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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 18, 2017 (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 concerning President-elect Trump. In an interview with a U.S. newspaper, Mr. Trump expressed concern that the dollar is too strong and indicated the possibility that measures could be taken to induce dollar depreciation. This prompted appreciation of the yen on the currency markets, so can I ask for the views of the Government?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the press reports concerning this matter. As President-elect Trump has yet to be inaugurated, I would like to refrain from making any comment about this statement on behalf of the Government. However, it is the Government’s long-held view that stable currency markets are important. We will therefore continue to remain alert and monitor trends.

REPORTER: I have a related question. I realize that the President-elect has yet to be inaugurated, but as the markets have already reacted to his comments regarding the strength of the dollar, if he were to actually seek to induce dollar depreciation in the future, what response measures is the Government considering?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Currency stability is of the utmost importance for the Government and we are always monitoring markets with a sense of alertness.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the Japanese business hotel chain APA Hotel. In response to a book being placed in APA hotel rooms, which denies the so-called Nanjing Massacre and the forced recruitment of comfort women, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has voiced criticism, stating that the international community recognizes as historical facts the forced recruitment of comfort women and the Nanjing Massacre. It is extremely unusual for the Chinese Foreign Ministry to criticize opinions voiced in the private sector, so can I ask for the views of the Government with regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I would like to refrain from commenting on specific statements made by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. Speaking in general terms, as I have said previously, the Government believes it is important for Japan and China to take a future-oriented approach towards the common challenges facing the international community, rather than placing excessive focus on the unfortunate history of the past.

REPORTER: You have recently held a meeting with the mayors of Kunigami and Higashi villages in Okinawa. According to both mayors, in the meeting you made it clear that financial measures would be taken to ensure that local allocation taxes would not be reduced following the return of part of the Northern Training Area. Could you tell us the facts behind these measures, and if it has been decided on how local allocation taxes will be maintained, could you tell us about the sources of funding?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The meeting today was held based on a previous request from both mayors. In my opening remarks, I noted that as both villages had cooperated in the procedures to realize the return of the training area, the Government would take measures to prevent any reduction in local allocation tax funding. The Government intends to maintain the tax allocation structure as it currently stands.

REPORTER: You have said that measures will be maintained in their current form, so will this mean that funding will continue to be from the local allocation tax disbursed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and not from the defense budget?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government’s intention is to continue to use the normal local allocation tax system.

REPORTER: I have a related question, concerning the inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list of areas other than the land from the return of the Northern Training Area. Did you indicate to the mayors when the Government intends to aim for UNESCO inscription for these areas?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the Government recognizes that as a whole, the areas of Amami Oshima, Tokunoshima, the northern area of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island are extremely important areas in terms of biodiversity, as they are home to internationally valuable endemic species, including the Okinawa rail and the Iriomote wild cat, which have evolved uniquely in their isolated island environments. It is for this reason that as early as this week the Government aims to formally decide on the submission of a recommendation to UNESCO for their inscription and to submit the recommendation by February 1. The ultimate aim is to achieve inscription as UNESCO World Heritage by the summer of 2018. The Government will continue to provide full support to achieve inscription and promote the further development of these areas that are home to such rich natural wonders as represented by the Yanbaru forest area of northern Okinawa.


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