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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 24, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the extension of voting rights to persons aged 18 or over. It has emerged that for the upcoming election for the House of Councillors, five municipalities in Hokkaido have not registered more than 270 university and high school students on the electoral register. These students have kept their family homes as their registered residence and have moved out to live alone or in dormitory accommodation. The election administration officials in these municipalities state that they cannot be registered as they do not reside at their family home address. Given that there are many municipalities that have registered people to vote on the basis of their registered place of residence without engaging in any investigation into people’s living arrangements, an unfair situation has arisen in which some people are unable to vote depending on the response of the municipality. What is the Government’s view on this matter?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: I am aware that the Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper has reported on the matter you have spoken about, but as yet I am unaware of the details behind the story. However, if I were to speak in general terms, I would note that on the specified date for registration on the electoral register it is standard practice to register those persons who actually have an address in the jurisdiction of the municipality in question. Individual cases are left to the Election Administration Commission of each municipality to determine. However, given that exercising the right to vote is extremely important, the Government would like to request local governments concerned to continue to make efforts to the greatest extent possible to ensure that people are able to exercise their right to vote, based on the situation that from this election voting rights have been extended to people aged 18 and over.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Vice President Biden of the United States stated in a television program that Japan has the capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons “virtually overnight.” Can I ask for the Government’s response to these comments?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: The Three Non-Nuclear Principles of not possessing, not manufacturing and not permitting the introduction of nuclear weapons is an important and fundamental policy of the Government of Japan and we will continue to strongly uphold these principles. If I were to go further, I would add that in domestic law, the Atomic Energy Basic Act very strictly limits the use of nuclear energy to peaceful purposes for Japan. Internationally too, Japan is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and as a non-nuclear country under the NPT bears the obligation to not seek to manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons. Given these points, it is unthinkable for Japan to possess nuclear weapons.

REPORTER: I have a question about the national referendum in the United Kingdom about whether or not to leave the European Union (EU). Votes are still being counted and this is a period of great contention. Can I ask for the Government’s view of the current situation?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: My understanding is that votes are still being counted in what will be a very close result. The Government would like to wait for an announcement of the final result. This matter is one that also relates to Japan’s national interests and the Government believes that it would be better for the UK to remain a member of the EU. That is the result we are hoping for.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Tokyo financial markets are in turmoil today and there have been big movements in both currency and share trading. What is your view on the factors for this volatility?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SEKO: The Government is also concerned about the impact of the UK referendum on financial and currency markets. Although I would like to refrain from going into detail about individual response measures, the Government recognizes that rapid fluctuations in the financial and currency markets are not good and that market stability is of the utmost importance. We will continue to carefully monitor market trends.

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