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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

January 31, 2017 (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: The Government of the United States has announced that it has issued a letter to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement member states, officially notifying them of its intention to withdraw from the TPP. This concludes the United States’ procedures for withdrawing from the agreement, so could you tell us whether the Government of Japan has received such a letter of intent and if so, what are the Government’s thoughts on this notification?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that on January 30, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative  issued notification that the United States does not intend to become a party to the TPP. In any event, the Government of Japan maintains its belief that a free trading system, based on common rules that are free and fair, is the source of growth for the global economy. The Government believes that President Trump also recognizes the importance of free and fair trade and we will concentrate our efforts on seeking understanding concerning the strategic and economic significance of the TPP.

REPORTER: So is the Government intent on not giving up and continuing to advance TPP negotiations?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the phrase as the “original signatories ”  refers to those nations that signed the TPP on February 4, 2016. , Tthe Government considers that the notification from the United States does not change the United States’ status as one of the original signatories. as the notification from the United States makes clear, the United States was an original signatory to the TPP on February 4, 2016, and the Government considers that the United States’ status as one of the original signatories has not changed.  It is expected that the Trump administration’s trade-related and other policies will become clearer once the ongoing process of confirming cabinet members has been completed. Until that time, I would like to refrain from making speculative comments about United States policy.

REPORTER: In your opening statement, you noted that in ministerial discussions following the Cabinet meeting, Minister Yamamoto, Minister in charge of Civil Service Reform, made a statement about regulations concerning the reemployment of national public servants. Could you tell us in a little more detail what Minister Yamamoto said?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Minister Yamamoto stated that a thorough investigation would be implemented with regard to the recent matter at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and requested the cooperation of other ministers.

REPORTER: I have a further question concerning the reemployment of national public servants. One of the issues with the current system concerning reemployment is said to be that the National Public Service Act  does not specifically restrict arrangements being made by former national public servants for the reemployment post-retirement of other national public servants. What kind of measures is the Government considering with regard to the involvement of former national public servants in arrangements for reemployment of current employees?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In the current case at MEXT, for example, it has been noted that former public servants were involved in making arrangements for employment of other public servants. However, in documents released by the Reemployment Surveillance Commission  it has been noted that in the case of MEXT these former national public servants were not acting alone, but rather a mechanism had been established whereby MEXT used these former public servants to arrange reemployment for public servants nearing retirement. Accordingly, if currently employed public servants had abided by the rules and had not provided information to former public servants, this incident would not have occurred in the first place. One of the items that the Prime Minister has instructed should be investigated is the provision of information through former public servants. Furthermore, the Government intends to provide clear guidance to all ministries and agencies that the provision of information from government offices to former public servants will not be tolerated. Based on the Prime Minister’s determination to do all that it is possible to do, the Government will work to restore the trust of the public in the system.

REPORTER: With regard to the investigation team that will be assessing this matter, I believe that external members will be included, including attorneys. Could you give us a little more detail about the investigation team?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Today the investigation team concerning reemployment regulations was established within the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs , comprising more than 30 members. As you have noted, the team will include external members, including attorneys, and the selection process for specific members is currently underway.

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