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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 10, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


I would like to report on a personnel decision concerning the Cabinet Secretariat, which was approved at today's Cabinet meeting. It has been decided that Deputy Chief Negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Hiroshi Oe will be promoted to the position of Chief Negotiator of the Governmental Headquarters for the TPP.


REPORTER: With regard to the personnel decision you have just announced, can you tell us the aim of the Government in selecting Mr. Oe as Chief Negotiator for the TPP?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to the TPP negotiations, in February this year the agreement was signed and negotiations regarding the content of the agreement have been concluded. However, items relating to the operation of the agreement, such as the accession of new parties, and the structure and operation of the secretariat, will be dealt with in earnest from now in the Chief Negotiators’ meeting. Therefore, it was decided that as Mr. Tsuruoka, the previous Chief Negotiator, has been appointed as Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom, Deputy Chief Negotiator Oe would be promoted to the position of Chief Negotiator.

REPORTER: I have a question about the Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, where First Secretary Kim Jong-un has been appointed as the Party Chairman. What is the Government’s analysis on the aims of North Korea in creating this new post?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this point in time, details about the full scope of the Congress are not sufficiently clear yet. We intend to continue gathering and analyzing information while closely collaborating with the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States. With regard to the appointment of First Secretary Kim Jong-un to the position of Party Chairman, the Government will continue to engage in thorough analysis of what this decision means as part of North Korea’s wider efforts to reinforce its government administration.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima. In a press conference the White House spokesperson has stated that it will be necessary to conclude considerations in the near future about whether the President will visit Hiroshima, indicating that a decision will be announced soon. Has the Government received any kind of indication about the status of these considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government of Japan has not received any explanation or report about this matter, as it is something for the United States to determine. However, speaking in general terms, any visit by a world leader to Hiroshima or Nagasaki would be highly significant in that it would enable leaders to see for themselves the realities of nuclear bombing and heighten momentum towards a world without nuclear weapons. In any event, the Government would like to wait for the United States to make a decision regarding this matter.


REPORTER: I have a question about the Panama Papers. The papers have been released to the public and they appear to include the names of individuals and companies resident in Japan. Could you tell us of the Government’s view of the current situation and how it intends to respond, for example by investigating the status of tax returns?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the so-called Panama Papers, I am aware that the names of individuals and companies have been released. As a representative of the Government I would like to refrain from responding to individual cases. However, in general terms, there is absolutely no change to the Government’s stance of seeking to realize appropriate and fair taxation, with the taxation authorities of Japan taking every opportunity to gather information and engage in tax investigations if it is recognized that there is an issue that needs to be dealt with. The Government will continue to respond appropriately.


REPORTER: I have a related question. It is anticipated that at the G7 Ise-Shima Summit one of the topics on the agenda will be the creation of international rules concerning tax havens, issues surrounding which have come to light in the Panama Papers. What kind of response does the Government consider necessary at the current point in order to bring the international community together on this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: International measures for tax havens and taxation systems have been discussed to date in various fora, including the G20 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The agenda for the G7 Ise-Shima Summit is still under consideration and I believe that moving forward the necessary measures will be taken with regard to matters of international taxation.


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