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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 4, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

I. Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga
H.E. Mr. Taavi Rõivas, Prime Minister of Estonia, will be visiting Japan from April 5 to 10. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Rõivas and hold a dinner reception on April 8. Japan values its relationship with Estonia, which led the world in deployment of a personal identification number program and possesses excellent knowhow and results for ICT utilization and cyber security. Japan aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation in a variety of areas, including these, and hopes that this can be achieved. Furthermore, Prime Minister Rõivas will visit Japan together with a business delegation, and it is expected that relationships between Japanese and Estonian companies will be further enhanced on this occasion.

II. Q&As

REPORTER: The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hiroshima begins on April 10, marking the start of ministerial meetings taking place in relation to the Ise-Shima Summit. What type of results are you expecting? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting plans to conduct robust discussions on pressing global issues, such as terrorism and violent extremism, the refugee crisis, maritime security, the Middle East, and the Ukraine. I also expect the G7 to exhibit an unwavering response regarding regional issues, such as North Korea and maritime security, particularly because this is the first G7 meeting to be held in Asia in eight years. Additionally, the meeting is taking place in Hiroshima, an atomic bombing site, and Japan hopes that the G7 will send a strong message of peace from this location with the goal of achieving a world without nuclear weapons. Japan aims to hold a successful G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that addresses these themes of importance to the international community ahead of the Ise-Shima Summit.

REPORTER: This is related. As you just noted, Foreign Ministers of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, which are nuclear weapon countries, will be visiting an atomic bombing site for the first time. Please explain the significance of the visits.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has been decided following coordination with G7 countries for the Foreign Ministers to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and lay flowers at the Memorial Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims on April 11. I think it is very important for strengthening momentum toward realization of a world without nuclear weapons that global leaders visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki and have direct contact with the realities of atomic bombings.

REPORTER: This is related. Is any coordination taking place for Mr. Barak H. Obama, President of the United States, to visit Hiroshima along with the Summit events?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The United States sets the schedule for President Obama, and I would like to refrain from making comments as the Japanese Government.

REPORTER: I have a question about a public opinion survey. A survey conducted by the Yomiuri Newspaper at the end of last week found that 65% of respondents think the consumption tax hike in April 2017 should be delayed, a significantly higher level than the 29% who said it should proceed as planned. Please explain your thoughts.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that a variety of opinions exist in regards to the consumption tax hike. At the same time, the Government has not changed its commitment to move forward with the rate hike unless a severe situation such as a Lehman Shock-like occurrence or a major natural disaster happens, and intends to create economic conditions that support the hike by forcefully driving a beneficial economic cycle, as explained by Prime Minister Abe in his National Diet comments.

REPORTER: Some media reports are suggesting that Japan might present a new economic strategy that strengthens the three new arrows at the Ise-Shima Summit. Please explain the review situation and related facts.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I believe Japan has arrived at a point where it has almost fully escaped from deflation under policies implemented since the change in administration. Prime Minister Abe explained in his press conference after re-election as President of the Liberal Democratic Party last year that he is proposing the three new arrows of raising GDP to 600 trillion yen, raising the desired birthrate to 1.8, and eliminating cases in which people must leave their jobs to provide nursing care because now is the time to halt the trend of a decreasing birthrate and aging society and foster a society in which everyone feels a purpose for living. Prime Minister Abe hopes to create Japan’s future together with the Japanese people by working toward these goals. The Government plans to prepare the Plan to Realize the Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens by May, which presents an image of the future in 10 years and outlines a path for realizing a 600 trillion yen economy and contains child-rearing and care assistance measures, and hopes to arrange bold and comprehensive measures by that time.

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