Skip to main content

Home >  News >  Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary >  May 2016 >  May 17, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 17, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


REPORTER: I have a question about the supplemental budget proposal containing measures to respond to the earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture. It appears that it will pass today with the support of opposition parties. Please explain your thoughts on this. Also, a month has passed since the earthquake, what is the policy direction for moving forward with reconstruction and revitalization? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Based on the resolve of doing everything it possibly can since right after the occurrence of the earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture, the Government mobilized its full resources and responded in a timely manner with life-saving rescue activities utilizing the Self-Defense Forces, police and fire forces, the Coast Guard, and medical teams, provision of necessary goods for near-term evacuation living, such as food items and water, including use of reserve funds, and human resource and capital assistance for affected local government entities, including personnel dispatches and accelerated provision of ordinary tax allocations. The Government submitted this supplemental budget in a very short period and aims to ensure robust fiscal support for further progress in reconstruction and revitalization and other initiatives. It intends to use this budget, along with reserve funds, for rebuilding in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture and to put its full efforts into securing places to live, restoring infrastructure, and revitalizing business for small companies, farmers and fishers, and the tourism industry. However, aftershocks are continuing and these conditions might result in some delays for reconstruction and revitalization activities. Yet the Government intends to continue putting its fullest efforts into responding to the situation. In this context, we received approval for the budget from all members in the House of Representatives yesterday, and today we are asking the House of Councilors to review the budget. The Government will work toward its prompt passage.

REPORTER: This is related. You mentioned in your comments at the outset that Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress plan to visit Kumamoto Prefecture. Please provide some more details on this visit. 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress plan to visit Kumamoto Prefecture on May 19 (Thursday) to express their sympathy to the areas affected by the earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture. Their schedule might change if the weather is bad on that day. This is the plan.

REPORTER: I have a question about relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). A Japan-ROK Director-General-Level Meeting is scheduled to take place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. I think confirmation of progress implementing the agreement between the two countries from the end of last year will be a core topic. What type of discussion are you expecting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this point, I would like to refrain from speaking about the possible content of the meeting before it occurs. I expect a follow-up review of the agreement on the comfort women issue and discussion of various matters related to the two countries.

REPORTER: Some observers have expressed concern about an impact on the agreement between Japan and the ROK from the end of last year by results from Korea’s general election last month. Does the Government expect smooth progress in implementation of the agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This is an agreement between the two Governments, and I think it is very important to mutually and sincerely fulfill the agreement unrelated to these domestic situations.

REPORTER: I’d like to change the topic to monetary policy. Three months have passed since the Bank of Japan (BoJ) adopted the negative interest rate policy. While the negative interest rate offers some benefits for home loans and corporate fundraising, financial firms continue to struggle to find investment opportunities amid sluggish capital investment demand due to low interest rates. What is the Government’s current assessment of the adoption of the negative interest rate policy?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Only three months have passed, and I think the BoJ Governor mentioned that it will take a half year to a year. Financial firms should benefit substantially if the negative interest rate policy effect spreads to capital investments, housing, and other areas and this lifts the economy out of deflation.


Page Top

Related Link