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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

December 21, 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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


REPORTER: I would like to ask about the lawsuit confirming the illegality of issues surrounding the relocation of Futenma Air Station to Henoko in Okinawa Prefecture. At a press conference held last night after receiving the judicial decision, Governor Onaga of Okinawa Prefecture stated he will promptly begin the procedures to cancel his revocation of the landfill approval. By when does the Government expect these procedures to be completed?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, yesterday the Supreme Court announced its decision to dismiss the final appeal made by the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture. By this, Governor Onaga’s revocation of the landfill permission was recognized as illegal by judicial decision, and the Government recognizes it as the central government’s position being wholly accepted by the Supreme Court. I understand that the Governor will now promptly cancel the revocation of the landfill permission, which has been declared illegal, and so I believe we should monitor Okinawa Prefecture’s movement in that area.

REPORTER: I have a related question. In the same press conference, in regard to the scope of the recent judicial decision, Governor Onaga stated he would follow the decision concerning whether to revoke the landfill permission, but that it bore no relation to other matters. He emphasized his personal understanding that he can exercise his authority as governor to prevent the relocation in other ways. What is the Government’s response to this attitude?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, in the process of arriving at the current judicial decision, based on the conditions of the compromise reached in March of this year, it was agreed that once the court decided, we would faithfully respond by following the spirit of the main clause. Therefore, I think we will fully devote ourselves to that agreement.

REPORTER: In that case, does the Government consider the Governor’s statement regarding his stance to be faithfully responding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan is a country based on the rule of law, and the Supreme Court has made its final decision. Based on that decision, the central government and Okinawa Prefecture will now mutually cooperate to faithfully respond based on the spirit of the compromise previously made. Therefore, the Government considers there to be absolutely no change in proceeding with the landfill construction.

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask a question related to South Sudan. If the South Sudan sanction proposal delivered to the Security Council by the United States is adopted, what will the Government’s decision on this matter be, given that it has attempted to adjust this proposal in opposition?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Japan believes the establishment of sanctions against South Sudan should be considered from the viewpoint of what is necessary for the peace and stability of South Sudan. From that point of view, the government of South Sudan is currently promoting initiatives such as cooperation for the early deployment of regional protection forces and the holding of a national dialogue with its citizens, and we consider it important to support these initiatives. The Government is continuing its diplomatic efforts, such as holding telephone conversations between Foreign Minister Kishida and President Kiir and dispatching a special envoy of the Prime Minister. In any case, in regard to South Sudan, including sanctions, as a member of the Security Council and a personnel dispatching country of the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), we intend to continue participating in discussions within the Security Council with strong interest.


REPORTER: In regard to the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan next year, JTB has announced a record-high prediction of 27 million people, which is 12% more than this year. I would like to hear the Government’s reaction to this prediction, and if it has a similar prediction for next year.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we are predicting approximately 24 million foreign tourists will visit Japan this year. This represents a 23% increase up through October, for which figures are available. Considering this situation, the Government has set a high goal of reaching 40 million tourists in 2020 and 60 million tourists in 2030, and is currently implementing a variety of measures with the goal of becoming a leading tourism nation. Therefore, in regard to next year, the Government will strive for an achievable goal in consideration of its goal of 40 million tourists in 2020.

REPORTER: With the so-called “binge shopping” by Chinese tourists having settled down from its peak, the recent survey indicates an expectation that these tourists will shift their aim in traveling from solely shopping to a focus on experience, and that their numbers will be maintained or increased. What are your thoughts on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: While it is true that per-person consumption has decreased slightly from the peak, based on the statistics available up through September, the total amount has increased by approximately 10% compared to last year, and thus is still at a high level. The Government is carrying out a number of surveys. 93% of tourists had an exceedingly good impression of their travels in Japan, and nearly an equal number of people would like to come to Japan again. While many tourists initially came to Japan just for shopping, as you have just said the Government would like to proactively carry out a number of initiatives to shift tourists to a variety of goals, and encourage tourists to visit many regional areas, with tourism positioned as a pillar of regional development by the Government. At the same time, after doubling the budget of the Ministry of Tourism this year, we are increasing our efforts in areas such as strengthening promotions aimed at tourists from Europe, America, and Australia, among whom there is a tendency for long stays, and attracting international conferences. The Government will continue working tirelessly toward our goal of 40 million tourists in 2020 with these activities.

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