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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 29, 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 concerning the climate change countermeasures of the United States. President Trump has signed a Presidential Executive Order that revises the United States' measures on climate change to date and promotes the production of energy from domestic sources, including coal. It is expected that this policy revision will make it difficult for the United States to meet its emissions reduction targets for greenhouse gases and some people have observed that it could effectively nullify the Paris Agreement, to which Japan is a signatory. What is the Government of Japan's view of the actions taken by President Trump?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government will continue to monitor how policies of the Trump administration will affect issues relating to climate change and Japan-U.S. economic relations. As the full picture of the Trump administration's policies relating to climate change issues, including its response to the Paris Agreement, is not currently clear, I would like to refrain from making any speculative comments about the stance of the United States. Whatever the case, the Government of Japan considers that the response to climate change issues is truly a global-scale challenge that must be undertaken by the international community as a whole. The active engagement of the United States is therefore also important and Japan will continue to seek to work together with the United States on this issue.

REPORTER: You have just stated that Japan will seek to work together with the United States, so does the Government intend to call on the United States to fulfil its greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Whatever the case, as the response to climate change issues must be undertaken by the international community as a whole, the Government will seek to work together with the United States on such issues.

REPORTER: I have a question concerning the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union (EU). Today the UK will submit formal notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU. There are concerns that the UK's withdrawal from the EU single market could impact the global free trade system, so how does the Government analyze the impact Brexit could have on the global and Japanese economy?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Government is monitoring the issue of the UK's withdrawal from the EU with the greatest interest as it directly affects the business of Japanese companies. Once the government of the UK issues notification of its intention to withdraw, we plan to quickly hold a meeting of the Government Task-force regarding the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union  under Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hagiuda. Utilizing this task force, we will continue to gather and analyze information about the direction of negotiations between the UK and the EU and market trends. Also, the relevant Government ministries and agencies will work together as one to make further concerted efforts to assist Japanese companies to ensure that any adverse impact arising from the withdrawal of the UK can be minimized. In addition, we will continue to take various opportunities to work closely with the countries concerned, including the UK.

REPORTER: You have just stated that the Government will work to minimize any adverse impact on Japanese companies arising from Brexit. Among the various opportunities that you spoke about, does the Government intend to use international forums, such as the G7 Summit in Italy, to call on the UK and the EU?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: That is naturally the case, and on his recent visit to Europe the Prime Minister also spoke with leaders about this matter.

REPORTER : I have a question concerning Japan's strike capabilities against enemy bases. The Research Commission on Security  of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has compiled a proposal that calls for the reinforcement of Japan's ballistic missile defense. The proposal notes that the threat posed by North Korea has entered a new phase and calls for immediate consideration to be given to Japan maintaining a strike capability against enemy bases. Will the Government move to enter into such considerations in the near future?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, I am aware of the decision that has been reached by a working group of the LDP and also that the proposal is due to be submitted shortly to the Government. Although I am not aware of the details of the proposal, what I would say is that it is the Government's responsibility to protect the lives and properties of the people in any situation, amidst an increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan. Once the Government receives the proposal from the LDP, we will examine its contents thoroughly.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Government is expected to compile the revised version of the Medium Term Defense Program  at the end of 2018, so is it to be expected that budgetary allocation measures or discussion on the maintenance of a strike capability will be linked through to the next Medium Term Defense Program?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I am not aware of the details of the proposal. As it is the Government's role to protect the safety and peace of mind of the people in any situation, amidst an increasingly severe security environment surrounding Japan, once the Government receives the proposal from the LDP we will examine its contents thoroughly. Nothing has yet been decided with regard to the next Medium Term Defense Program.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. Today a group of young Diet members, including LDP Diet Member Shinjiro Koizumi, has compiled a proposal calling for the establishment of "children's insurance," which would involve paying extra social insurance premiums, which in turn could be allocated for the provision of free education for children and other measures. Could you tell us the Government's view on this proposal?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: My understanding is that this proposal represents one opinion on methods of securing financial resources. In any event, the Government will continue its efforts to properly secure financial resources and provide solid support for child-rearing in general, based on the Plan to Realize the Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens.

REPORTER: With regard to the provision of free education, there have also been discussions in the LDP concerning education bonds. What does the Government consider to be the appropriate means and methods for securing financial resources to realize the provision of free education?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: The Abe administration is engaged in measures to enhance education as an important policy subject, and with regard to reducing the economic burden of education and child-rearing we have worked to promote the free provision of pre-school education and the introduction of scholarships. Having first secured the required financial resources, the Government will move to further enhance education measures.

(Abridged)

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