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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 6, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question about the so-called Panama Papers. These documents that have leaked from a law office in Panama raise suspicions that world leaders and other well-known people have hidden assets utilizing tax havens. Repercussions are spreading in various countries, including the resignation of the Prime Minister in Iceland. Please explain your thoughts on the situation. 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of media reports about the information leaked from a law office in Panama and the disclosure of tax evasion and use of such facilities. However, I do not have any detailed knowledge about the documents, and I would like to refrain from making rash comments as the Government, including any potential impact on Japanese companies.

REPORTER: Problems have been cited in the past about tax evasion using tax havens. What is the Government’s view of the necessity of stricter international regulations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, this information has surfaced. The world has already been working together to deal with various issues related to tax evasion up to now, and the new disclosures at the media level have come to light in this context. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on the impact and other aspects because the Government is not aware of the details.


REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Sendai nuclear reactors operated by Kyushu Electric Power. The Fukuoka High Court Miyazaki Branch just ruled against the plaintiff’s appeal in an urgent appeal case for a provisional injunction seeking to halt operation of the No.1 and No.2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai Nuclear Plant and decided not to approve an injunction. The decision explains that the Court cannot conclude that the Nuclear Regulatory Agency’s approval for restarting the reactors was unreasonable. Please explain your thoughts. 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is not a party to this case, and I would like to refrain from commenting on the content in this venue. However, the Government does not intend to alter its existing stance regarding nuclear plant restarts of allowing restarts to move forward only for nuclear reactors deemed to meet new regulatory standards, which are at the toughest level in the world, after scientific and technological inspections by the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, respecting the Agency’s decision, and with support from local residents.


REPORTER: Media sources are reporting that the United States Government has begun coordination with the Japanese Government to assess the possibility of a visit by President Obama to visit Hiroshima by dispatching security-related personnel to Hiroshima in the latter half of the month. Please explain the related facts.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is not aware of this. I do not think this is accurate.

REPORTER: International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde gave a speech in which she indicated that the IMF plans to lower the global growth rate for 2016 starting from January and commented that the global economy has weakened. Please explain your thoughts on how this view might affect the Government’s decision on raising the consumption tax rate to 10% or a postponing the hike.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Managing Director Lagarde explained in the speech that the global economic outlook weakened over the past six months. At the same time, I think she commented that the global economy continues to recover and growth is continuing and the economy does not face a crisis. I have repeatedly stated that the Japanese Government believes the global economy is moderately recovering as a whole.

REPORTER: Changing topic, media sources have carried stories about a large-scale search of facilities related to the Aum Shinrikyo in the Russian cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg. A Japanese person was apprehended in Montenegro in March. Have any Japanese nationals been apprehended in the latest searches? Also, please explain your thoughts on a potential impact on the situation in Japan. 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan’s overseas diplomatic offices are currently in contact with Russia’s related agencies and gathering intelligence in relation to the search. Results from these contacts have not discovered any information about detention of Japanese nationals.

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