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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

February 28, 2017 (AM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
This video's audio is a provisional translation through live simultaneous interpretation.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga

(Abridged)

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the crime of making preparations to commit acts of organized crime, including terrorism. Deliberations within the ruling parties will begin from today. Komeito, in particular, has not changed its cautious stance. Can you please comment on what the Government wishes from the ruling parties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, with regard to the bill for signing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, various opinions have been expressed regarding the content of the bill that was submitted to the Diet. We are now in the process of finalizing the bill, including making revisions. The exact content is being coordinated with the ruling parties, and nothing has been decided at this current stage, including the Cabinet decision. The Government is working towards the submission of the bill during the current session of the Diet. If the bill can be submitted to the Diet, we will provide careful explanations to have it passed during the current session of the Diet. This bill will make it a crime to make preparations to commit acts of organized crime, including terrorism, limited to groups that seek to commit certain crimes. It would criminalize the acts of preparation to commit organized crime, including terrorism, when the acts themselves happen. We are finalizing the bill to make it clear that it would be impossible for the general public to be charged for such crimes. This is different from the crime of conspiracy that was deliberated previously. In connection with the convention, we are making adjustments to the bill as firmly as we can to narrow down the applicable crimes. Already 187 countries and regions have signed the convention, and Japan is the only G7 country that has not signed. In addition, the Government views that it is necessary to make all possible arrangements to prevent organized crime, including acts of terrorism, from occurring in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games that are coming up in three years. In this sense, we are now in the stage of conducting the final coordination with the ruling parties.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: My question concerns measures related to passive smoking. The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has decided that as a general rule, smoking would be banned without exception at places anticipated to be visited by families and foreign tourists, for example, Japanese izakaya drinking establishments, ramen shops, and dining halls. It is reported that this decision would be used as a springboard for discussion regarding the relevant bill. Can you please explain the current status of the Government’s coordination work?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First, I am not aware that a concrete proposal has been compiled at this time. My understanding is that the coordination work is in the final stages to be able to present a proposal in the coming days. In any case, measures related to passive smoking have direct implications on the lives of every individual and significantly affect society. Under these circumstances, we hope to be able to definitely present a concrete proposal which incorporates these matters and submit it to the Diet in the course of holding constructive discussions.

REPORTER: I have a follow-up question. Some members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the drinking and eating establishment industry are very much wary of the ban of passive smoking as a general rule. Some view that it would have direct consequences on the sales of small-scale establishments. How will such matters be coordinated going forward?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: We understand that LDP is actively carrying out hearings with members of organizations and holding discussions. We have been briefed that along with the opinions against the ban due to reasons such as the effects it would have, particularly on the sales of small-scale drinking and eating establishments and on tobacco farmers, there are many opinions in support of the ban due to reasons such as the health effects of passive smoking that are known. In any case, in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, the Government is now finalizing the proposal to ensure effective measures to prevent passive smoking, while referring to the measures taken in countries that have hosted the Games in the past and so on. The Government will carry out due coordination with the ruling parties.

REPORTER: I have a question in regard to the defense budget of the United States. Officials at the Whitehouse have revealed that defense spending in FY2018 would increase by 10%. This is a substantial increase equal to approximately 6 trillion yen in Japanese yen. What is the Japanese Government’s assessment of this U.S. Government policy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, we are aware of the news reports. However, we understand that at this point in time the U.S. Government has not made an official, concrete announcement, and therefore, we are continuing to follow the situation.

(Abridged)

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