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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 16, 2016 (PM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: In Hokkaido, there was an earthquake measuring a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale. Can you please tell us the extent of the damages and the Government’s response following the earthquake?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, at around 2:21 PM today, there was an earthquake registering a maximum of a lower 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, originating off Uchiura Bay in Hokkaido. Its epicenter was recorded at a depth of approximately 10 km. Its magnitude was 5.3. There is no danger of a tsunami occurring from this earthquake. According to reports so far, one individual sustained minor injuries. The Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority reported no problems with the nuclear power facility. The Government will continue to gather information regarding the damages.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Does this mean that no damages to the transport system or lifelines have been confirmed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: None have been confirmed.

REPORTER: I have a question regarding a different matter. It is about exchange rate and stock price movements. At the Monetary Policy Meeting of the Bank of Japan (BoJ), it was decided that the monetary policy would remain unchanged. These developments have spurred the yen’s appreciation, with the yen rising to the 103-104 range to the dollar. Coupled with the yen’s appreciation, at the Tokyo stock market today, the Nikkei Stock Average also fell close to 500 points from the previous day. Can you please share your comments regarding the decision made at today’s Monetary Policy Meeting and regarding future exchange rate movements?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I am of course aware of the fluctuations observed in the market, including the fall in the Nikkei Stock Average today. We are deeply concerned about the one-sided and sudden speculative moves seen in the recent exchange rate market. Sudden fluctuations are undesirable, and we consider stable exchange rates to be essential. To ensure that such one-sided speculative moves do not continue, the Government will pay more attention than ever to the movements in the exchange rate market with a sense of urgency and take careful responses when necessary. We believe that this is in line with the agreements reached at the G7 and G20 meetings.   


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject to the information gathering vessel of the Chinese Navy that sailed in Japan’s territorial waters off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture. I understand that the Government is studying whether this navigation constitutes innocent passage. Has the Government reached a conclusion or decision regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Various circumstances need to be taken into consideration to make an assessment of this incident under international law, including the nature of the navigation. The Government will continue to analyze this matter.


REPORTER: I have another question concerning the money market. Some in the money market are noting that the BoJ’s policy response has reached a stasis. Aside from these comments, we are also hearing views that there is a gap between the Government and the BoJ. What is the Government’s perception with regard to these comments?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we expect that the BoJ will continue to provide careful explanations regarding the intent and effects of its monetary policy operations to a broad range of people in the market, including the decisions made at each Monetary Policy Meeting, and make efforts to gain their understanding. In any case, we view that the effects of the BoJ’s monetary easing policy need to be monitored in the medium- to long-term. In order to ensure Japan’s exit from deflation, the Government expects that the BoJ will continue to make efforts to realize its price stability target, taking into account the economic and price situations. We are carefully monitoring the market in close coordination with the BoJ.   


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