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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 20, 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 Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: With regard to the investigation into reemployment practices at all government ministries and agencies that is being led by the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, could you tell us what investigation methods are currently being considered?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: I would like to give my answer in my capacity as head of the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, which has jurisdiction over the national civil servant system. As a result of a survey implemented by the Reemployment Surveillance Commission, multiple infringements of the regulations on reemployment of national public servants have been discovered, in addition to which efforts to conceal these infringements were also identified. It is inexcusable that it has also been pointed out that there was an organized structure to arrange reemployment within the ministry, which included the involvement of the vice minister. The current regulations on reemployment of national civil servants were introduced to ensure public trust in government administration and it is therefore extremely regrettable that an incident of this magnitude has taken place, which has caused such trust to be lost. Although severe punishments have been imposed on those involved, including the former vice minister, the most senior position at the ministry, this incident has cast a harsh public light over the system for reemployment of national civil servants. Accordingly, at the liaison meeting of administrative vice ministers today, I issued instructions to vice ministers at all ministries and agencies to take direct and thorough measures to ensure compliance with regulations. Based on instructions from the Prime Minister, the Government has decided to implement an investigation of all ministries and agencies to assess whether similar practices have taken place. The Government aims to start the investigation as soon as possible. In order to ensure that the investigation is as thorough as possible the Government will be consulting with the Reemployment Surveillance Commission, a third-party organization, and we will confirm the situation at all ministries and agencies. If any suspicious matters come to light, the Government will then contact the Reemployment Surveillance Commission, which will then engage in further investigations. This is the structure by which we intend to proceed.

REPORTER: Do you currently have any outlook for when the investigation will be completed and when the results will be announced?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: The Government wants the investigation to be completed without delay.

REPORTER: This afternoon the Prime Minister delivered his policy speech to both houses of the Diet, in which he spoke about the Japan-U.S. Alliance, amendment of the Constitution, work style reform and the abdication of His Majesty the Emperor. Could you tell us what thoughts the Prime Minister had in mind when making this speech and how the Government evaluates the speech?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: You are asking me about the Prime Minister’s thoughts in making this speech? Given that this policy speech was delivered at a time of great change and leadership transition in the international community, the Prime Minister stressed his own personal responsibility and role and also the role that Japan should play in the international community. Furthermore, with regard to domestic affairs, the key phrase that featured in the speech was “pioneering the future.” The Government believes that the most important thing when building the nation with the next 70 years in mind is the upbringing of our children, the next generation. This came at the end of the speech, but overall my impression is that it was one that told a story of the Government’s continuing determination to rise to challenges, break down and overcome barriers and to pioneer the future. With regard to the Prime Minister’s thoughts in making this speech, I would suggest that you ask the Prime Minister himself. However, I believe that the speech demonstrated to Japan and the world that as we enter the fifth year of the Abe administration, the Government remains determined to continue to take up various challenges.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The order of this year’s speech was the reverse of how it is usually structured, with the section on the Japan-U.S. Alliance coming first, with domestic affairs being covered afterwards. As domestic affairs are usually the first topic to be covered, could I ask you to explain the Government’s aims in bringing forward foreign policy to the beginning of the speech?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: As I have already mentioned, the Government recognizes that this is a major transition year, with leadership transitions occurring in the international community. The Government is required to keep our diplomacy on a firm track and advance foreign policy strategically and there is no change to our determination to make every endeavor to carry out both foreign and domestic policies. Given that the Prime Minister made a visit to Pearl Harbor at the end of last year, where he looked back on Japan’s postwar history and sent out a future-oriented message, I think that it was probably in view of such matters that the section on foreign policy was brought to the start of the speech. It does not imply that domestic administration and policies are being overlooked.

REPORTER: In the early hours of tomorrow morning, Japan time, President Trump of the United States will be inaugurated. What response is the Government of Japan considering following the President’s inauguration? In addition, the Government is currently making arrangements to realize a summit meeting between Prime Minister Abe and President Trump in the near future, so could you also tell us about the current status of these arrangements?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: I am aware that the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Trump will be held in the early hours of tomorrow morning, Japan time, which will mark the entry into office of the new President. The Japan-U.S. Alliance is a cornerstone for Japan’s foreign policy and security and given the increasing severity of the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the alliance plays a vital role as the foundation for peace and prosperity in the region. Based on a relationship of mutual trust, the Government seeks to work with the administration of President Trump to further strengthen the unwavering Japan-U.S. Alliance and enhance the existing bonds between Japan and the United States. The Prime Minister has repeatedly stated himself that he seeks to hold a summit meeting with President Trump at an early juncture. In the unofficial meeting Prime Minister Abe held with President-elect Trump in November last year, it was confirmed that the two leaders would meet again at a mutually convenient time following the inauguration of President-elect Trump. At the current point, however, arrangements are still being made and no specific schedule has been determined as yet.


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