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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 15, 2017 (PM)

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]

Q&As

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the spring wage offensive . Today is the day for responses to be received concerning wage increases. It is expected that while corporate management will acquiesce to requests to increase base pay for the fourth consecutive year, many companies will respond that the rate of increase in base pay is the smallest in this four-year period. I believe the Government had requested wage increases at least on the level of last year's increases. Could you share your views concerning this year's spring wage offensive?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Sincere discussions are still going on between labor and management over this year's spring wage offensive. Today labor unions in the automotive,  electric machinery, and other sectors are receiving responses to their wage offensive requests. Taking the case of Toyota Motor Corporation as an example, I hear that management has agreed to increase base pay by 1,300 yen a month, which is below the level of last year's increase, but that due to revisions to family allowances the overall per capita improvement in wages for union members will be above last year's level. Responses from other companies are also expected to be provided in succession from now on. I believe it will be necessary to look not just at base pay increases, but analyze the proposed wage increases from a comprehensive perspective, taking into account such points as one-off payments and allowances. In any event, the results of this year's spring wage offensive are just starting to emerge and from the packages that have been announced up to now it appears that base pay has increased for the fourth consecutive year. The Government hopes that companies will move to steadily increase wages at a level commensurate with their profits and that the trend for wage increases will spread further to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and non-regular employees.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a further related question. A significant theme of this year's spring wage offensive has been the Government's policy for promoting work style reform, which seeks to correct long working hours and improve productivity from the perspective of boosting consumption. What impact do you think the promotion of work style reform has had on this year's spring wage offensive?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I believe that it is necessary to analyze this year's spring wage offensive comprehensively from various angles. The Government is pressing forward with work style reform, including the correction of long working hours and the realization of equal pay for equal work . The Government hopes that companies will move to steadily increase wages at a level commensurate with their profits and that the trend for wage increases will spread further to SMEs and enterprises employing non-regular staff .

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the topic. I have a question relating to Okinawa. You have recently met with the newly appointed Vice Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, Mr. Moritake Tomikawa. What did you discuss in the meeting?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Vice Governor Tomikawa of Okinawa Prefecture paid a courtesy visit following his appointment as Vice Governor. In our meeting he spoke in general terms, speaking about his desire to advance cooperation with Asia and further promote Okinawa's economy under the current favorable conditions in the prefecture. In terms of his hopes for Okinawa, he referred to opening a MICE (Meeting, Incentive travel, Convention, Event/Exhibition) facility that is being planned by Okinawa Prefecture in time for the end of March 2020, when the second runway at Naha Airport is scheduled to be in service, and further increasing visitors to Okinawa from Japan and overseas. I understand the Vice Governor voiced similar opinions in his meeting yesterday with Minister Yosuke Tsuruho, and the Government will carefully consider the points he made from various perspectives.

(Abridged)
REPORTER: My question is in regard to a different matter. I have a question about the visit to Japan by Mr. Rex Tillerson, United States Secretary of State. Secretary Tillerson is scheduled to arrive in Japan this evening and have meetings with Foreign Minister Kishida and Prime Minister Abe tomorrow, at which views will be exchanged regarding the response to North Korea. Could I ask for a comment about the significance of this visit and the expected outcomes?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan sincerely welcomes this visit to Japan by Mr. Rex Tillerson, United States Secretary of State, given the extremely severe regional security situation. Tomorrow Secretary Tillerson is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on the Prime Minister and hold talks with Foreign Minister Kishida. The Government hopes that based on the outcomes of the recent Japan-U.S. summit meeting, the meetings with Secretary Tillerson will cover various issues, including the situations surrounding North Korea, and will reconfirm the unwavering bond of the Japan-U.S. alliance.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Following the missile launches by North Korea the United States is hardening its stance. Is it correct to understand that one of the main themes for the meetings will be on how to step up pressure on North Korea, including re-designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am not aware of what will be discussed in specific terms, but in any event the meetings will be based on the outcomes of the recent Japan-U.S. summit meeting.

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