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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 18, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga



REPORTER: I have a question concerning economic indicators. The GDP from January to March expanded an annualized 1.7%, increasing for the first time in two quarters. What is your analysis of this figure? In addition, can you comment on its impact on the Government’s decision regarding the increase of the consumption tax?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, as you just stated in your question, the GDP expanded 0.4% from the previous quarter or an annualized 1.7%. Furthermore, the FY2015 growth rates all increased for the first time in 18 years, with the nominal growth rate at 2.2%, the real growth rate at 0.8%, and the GDP deflator at 1.4%. The nominal GDP exceeded 500 trillion yen for the first time since FY2007, so for the first time in eight fiscal years. These indicators confirmed that we are making progress towards exiting deflation and revitalizing the economy. In any case, our consumption tax policy remains unchanged.


REPORTER: I understand that a short while ago, Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Petrovich Trutnev of Russia visited you and that the two of you held talks for approximately 30 minutes. Can you please share with us what the two of you discussed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I met the Deputy Prime Minister moments ago. The Deputy Prime Minister paid a courtesy visit to me. During this visit, efforts for the development of the Far East, which Russia attaches importance to, as well as Japan’s cooperation, among other such matters were introduced.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Were the discussions on the development of the Far East about Japan-Russia economic cooperation in the Kuril Islands, including the Northern Territories?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: No, it was a general discussion on the situation of Japanese companies that are doing business in the Far East.

REPORTER: Last question. It is related to the previous question. Yesterday, in speaking to the press in Tokyo, Deputy Prime Minister Trutnev expressed Russia’s enthusiasm to have interested Japanese companies take part in the economic cooperation in the Kuril Islands. What is the Government’s comment to this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It seems that the Deputy Prime Minister visited many Japanese companies yesterday. The Deputy Prime Minister explained to us the impressions he came away with. He stated that the Russian Government would offer full cooperation.


REPORTER: My question is about a different topic. Sankei Shimbun reported that on the 17th, it came to light that an escort vessel of the Maritime Self-Defense Force, which is deployed to waters off the coast of Somalia in Africa for counter-piracy operations, had escorted a navigating passenger vessel of Peace Boat. Is this true? If yes, can you please explain the background that led to this escort?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, since 2009, Japan has been deploying Self-Defense Force units to counter piracy incidents off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, a vital sea line of communication for Japan. The units carry out counter-piracy operations by escorting fleets and other measures. I have been briefed that the escort of the passenger vessel you just referred to was conducted in accordance with the request from the other party. 


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