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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 1, 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 have a question regarding tax revenues. It was reported that the Government would be revising its tax revenues for this fiscal year, lowering its initial estimate by several hundred billion to one trillion yen. I imagine that this will affect next fiscal year’s budget formulation. Does the Government share the outlook that was reported?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to tax revenues in FY2016, as of now we know the tax revenues up to and including October. It is true that the cumulative total is trending lower than last year. However, we need to take into account a variety of elements to provide an outlook, including the taxation track record and economic outlook. Therefore, it is difficult to provide an outlook at this time. What was reported is untrue. 

REPORTER: A related question. A news article notes that one of the causes of the lower Government tax revenues is stagnating revenues from corporation taxes, due to poorer corporate earnings resulting from the strong yen at the beginning of the year. Do you perceive that corporation taxes are also in a severe situation? 

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this time it is difficult to provide an outlook for corporation taxes as well.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in connection with Okinawa. Tomorrow, December 2, it will be 20 years exactly since the release of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) Final Report regarding the realignment and reduction of U.S. bases in Okinawa. In terms of the content of the report, while the partial return of the Northern Training Area is finally getting off the ground, the return of Futenma Air Station, which had been the top outstanding issue, is still not realized. What is your view regarding the current situation?  

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, the Government has been making maximum efforts with the understanding and cooperation of the host communities to realize the return of 11 U.S. bases that were included in the so-called SACO Final Report of December 1996, including the Northern Training Area and Futenma Air Station, resulting in the return of five facilities and 845 ha thus far. Furthermore, with regard to the return of 4,000 ha or approximately half of the Northern Training Area, Kunigami and Higashi Villages seek to make effective use of the returned land by designating it as a national park and inscribing it on UNESCO’s world heritage list of natural sites. The final arrangements are now being made to realize the early return of the land. The return of this land will decrease the land used for U.S. bases in Okinawa Prefecture by approximately 20%, and therefore, we believe it will contribute significantly to mitigating the impact of the U.S. bases in the Prefecture. The Government is now making utmost efforts to make steady progress with the relocation work and realize the land return by the end of the year. With regard to Futenma Air Station, the parties are currently carrying out the court settlement. The Government will take sincere responses, including carrying out the lawsuit procedure in parallel with the consultation procedure in accordance with the clauses of the settlement to reach a firm conclusion.

REPORTER: With respect to the issue of the relocation of Futenma Air Station that you just referred to, the Government and Okinawa Prefecture are in a dispute and settlement consultations are ongoing. With the people in Okinawa Prefecture still harboring strong feelings against the relocation to Henoko, how does the Government intend to move forward with the relocation issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, this issue originated above all from the need to relocate to Henoko the air station in Futenma, called the world’s most dangerous base due to its location in the city center surrounded by houses and an elementary school. Around 20 years ago, the relocation obtained the consent of the local mayor and the governor of Okinawa Prefecture at the time, and the Government adopted a Cabinet decision. Now we are proceeding with the relocation. Therefore, we will proceed with the relocation while at the same time explaining this history to the members of the host community.

REPORTER: I gather that mitigating the impact of the U.S. bases concentrated in Okinawa will remain a major item on the administration’s agenda. You concurrently serve as the Minister in charge of Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa. What is your stance for mitigating the impact of the bases going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated, there is no change at all to the Government’s intention to mitigate the impact with the understanding of the host communities while providing explanations to the people in Okinawa Prefecture.

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