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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 1, 2017 (AM)

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Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: President Trump has criticized Japan for its currency policy. What is your analysis of the intention and aims of these comments made by the President?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Although I am aware of the reports, I would like to refrain from making a speculative response to comments made by the President. If I were to add anything further, it would be to note that there is no change to the Government’s existing policy of advancing exchange rate-related policy in line with various G7 and G20 agreements, namely that exchange rates should be decided by the markets, refraining from competitive devaluation, and not setting exchange rate targets. The Government considers exchange rate stability to be important and will continue to monitor exchange rate market trends closely. In any event, going forward the Government seeks to engage in close communication with the United States on matters relating to the economy and trade, including exchange rates.


REPORTER: Does the Government intend to explain its exchange rate and financial policies in the upcoming Japan-U.S. summit meeting scheduled for February 10?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: My understanding is that rather than such specific issues, the meeting will be one in which Japan-U.S. economic relations and security issues as a whole will be discussed.

REPORTER: I have a related question. It has been reported that in the Japan-U.S. summit meeting the Government will propose a policy package that incorporates measures for creating employment and expanding investment in the United States. Is the Government contemplating such measures at the moment?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no truth to these reports. We will engage with the new administration on various levels from the perspective of discussing how to further develop and deepen economic relations between Japan and the United States.

REPORTER: I have a further question about President Trump. There is an impression that President Trump is focusing heavily on a policy of “America First” at the expense of international collaboration. Does the Government have any concerns about the inward-looking stance of the U.S. administration?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as the Japan-U.S. Alliance is of the utmost importance for the security and economic situation of the Asia-Pacific region and for the peace and safety of the world, it will be on that basis that we will exchange opinions with the United States.

REPORTER: As you have already noted, the G20 countries have confirmed that they will refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies, and yet President Trump’s comments could be interpreted as verbal intervention in currency markets. What is your view?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I would like to refrain from commenting. However, it is the case that exchange rates fluctuate in line with economic developments in the short, as well as medium and long terms. There is absolutely no change in the Government’s stance to continue to closely monitor exchange rates for any uneven or one-sided fluctuations and respond accordingly.

REPORTER: In his comments, President Trump referred to “playing the money markets” and although I do not quite know what he was implying, it sounded as if he was referring to Japan’s financial policy. Do you have any comment on this point?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Governor Kuroda of the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has made repeated statements concerning financial policy. He has clearly stated that monetary easing is not for the purpose of inducing the yen to depreciate, but rather to move towards the target of stabilizing domestic price levels. Also, at the G7 Summits it was confirmed that fiscal and monetary policies remain oriented towards meeting respective domestic objectives within each country. There is no change to Japan’s stance of implementing policy in line with such internationally confirmed measures.


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