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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 25, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


Following instructions from the Prime Minister, today a round robin Cabinet meeting approved the designation of the disaster caused by the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake as a Disaster of Extreme Severity and approved a Cabinet order that stipulates the special measures to be applied. This decision will enable special measures to be taken, including the raising of the rate of subsidy provided by the central government for disaster reconstruction works, including civil engineering installations such as roads and rivers, agricultural and forestry facilities, schools, and social and educational facilities. The Cabinet order will be promulgated and enter into force on April 26.



REPORTER: Could you tell us the significance of the timing of the designation of the earthquake as a Disaster of Extreme Severity?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as you are all aware, in the affected areas many residential dwellings have been destroyed and public facilities have also suffered damage. Given the strong wishes of local residents and as a means of adding impetus to recovery and reconstruction activities without delay, the Government decided to designate the earthquake as a Disaster of Extreme Severity from the perspective of doing everything that it is possible to do.

REPORTER: I have a related question. What is the anticipated schedule and size of the supplementary budget that the Prime Minister has ordered to be formulated and submitted to the Diet?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Yesterday the Prime Minister issued instructions to the Minister of Finance to formulate a supplementary budget to respond to the Kumamoto Earthquake. The Prime Minister instructed that the supplementary budget should include expenses needed to support people affected by the disaster, including allowances to secure housing and for a fund to support the rebuilding of lifestyles. It will also establish a Kumamoto Earthquake Recovery Emergency Fund. Through this supplementary budget the Government seeks to undertake more than enough preparation to ensure that we can swiftly advance the rebuilding of the businesses of those affected by the disaster, the recovery of infrastructure such as roads and facilities, and the removal of debris. The Prime Minister also instructed the Minister of Finance to start coordination with the relevant ministers to ensure that the Government can quickly submit the supplementary budget to the Diet, so that the Diet can pass the budget during the current session. Under the Prime Minister’s policy of doing everything it is possible to do, on April 20 the Cabinet approved the use of 2.3 billion yen in emergency funds in order to ensure the speedy delivery of supplies such as food and water that the people who have evacuated need. On April 22 the Cabinet approved an increase in ordinary grant tax funds for FY2016 to 42.1 billion yen for the affected local governments. Furthermore, today a Cabinet decision was adopted to designate this earthquake as a Disaster of Extreme Severity. In this way we have been taking all measures possible. In addition to these measures, the Government seeks to compile the supplementary budget as quickly as possible in order to respond with even greater agility, and provide as much support as possible to the people affected and the recovery of the region. We will respond based on the Government’s desire to do everything necessary from the perspectives of support to the victims and recovery. With regard to the scale of funds, the Government will be basing its calculations on information available in the affected area and also on past experience of the funds needed to respond to disaster. We are currently at the stage of assessing needs to ensure we can make a full and speedy response, combining the initial emergency funds with the supplementary budget for support for rebuilding of businesses affected by the disaster, recovery of infrastructure such as roads and facilities, and removal of debris.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. If that is the case, can we expect that the schedule for the submission of the draft supplementary budget will be some time after the long national holiday period and before the G7 Ise-Shima Summit?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: From the perspective of doing everything it is possible to do as quickly as possible, the compilation of the supplementary budget is already underway based on the Prime Minister’s instructions. We intend to submit the draft supplementary budget to the Diet as quickly as possible and with the cooperation of opposition parties ensure that it is passed without delay.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the G7 Ise-Shima Summit, which is due to be held in a little over a month. What is the current status of preparations and as the chair of the G7 this year what outcomes is the Government expecting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to preparations, assuming that his Diet schedule permits, the Prime Minister is planning on holding meetings with G7 leaders during the national holiday period. In any event, the Government is engaged in diligent efforts to demonstrate leadership as chair of the G7 with regard to extremely important issues, including the global economy, North Korea, terrorism, and cyber issues.

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