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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 2, 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]

Q&As

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I have a question concerning Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). There have been various reports in the press concerning the long-term effective nationalization of TEPCO, including reports on the listing of JERA Co., Inc., which is TEPCO's joint venture with Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc., and also considerations to sell off some shares in TEPCO's power transmission and distribution unit. Could you tell us the facts behind such considerations and when such actions will be taken if a decision is made? Could you also tell us the outlook and status of considerations concerning the timing of the Government's exit from TEPCO?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Of course I am aware of the press reports about this matter, but it is not true that the Government has made any decision with regard to the matters that you mentioned. I would like to refrain from commenting on individual press reports. My understanding is that TEPCO is proceeding with measures to implement reforms in accordance with the proposals for reform that were compiled in a committee  of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at the end of last year.

REPORTER: I have a question on a different topic. With regard to the issue of the sale of state-owned land to Moritomo Gakuen, yesterday House of Councillors member Mr. Yoshitada Konoike of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held a press conference, in which he revealed that executives of the school tried to hand him something wrapped in paper and ask for his support. This would appear to be an attempt by the school to lobby a Diet member for support in transactions relating to the sale of state-owned land. What is your view on these various moves that are said to have taken place?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, although I am aware of the press reports, the Government is unaware of the details of the interactions between Moritomo Gakuen and Mr. Konoike. Therefore I would like to refrain from making any comment on behalf of the Government. In any event, I have received a report that there were no inappropriate requests made with regard to this case. Although I do not know what Mr. Konoike said in his press conference, that is a matter for him to explain clearly himself.

REPORTER: I have a further related question. With regard to the sale of state-owned land, in the recent Budget Committee of the House of Councillors the Prime Minister has stated that the core issue is whether the sale price was appropriate or not. In order to assess whether the sale price of state-owned land was appropriate or not, does the Government intend to investigate whether there was really any lobbying done by politicians with regard to this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In any case relating to state-owned assets it is stipulated that such transactions should be implemented at an appropriate price and I believe that the transaction was implemented at the market price. With regard to the land in this case, as construction of the school was being advanced and with the time for the school to start operations nearing, it became newly apparent that there were materials buried underground. It is the Government's views that in order to respond to this situation, with the cooperation of the Kinki Local Finance Bureau  and Osaka Regional Civil Aviation Bureau  proper procedures were followed and the land was sold at an appropriate value, based on relevant laws and ordinances. In any event, as it has been noted that in this case an internal investigation may not be sufficient, the Commissioner of the Board of Audit of Japan  has responded to questions in the Diet by noting that an investigation will be implemented based on Diet discussions. The Board of Audit of Japan is an independent body and I believe that it will engage in a thorough investigation. As the Financial Bureau of the Ministry of Finance has responded on numerous occasions in the Diet, there was no instance in this case where inappropriate lobbying took place relating to the sale of land.

(Abridged)

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