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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 26, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


A short while ago, the 17th meeting of the Emergency Response Headquarters was held with the attendance of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister instructed that taking into account that nearly 50,000 people are still forced to lead restricted lives as evacuees, efforts be made to accurately grasp what each evacuation center needs and to share this information. Secondly, the Prime Minister instructed that efforts be made to reopen schools as quickly as possible, and to move evacuees into public housing and to proceed with the work to construct emergency temporary housing in parallel with the damage assessments and issuance of Disaster Victim Certificates. At the same time, the Prime Minister stated that support for rebuilding small- and medium-sized enterprises in the affected areas is an urgent necessity, and instructed that responses be tailored to the specific needs expressed in consultations. The Government remains committed to conducting search and rescue activities and to extending livelihood support for the affected people.


REPORTER: The Prime Minister is now meeting with the leaders of opposition parties. During the meeting held earlier among the secretaries general of ruling and opposition parties, opposition parties expressed that they would agree to the early passage of the supplementary budget. What is your reaction to the cooperative nature of the opposition parties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We sincerely welcome the effort of opposition parties to work together across party lines on the supplementary budget in order to address the various issues the people want addressed the most in the aftermath of the earthquake in Kumamoto. The Government is committed to making its strongest efforts.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Today, the Australian Government announced that it chose France as its partner for jointly developing new submarines. Japan was also aiming to win the contract. Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan offered its maximum cooperation to the Australian Government, also in view of the significance of the Japan-Australia defense cooperation. It is very regrettable that Japan was not chosen. Having said that, Australia continues to be Japan’s special strategic partner, and it remains unchanged that Japan will deepen security and defense cooperation between Japan and Australia and between Japan, the United States, and Australia.

REPORTER: It is said that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia gave prior notification about this to Prime Minister Abe. What was explained to the Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: On the 25th, which was yesterday, Prime Minister Turnbull gave advance notice to Prime Minister Abe, and likewise, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Defence of Australia gave advance notice to Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida and Minister of Defense Nakatani, respectively. In addition, senior officials of the Department of Defence visited Japan to provide explanations to Japan’s National Security Secretariat, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Australia notified that it decided to adopt France’s proposal based on evaluations performed in accordance with the unique demands of Australia. In addition, they expressed respect for Japan’s submarine design and production capabilities. Japan responded that the outcome was regrettable.

REPORTER: It is considered that Japan’s technology level was evaluated quite highly in the selection process. What does the Government analyze as the leading reason for Japan not being chosen?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, France was chosen based on evaluations performed in accordance with the demands of Australia. Japan has no way of knowing the process that led to Australia’s decision. Australia did express respect towards Japan’s design and production capabilities.


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