourism in Hokkaido. Additionally, the Government will work to allow all airlines wishing to make connections to Hokkaido to operate in Hokkaido, through the privatization of the airport in Hokkaido and promotion of its integrated operations. The Government expects that all concerned parties will make dedicated efforts, including the Hokkaido Government .


REPORTER: Please excuse me for asking about a different matter. Following up on my question from the other day, I would like to ask about the building of Australia’s next-generation submarines for which Japan, Germany, and France are competing for the contract. Today, on the 21st, the Australian media again reported that Japan’s bidding activities are becoming inferior compared to those of Germany and France. Can you once again share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I understand that the Australian Government is now conducting evaluations to select its partner for Australia’s future submarines. As this process is ongoing, I would like to refrain from making comments. In any case, it is the Australian Government that determines its choice of partner. The Japanese Government is making its strongest efforts.


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