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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 28, 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

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. The Osaka High Court has overturned a provisional disposition  by the Otsu District Court, which placed an injunction on the restarting of operations at Units 3 and 4 of Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc.'s Takahama Nuclear Power Station. Can I ask for a comment on this ruling?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware that this afternoon the Osaka High Court decided to disaffirm a provisional disposition preventing the operation of Units 3 and 4 of Takahama Nuclear Power Station. As this was a civil case in which the Government was not directly involved, I would like to refrain from making any comment. What I would say, however, is that it has been the consistent policy of the Government to respect the decisions made by the highly independent Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) regarding the nuclear power stations for which the NRA conducted scientific and technical examinations and found to be in compliance with the new regulatory standards that are the most rigorous in the world, and to restart only these power stations while gaining the understanding of the host communities.  The Government expects that Kansai Electric Power Co. will make every effort to prioritize safety when restarting operations at Takahama, while seeking the understanding of persons concerned, including local governments.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Tomorrow will mark the first anniversary of the entry into force of the Legislation for Peace and Security , which permits the exercise of the right of collective self-defense . In terms of new duties for the Self-Defense Force (SDF), cooperation with the United States is advancing in such areas as joint exercises and the protection of weapons and other equipment , so can I ask for the Government's view on the significance of the legislation and any related issues?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has been one year since the so-called Legislation for Peace and Security entered into force and during that time the security environment surrounding Japan has further increased in severity. Last year, North Korea implemented two nuclear tests and over the last year more than 20 missiles have been launched. It was against the backdrop of such a severe security environment that we sought to achieve the passage of the Legislation for Peace and Security, considering it to be essential to prevent conflict and to protect the lives and peaceful livelihoods of the people of Japan. The entry into force of the legislation has helped to facilitate Japan-United States cooperation to an extensive degree and the Government considers that it has become clear that the Legislation for Peace and Security and also the Law on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets  has enabled thorough Japan-U.S. cooperation that will help to protect the lives and peaceful livelihoods of the people of Japan. In that sense, the Government will continue to make every effort to ensure that the Legislation for Peace and Security is put into practical effect to protect the safety and security of the public.

REPORTER: The legislation enables the SDF to engage in various new activities, so is the Government contemplating joint exercises with the United States that envisage a survival-threatening situation  incorporating the exercise of the right of collective self-defense?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, with regard to exercises conducted by the SDF, although the Government seeks to implement exercises that have been added under the Legislation for Peace and Security to the greatest extent possible, at the current point there are no specific plans for such exercises.

REPORTER: I have a question about ZEN-NOH (National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations) . Following the receipt of a draft proposal for reform compiled by the Government and ruling parties at the end of last year, today ZEN-NOH has announced its own new self-reform plan. The plan includes a target of expanding the proportion of rice sold by direct means to 90 percent of the total by fiscal 2024. Yesterday, ZEN-NOH set out its stance on reform by announcing the appointment of the former president of Ito-Yokado Co., Ltd.  to an executive position. Could I ask for the Government's evaluation of ZEN-NOH's reform plan and whether it will contribute to the Government's stated policy of increasing the income of agricultural businesses?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In November last year, the Agricultural Competitiveness Strengthening Program  was decided, which incorporates various measures, including lowering production material prices  and reforming the distribution and processing structure of agricultural products  in order to raise the income of agricultural businesses. The program calls for self-reform efforts that will expand sales of agricultural products direct to the consumer or the demand source without using intermediary distribution, either through competitive bidding or in a way that consumers can purchase products from outstanding producers in a manner that is beneficial to agricultural businesses. The annual plan that has been announced today by ZEN-NOH incorporates such targets. The Government considers that specific measures toward the realization of expanded direct sales are of the utmost importance and we will continue to engage in follow-up. I am aware that as of April 1, ZEN-NOH has decided to appoint Mr. Kazuhisa Toi, former representative director and president of Ito-Yokado Co., Ltd., as Chief Officer, a board-level position. I believe that the appointment of board members from outside ZEN-NOH is in line with the aims of the Agricultural Competitiveness Strengthening Program and the Government hopes that this appointment will help to further advance agricultural reforms and reform of ZEN-NOH.


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