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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 16, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the tourism strategy. Today, a meeting of the Tourism Strategy Promotion Taskforce was held at the Prime Minister’s Office with the attendance of you and Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ishii. The tourism industry has been strong, with the number of foreign visitors to Japan exceeding 10 million in 2016 at the fastest pace. At the same time, however, a slowdown in the growth rate has been noted. What efforts does the Government intend to focus on towards achieving its target of 40 million foreign visitors by 2020?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: You mentioned a slowdown in the growth rate. However, the rate increased by approximately 29% last year. It is true that the earthquakes in Kumamoto in Kyushu have had various impacts, including the cancellation of 750,000 reservations at hotels and other accommodations. However, aside from that, tourism has not lost momentum at all. As steady responses will be taken for Kyushu using the supplementary budget, we expect the momentum will be maintained. With respect to the content of today’s meeting, different ministries briefed the progress of various measures and the challenges, and their respective efforts were examined. I issued three instructions related to budget requests and wishes for tax system reform. A variety of views were expressed during the meeting, for example, making further use of the Akasaka State Guest House, extending the operating hours of museums, using cultural properties and national parks for special purposes, and conducting these efforts from the perspective of the visitors. From listening to today’s explanations, I realized there are still many more things we could be doing. In July, we will invite external experts to hear their opinions regarding, once again, the status of the ongoing initiatives. Based on their opinions, the Government will make concerted efforts to steadily realize the measures included in the Tourism Vision, with the aim of becoming a tourism-oriented developed nation. 

REPORTER: Yesterday, Governor Masuzoe of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government submitted his resignation, and later that afternoon, the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly consented to his resignation. Can you once again share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, with regard to this matter, I perceive that the Governor himself made the decision in an appropriate manner, fully taking into consideration the wishes of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly, which represents the residents of Tokyo, and the wishes of the residents of Tokyo.


REPORTER: At the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on the 15th, the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) decided not to implement an additional interest rate hike. In addition, with regard to policy rate reviews, the FRB lowered the number of interest rate hikes in 2017 from four times, as was assumed in March, to three times. Those in the money market have voiced concern that these measures would add yen-appreciation pressure; prolong risks; and strengthen headwinds to business performance, mainly that of export companies. Can you please tell us the Government’s view regarding the FRB’s decision and the Government’s response going forward?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case, I imagine and expect, first of all, that appropriate responses will be taken based on the various circumstances. U.S. economic trends and monetary policy are directly connected to Japan, and therefore, we will closely monitor the situation. While there have been sudden speculative moves in the recent exchange rate market, we consider sudden fluctuations to be undesirable and stable exchange rates to be essential. To ensure that such speculative moves do not continue, the Government will closely monitor the movements in the exchange rate market with a sense of urgency and take careful responses as necessary. We believe that this is in line with the agreements reached at the G7 and G20 meetings.   


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