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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 15, 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: A Japan-Russia summit meeting will be held today. What outcomes do you expect from the meeting? In addition, what importance does the Japanese Government attach to this upcoming meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, today, President Putin will visit Japan. The 16th Japan-Russia summit meeting will be held in Nagato City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, which is the home prefecture of Prime Minister Abe. The two leaders have taken the opportunities offered by their previous meetings to hold candid discussions regarding bilateral issues, including the issue of the conclusion of a peace treaty, as well as urgent issues facing the international community. With regard to the issue of the peace treaty, Prime Minister Abe recently heard firsthand accounts from former residents of the Northern Territories. With their sincere wishes etched in his mind, the Prime Minister expressed his intention to move the peace treaty negotiations forward by one or two steps based on a new approach. At today’s meeting held in a quiet environment in Yamaguchi Prefecture, we expect that careful and candid discussions will take place based on a relationship of trust between the two leaders, concerning the issue of the conclusion of a peace treaty and the future of Japan-Russia relations.     


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. The bill on promoting integrated resorts (IRs) such as casinos was passed. The Government has regarded IRs as a component of its growth strategy. In this regard, can you please share your comments regarding the passage of the bill?   

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: After 1 AM today, the so-called IR promotion legislation introduced by Diet members, which was proposed by the Diet members concerned, was passed again and enacted at the House of Representatives. In the Diet deliberations to date, it was discussed that there are already casinos in 127 countries around the world, and that the development of specified integrated tourism facilities that are not only a casino but a combination of casino, international exhibition space, conference venue, amusement area, and accommodation facility would contribute to boosting tourism, revitalizing the regions, and furthermore, reviving industries. In addition, at the Committees on Cabinet of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors, supplementary resolutions covering 15 and 16 items were submitted respectively. At the Committees, discussion took place regarding limiting the number of IRs established, introducing rigorous admission regulations, strengthening measures to prevent gambling addiction, establishing strict casino business regulations, and implementing money laundering countermeasures. Furthermore, we understand that supplementary resolutions were submitted. The Government will pay full heed to these Diet discussions in taking steady steps to implement the necessary measures, including strengthening measures to prevent gambling and other addictions.    

REPORTER: I have a question in connection with this bill. Some members of the ruling party, Komeito, also voted against the bill. There are a variety of views even within the ruling parties. In this context, do you perceive that public understanding has been obtained for the removal of the casino ban?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This was still a “program legislation” introduced by Diet members. Therefore, various supplementary resolutions were submitted. The Government will take full heed of this in implementing measures accordingly. With regard to Komeito, as this was a bill introduced by Diet members, I believe it is totally sensible that the obligation to vote according to the party’s decision was removed and that members were allowed to vote their conscience.

REPORTER: My question is in regard to a different matter. I have a question regarding the additional interest rate hike of the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) of the United States. The U.S. FRB decided on an additional interest rate hike. I believe that in its immediate aftermath, Japan’s stock prices rose slightly and the yen weakened. In the medium- to long-term, there is concern that the cost of purchasing raw materials will rise, which could also affect the economy. What is the Government’s view of the FRB’s decision?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we understand that the policy interest rate was increased for the first time in a year. We understand that based on the revised outlook, the interest rate is expected to increase three times in 2017. We would like to refrain from commenting on the monetary policy of other countries. That said, we perceive that various situations were taken into account in making this decision, including the economic situation. Therefore, Japan will consistently pay maximum attention to U.S. policies regarding these matters and fully account for them. 


REPORTER: I have another question regarding a different matter. It is about the Spratly Islands. The U.S. think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, released a report stating that satellite images show China has appeared to have deployed close-in weapons systems on artificial islands created in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which can shoot down aircraft and missiles. It seems China has made further progress in establishing military outposts. What is the view of the Government regarding this? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is constantly following such developments. I would like to refrain from commenting on every detail that was announced. Having said that, we do consider that the issues over the South China Sea are directly linked to peace and stability in the region and are therefore of extreme concern to the international community. Japan has consistently advocated compliance with the rule of law in the South China Sea. Japan regards that all parties to the issues over the South China Sea need to resolve the issues peacefully and conduct safe and secure navigation according to international law.

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