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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

March 3, 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 issue involving the sale of state-owned land to Moritomo Gakuen. I would think that sale of state-owned land needs to be transparent. In this recent case, however, some of the documentation had been destroyed, including records of meetings about the sale. Do you consider that the Government is doing everything right now to ensure adequate documentation management or fully achieve accountability on this issue?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, I have been informed that the Ministry of Finance (MOF) is managing records and archives in accordance with the MOF Rules on Administrative Records and Archives Management , which has been established based on the provisions of the Public Records and Archives Management  Law. These rules provide that approval documents regarding the acquisition and disposal of state-owned assets, including contracts, must be kept for 30 years. At the same time, the rules provide that records of meetings and other such documentation must be kept for less than one year. With regard to the exact timing, the rules state that they shall be destroyed when the relevant case is completed. In this way, MOF ensures that documentation such as contracts from negotiations are kept in accordance with the Rules on Records and Archives Management, and we do not see any problems.

(Abridged)

REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask a question concerning Japan-Russia relations. In connection with the joint economic activities on the Northern Territories, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister who is the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District of the Russian Federation  told the Russian media that Russia has no intention of waiting for a long time to carry out development work on the islands, and that such work can be carried out without cooperating with Japan. He indicated that Russia would not hold back from conducting development activities on its own. How does the Japanese Government regard these comments by the Deputy Prime Minister?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: With regard to joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands, following the outcome of the summit meeting of last December, the Joint Economic Activity Related Council  chaired by Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida was established within the Government with the aim of formulating concrete projects. First, official talks at the vice-minister-level will be held in Tokyo on March 18, at which Japan will hold extensive discussions with Russia on what kind of joint economic activities would be possible in a way that does not undermine the legal position of Japan. In regard to the comments made by Russia, Japan will fully assert its views at the Council meetings and other fora.

REPORTER: I have a related question. As you noted moments ago, official talks will commence on the 18th of this month. What is the Government’s analysis as to why these comments were suddenly made before the talks went into full swing, almost as if to keep Japan in check?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I think it is as you know very well. A short while ago you stated why the comments were made. I believe that is the bottom line.

REPORTER: I would like to change the topic and ask about the consumer price index (CPI). The national CPI for January released this morning by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed that the CPI rose for the first time in one year and one month. Can you please share your comments?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As you just noted in your question, the CPI for “All items, less fresh food ” in Japan in January rose by 0.1% from the same month of the previous year, increasing for the first time in one year and one month. This is the result of prices increasing for many items, including foods less fresh food. In addition, energy prices have fallen by a smaller margin due to gasoline prices increasing by a larger margin, among other factors. While the CPI is flat, it is expected to increase moderately. In any case, the Government will continue to make concerted efforts together with the Bank of Japan to exit from deflation.

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