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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 16, 2017 (AM)

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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga


At today's Cabinet meeting, a decision was made to transfer to the United Nations, free of charge, supplies required for the work of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in accordance with the International Peace Cooperation Act. In response to requests from the UN, Japan will transfer over heavy machinery, vehicles, residence-related containers, and other supplies in the on-site possession of the Self-Defense Force engineering unit that will complete its mission by the end of May so that Japan can cooperate with UNMISS in an effective manner.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting, the Intellectual Property Strategy Headquarters met and finalized the Intellectual Property Promotion Plan 2017. This plan includes such matters as the creation of systems aimed at utilizing big data and artificial intelligence; the utilization of intellectual property in local small and medium-sized enterprises in the regions and the agriculture, forestry and fisheries fields; stimulating the film industry; and the construction of digital archives. The Government will work as one to implement these measures.

At today's Cabinet meeting, it was decided that the Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum will be awarded to H.E. Mr. Mauricio Macri, President of the Argentine Republic, during the President's official visit to Japan from May 18-20.


REPORTER: I have a question about the actions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This morning, the UNSC issued a press statement condemning North Korea's ballistic missile launches. The press statement calls for the implementation of stronger sanctions than before. What is the Government's assessment of this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: This press statement demonstrates the unified stance of the UNSC that North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and missiles is unacceptable. Japan will continue to work closely with the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK), and strongly demand that North Korea refrain from engaging in provocative actions and strictly comply in full with UNSC Resolution 2321. Furthermore, an emergency meeting of the UNSC is scheduled for May 17, Japan time, in response to a request by Japan, the US, and the ROK. I would like to refrain from speculating on the results of that meeting, but it is important that the UNSC displays the solidarity called for in the press statement released today.


REPORTER: I would like to ask about Toshiba's restructuring. Some news reports say the Government is considering offering loan guarantees for up to 900 billion yen in relation to the sale of Toshiba’s semiconductor business. I would like to ask for the facts on the matter from the Government.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: There is no truth to those reports.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Although you have stated that there is no truth to those reports, I would like to ask about the Government's view on loan guarantees. Loan guarantees are considered a burden that is borne with public funds. Is it possible that the Government could employ such a method to restructure Toshiba, and would the Government consider such an action appropriate?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated, because there is no such possibility, I would like to refrain from answering questions about hypotheticals.

REPORTER: I would like to ask about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). During a visit to China, Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan made a remark wondering just how quickly Japan could join the AIIB, which seemed to indicate that Japan intends to join in the near future. Does the Government believe it possible to join the AIIB in the near future if the proper conditions are arranged?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As we have stated from the outset, we will focus on how the AIIB is operated, in terms of governance and whether it can be a fair institution, and in terms of whether it will properly consider sustainability of debt for borrowing countries and effects on creditor countries. There is no change in this.

REPORTER: I have a related question. Prime Minister Abe said on a TV program yesterday that if the questions were resolved, then he would proactively consider joining. However, as you said just now, various questions have not be resolved.

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this stage, Japan has not yet taken any steps toward joining the AIIB.

REPORTER: I have a question about Japan-China relations. Secretary-General Nikai is scheduled to meet soon with Chinese President Xi Jinping. What results are expected to be produced toward improving the relationship between Japan and China?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I have also received a report regarding the meeting with President Xi Jinping. Regarding your question, since the two countries are the second- and third-largest economies in the world and are also extremely important neighbors, I think the most important result for both sides would be for it to contribute to regional peace and prosperity.

REPORTER: I have a related question. What is the Government's opinion on the effects on the global economy of moves to build Chinese-led frameworks such as the AIIB and the Belt and Road Initiative, for which the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation closed yesterday?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, Japan welcomes China’s peaceful development. Amidst this, we believe it is important to build a system where Japan and China can cooperate within the international community toward solving global issues, and to carry out our responsibilities for regional peace and prosperity. Japan is currently working to move Japan-China relations forward based upon the concept of a “Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests.” Therefore, we would like to build up a steady relationship as we engage in substantial discussions on such matters.


REPORTER: There were some news reports today that Minister Katsunobu Kato might be appointed Minister in charge of Investment in Human Resources, a new position, and that a public-private council could be launched this month to discuss the ideal state of investments in human resources. Can you provide the facts on this matter?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I am aware of the reports, but there is no truth to them.

REPORTER: I have a related question about policies for investing in human resources. Some have pointed out that these policies may include tuition-free education, but exactly what kind of policy does the Government have in mind?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: As I stated, even I am unaware of any plans to appoint a Minister in charge of Investment in Human Resources, so I would like to refrain from providing answers on concrete matters. However, investing in human resources is important in order to realize a society in which all citizens are dynamically engaged.


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