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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

April 4, 2017 (PM)

If you can not view the video,click here(Japanese Government Internet TV)
Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question related to the reconstruction following the Great East Japan Earthquake. On March 31, the provision of free housing was terminated for voluntary evacuees who left their homes that were outside of the evacuation order zones. In a press conference today, Minister for Reconstruction Imamura stated that living voluntarily as an evacuee was fundamentally a matter of personal responsibility. Are the Government's thoughts on the matter the same?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: In regard to Fukushima, evacuation orders have been lifted in most areas except areas which are deemed to be difficult-to-return-zones. In that context, based on a discussion between the central government and Fukushima Prefecture, it was decided to discontinue the free provision of temporary housing to voluntary evacuees. Overall in Fukushima Prefecture, a variety of careful measures have been established, such as rent subsidies and the provision of public housing. The Government considers it essential to continue to stand on the front lines and devote all efforts to initiatives such as establishing the necessary living environment for return so that evacuees can return by their own decision.

REPORTER: I have a related question. There was a situation at the end of the press conference in which Minister Imamura exhibited agitated behavior, where in response to questioning from a reporter, he made statements along the lines of "You need to leave," "Don't come here again," and "Be quiet." Can this behavior be considered appropriate? Please share your opinion.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have received a report from Minister Imamura that during today's press conference, there was a portion when he became emotional and could not carry out level-headed interactions. In any case, I believe Minister Imamura will make an appropriate response.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Regarding the appropriate response, will that involve holding another press conference, or creating an opportunity to provide some manner of explanation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Minister Imamura made the statements himself, and reported that he was not able to carry out level-headed interactions. To that end, I believe he will personally carry out appropriate responses.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject and ask about the Government's written response regarding the issue of the sale of state-owned property to Moritomo Gakuen. In the Government's written response decided today, the action of a civil servant who was assigned to become Mrs. Akie Abe's assistant, to provide a written response when Mr. Yasunori Kagoike, head of Moritomo Gakuen, made an inquiry regarding the sale of state-owned property, was concluded to be the conscientious response of a civil servant but not part of her professional duties. If this action was carried out as a civil servant, in the broader sense would it not be part of that assistant's duties?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, the duties of Mrs. Abe's assistant are to support her activities which support the Prime Minister in performing his official duties. Regarding the faxed document which answered an inquiry from Mr. Kagoike addressed to Mrs. Abe's assistant, in response to that inquiry, the assistant made inquiries to some of her acquaintances she associated with in the course of civil service duties, to the relevant sections, received the required answers, and conveyed that information to the person who made the original inquiry. Furthermore, the assistant has no involvement with Mrs. Abe's private actions, and I believe the action of the assistant answering an inquiry addressed directly to herself can be considered to be the conscientious response of a civil servant and not part of that assistant's duties.

REPORTER: In that case, while it was essentially outside the scope of the assistant's duties, is it correct to understand the action as conscientious service?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It is exactly as stated in the written response, no more and no less.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Imperial Rescript on Education. The Democratic Party questioned whether the lack of condemnation of the use of the Imperial Rescript on Education as education material in the Government's written response goes against a past Diet resolution to eliminate and invalidate the rescript. What are your thoughts on this question?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, as stated yesterday, the Imperial Rescript on Education was revoked by a resolution of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors in 1948 and notification was issued to all prefectures that the stipulations of the resolution should be fully implemented. The Imperial Rescript on Education has also lost its legal effect due to the enactment of the Constitution of Japan and the Basic Law on Education. Those points are absolutely unchanged today, and therefore I believe the question of whether a Diet resolution is being contravened is irrelevant.


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