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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

May 9, 2017 (PM)

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Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question concerning the presidential election in the Republic of Korea (ROK), where voting is still under way, and about the policy for North Korea. The new President's stance on North Korea may have implications on the regional situation. Japan, the United States, and the ROK have maintained the same stance towards North Korea thus far. What kind of a stance on North Korea is the Government of Japan hoping for from the new President?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: It has not been decided yet who will be elected. I believe that is the situation. The basic stance of Japan is that the ROK is a vital neighbor with which Japan shares strategic interests, and that cooperation and collaboration between Japan and the ROK to deal with the issues of North Korea is extremely important for peace and stability in the region. In this context, we consider that cooperation and collaboration between Japan and the ROK and among Japan, the United States, and the ROK is critically essential. Regardless of which of the candidates becomes the new President, Japan will work to further develop the Japan-ROK cooperative relations in a variety of areas in a future-oriented manner.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The Japan-China-ROK Trilateral Summit is still postponed. I believe Japan is the summit chair. How does the Government intend to realize the summit if and when the new President is elected?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: A date for the trilateral summit could not be arranged last year. Furthermore, the ROK had its own circumstances. Given such factors, we are currently making arrangements to hold the summit in Japan at an appropriate timing this year. In any case, we will coordinate with the new ROK administration and with China.

REPORTER: I have one more related question. Is the Prime Minister scheduled to hold a telephone talk if and when the new President is decided?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: At this time nothing has been decided yet.


REPORTER: A study by an NPO in Saitama has found that learning support programs, which are free study support programs offered by local governments and others as a way to tackle child poverty, are implemented or are being considered in more than 70% of the applicable municipalities. While more than 60% of the junior high school students who take advantage of this program have provided positive feedback, stating that they are enjoying their schoolwork more than before, the program is not being offered in the remaining 30% of the applicable municipalities. Can you please share your thoughts regarding this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: First of all, it is the basic stance of the Abe administration that children should not be prevented from receiving an education because of poverty, which would lead to a cycle of poverty. Accordingly, the Government has been engaged in a number of efforts, including introducing a scholarship system that does not require repayment and providing supports for tuition reduction and waiver. In addition, the Government has been carrying out programs that provide customized supports for the various regional initiatives, such as learning supports for children as well as supports for daily living, creating places for networking, and advancement to higher education. Approximately 60% of the municipalities are expected to implement the program by the end of this fiscal year. To promote such programs, the Government will present to municipalities in Japan, case studies of initiatives already under way, as well as provide extensive supports to scale up these initiatives in order to expand the educational opportunities for children.

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