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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

July 6, 2017 (AM)

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]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga




REPORTER: I have a question about the Japan-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations. In the negotiations, Japan and the EU have reached agreement on the EPA’s fundamental elements. However, cheese has been one of the focuses for negotiations and it is expected that Japan will establish a low tariff framework for imports thereof, with tariffs ultimately being reduced to zero from the start of the 16th year after the EPA’s entry into force. There are concerns that this could deal a major blow to dairy farmers in Hokkaido and other regions. Could you tell us what specific domestic policies the Government will consider to assuage such concerns?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Firstly, yesterday evening, June 5, Japan time, Minister for Foreign Affairs Kishida, who is currently visiting Belgium, met with Dr. Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade to discuss the Japan-EU EPA. Minister Kishida and Commissioner Malmström engaged in negotiations towards the finalization of an agreement, resolved the important issues that remained outstanding from the ministerial discussions on June 30 and July 1, and confirmed at the ministerial level that an agreement on fundamental elements has been realized. It was then confirmed that this agreement on fundamental elements will be submitted to the leaders of Japan and the EU at the Japan-EU Summit on July 6 for further confirmation, with a view to reaching a final agreement at the summit level. Given that the Government is aiming to realize confirmation of the agreement on fundamental elements at the Japan-EU Summit, and that final approval by Japan and EU leaders has yet to be received, I would like to refrain from commenting on individual matters pertaining to the negotiation process.

REPORTER: I have a related question. What is your evaluation of the fact that an agreement on the EPA’s fundamental elements has been reached?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: I very much hope that Japan and the EU can reach a final agreement. In any event, given that Japan and the EU account for approximately 30 percent of global trade it would be of the utmost significance if agreement can be reached on a Japan-EU EPA.

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