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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 13, 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 start of deliberations on the approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The ruling parties are currently engaged in consultations towards the start of deliberations on October 14. I believe that the Government seeks to start deliberations as quickly as possible, so could you tell us about the Government’s expectations for how deliberations will proceed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are increasing calls both at home and overseas for the early entry into force of the TPP agreement. In order to realize without delay the effects that the TPP will have, the Government is seeking to take the initiative and thereby further increase momentum towards its early entry into force. It is to this end that the Government is requesting the Diet to engage in deliberations on the TPP agreement and related bills in the current Diet session. It is for the Diet to determine how deliberations will proceed, but for its part the Government will be providing detailed explanations to facilitate deliberations in this current extraordinary session of the Diet with a view to achieving the approval of the agreement and related bills.

REPORTER: I have a related question, which has also been asked previously. What does the Government expect will be the merits and demerits of participating in the TPP agreement for Japan and how will the Government respond to such demerits?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, it is extremely important for Japan to incorporate global growth and growth in the Asian region into our economy, as the population of Japan is on a declining trend. The realization of the TPP will result in the creation of a vast single economic zone comprising 800 million people and accounting for approximately 40% of global GDP, based on new rules that are free and fair. Utilizing this market will result in the vitalization of the Japanese economy, which will be the single greatest merit for the people of Japan. Furthermore, consumers within the TPP area will be able to acquire various products cheaply, easily and with peace of mind. The TPP will create an Asia-Pacific region that is governed by shared new rules fit for the 21st century. It will create a vast economic zone that is free and fair, in which economic bonds between countries that share the same basic values will be strengthened. This in turn will have strategic significance in that the strengthening of bonds between countries and regions will promote greater regional stability. The TPP that will bring such merits is the result of Japan taking the lead in negotiations and in order to maximize the advantages of the TPP it is necessary for Japan to take the initiative in moving the process forward, which is why the Government is requesting that the Diet deliberate the related bills in the current Diet session and is seeking above all to achieve the approval of the TPP and related bills. In terms of areas of concern, I am aware that some people are worried about the impact on the national health insurance system and food safety. However, the TPP does not constitute rules that would in any way threaten such areas. In the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector the Government has secured exceptions to the abolition of tariffs on five sensitive products and has also ensured tariff rate quotas and safeguard measures. In the course of Diet deliberations the Government hopes that such matters will be discussed and the Government for its part will provide clear answers.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Democratic Party has indicated that it will not take part in deliberations from tomorrow. What is your view of the current situation in which the opposition parties are taking a clearly confrontational stance at the start of Diet deliberations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case, it is for the Diet to decide how to advance deliberations. The Government hopes that thorough discussions will take place in the Diet and will endeavor to achieve the approval of the related bills. The details of the TPP agreement will be clarified through discussion and therefore the Government hopes that discussion will be initiated as soon as possible.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Automakers Toyota and Suzuki have announced that they have entered into discussions on a business tie-up in the area of advanced technologies, including eco-friendly and safety technologies and IT. This means that in an automotive market in which development competition is intensifying globally, the domestic auto industry is now anticipated to coalesce in effect into the three major groups of Toyota, Honda and Nissan. Can I ask for the Government’s views on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you have noted, the automotive industry is experiencing increasingly intense competition on a global scale in terms of technology development, such as next-generation vehicles and self-driving technologies, and also in terms of capturing market share. I think that the current global situation is one in which companies in all countries are advancing various measures to implement tie-ups or restructuring. With regard to the announcement that Toyota and Suzuki are considering a tie-up that would create synergies in technology development and contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of Japan’s auto industry, this is something that the Government will continue to watch with anticipation.

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