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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

October 31, 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 regarding foreign tourists to Japan. It was announced that the number of foreign visitors to Japan between January of this year and yesterday surpassed the 20 million mark. Can you please share the comments of the Government? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: For the first time this year, the number of foreign visitors to Japan in a year exceeded 20 million on October 30. Since the beginning of the Abe administration, it has undertaken bold policies in rapid succession, including easing visa requirements and expanding the consumption tax exemption system, identifying tourism as a trump card for vitalizing local economies and a pillar of the growth strategy of Japan. We believe that the momentum in tourism did not slow down this year and was manifested as this achievement. As our goal is to have 40 million visitors by 2020, this 20 million mark is only a halfway point and we still have long ways to go. Specifically, we will make bold use of private investment to transform national parks into world-class national parks. In addition, the Government will provide supports to motivated regional businesses to promote the development of attractive sightseeing cities by making use of old Japanese-style houses and other resources. Furthermore, the Government will increase customs, immigration, and quarantine personnel in a planned manner. We will utilize the latest Bio Cart equipment to speed up and facilitate immigration and emigration. Additionally, we will continue to strategically ease visa requirements for countries such as China, India, and Russia. Aiming to make Japan a country that people around the world want to visit, the Government will do everything it can to reach the 40 million mark, including the implementation of measures that were incorporated into the Tourism Vision to Support the Future of Japan. We will work to sustain the current momentum in tourism and make further strides.  


REPORTER: The Republic of Korea (ROK) has been thrown into turmoil over the issue of President Park Geun-hye handing over internal materials of the Government to an acquaintance. Can you please share the view of the Japanese Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, this matter pertains to internal affairs, and therefore, the Japanese Government would like to refrain from making comments.

REPORTER: I have a related question. President Park is losing her grip on power significantly with her approval rating down to the 10% range. What is your outlook regarding the impact on Japan?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We perceive that there will not be any impacts. 

REPORTER: A related question. A Japan-China-ROK trilateral summit meeting is scheduled to be held in Japan at the end of the year. Does it remain unchanged that Japan as the chair country will proceed with the preparations as scheduled?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated moments ago, we believe that there will not be any impacts, and therefore, we will proceed as scheduled with regard to that.


REPORTER: I have a question concerning an overseas visit of the Prime Minister. Some media reported that the Prime Minister will visit Argentina following the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting which will be held in Peru in November. What is the status of the considerations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Nothing has been decided.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. Today, it was announced that the three major shipping companies in Japan, i.e., Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd., will integrate their key liner container businesses to establish a new company. What is the Government’s take on this development in the shipping industry which plays a critical role in world distribution?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today, the three major shipping companies in Japan announced that they signed an agreement to integrate their liner container businesses. We consider that shipping is a vital infrastructure in the sense that it supports Japanese industries and the lives of the Japanese people. Against this backdrop, the international freight situation is at a historical low level right now due to over tonnage and economic slowdown in China and other countries. Therefore, companies are making efforts to strengthen their international competitiveness. We view that in this context, today’s announcement by the three companies to integrate their businesses will lead to strengthening the shipping capabilities of Japan, and we welcome such initiatives. In any case, this matter concerns the management of private companies. I expect that the details will become known at the press conference that the three companies will be holding from 11 AM.

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