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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

November 11, 2016 (PM)

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 understand that later today a summit meeting will be held with Prime Minister Modi of India. India is transforming into a major power, with its population expected to surpass China’s by 2022 and its GDP forecasted to overtake Japan’s in the future. How should Japan approach India in your opinion?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, Japan and India are two major democratic nations in Asia that share universal values and strategic interests, and the Japan-India relationship is blessed with the largest potential for development of any bilateral relationship anywhere in the world. When Prime Minister Abe visited India in December of last year, significant achievements were made in areas such as politics, security, the economy, economic cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges, confirming the ushering in of the beginning of a new era in Japan-India relations. Japan hopes that Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan will advance the Special Strategic and Global Partnership suited for the new era and further deepen the ties and cooperation between the two countries.   

REPORTER: It is reported that Japan and India will sign a nuclear energy agreement at the summit meeting. India is still not a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. What are your thoughts on the fact that the bilateral agreement will enable the supply of nuclear energy technology?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As the summit meeting has still not begun, at this point in time I would like to refrain from speculating on the specifics and the outcomes of the summit meeting, including the handling of the Japan-India nuclear energy agreement.

REPORTER: I would like to ask one more question in this connection. As was briefly mentioned earlier, the two countries are both major powers in Asia sharing universal values. Do you perceive that deepening the Japan-India relationship will serve as a check on China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Indeed, China is the second largest and Japan the third largest economic power in the world. Therefore, we consider that both countries have a responsibility towards peace and growth in this region.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. I have a question regarding the use of old Japanese-style houses for tourism. I understand that the taskforce on the use of old Japanese-style houses led by you is reviewing various measures to support regions. Do you have any plans to actually visit the regions? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Tomorrow, I will visit Sasayama City in Hyogo Prefecture. I will observe how the city is restoring old Japanese-style houses to transform into a sightseeing city. I intend to meet with the community members who are engaged in this initiative and hear their stories firsthand.  

REPORTER: I would like to confirm what the objectives of paying this visit are.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At the Prime Minister’s Office, I received an explanation regarding the project being undertaken in Tamba Sasayama to restore old Japanese-style houses. The presentation explained that the restoration of old Japanese-style houses led to new tourists visiting and young people moving to the region as well as to the elimination of abandoned arable land, completely transforming this city that was in danger of disappearing as the majority of the population was aged 65 or older. Therefore, I would like to visit and see for myself what will become the key factors in revitalizing tourism and creating prosperous regions. Furthermore, I hope to make it so that there are more regions throughout Japan that make use of old Japanese-style houses.  


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the currency swap between Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK). Recently, the Liberal Democratic Party held a meeting to review this issue, and some members voiced very strong opinions against the resumption of the currency swap. Previously you stated that the termination of the currency swap provides no benefit to Japan. What are your views regarding the resumption of the currency swap?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Last year, a Japan-ROK agreement was reached regarding the resumption of the currency swap. In addition, the ROK made requests to Japan regarding the economic relationship and the swap agreement. If the ROK requests the swap, Japan will accept the request. Two years ago I believe it was, I also mentioned then that if the ROK requests it, Japan would accept the request.

REPORTER: Notwithstanding last December’s final agreement regarding the comfort women and other issues, ROK civilians for example are still building comfort women statues and collaborating with China to step up criticisms against Japan. Despite this, Japan will resume the currency swap if the ROK requests it. I gather that this will not gain the understanding of the Japanese people. What is your opinion regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There are various issues between Japan and the ROK. The leaders of the two countries have held talks precisely because there are these issues. Economically, Japan and the ROK have an extremely close relationship. Therefore, I perceive that if the ROK requests a currency swap between the two countries, then Japan’s acceptance of the request will contribute also to our national interests.

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