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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 27, 2016 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the FY2016 minimum hourly wage. On July 26, a subcommittee of the Central Minimum Wages Council of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) decided on the target for the minimum wage increase. It looks as though the national average minimum wage would increase by 24 yen. With the rate of increase satisfying the target to increase the minimum wage by 3% in “The Japan’s Plan for Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens,” can you please share your assessment, including on whether or not we can expect to see a rise in personal consumption?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, in order to realize the Abe administration’s goals of exiting deflation as well as achieving a virtuous cycle of growth and distribution, it is critical that we increase minimum wages, and thereby, stimulate strong personal consumption. The administration is making wholehearted efforts on this. Against this backdrop, this Council of the MHLW has decided that the national weighted average target for this year’s minimum wage would be raised by 24 yen, which is 6 yen more than last year. This is the first time since 2002 when the current system was introduced, and therefore, the first comparable year, that the amount of increase of the minimum wage has surpassed 20 yen. The Government highly welcomes this. This converts into a 3% rate of increase, which is considerably higher than last year’s rate of increase of 2.3%. We understand that the target for all prefectures is a high amount exceeding 20 yen. That said, in realizing this significant minimum wage increase, it will become more vital than ever that SMEs and small businesses increase productivity. Therefore, the Government as a whole needs to take steady steps to support SMEs and other businesses, bearing in mind the Prime Minister’s recent instructions. In order to rev up the engine of Abenomics to the greatest possible extent, the Government is committed to creating a climate to ensure that increases in corporate profits contribute to wage increases and capital investment. In any case, the Government will take steps to steadily realize a minimum wage of 1,000 yen.


REPORTER: I have a question regarding the situation in South Sudan. The leader of the anti-government faction, First Vice President Riek Machar, was dismissed. Some speculate that this will lead to the breakup of anti-government forces, plunging the country into turmoil once again. What is the Japanese Government’s assessment of the local security situation? In addition, can you explain how this will affect the activities of the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) dispatched for the peacekeeping operation (PKO)? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, we are aware that on July 25, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan dismissed First Vice President Machar and appointed Minister of Mining Taban Deng Gai as First Vice President, and that an official swearing-in ceremony will take place on July 26. We have been briefed that at this point in time the situation in Juba is relatively calm. Nevertheless, we understand that the local situation remains precarious, and therefore, we will continue to closely follow the situation.

REPORTER: Can you once again confirm whether my understanding is correct that the five principles for Japan’s participation in PKO are upheld in the activities of the GSDF?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to the current situation, taking everything into consideration, including reports from personnel dispatched to South Sudan as well as information from the Japanese Embassy and the United Nations, the Government does not consider that an armed conflict provided for in Japan’s PKO Law has occurred in the area of operations of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS). We do not perceive that the five principles for participation have been nullified.


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