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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 8, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

REPORTER: I have a question about the revised GDP data for January to March released today. The new data raised the growth rate from last month’s preliminary value to a 1.9% increase as an annualized rate. Please explain the Government’s factor analysis and whether this outcome changes the perception of economic activity.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The second QE for January to March 2016 GDP reported positive growth with a 1.9% increase as an annualized rate, as you just mentioned, with the main boosts coming from a 0.6% gain in personal consumption versus the previous quarter and an upward revision of capital investments of 0.7 points to a 0.7% decline. Although recent economic activity has been exhibiting some weakness, corporate profits remain at a strong level following the attainment of an all-time high in FY2014. Additionally, employee salaries rose 1.3% quarter on quarter and 2.7% year on year on a real basis. The effective job openings ratio has climbed to the highest level in 24 years at 1.34. I think the economy is continuing a moderate recovery trend in light of these conditions.


REPORTER: This is related to North Korea. Media sources are reporting that North Korea has resumed plutonium production, according to comments from an official at the US State Department. Please explain what the Japanese Government knows. 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the media reports on this topic. As I have said many times, the Government strives to gather and analyze intelligence on North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities with serious interest. However, I would like to refrain from commenting on specific information or content due to the nature of the topic. In any case, Japan is gathering intelligence and surveilling and monitoring the situation with vigilance while closely collaborating with the US and the Republic of Korea (ROK).

REPORTER: There was a media report that the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, a leading Japanese bank, plans to relinquish its credentials as a special participant in the Japanese Government Bond (JGB) market. It appears that the 4% bidding obligation is becoming a burden, and other financial entities might follow. Please explain the Government’s response and the potential impact on absorption of JGBs. 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The question of whether to relinquish credentials as a special participant in the JGB market is a matter for the executives of individual banks to decide, and I am not aware of what decisions might be reached. At any rate, the Government intends to continue conducting appropriate JGB management policies with the aim of securing stable absorption of JGBs based on close dialogue with market participants while monitoring JGB market trends.

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