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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 16, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]



REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in connection with the planned consumption tax increase in April 2017. Some media outlets have reported that Prime Minister Abe has decided to re-postpone the consumption tax increase and communicated this to senior members of the ruling parties. Is this true?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of these news reports. However, there is no truth to them. The reports are entirely unfounded.

REPORTER: People, in particular the business community, will be making preparations with the assumption that the tax increase will indeed take place. If you do decide to postpone the increase, what is the general date that you regard as the time limit for making this decision?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, as I have stated consistently with regard to this issue, the consumption tax increase to 10% in April of next year will take place as scheduled so long as a serious situation does not occur of the magnitude of the global financial crisis or a major earthquake disaster.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding Japan-ROK relations. Approval was granted for the resignation of Mr. Lee Byung-kee, Chief of Staff of the Office of the President of the Republic of Korea (ROK). He is considered to have played an important role in the negotiation process that led to the Japan-ROK agreement regarding the comfort women issue. What are your expectations with regard to the resignation’s impact on the implementation of the agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As this is a domestic matter of the ROK and an internal affair, I would like to refrain from making comments on behalf of the Government. That said, I understand that Mr. Lee Byung-kee, former Presidential Chief of Staff, contributed significantly to Japan-ROK relations, including as ROK Ambassador to Japan. Nevertheless, we believe that his resignation will have no impact on the Japan-ROK agreement. In any case, it is vital that both the Japanese and ROK Governments implement last year’s agreement in a responsible manner.


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